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This is why it is so important to develop your business as a cyborg.
Understanding the ecosystem is the critical factor in succeeding in providing products and services in the financial sector.
The market for banking, insurance, pensions and a number of other sectors moves so quickly and dynamically that the value of the products to customers gradually becomes so high quality that it can rarely be provided by a single company.
It's about doing what Danske Bank once said they did: "Do what you do best." Or as Tom Peters in his 1982 book "Search of Excellence" said "Stick to your knitting." The point is that establishing and managing partnerships has become a strategic competence - something you need to become good at and that can win markets and customers.
It is an ultra-fast way to get new products and services and to offer those products to new customer groups through new channels.
"I'll be back" Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous quote from the 1984 movie "Terminator" fits well as a description of the financial giants who, ten years ago, many people expected to be outperformed by new, agile startups free of technological debt and with brand new value offers to customers based on purpose, reciprocity and self-realisation.
In fact, that did not happen, the financial giants like AIG, Bank of China, JPMorgan, Rabobank, ING and many more have stood up well. There is widespread recognition that new players in the financial market will not revolutionise the sector independently, but instead bring change through strategic partnerships with the established companies in banking, insurance and pensions.
The financial supermarket is therefore dead. Or at least severely disabled, for the company that wants everything for itself will invest too much in too little - and will be left with expensive highly developed skills when the market moves on again in a new direction.
In an ecosystem, the big financial companies have to be able to use partnerships as a form of "extended" cybernetic competence to enable them to reach customers through new distribution channels and to offer new products and services from specialist providers.
Take, for example, Lunar Way, which has a collaboration with the Danish bank, Nykredit - but also wants to develop a financial app store to connect to other players. The entire value chain needs to be used – but it has to be based on a thorough analysis of the behaviour and values of the company’s desired customer segments.
Companies must continue to do what they do best - but if they can develop their partner muscle, it will allow them a wider reach into current segments and secure a larger “share of the customer wallet” but also to target new markets and win market share.
Stefan Knapp is a transformation expert at PA Consulting