Better Than You Think

By Bill Streeter 

Alexei Miller, Managing Director of DataArt, speaks with Banking Exchange Magazine about IT in fintech companies and banks, noting a higher complexity of the banking environment reflected by their IT systems. Miller offers some advice for banks to become more dynamic in their approach to innovation. 

“Miller says bank IT is not given enough credit, whereas ‘the whole start-up scene is romanticized beyond what it deserves.’ Bankers and others in traditional enterprises tend to ‘race’ between the ‘old and clunky’ and the ‘new world’. This is counterproductive, he says, because it’s never one or the other. 

Bank tech people are ‘really good at preparing for complex scenarios,’ says Miller. ‘They are conditioned to the fact that there will always be changes in management, new regulation, new competitors, etc.,’ so they design systems accordingly. Fintechs, on the other hand, he says, ‘construct the most probable scenario and ignore the complexity of the outside world.’

‘A huge lesson for banks is to throw out technology regularly and continuously rebuild,’ says Miller. ‘Part of the reason bank technology has this reputation for being unwieldy is that bankers hold onto it like it’s a precious object.’ As a result, bank reengineering projects become big and risky because the bank waited so long to change, Miller says.

Miller’s second recommendation for banks is to continually experiment with new technologies. In this, he regards the proliferation of “labs” within banks as a healthy trend. ‘A lab is not a unit,’ he says. ‘A lab is a culture, a way of thinking, which should infuse the traditional thinking.’”

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