Accenture Banking Blog

It’s been a busy conference season, and one of my highlights was attending Sibos in Amsterdam, where more than 10,000 leaders from banks and financial institutions around the world gathered to discuss the changing financial landscape—and change was certainly top of mind for those of us in payments.  

Conferences, for me, are about so much more than attending sessions. They are about making connections. My career in payments has allowed me to develop a remarkable network from across the industry. In fact, I consider one of my superpowers to be connecting the decision makers in my network with the contacts and partners they need, when they need them. It was clear to me at Sibos that it has become essential for payments players to look beyond their own capabilities in order to thrive in this fast-changing industry. Partnering for success has become non-negotiable. 

Everything from the underlying payments infrastructure to the customer experience is changing at a rapid pace, and it’s no longer practical for any player to fly solo. The cost efficiencies of working in collaborative networks alone make them worthwhile. Add in the challenge of finding enough tech-forward talent to help players keep pace with new developments and customer expectations, and you start to see why collaboration is not just advantageous, but necessary. 

I recorded a video at Sibos where I talked about some of the biggest opportunities for payments players today, and the need for innovation to leverage those opportunities. You can watch it here: 

A new world of collaboration 

Collaborations in payments began with straightforward arrangements for one partner to use another’s services or make their products available on the partner’s platform. Today, collaborations are becoming much more complex and bi-directional.  

The lines are blurring as services, platforms and functionality become more integrated. Payments ecosystems are expanding, and relationships are becoming more sophisticated and less transactional than they were just a few years ago.  

Customers are now used to having a variety of convenient and seamless payment options. In the North American market, I don’t believe that any one payment channel will be able to dominate. Digital wallets, embedded payments, tap to pay and all the emerging technologies will likely coexist in an increasingly diverse market.  

By working collaboratively, more providers can offer the options their customers want and keep them from seeking out competitors’ products or spreading out their business across multiple providers who offer different services in different contexts. 

How can banks be great partners? 

To thrive in this new, collaborative environment, your business will need to be a sought-after partner. It’s a mindset shift from the highly competitive attitudes of the past. Rather than approaching the payments market as a zero-sum battle for the customer, the best collaborators are building win-win partnerships across the ecosystem.

Fintech Kyriba and Bank of America partnered to add a real-time connector to BoA’s CashPro digital banking platform. The connector enables real-time payments and payments status for US customers, plus bank balance updates and intraday bank statements.

The keys to adapting to this new environment are responsiveness and flexibility. For many incumbents, these will require a new approach to decision making. Building responsiveness into business processes, corporate planning, risk and controls can greatly decrease time to market when you’re working with ecosystem partners.  

Evolving customer needs and expectations will drive change. The ability to work smoothly with partners to offer the right payment options when and where customers need them is going to decide which players sustain their relevance in the long run. 

Building strong relationships 

In the end, the players that can build strong, effective relationships will play leading roles in the emerging payments ecosystems. That brings me back to Sibos and the other large conferences that bring together leaders from the diverse corners of the payments industry. Events like this present a valuable opportunity to forge connections between decision makers who can start the ball rolling on new collaborations. Because partnerships are not just about aligning business goals, they’re about aligning people and their visions for the future. 

To find out more about how you can make the right connections, contact me here. To learn more about what people were discussing at Sibos, see our full coverage featuring my Accenture colleagues’ main takeaways from the conference. 

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