If you need an example of digital disruption, you can’t do better than the retail banking industry. A byzantine collection of rules and regulations plus the overhang of many legacy systems have conspired to prevent banks from becoming more involved with their customers.
Even innovations like the ATM, which entered the scene several decades ago, only serve to distance banks from their customers. This leaves plenty of opportunity for upstart technology vendors to disrupt the applecart.
Combine this with a generation of potential customers who were raised on digital products and services, and the result is that an important demographic is now up for grabs, setting the stage for disruption.
Making It Easy
Not long ago, Salesforce recognized those dynamics in play and moved to develop vertical applications for selected industries — including banking, where large institutions need to address the requirements of large customer bases. It came up with the Financial Services Cloud for Retail Banking, announced last week.
Some of what Salesforce delivers in its Financial Services Cloud will seem revolutionary to many bankers: things like a rich assortment of applications for all phases of banking, from loan origination to customer management.
However, a good chunk of the benefit comes directly from being a cloud solution with easy onboarding and updates scheduled three times per year.
Where the Salesforce Financial Services Cloud differs from many banking products is in the way it brings together banking products resident in its AppExchange to deliver concerted solutions.
For example, nCino tells a powerful story of reducing loan origination time by orders of magnitude — not by building a closed system but by integrating other platform products.
Another example is Vlocity, also a partner with strong banking apps based on the cloud platform. It provides intelligent agent and omnichannel services for financial services and insurance.
In these and other relationships, you can see the Salesforce go-to-market approach solidifying. Partners bring expertise, which can be as big as loan origination or as specific as document signature capture. All of it goes into a solution that customers can craft for their specific industry needs.
As I’ve noted many times before, when companies get to the multibillion-dollar revenue level, they can’t expect to sell the same products in the same ways they did when their businesses were much smaller.
To show growth, a business needs help — and that means acquiring other complementary businesses and selling in concert with partners that can add specificity to the core product.
Salesforce has done both, and I look forward to hearing more about vertical strategies at Dreamforce.