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Don’t Break the Bank – If Only…

Listen to episode six of the ‘Don’t Break The Bank’ podcast and subscribe here:

Matthew O’Neill, Industry Managing Director, Advanced Technology Group, VMware Office of the CTO.

We’ve all had those moments where we’ve missed opportunities. What’s often frustrating is not that we didn’t want to take those chances, but that we simply didn’t have the space required to listen to the pitch let alone to execute on the idea.

It’s something I talk about with my colleague and co-host Brian Hayes. We both spent thirty years on the buy-side, but most of our colleagues have built their careers working for vendors. It’s fascinating to hear their ‘other-side’ perspective on the sort of conversations that were a regular feature of our time in banking.

For instance, there’s almost an innate unfairness for vendors. I generally only spoken to my providers when something went wrong, and while those conversations weren’t always pleasant, it was face time with a decision maker for the supplier. In hindsight, that was clearly used as an important opportunity to try to sell me more, or to do something different, beyond just telling me my issue is fixed in the next version of their product.

Conversely, it meant that those vendors with solutions that just worked, never really got the airtime to come in and add value (or upsell, depending on your point of view). But why? Surely, buy-side me, would want to spend more time with the suppliers that could do their jobs right first time?

Well, yes, but here’s the point about missing opportunities. The focus is so much on Run The Bank, keeping the lights on, that we only had time, or rather made time, for those conversations that were about escalating our displeasure at having to fix things that were not working. Yes, we got involved and even sponsored Change The Bank projects, but we delegated a lot of the vendor conversations to our teams, where again in hindsight, there would have been more opportunity to explore the solutions and big ideas.

This was very much at the heart of our discussion on the latest episode of Don’t Break the Bank, our podcast for curious minds in financial services. Brian and I were joined by our VMware colleague Enrico Boverino, Director of Southern Europe Global Accounts Solutions Consulting based out of Rome.  Enrico spends much of his day talking to banks in France, Italy and Spain, and he gave us some fascinating insights into the challenges his customers are facing in this new normal.

For Enrico, what banks are looking for right now isn’t vendors pushing the latest tech, but a demonstration of how it will add value to their organisation. As he points out early on in the episode, “You guys were and are bombarded by vendors with proposition after proposition. And the only one that can stand out are the one that come up not just with a technology proposition, but with a tailored and personalized journey that makes you happy and comfortable to take on that initiative and then sell it internally to the bank.”

That idea of giving stakeholders the support to sell the solution internally is absolutely critical. Enrico made another point that in the past IT may have taken the approach that once they built something, people will use it. “In today’s world, that cannot happen anymore. It needs to be built for purpose, and the purpose is the innovation of the bank, the changing of the processes of the bank, the speed and the security and all the different aspects.”

We hope you liked this episode, we did try to lighten the mood a little too, please do have a listen. As always, we welcome your thoughts and feedback, not just on the topics covered today or in previous episodes, but what you’d like to hear about in future.

Finally, let us know how you’re managing and any concerns you have. Stay safe.

Listen to episode six of the ‘Don’t Break The Bank’ podcast and subscribe here:


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