Mission Accomplished

In an interview with MEA Finance, HansPeter Wolf, CEO & Founder, Appway, offers his perspectives on the regions’ banking technology landscape and describes earning a sense of accomplishment from providing holistic transformations that help businesses implement solutions.

How would you best define the role of technology providers to the banking and finance industry?

As technology providers working in the financial services industry, we support organizations to implement solutions that reduce operational risk and intelligently orchestrate systems, while creating the unprecedented agility required to deliver the exceptional experiences that our customers demand today. We enable our customers to save time by taking care of their process complexity so they can focus on taking care of their clients, nurturing the trust essential for a fruitful relationship. The change that’s required for this dynamic to flourish is one based on digital transformation, which serves as the most significant catalyst the financial services industry has seen and drives us to innovate continuously.

What is currently driving innovation in regional banking technology?

In the Middle East, we have seen pushes towards end-to-end digitisation in onboarding for both individuals and SMEs, the growing use of APIs and Cloud computing, and orchestrating systems with third-party RegTech providers.

As leaders in the digital onboarding space, we provide our customers with a range of onboarding capabilities – whether individuals, legal entities, or large corporates. Our technology is based on the concept of composable business and allows our customers to configure applications to suit their specific needs, thereby improving time to market and sharpening their competitive edge. Moreover, our wide integration ability enables our customers to make use of our diverse ecosystem of security, risk, and compliance utilities for KYC/authentication, along with other emerging RegTech and FinTech providers for an optimized customer experience.

What you believe are the most impactful innovations in banking and finance in the past five years?

From a technology point of view, definitely API and Cloud. API banking allows organizations to upgrade legacy banking systems by connecting legacy back-end systems and the front-end through APIs to provide customer experiences through their own channels or third-party partners, minimizing friction to work more seamlessly in an increasingly connected world. Cloud, too, supports organizations to thrive in a more connected world. Both the public and private Cloud address issues like data security, accessibility, governance, and compliance along with the ability to mobilize large resources in a matter of minutes independent of location. Cloud also allows organizations to offer more innovative banking offerings to their clients, e.g. providing embedded services related to current offerings through strategic partnering over Cloud services.

What innovations will we see enabled by banking technology in the next five years?

The demand for client centricity will continue be a catalyst for innovation in banking technology as organizations seek to meet clients’ expectations. We will also see digitisation continue to take on a key role in operational resilience and regulatory compliance, something that accelerated in the wake of the pandemic where elements of digital transformation (e.g. using digital/electronic signature to sign onboarding documents) were required to get the job done.

We expect that the ‘new normal’ operating model will be catered to client and context, i.e. companies in finance will change the way they interact with their clients based on the context of the exchange, offering a seamless omnichannel experience through a smart balance between human and machine.

The concept of ‘composable banking’ will also take the spotlight so organizations can deliver technology-resilient innovation in a ‘plug and play’ approach, along with data-driven automation of services across channels.

In terms of infrastructure, the public Cloud will become the dominant model. SaaS is rapidly becoming the way that core activity is processed as COOs and CIOs get more comfortable with the arrangements.

In ways, we will see every banking and finance industry organization transform into a connected services business orchestrated via software.

Being a business that is key to change and growth in banking and finance, what brings you the most satisfaction?

We encourage the firms we work with to see digital transformation as a means to an end to drive change – these ends being the continuous enhancement of both operational efficiency and customer experience – and adopt it as part of the company culture. Being part of this holistic kind of transformation gives us a great sense of accomplishment.

We also love connecting and collaborating with the right partners and suppliers, thereby creating a vibrant ecosystem that our customers can leverage to provide their clients with what they demand on their terms, whether that’s providing more touchpoints or channels or linking to apps.