Alasdair Paterson sneaks between the covers of Chris Skinner’s upcoming, intimate look at five banks’ experience of Doing Digital.
Right off the bat, I have to say I am a huge fan of Chris Skinner’s daily blog. It’s always a welcome sight at the top of my inbox. I am also terrible at reading and find myself consuming five to 10 credits per month on Audible (1.35 speed of course!).
There’s an expression that crops up in his latest book, Doing Digital: Lessons From Leaders, that I remember hearing in several of the blog posts from around the time that it must have been written. To my mind, it’s the key message that we should be taking away from this book (if it is to only have one). That is: the transformation is never finished.
In Doing Digital, Chris takes us on a journey that allows us to see, from the inside out, five of the biggest banks’ experiences of digital implementation, all of them very different. You have your obvious digital warrior in BBVA in Europe, along with ING, JPMorgan Chase in the US and DBS and CMB in Asia. He persuades them to share their secrets of how they’ve adapted and survived, in detailed interviews with well-informed commentary. One of the most illuminating of those interviews is in the section devoted to DBS Bank in Singapore, which has long self-identified as being in the same league as Google and Amazon… in fact, it likes to see itself as the D in GANDALF (Google, Amazon, Netflix, DBS, Apple, LinkedIn, Facebook).
It’s obvious from the evidence that becoming ‘digital’ is an incremental process, not a wham-bam moment of truth. But Skinner argues that, in some cases, it’s being treated like the Victorian desire for a robotic horse (same animal, different moving parts), as opposed to the more revolutionary evolution necessary to become a digital bank.
This isn’t a self-help book for CTOs simply looking to imitate the technology adopted by some of the most successful banks in this space. Rather, it exposes us to what it is like at ground level in a digital bank, looking at every element, from front-end to back-end, and as an employee, as a customer and as a vendor.
It’s about how to recognise, on a case-by-case, stakeholder-by-stakeholder basis, the best ethos to adopt and how to make the emotional connections if you are to Do Digital and do it successfully.
Doing Digital: Lessons From Leaders by Chris Skinner is published by Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) Pte Ltd on 15 April. The hardcover edition is available to pre-order on Amazon, priced £15.99
Great for: Making us stop and think
Best read: To encourage you on your digital journey
Good read rating: ★★★★★