23. June 2017

Become a Digital Ambassador

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We are all part of this world undergoing a disruptive change – politically, culturally and of course technologically. This very global impact will change mindsets and, I’m sure, our lifestyles. Here’s why:

  1. Real-time and the “always-on” mentality change needs and requirements.
  2. Revolutions turn into evolutions faster than they did in the 20th century.
  3. New regulatory requirements redistribute the playing cards and enforce global competition. The Silicon Valley mindset is spreading.
  4. Big data allows to predict customer needs and guide them towards an action.

As a digital ambassador and lead consultant, my observations of the surrounding topics and the ongoing digitalization led me to thinking about you. Especially within the financial industry, I still hear and read the same questions from leading enterprises. They want to know how they can improve, how they can speed up development as well as deployment and finally enforce the market entrance of innovative products. All with the intention of staying part of the game. To start with, let’s focus on the current momentum.

  1. Digital strategies exist only for a short amount of time, but they can cause high costs without generating new revenues. This is due to the fact that development is slow and the ongoing revolution is a lot faster than a so-called new product can launch.
  2. An extensive adoption of digitalization requires more time than expected, as many companies are not yet ready (culturally, politically and technologically).
  3. Companies are under pressure to improve and achieve a certain required digital standard. The first wave of digitalization has overwhelmed them.
  4. Often, there is too much focus on product and process improvement and in some cases, sustainability. This causes the customers to get left behind.  
  5. We don’t invest in education and the new jobs digitalization is asking for nearly enough. A dangerous development, especially within the area of industry 4.0, where more jobs are required and more skills need to be formed in order to keep and transform existing jobs as well as support the benefits of the industry itself.

Ever since the introduction of the first computing system, the digitalization of processes has been omnipresent. Digitalization isn’t hot news, it’s the globalization that we feel as a main challenge.

So how can you prepare and improve yourself for the future?

  1. Trust in your mission, but be ready for the unexpected.
  2. Train your employees, make room for culture growth, inspire trust and introduce an enterprise-wide community to encourage information sharing.
  3. Introduce new and sustainable methodologies, which allow you to continuously build, measure and improve your solutions.
  4. Provide training to your customers and include them whenever possible.
  5. Keep your suppliers informed on your culture and principles.
  6. Think in values, not in projects and continuously adapt them to the market.

Adaption is key, but it has to be done without panicking and step by step. Every issue and mission can be solved with knowledge, sharing and continuous improvement. This starts with each of us, by turning ourselves into “Digital Ambassadors” and by sharing our power and knowledge of our business. knowledge within our daily business, closed to our neighbour.

Within my professional area, the world of digital payment, an important requirement is to understand RegTech and FinTech matters in order to provide sustainable solutions and innovative strategies. And today, a special topic grabbed my attention: the introduction of the PSD2 (Revised Payment Service Directive) within the European Union.

Back in 1994, Bill Gates said: “Banking is necessary, banks are not.”

More and more, this prediction has started to become a reality. PSD2 is proof that some things will go on as mentioned by Gates. Tomorrow, this disruption will transform banks into financial self-servicing providers. I’m pretty sure that this wasn’t the plan when the first bank in the world was introduced, as trust is based on a relationship and as of today, trust regarding my bank account, is restricted to my bank only.

By introducing PSD2, banks have to provide third party access to customer accounts (so called “access to account”, XS2A). This new requirement opens up several completely new opportunities and finally introduces new actors into the financial ecosystem. We will have to trust these new players to get and use the new digital financial services.  

However, PSD2 is just the tip of the iceberg. Behind the scenes we are talking about the ownership of our customers’ digital identity. By considering this circumstance, we are at the beginning of a global cultural disruption. A disruption, which requires us to transform and move closer to our customer in order to achieve their trust and acceptance.

Still, what value does that trust hold as of today from a customer’s point of view and furthermore, is the customer able to control his own trust and choose between intermediate service providers? What does trust for millennials even mean?

Questions upon questions, which I am sure we will be able to answer in time through learning, knowledge sharing and continuous improvement. This involves introducing useful prototypes in that fulfill compliance requirements and promote a positive user experience quickly. 


Andrea Filippelli
Andrea Filippelli

Andrea Filippelli ist Head Digital Payment bei ti&m. 

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