Last week I gave a speech about disruption at SIBOS in Singapore, through Skype - great experience - the main message being that China tech platforms are able to use their developer community in such a powerful way that they will storm through the banking sector wherever they choose to compete. Platforms like Alibaba and Tencent are powerful because business sets the agenda and IT makes it work - there is not business-IT gap. I have yet to meet a bank where that is true, with the exception of Bank of New York Mellon (BNYM), who scored highly in our recent Financial Services' Innovation Index.
SIBOS is the annual global banking jamboree and the folks who run Innotribe, the innovation track, are a light year ahead of any other innovation conference I know of so it was an honour to be speaking there again. The report is the second that we have published in October so if you want to find out about Killer Platforms then click here and download for free.
The second message, and the one I communicated in my speech, is that platforms are now very well established as a new enterprise operating system, or model, and that means no bank is going to compete successfully in the medium term until it adopts a platform approach.
The third message is that the global economy is changing - the growth lies with smaller businesses and many banks are not set up to serve them. If that is bad, the problems are magnified by the fact that platforms allow a broadly integrated form of commerce where companies see no vertical boundaries and chase whatever business seems right at the time. That also means broad adjacencies are the only response unless banks were able to adopt a niche role - say like ARM in chip design.
One can see a BNYM for example focusing on its custody business and becoming the custodian platform par excellence, dictating the terms of, for example, future cryptographic value transfer technology. The company is smart enough but is it turned on to the opportunity?