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Financial Solutions
06 Apr 2016

Adapt or die: it’s survival of the fastest in today’s financial jungle

Expect ‘a lot of dead unicorns’

The financial services market today is one where you adapt or die, where evolution has never been more relevant.

Staying ahead of the pack is a matter of corporate life and death: it’s survival of the fastest, not just the fittest. The continuing emergence of e-commerce, ever-increasing competitive pressure, and the proliferation of fintech developments mean a company in our industry that doesn’t embrace change cannot remain competitive

But of course innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. We are all part of an ecosystem that is steadily becoming more complex. The seemingly dramatic disruption of recent years is getting harder to achieve. As Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff stated (and as I also wrote), you can expect a lot of dead unicorns this year, as investors demand more substantive development and real value.

I like the quotation from Thomas Edison, that genius relies on 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. At arvato Financial Solutions, we are constantly making small changes, building on existing knowledge and proven platforms. These constant, incremental changes eventually transform the entire system. It is much closer to the iterative way the IT industry has worked for many years, but we see it as essential for financial solutions as well. 

The industry has been talking about the massive shift to mobile for several years, haven’t we? It’s finally happening on a large scale now but I guess I wasn’t the only one from 2010 and onwards claiming every year that “next year will be the big breakthrough…”  And just look at the shift in focus from merchant value to customer value. To create customer value, you have to look at the customer experience, and then adapt your business model. “Customer-centricity” is based on your customer, not your operations. But this sort of shift is a gradual journey where the frontiers are pushed little by little, creating new standards and expectations along the way.  When breakthroughs come, they are quickly adopted by the market and turned into standards.

We on our side have an advantage in terms of innovation: as part of arvato and Bertelsmann, we have colleagues around the world developing new technologies or processes or approaches to clients’ challenges. And we can take on those lessons and see how they suit our markets.  

One perfect example is AfterPay. This payment-after-delivery system is the market leader in the Netherlands, and we saw its potential for the advanced, integrated markets of the Nordic region. We have been able to adapt the functionality to conditions here, and major clients immediately saw the value it could bring for them and their customers.  And AfterPay is proving a huge success, for us and our customers.

We always see “convenience in every transaction” as the basis of our business. Everything we do starts with the customer, and with providing real convenience.  It’s essential to providing a competitive edge. Next week, we will have a look at a breakthrough that promises to make life more convenient for you and your business. It’s exactly the sort of advantage you need to stay ahead of the pack.

– Jan Altersten

Chief Executive Officer, arvato Financial Solutions Nordics


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