February 21st, 2012
The ipad was designed for consumers, not businesses. It’s not clear to me that Apple has put a lot of effort into business applications for the device…yet it will probably change business forever. A recent Morgan Stanley study http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/12/02/15/apples_ipad_driving_accelerated_enterprise_transition_away_from_printing.htm l asserts that printing is in decline, paper sales are down, and this is a wonderful thing – environmentally friendly and cool at the same time! Paper and printing companies (including mine) must either embrace this phenomenon or be prepared for a long painful death. For me, helping this along seems the smarter route. Let’s help companies get rid of paper, not use more of it. Tablets will be excellent tools in banking, for everything for new account opening to pitchbooks. You read a post from me last year about an insurer in Tokyo who used tablets to manage claims after the tsunami and earthquake. There’s no putting this one back in the bottle, folks!
February 12th, 2012
So I’m visiting one of the big banks in NYC this past week, and while we’re kibbitzing a bit, preparing to start our meeting, I casually mention to the ‘C’ level exec I am with that my daughter happens to be down the street, interviewing for a summer internship. She looked at me like I was a crazy, horribly irresponsible father. ”You would allow her to work in banking?”
So what’s going on that has them all so depressed? It’s tougher than ever to make a decent amount of money (as opposed to an indecent amount) these days. Barclays was the latest to cap the cash portion of their bonuses, in this case at $102,400. The bonus pool was cut by 32% overall (profits were down 16%). Morgan Stanley was first – their cash bonus is capped at $125k. A “buck and a quarter” isn’t much for some of these folks, you know. Deutsche Bank made a similar announcement. You might quickly point out that cash isn’t the only recompense for a hard day’s work at one of these banks, and that they often get a great deal of value from the restricted stock that they get. That’s still true, but also under pressure, with more and more qualifications to the stock, including vesting periods, split payout, and the like.
But that’s not what has them all so incredibly depressed…it’s because nobody thinks this is a temporary situation. This won’t just be a bad year for bonuses. This is more like the proverbial ‘dead cat bounce” and will likely be the way of the industry for the forseeable future.
I still think my daughter deserves a chance, though, don’t you?
December 16th, 2011
I had the chance to interview Dave Potterton last week (https://www.brainshark.com/brainshark/brainshark.net/portal/title.aspx?pid=zCrz9x4ioz0z0). Dave is the head of Financial Services research for IDC and has a wealth of experience in the industry. The intersection of financial services and technology is of course the busiest intersection in the world, and it was fun to get Dave to expound on his views for 2012. He offers ten points that are quite pertinent, in my view. Here is the list, but have a listen to the discussion when you have the time.
November 17th, 2011
When I first joined Xerox, I stumbled upon this Businessweek article from 1975 entitled, “Office of the Future”. It predicts the paperless office. My favorite quote comes from the head of the (then) newly formed think-tank in Palo Alto known as PARC, George E. Pake, who says “… that in 1995 his office will be completely different; there will be a TV-display terminal with keyboard sitting on his desk. “I’ll be able to call up documents from my files on the screen, or by pressing a button,” he says. “I can get my mail or any messages. I don’t know how much hard copy [printed paper] I’ll want in this world.”
Full of quotes like this, the article may seem comical in retrospect – however, it’s worth a read. Here’s an ironic one given the current global economic climate “…the current recession has brought a real awareness by companies that they have to identify and control office costs and improve productivity.” A Quantum Science Corp. survey showed that while the recession had forced a cut in overall office spending, it was also responsible for increasing text-editing typewriter installations. Nearly one-fifth of all offices surveyed, and 39% of the larger ones, either planned or had recently added automatic typewriters.”
Fast forward 35+ years and we’ve got that “TV-display terminal” (better know as a computer screen) sitting on our desks – but we still have a whole lot of paper sitting there, too. What happened? Maybe the future of the document is not what we first thought.
