How Netflix influenced the banking industry

By Christine Streibl, RBI |

Matko Pejcic

Matko Pejcic is Head of Front End and Channels (IT) at Raiffeisenbank Austria d.d. Zagreb. In 2018, he gave a lecture at the Faculty of Organization and Informatics in Varazdin how Netflix influenced banking. Sometimes inspiration comes from unexpected sources.

We are living in a changing world. Technology is a focus point in almost every industry including the banking industry. Most big companies want to use technology to their advantage, so does Raiffeisenbank. We want to be a technical leader in the banking industry and we want to provide the best user experience using digital banking.

What does Netflix have to do with banks?

Netflix had a monolith system in place, similar to ours. A system like this is really dependent. If one thing breaks, the host system stops. In former times, we dealt with such problems by getting more memory. In 2012, Netflix decided to do something different – they went to the cloud. Back then, everybody thought, they were crazy. Today, they are synonym for microservice architecture. And we at Raiffeisenbank try to follow in their footsteps.

How does the usage of microservices help with the concept of open banking?

One benefit of a microservices’ architecture is that you can change it really fast. This is really important, as you need to provide a good customer experience. It’s a must to focus on providing, including and improving services – constantly. A microservices’ architecture allows you to build new services really fast and it makes them work reliably.

Additionally, open banking will support the change to less secrecy. Banks and secrecy or silo mentality – this will for sure change by open banking. Banks even want to get in race with the best tech companies in the world and be leaders in innovation themselves. This also includes working with the latest technologies, going fully digital, in an agile way, with smaller teams and producing value in a much faster way. Working agile is a never-ending process. You can’t say “Now, we’re done”. If you do that, someone else will take over leadership the next day.

What does banking look like today? What has changed?

Aside from tearing down the silos, I think people could be surprised, that banks want to and have to compete in technical leadership. For a long time banks acted as technical followers. As the big players like Google, Amazon, Facebook have shown interest in entering the banking business, there is no other way but to compete with them. This creates of course challenges.

Do you think that at some point, Netflix or Amazon will be following your lead in terms of technology?

We’ll see (Matko laughs). I cannot guarantee it, but it’s a race, and sometimes you’re ahead and sometimes you’re behind.

What could help banks in the long term in this race?

A change in culture is needed. Having a fresh and open mindset will also attract new talents, who then bring creative ideas to the industry. And if people are willing to improve every day and ultimately, do this naturally, then you can be a leader in this long-term race.

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