In 2006, the bank technology business was good for bankers and it was just OK for vendors.Bankers were getting the work done every day; they were reasonably safe from hackers, phishers, and T-shirt collar criminals; they were generally comfortable that their catch-up game was running neck and neck with market-available technologies; and they were free from big spending projects that in the past, seemed to be integral to anything with the word technology in it. I would imagine their Wednesday afternoon golf was never disrupted in 2006 because of an IT disaster. There were two reasons for this state of justified euphoria.First, the grunt work of daily processing for core applications has settled down to mundane operations where the main responsibilities are to capture and post (often in real-time) every transaction correctly, end up with a good reconciliation, tie all the peripheral applications to an integrated general ledger and customer database, be ready for early-rising customers, and provide hundreds of online reports to satisfy gluttonous users who need to know things. From an ivory tower I could wish for more, such as using technology to understand the customer better, and analytical capabilities to determine why transactions occur the way they do. But I won't hold out for much to change until a new generation of bank CEOs comes on board. If I had one small message to offer it would be: "Analyze don't mechanize." As backup for my complaint, I offer Exhibit 75 in this report - Most Popular Applications Sold in 2006. The hottest applications in 2006 were mechanical ones. There was nothing mentioned about CRM, or anything customer-related for that matter. Only one vendor mentioned Business Intelligence, and Fidelity National Information Services deserves credit for that. This is what I like about new players. They bring fresh ideas to a situation even though a lot of bankers are still in the proverbial box. If discretionary applications get their fare share of the spotlight it's going to be because tech vendors are smart enough to know how to sell their benefits.
Read more of the Automation in Banking 2007 Executive Summary.
--Art Gillis www.artgillis.com