Were you to have been asked that question some years ago, the answer most likely would have bee “I’m not sure”....
Pyalla Technologies …a long day’s journey into night!
It seems only fitting to lead off this latest article with a reference to the Tony award-winning Broadway play, Long Day’s Journey into Night. No matter how many trips across the Pacific to Sydney, Australia, I have made – the family tells me I have done more than 60 crossings over the span of five decades – there is no way to speed the time. Of course, running into headwinds along the way doesn’t help either but after fifteen hours or so, getting off the flight is about all you can think about. Nevertheless, here we are in Sydney and Margo and I have been actively engaged in the year’s major banking event – SIBOS Sydney 2018.
Picture taken by Australia’s Financial Review
I referenced this last month not really knowing all that much about it, but has that now all changed! Haven’t seen anything like it would be an understatement as Sydney’s International Convention Center (ICC) hosted 8,000 plus participants from every area to do with banking. Sprinkled liberally throughout this crowd were a sizable number of banking CEOs, with ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott being one of the star attractions as he opened the conference to a full house. As a member of the SIBOS Press corps I was relegated to the very last row so it gave me a clear view of just how many attendees were present for this event. As you can tell from the picture above, it was all suits, white shirts and ties and here I was in jeans and a loose shirt, untucked, as is the trend these days in Colorado. Maybe that was the real reason I was relegated to the very last row…
Perhaps as a harbinger of things to come, ANZ’s Elliott talked about partnerships and technologies likely to influence the future direction of the bank. “When we talk about partnering, we are increasingly talking, from a customer experience point of view, about bundling services and products at the front end that might not necessarily be manufactured by us,” he said. “But at same time, we are confronted with the challenges and massive opportunity” from technology, Elliott then noted. “The challenge for us is grappling with both. I am in the camp that says… we can achieve both.” However, these quotes attributed to Elliott and published in the Australian Financial Review missed some of what Elliott was talking about and it had a lot to do with changing the culture within the bank.
What I found more interesting were the observations coming from the head of a bank such as ANZ as he outlined what it really meant to be on a journey of transformation – something everyone in the NonStop community has been hearing about for quite some time. “Looking at the past (government royal commission into banking) and our failures, while at the same time facing challenges (as a bank), we are changing our culture to address our past (discretions) while addressing the digital transformation,” said Elliott. But here’s the thing – his focus was on partnerships and on open banking. Indeed, when it comes to the commercial side of banking he plans on vacating legacy platforms in favor of an open platform even as he plans on pursuing “partnering as a business model.”
But there are noticeable headwinds whenever the topic of open banking and the open bank comes up. It’s disruptive even as it is not the panacea today’s executives are being led to believe. As ANZ’s Elliott acknowledged, it can be unseated through complacency given that it has proved difficult for institutions to change strategy and to change direction. More surprising still is that senior executives don’t even know what open banking means other than perhaps the deconstruction of their data center – embracing Linux, Android, GIS WordPress, Firefox, PostgreSQL, Python, etc. all sounds good (and I lost count of how many times these leaders recounted these products and more), but taking on the role of a software house and introducing a release strategy conforming to external business and legislative requirements isn’t going to lessen the human element but rather add to it.
In the coming months we are going to hear a lot more about the transformation of NonStop to where NonStop from the OS all the way up the stack is being presented as part of the application layer – cute, but an interesting development none the less. The significance of this will come as large institutions including banks rationalize their IT and focus on specific hardware (e.g. Power of x86) and virtualization (VMware, HyperV, etc.) In other words, we are heading into new territory where everything that runs in a virtual machine or a container is viewed as nothing other than in integral part of the application.
The long day’s journey into night is behind me and it’s getting sunnier here in Sydney. SIBOS Sydney 2018 is over and the attendees are returning to where they came from – yes, I walked onto the booth of the Bank of Afghanistan even as I stood in front of the Wells Fargo stagecoach. How many members of the NonStop community can recall that the creation of DSM started out with the project name Stagecoach? But I digress. However, there is no escaping that the message from HPE about simplifying the transformation to hybrid IT that recognizes traditional IT will embrace open one baby step at a time, is very much in tune with where the industry and the users are headed. And for that, no matter how far into the journey we may be, we should be thankful that our primary vendor is with us and yes, just as ANZ observed, only too willing to partner as well!
Cofounder and CEO
Pyalla Technologies, LLC