Over the past several decades, information technologies (IT) have been fundamentally transforming companies, industries and the economy in general. In its early years, - ’60s, ’70s, ’80s - companies deployed IT primarily to automate their existing processes, - leaving the underlying structure of the business in place. It wasn’t until the 1990s, - with the pioneering work of Michael Hammer and others on business process reengineering, - that companies realized that just automating existing processes wasn’t enough. Rather, to achieve the promise of IT, it was necessary to fundamentally redesign their operations, examine closely the flow of work across the organization, and eliminate legacy processes that no longer added value to the business.
Organizational transformation was then taken beyond the boundaries of the company with the explosive growth of the Internet. The Internet made it significantly easier to obtain goods and services outside the firm, enabling companies to rely on business partners for many of the functions once done in-house. To compete effectively in an increasingly interconnected global economy, companies now had to optimize not only the flow of work within their own organizations but across their supply chain ecosystems. Over the past 20 years, such ecosystem-wide transformations have been disrupting the business models of industry after industry, - from retail and manufacturing to media and entertainment.
The banking industry has long been one of the major users of IT, - among the first to automate its back-end and front-office processes and to later embrace the Internet and smartphones. However, banking has been relatively less disrupted by digital transformations than other industries. In particular, change has come rather slowly to the world’s banking infrastructure.