I spent most of week-before last in Mexico City, speaking at the CL@B conference. At one of the side events, a reception hosted by Getronics, one of our major partners, I had the chance to speak with James Gardner, who asked me if I intended to speak about anything "interesting or controversial." Considering that this was my first speaking engagement since taking my new role on the world-wide team, I said that I hoped for an interesting talk, but controversial certainly wasn't on the agenda.
"I see," he said. "I opened my talk by telling them they'd all be out of business in 10 years." ZOINKS!
Combine this with American Banker's 3 part series on the "end-game" for U.S. Banking, and the overall industry mood seems somewhat fatalistic, indeed. What are the trends driving these radical predictions for the future of the industry, and what is technology's role in aiding (or resisting) them?
Taken together, commoditization and open architecture are causing the industry to re-think the horizontal and vertical integration decisions of the past several years, resulting in a slew of both M&A and divestiture activity. Why not outsource a commodity line-of-business? Why broaden our investment product portfolios thru open architecture? What product or service do we provide better than anyone else? Questions like these are sure to be debated as banks try to find the optimal mix of organic growth and open architecture offerings to maximize profits moving forward.
So where does technology fit? In short, I think it all comes back to two things: SOA and composite applications.