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Digital bank in 6 days! Build or renovate? - summary of the Asseco Banking Forum 2020

This will be a discussion about the future, about how banking will change, said Adam Góral, President of Asseco Poland, opening the 6th edition of the Asseco Banking Forum. The subject of this year's conference was a digital bank. How should it be understood? How to create it? These questions were answered by leaders of the banking sector and Asseco’s experts.


The Asseco Banking Forum was held for the first time in a remote form. The online meeting was attended by over 400 representatives of the banking, capital, insurance and e-commerce sectors.


It is thanks to technology that we can meet in such a formula today. In difficult times we - technology specialists - have a great responsibility to ensure continuity and development of business, said Adam Góral. Poles have fantastic achievements in the field of technology and information technology. We are ready to enter foreign markets with our solutions for banking, he added.


The introduction to the first debate of the meeting - "Digital bank in 6 days! Build or renovate?" - was prepared by Grzegorz Paskudzki, the head of the Asseco Business Consulting team, which supports banks in business transformation.


A digital bank is a bank open to the outside world, to integration, to sharing products of other providers and meeting all the expectations of its customers, said the Asseco’s expert. The path of digitization is different depending on who we look at. Traditional banks most often chose the evolutionary path, unlike NeoBanks, FinTechs or BigTechs and eCommerce companies, he added.


The representative of Asseco also pointed out that banks were no longer the monopolists in the area of financial services, as the development of technology and increasingly easier access to knowledge and information made it possible to spread them.


Banks will stay with us without a doubt. Of course, services will change and will be offered not only by banks, said Mirosław Forystek, Member of the Management Board, Vodeno. Technologically, it is possible to build any banking product, but some products need to be licensed and this will not change for many years. Technology allows to build new banking services and products much faster, he added.


Piotr Gawron, President of the Management Board, Dragon Services, agreed with him. He said that banks as institutions would remain with us, but clients would need services because they were identified by clients - banks would therefore act as platforms providing services.


However, Jaromir Frankowicz, Member of the Management Board, IDEA Bank, pointed out that for many clients the use of a bank was still very important.


There are customers who need an account and a card, the whole banking envelope. I have been looking at fintechs for a long time. They are "monoproducts". They take what is easy to take over, but difficult things, most often those requiring legal regulations, stay in banks, he said.


Banks will stay with us. Mobile payments were invented by them, not by fintechs. Banking is not only for individual clients, but also for large companies and institutions. For them we offer very often sophisticated products and platforms, agreed Marek Lenz, CIO, Pekao SA.


In order for banks to maintain their position on the market, their digital transformation is necessary, which, as noted by Łukasz Dziekan, Member of the Management Board, Allegro Pay, is a complex undertaking for them. Financial institutions should treat IT as a profit, not a cost, and the process of change should be carried out in such a way that it is as little felt by clients as possible.


I believe that the transformation of a large IT environment in a bank is a difficult task. It is worth considering alternative solutions - starting a new brand or a new way of customer service. There are already such possibilities thanks to the current technology for banking. It brings less risk, lower investments, shorter implementation time. I encourage everybody to do it. Renovation can be tiring and long lasting and does not always bring expected results. Sometimes it is better to just buy, build from scratch, concluded Mirosław Forystek, Member of the Management Board, Vodeno.


Answering the question whether to build or renovate, Adam Marciniak, Vice President of the Management Board, PKO BP, had the same opinion.


If an organization has strong roots, strong legacy and high value, and in addition it operates on the market and has managed to build competences that are digitally ready to manage change, then there is no special discussion, we build. This is another element of evolution. We move from one state to another. And in the banking sector, at the largest banks, this is what happens, concluded the member of the Management Board of PKO BP.


But how much time is needed to build a new bank? What is important at the beginning of this process? These questions were answered during Tomasz Blicharz's speech, Asseco BooX Product Marketer.


So far, the construction of a bank has often taken several months. From now on, it may take only a few days to launch a bank, said the Asseco’s expert, who also pointed out a very important issue - to test a given financial initiative before its launch on the market.


Banks precisely plan the construction of their own organization and then design it. The process of equipping themselves with systems and platforms lasts even longer. Checking and testing takes place only at the end. It's time to change that approach and run tests already from the level of requirements analysis, he said. Testing an idea for a bank at the beginning of its construction makes more sense than doing it at the end of the project, he added.


Asseco has developed a solution that enables such tests. Asseco BooX  (Bank out of the Box) is the first cloud platform in Poland that can be used as a seed for building a new bank as well as for rebuilding or modernizing an existing financial institution.


The conference participants agreed that technology was one of the key elements both in the process of building a financial institution and its functioning. Dynamic changes on the market and growing expectations of clients mean that the banking sector should ask itself the following question: "What should be changed in technology today to be able to sell tomorrow?". The experts answered this question during the second debate.


There will be increasingly more processes that will be handled digitally. Here we have to look through the eyes of clients and their needs. Not without significance are the regulatory elements and how they allow to move the border towards complete digitization, said Łukasz Kozioł, Director of Product Management Department, Bank Ochrony Środowiska.


Marek Chlebicki of Raiffeisen Bank International AG agreed with the above statement and emphasized that the adoption of digital processes accelerated considerably, but financial institutions did not have to digitize everything and give up their physical experience. They can combine these experiences.


Digitization boundaries are determined by customers and their needs. There are areas that can be digitized, others require human participation, said Marcin Dzienniak, Director of Sales Application Development and Support Department, PKO BP.


Complaint and IT processes exist and will continue to exist, regardless of whether we go to the cloud. For example, a mortgage can be automated, but does a customer expect this? What they need is contact with an advisor, added Grzegorz Pędzisz, CIO, IDEA Bank.



This does not change the fact that in order to be effective, an advisor needs IT solutions that will make their work easier and faster. Paweł Kapel, President of the Management Board of the Cooperative Bank in Lubaczów, which uses the Common IT Platform (WPI), a comprehensive IT solution offered by Asseco in the SaaS model, knows how important the level of customer service is.



Why did we migrate to Asseco Poland’s Common IT Platform? The answer is simple: for us the most important thing is a client, said Paweł Kapel. Since September 21 we have been already working with WPI’s help. We can open a current or deposit account in six minutes. We now have advanced tools to assess the creditworthiness of customers, which we are particularly pleased with, he added.


The first step in customer service, however, is to get a customer. How to draw a customer’s interest? How to create an offer that is attractive and tailored to their needs? In this case, artificial intelligence and marketing automation can come in handy.


The automation of marketing is an indispensable part of our UX approach and a logical supplement to it. We want our customers to be informed at the very beginning about all the products that can be useful in their particular case, said Daniel Mączyński, Vice President of the Management Board, PragmaGO.


We streamline sales processes and help implement innovative solutions. When we talk about marketing automation, we know that thanks to Asseco's solutions, the rates of new customer acquisition and purchase conversion are much higher. We are aware of how important this direction is, as by the end of 2023 financial institutions intend to allocate 48% of their marketing expenses to the implementation of self-learning solutions, added Marta Mróz-Sipiora, Product Manager, Asseco Poland.


The Asseco Banking Forum 2020 ended with a speech by Piotr Czarnecki, Business Leader, an expert in banking and digital business and an academic lecturer, who concluded that in order for Polish banks to remain at the forefront of the services they have so far specialized in, they should be intelligent, personalized, multi-channel as well as offer both banking and non-banking services.