Digital, paperless and real-time – delving into the new normal at Backbase Connect 2017

It was a rainy morning in Amsterdam, but nevertheless a great start to Backbase Connect 2017. The event opened with an address from CEO Jouk Pleiter, who discussed Backbase’s history and their drive to reinvent the banking and insurance industry, moving it from a classical model to a digital one.

Some interesting numbers arose, including the fact that $25 billion in sales was made by one company on Singles Day alone, comfortably ahead of combined revenues for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Surprisingly, this is nothing new – rather, it’s part and parcel of the “new normal”, where companies and consumers operate in a digital world filled with seamless experiences. The potential is huge: customers can buy everything online via a range of channels. Companies can use the power of digital, biometrics and AI to quickly scale up or down, and to fine-tune everything to suit customer needs.

In line with the new normal, a new operating system has emerged – that of the ‘customer OS’, a series of smart platforms collaborating to serve customers in a paperless, real-time fashion. The customer OS has raised the bar and is transforming the industry everywhere. Open banking, modular architecture and collaboration with other companies are components of complete, high-end customer experiences. The new normal is about bringing all the pieces together to get the job done for the end user. It represents a whole new way of working and it appears we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg at the moment with this one.

Transforming the industry

A key element of Backbase Connect 2017 was the launch of Backbase 6, the next-generation digital banking platform. Jelmer de Jong, Product VP at Backbase, demonstrated enhanced cutting-edge features such as re-targeting. He also noted how Backbase have actually released eight products during the year in response to eight key issues related to transforming the industry.

Nitin Chugh, Country Head of Digital Banking at HDFC, highlighted their strong focus on availability, and illustrated how this has delivered for their massive customer base in India.

Norbert Siegers, Head of Digital Channels at ABN AMRO, outlined some key aspects of their digital strategy, which included (among other things) the use of chatbots and AI. Having opened up to the developer community via a developer portal and taken open APIs head on, ABN AMRO are reaping the benefits of digital.

One key challenge noted during the day was the need to find a way to connect the more static organisational components with the way agile teams work – a challenge not too far removed from the need to connect divergent silos. The work has begun, however, and listening to the sessions at Backbase Connect, it sounds like things will only move faster. The reinvention of the banking and insurance industry has begun, and tomorrow will reveal more insights into how it’s progressing.