Wo die Reise hingeht - Schwerpunkte

Die Spotlights geben einen Einblick in für Finnova und ihre Community wichtige Initiativen und Entwicklungsprojekte. Sie zeigen auch, was die Finanzdienst-leister, die Banken, die Bankkunden und/oder die Betreiber aus technischer Sicht in naher oder ferner Zukunft bewegt. Und wo sich Finnova mit "Smarter Banking" hin bewegt.

Entlang den Dimensionen "Digitalisierung, Data/Analytics/Compliance, Industrialisierung/Standardisierung und Ökosystem" erhalten interessierte Kunden, Partner und Softwareentwickler einen Einblick in Themen, die Finnova in naher oder ferner Zukunft bewegen, an denen wir arbeiten, mit welchen sich das Produktmanagement und ggf. auch die Entwicklungsabteilung beschäftigen. Teilweise sind es Dinge, deren allgemeine Verfügbarkeit schon gegeben ist, teilweise sind es Ideen, Konzepte oder auch spezifische Entwicklungsschwerpunkte. Die Updates in den Rubriken der Spotlights erfolgen sporadisch.

Die Spotlights versuchen, einen Einblick in Zukünftiges zu geben und ein Licht zu werfen auf das, womit wir uns auch oder insbesondere beschäftigen.

Finnova – a tech veteran in the digital era

Interview with Hendrik Lang, Chief Customer Officer, Finnova

Finnova is a true tech veteran and has lived through different eras of technology. Today, we are talking about the Swiss financial market, fintech and a future-proof economy. What is Finnova? What do you do?

Indeed, we have a long history going back to 1974. Today Finnova is a leading provider of end-to-end banking software in the Swiss financial centre. We employ around 400 people at our headquarters in Lenzburg and at other branch offices in Chur, Seewen and Nyon. Our platform, the Finnova Banking Software, is currently used by around 80 universal banks and 20 private banks. They benefit from the software’s extensive functional breadth and depth, its stability, and the possibility to integrate third-party applications – all of this combined with a low total cost of ownership.

Your claim is ‘smarter banking’. What is special about this claim?

As a development firm for banking software, we are working at the interface of two of the most dynamic economic sectors: IT and banking. Technological innovations and new players such as fintech companies are opening up an increasing number of possibilities for our customers, and are additionally accelerating the already rapid change in the banking sector. Successful business models in banking will be determined more than ever by the intelligent use of technology. The industrialisation of banking processes, digitalisation and the growing compliance requirements are the driving forces for the industry. In this interplay, our ambition is to offer banks efficient and at the same time innovative IT solutions and thereby enable “smarter banking”.

How important is fintech for your company and what impact will it have on the Swiss financial market, in your opinion?

The digitalisation of our society has a growing impact on the touchpoints between banks and their clients, how they communicate and how bank services are provided. Many fintech companies are providing cutting-edge solutions, which allow banks to either execute new business models or execute their business in a more efficient manner. Most fintech companies are providing specific front solutions. The implication – and benefit – for Finnova is that we do not have to develop all those solutions ourselves. Rather, we can integrate them with the Finnova core banking system where it makes sense from the perspective of our customers and the overall product architecture. Thereby we can help our customers to differentiate themselves by engaging with various fintech companies. Some solutions, like the personal finance management solution from the fintech company Contovista, we fully integrate into our products (in this specific case our e-banking solution), others we integrate through our Finnova Integration Layer upon customer request/mandate.

Overall, I see plenty of opportunity if established providers or banks manage to partner with the right fintech companies. Most likely, this will lead to faster changes in the industry – a fintech company providing an innovative solution today may be replaced after only a few years by another fintech company’s application. Change will happen faster. I also believe, however, that a stable core banking platform as the backbone and “integrator” for the various fintech companies will remain crucial for the banks.

Finnova was founded more than 40 years ago – in the pre-internet era – now we have entered the era of digitalisation. How do you manage to keep up? And what are the reasons – in your opinion – that others did not manage to survive through different technological eras?

This is indeed a major challenge for all core banking providers and for larger banks with their own homegrown systems. Over the years, core banking solutions tend to become increasingly complex, intertwined and sluggish to deal with. Rebuilding the entire system from scratch is not a viable option. We have addressed this issue by focusing the existing technology stack on the core banking functionality and by developing a completely new technology stack on which we develop our new front systems and digitalisation products, taking into account the very different requirements of the new digitalisation products. A newly designed Finnova Integration Layer links both technology stacks as well as third-party solutions, e.g. from fintech companies. This solution architecture allows us to keep the existing system stable and performant, while addressing digitalisation on the basis of new technologies and architectures.
This requires strategic thinking, persistence in execution and, of course, significant investments; ultimately also the buy-in of our valued customers who need to support our strategy and align themselves with it.

Let’s have a look at Switzerland as a business location. Do you think this country is doing enough to keep up with the changes happening on the global market? How could Switzerland shape a future-proof economy?

Switzerland is globally one of the richest and most innovative countries. This is a fact today, but not necessarily tomorrow. This country has hugely benefited from some clusters of high value-added industries. Those industry concentrations are a result of a multitude of factors, such as historical roots, culture, politics, regulation, taxation, education or labour market flexibility. I do not have the magic formula for dealing with the huge shifts in the global economy. I just know that it requires a permanent effort to maintain an environment in which a highly productive economy can be maintained and fostered. If you think about the many examples of companies or even industries that had a strong standing but did not anticipate disruptive changes in time and then disappeared, Switzerland, and in particular the banking industry, needs to be assertive. However, I believe there is so much substance that if we leverage it right, our future remains bright as well.

Your focus partners are banks. How do startups come into play? How important do you consider a healthy startup environment for the overall financial ecosystem?

As mentioned before, fintech startups can play a major role as incubators for innovative solutions and catalysts of change in the financial industry. I do not consider the broader business environment (i.e. regulation, taxation etc.) for startups in Switzerland as a major issue. Successful startup businesses require an environment where established players are open to collaborating with startups, adopting a trial and error approach. We still tend to be too hesitant and protectionist, compared with other financial centres. Fostering the collaboration between universities, startups, established players and policymakers will be key.

Hendrik Lang is Chief Customer Officer
and Member of the Executive Board at Finnova

(source: Interview with Hendrik Lang in http://swissfinancestartups.com/)

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