Interestingly enough, Xerox still talks about documents and the future, but in a whole different way. Instead of focusing on the paper – we focus on the document and explain how people use it as a strategic business tool. John Kelly, Executive Vice President, Major Account Development, here at Xerox wrote a book recently, called “Between the Lines“, on this exact topic. You can read the ebook on your Kindle or iPad, or print it as a pdf if you’re still a “paper person”. We are digital vs. physical neutral on this one. But do have a look, especially at the first chapter. As we predicted in the 70s — and we’ve demonstrated in the last decade – we’re moving with our clients in the digital direction. Yet we still recognize the role the document plays in our lives and the value it delivers to business regardless of its physical form.
John’s book is full of real world examples about how companies use documents to reduce costs, improve investment returns, and a whole host of other business advantages you might not expect. My favorite example focuses on futuristic technology like erasable (reusable) paper – very James Bond – and very real.
Here’s your chance to get a glimpse at other cool technology that we think will become commonplace over the next decade and beyond.
I hope you will download it. It reads quickly and may get you to look at the lowly document in a whole new light.
November 14th, 2011
Any fan of the History Channel knows that, when it comes to forecasts and predictions, 2012 expects to be an extraordinary year. Whether the Mayan calendar really predicts the “end of the world” on 12/21/12, or whether some of Nostradamus “dooms day” prognostications come true, we think the financial services industry will experience some “transformative events” in 2012 – but more related to technology trends than prophesy.
Many in the financial services industry wonder if the uncertainty experienced during the last 3+ years will continue. I sure hope not. Analyst firm IDC has sized technology spend patterns for years and they believe that business growth and transformation lie ahead.
When I think of thought leadership in the analyst community, specifically around financial services, IDC’s Vice President of Research, David Potterton comes to mind first. To highlight IDC’s annual forecasts for 2012, we’ve asked David to share predictions he believes will have the greatest impact on the financial services industry during an interactive Web chat on December 8 at 11 am ET.
In his comments, David will drill down into those issues where technology stands to impact financial services most profoundly, including:
- The impact of increasing regulation on the industry
- How big data will provide new opportunity to grow revenue
- Why client demand for a seamless “experience” and customized, real-time products and communications will redefine customer interactions
- How everyone from IT to marketing must learn to analyze and innovate continually to remain relevant
David will also look at the year ahead to identify which trends and technologies will drive success in 2012 and beyond. He believes financial services firms must focus on a few key strategies to remain relevant with customers, increase profitability, and stay ahead of the competition. Join us live and get ahead of the curve for your 2012 planning and implementation projects.
September 19th, 2011
Our friends (tongue not in cheek here) at McKinsey have published a short report in their McK Quarterly that discusses the state of the global banking industry. No suspense here – it’s ugly out there. They point out that most of the deceptively impressive profits being generated are from improvements in reserves for loan losses and then of course the truly impressive returns coming from emerging markets, for those able to participate. Meanwhile in the US and Europe you will find ROE results of just 7 and 7.9% respectively…a far cry from the heady days of 15-20%. What to do, what to do, you ask? McKinsey has it all figured out – the banks simply need to double profits, cut costs or improve revenues and they will be back to great returns. Of course shrinking balance sheets will help as well, take your pick.
I like the one about cutting costs – in order to get back to 12% ROE banks would need to go on a diet equivalent to 6% cuts per year between now and 2015. Given that only 1 in 50 banks have achieve even 4% cost cutting from ’00 to ’10, according to McKinsey, this is a tall order. I am tempted to pipe in here that the impetus to cut costs was never as it is today…you can find $1B cost cutting targets at CS, UBS(oh boy), Goldman, Citi, HSBC (about triple that), BofA (can you spell jobs?) and most of the other big guys.
Tough time to be a banker.
July 13th, 2011
I have grown up in the technology industry, specifically operating on the intersection between technology and financial services. For as long as I can remember i’ve been advising sales teams “don’t just talk about how your solution saves money; make sure you highlight the broad benefits and find ways to really help your customer grow their business…blah, blah, blah.”
So this year I’m asking myself if I’m crazy, because I can’t find a financial institution that isn’t desperately trying to implement a cost-cutting program across the company, with a goal that ranges from $1B to $3.5B (HSBC) etc.
Maybe it’s time for those of us in the technology space to “cut to the chase” for our customers and just tell them how we can help them cut cost!
(at least for this year…then we can get back to all the other cool benefits our solutions must surely have…)