The art of Symbiosis in Banking - Reducing IT complexity through strategic evolution

Written by Narendra Mistry CPTO, Universal Banking
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As we stand at the crossroads of technological innovation and the imperatives of the banking industry, our whitepaper Symbiosis in Banking invites reflection on a nuanced approach to IT transformation. In my role as a leader deeply engaged in shaping the technological landscape at Finastra, I believe that the counterintuitive, yet powerful notion expressed by the whitepaper is, in fact, a potent strategy for reducing IT complexity.

The whitepaper paints a vivid picture of the challenges entrenched in the IT landscapes of established banks. Over the decades, as technology evolved and banking requirements morphed, the response was often an additive one — introducing new systems and amending existing ones. The consequence, as many banks are seeing today, is a labyrinth of technology generations that has rendered the IT infrastructure costly, difficult to maintain, almost impossible to upgrade, and inflexible. This complex web of systems, while once adaptive, now inhibits the strategic agility banks desperately need in an era of accelerated change.

The proposed solution, Symbiosis, challenges conventional wisdom. Instead of opting for risky "rip and replace" or "heart transplant" core banking transformation projects, the concept suggests deploying a next-generation core banking system alongside the existing one. As counterintuitive as it may seem, Symbiosis does, in fact, offer a pathway to not only adapt to the pace of change but also to actively reduce IT complexity.

Symbiosis, far from adding to the complexity, is a strategic move to streamline and simplify. By introducing a next-generation system alongside the existing infrastructure, banks can bypass the need for bank-wide, disruptive transformations. The symbiotic relationship allows for the rapid rollout of new capabilities without disturbing the intricate web of legacy systems, ensuring a harmonious coexistence.

The counterintuitive brilliance of Symbiosis lies in its ability to offer a controlled evolution rather than a radical revolution. It acknowledges that the existing systems, while posing challenges, also house valuable data and processes critical to the bank's functioning. Instead of discarding these assets, Symbiosis leverages them, seamlessly integrating the new with the old. This not only reduces the risk associated with massive overhauls but also optimizes the use of resources, making the entire IT landscape more efficient.

The Symbiosis approach aligns with the principles of composable banking, which emphasizes the rapid assembly of independent, best-for-purpose systems to design and deliver financial services. This model enables banks to treat change as a constant, fostering flexibility, scalability, and low total cost of ownership. By leveraging a composable architecture, banks can avoid the pitfalls of vendor lock-ins, high dependency on a single suite vendor, and the challenges of monolithic core banking systems. Instead, they can embrace a more modular, flexible, and cost-effective approach to updating business services and IT systems seamlessly.

Finastra, as a market leading provider of innovative solutions for decades, understands that reducing IT complexity is best achieved through thoughtful, strategic evolution rather than rash decisions. Symbiosis allows banks to retain the benefits of their established systems while strategically embracing the future. It is a dance between tradition and innovation, a delicate balance that not only respects the past but charts a course for sustainable progress.

In conclusion, Symbiosis offers tremendous transformative potential in banking. It challenges the traditional narrative that adding new systems exacerbates complexity, offering a compelling alternative that is faster, easier, and less risky. As we navigate the evolving landscape of banking technology, let us embrace the counterintuitive wisdom of Symbiosis — a path to not only adapt to change but to elegantly simplify the intricate tapestry of our IT infrastructure.

Discover more about the benefits of a Symbiosis strategy in our whitepaper ‘Symbiosis: Innovation without compromise’ here.

#SymbiosisInBanking #ITTransformation #FinastraInnovation

Written by
Narendra Mistry

Narendra Mistry

CPTO, Universal Banking

Narendra leads the global product and technology organization for Universal Banking as the Chief Product and Technology Officer (CPTO).

Narendra has been in the financial software industry for more than 25 years and his career with Finastra spans more than 13 years in various leadership roles...

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