Why API is the foundation for success in the future

Simen Munter and Alasdair Anderson.
18-01-31 15:17 | Digital banking | The Digital Hub

Alasdair Anderson, Head of Common Platforms at Nordea, interviews Simen Munter, our Personal Banking COO, on how data will change the world and the impact it will have on the way we think and work. In the first of two blogs, they discuss the opportunities that come with the emergence of data.

“We have been conditioned to think about systems and processes. Whilst that has worked well in the past, we know now that if we have the right data, we can power any process on any system. Data is the underlying power of everything we do,“ Simen (SM) opens the conversation with. Alasdair (AA) chimes in: “If you look at the world’s most valuable companies a 100 years ago it would have been standard oil and commodities. The most valuable companies today are now data companies.”

AA: Here in Europe the PSD2, regulatory demand, say the banks must open their APIs and Nordea has been way ahead of the game of Open Banking. What opportunities do you see in this space?

SM: Nordea has launched the first open access hub. We are doing this. It’s all about making the lives of our customers easier. What’s good for our customers is good for us as well and we need to focus on creating great customer outcomes – customer by customer.

AA: This customer centricity you speak about is personalisation services. How do you see the products, customer journeys and experiences in an API-based economy, in terms of working with other companies?

SM: This is a very interesting area. People want to take the hassle out of their daily lives. Take the example of buying a car. Financing, insuring, registering it. What if your bank wrapped it up nicely for you and presented you the options available and after you accept the offer, your bank would do the rest? It almost sounds like utopia, but it is clear that API’s are becoming fundamental to the world’s economic strategy going forward, and we as a relationship bank need to be part of that journey – building on APIs, internally and externally.

AA: Well, we certainly want to take the hassle out of being an individual in society. We’ve done work around Open Banking version 1.0. How do you think 2.0 will look like and how can we power that experience? 

SM: Digitalisation isn’t only about doing things using computers and building Straight Through Processing for each customer journey. That is to some extent production.  To me digitalisation is about bringing all the bank’s expertise into every interaction – learning something every time we engage.  This type of learning helps us free up time to do something with higher value add for our customers. Digitalisation saves you the hassle and will make decisions on your behalf, so you can focus on other things.

AA: Simen, you are a living example of globalisation. You’ve lived all over the world but came home to the Nordics. What are your aspirations of coming home?

SM: Nordics is now the ground zero of digitalisation. The world’s biggest changes are happening here right now, ranging from e-signatures, mobile first, peer to peer payments, cash demise and we are doing where others are thinking.  The way the technical adoption is happening in the Nordic region is on a different scale. So, I’m super excited to be in banking in the Nordics. In terms of aspirations, in Nordea we have that unique combination of marketplace access and operational strength to help change banking in the most exciting place in the world and I am delighted to be on the team.

You can read part 2 of this discussion here next week. 

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