Trading Technology

01:45 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Banks Are Glorified Dry Cleaners

The defining quality of the DevOps movement can challenge the default division of labor.

Imagine that you walk into your dry cleaners and they've transformed the greeting area into more of an "experience" -- a cafe-like atmosphere, greeters with iPads, large flat-panel screens educating you about their new eco-friendly dry cleaning processes.

Your mind would reel, trying to reconcile thoughts like "who the hell is paying for this?" with "why does it smell like cappuccino in here?"

Wait. Did I say dry cleaners? I meant bank. I confuse the two because I've been in banking long enough to have lost the humility to recognize that we're glorified dry cleaners -- two equally banal scribbles on your weekly list of to-dos.

It is a symptom of scale when banks replace the modest lobbies of yesteryear with expensive Disney versions. The underlying problem is that management's default response to the complexities of scale is to divide labor by specialization, to organize talent by what they know versus what they need to know. And this process hardcodes organizational boundaries into functional roles, guaranteeing that teams either can't see or can't act on the end-to-end customer view.

This state of affairs is particularly pronounced for the too-big-to-fail crowd. Their senior executives correctly infuse top-level strategy with analyst-facing words such as cross-channel and omni-channel. But those words remain hollow because two levels down from Mr. Potter, the organization defaults to specialization: creating, validating, and rewarding roles that focus exclusively on a single channel.

That's why every big bank still has a banking center executive whose main job is to create "an experience" when customers walk in.

Enter banking centers with cafe-like atmosphere or, worse, a financial spa. Enter complete customer outrage when a previously free banking service gets tacked with a fee.

What's lost is completely obvious to non-bankers: the end-to-end view. The idea that customers are more than their narrow interactions with a single channel, that they channel surf from their teller interactions to their mobile phone to an ATM to a call center to online.

Read the full article on InformationWeek

The author, a senior IT executive at one of the nation's largest banks, shares his experiences under the pseudonym Coverlet Meshing. He has spent the last two decades in the financial services sector, picking a fight with anyone who doesn't understand that banks are actually ... View Full Bio
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Byurcan
50%
50%
Byurcan,
User Rank: Author
12/10/2013 | 12:54:13 AM
re: Banks Are Glorified Dry Cleaners
While it is true the "new branch experience" is meaningless if it's all glitz and for the sake of appearances, the employees with ipads and "financial spa" atmosphere can be worthwhile if it can actually provide customers with useful information in helping them better select a financial product.
More Commentary
OptionsCity To Launch Customizable Trading Experience
The Metro Now platform breaks tools down into downloadable build or buy widgets for faster deployment and a more customized trading style.
US T+2: All Thatís Left Is the Execution
T+2 settlement is right around the corner for the US. What will it take to get from where the industry is now to implementation?
Is There a Watson in Your Financial Future?
How artificial intelligence might affect financial services.
Survey Shows an Urgency to Automate the Back Office
Confluence reports numbers are trending up across the board when discussing the need to automate back-office processes.
7 Pillars of Market Surveillance 2.0
Compliance officers are facing flash crashes, insider trading, market manipulation, and more. Here are seven market surveillance and risk management steps that will help compliance officers sleep better at night.
Register for Wall Street & Technology Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Wall Street & Technology - Elite 8, October 2014
The in-depth profiles of this year's Elite 8 honorees focus on leadership, talent recruitment, big data, analytics, mobile, and more.
Video
Exclusive: Inside the GETCO Execution Services Trading Floor
Exclusive: Inside the GETCO Execution Services Trading Floor
Advanced Trading takes you on an exclusive tour of the New York trading floor of GETCO Execution Services, the solutions arm of GETCO.