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Tom Parette
Global Director, Solution Architecture Banking, Financial Services & Insurance
Posts by Tom Parette
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COVID-19 and Changing Business/Customer Interaction
COVID-19 will have long term if not permanent impact on how society will interact with all aspects of our lives including how we work, shop, dine and manage our finances. Companies must react and put the right measures in place to respond to this event and potentially future events as well as accommodate changes in consumer behavior which have already taken place.  In some respects, society is fortunate this happened in 2020 and not in 2000 because technology is in place to perform many activities that we could not do 20 years ago.  Our ability to work from home using video conference technology, home delivery of food with DoorDash and Uber Eats, banking on-line including such functions as the ability to deposit checks with just the click of a phone, shopping on-line often with next-day delivery, having virtual doctor visits and the migration of many retailers to digital storefronts make this much less impactful as it otherwise could have  been.  Even with all the progress we have made, there are many businesses which have still not fully moved to a digital interaction with their customers and many of them are significantly impacted by the events taking place.  These high-touch areas of our economy must evolve their business models to provide equal to if not better levels of service through a digital interaction model compared to their current high-touch engagement models.  This will not only be a necessity against future impacts but will simply become part of doing business with a society which will forever change the way they do business. As I have spent the majority of my career in banking technology, one obvious area of improvement is how we pay for things.  As children we were all told cash is dirty.   Guess what, that not only has been imprinted in our minds, but come to find...
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Uncategorized | March 24, 2020
How pandemics may change the way we bank and run our banking technology
As of this writing on 3/20/2020, we are in the early stages on determining the impact the COVID-19 virus will have on both the economy and our lives.  While we still face many unknowns we are beginning to learn lessons which give us the opportunity to change the way we will bank in the future not only for events such as the current pandemic, but how to better support banking customers in general.  Hosting in the cloud:  A big part of the role of a Chief Technology Officer is business continuity planning to make sure that the underlying systems that support the banking business can operate under any conditions.  We frequently perform disaster recovery testing to ensure our critical applications continue to operate in the event of a regional disaster.  Although pandemic planning is part of our business continuity plans, the scope of COVID-19 may stress those plans to operate our technology infrastructure by limiting our operations and support organizations.  Cloud hosting can potentially be a tool that can be leveraged to extend our required resources to 3rd party providers in the event staffing operations and support teams become problematic.     Contactless payments:  With the introduction of “social distancing” the last thing we want to do is come in contact with payment devices including payment card terminals, ATM machines or handing cash to cashiers.  Fortunately, some merchants such as Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts allow you to have the QR code scanned using their mobile apps not requiring any physical contact.  This is more the exception than the norm.  This is an opportunity to accelerate the move to contactless payments.  Near Field Communication (NFC) payments is a well established technology and should be accelerated to more merchants and channels.  Contactless cards should also become the standard in the card industry. ...
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Uncategorized | February 12, 2020
The Importance of Open Banking
It is common to see the term “Open Banking” in the industry trade press but is this an area where financial institutions should either be looking at or starting to make investments in?  In this post, I will explain what Open Banking is, why becoming an open bank is important and how banks should be starting the process of becoming an open bank. Open Banking is defined “the ability to allow access to customer accounts through 3rd party applications with the consent of the customer”.  An example would be allowing a 3rd party mobile wallet application to access and transact with that data residing at the bank.  Why would a bank want to do this and potentially run the risk of becoming the backend plumbing for a Fintech dominated environment?  Is giving a 3rd party application access to “your” customer data a good business idea?  There are a number of reasons why banks need to be closely looking at this.  First, if you are or do business in the European Union it is now a directive.  PSD2 (the second Payment Services Directive) and more specifically the Open Banking effort in the UK requires the nine largest banks in the U.K. to release their data in a secure standardized form only if the account holder provides explicit approval.  This is intended to enhance competition in the financial services industry, a trend we will continue to see grow worldwide.    Second, this will likely become a required part of doing business in the financial services industry.  With changing demographics, banking customers are becoming more comfortable using 3rd party Fintech providers or even social media apps to perform financial services transactions.  Much of this is already taking place with applications such as Venmo, Facebook Messenger, etc.  Currently, in order to use these existing...
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Data Management | November 12, 2019
Are Banks Ready for the Next Big Thing
Ever since the introduction of banking, we have seen major technology changes that have had a positive impact on the way banks interact with customers as well as how they manage their operations. Some of these changes have completely evolved to full implementation while others are still slowly gaining acceptance. I would contend we are still in the early stages of the evolution to a cloud computing model and some banks continue to believe a large fixed cost infrastructure provides a more secure, competitive infrastructure solution, but we will not debate cloud computing today. I do want to discuss what I believe is the next big thing that will drive both enhanced customer interaction as well as impact back-office operations at financial institutions, the migration to 5G networks. In a nutshell, 5G will provide significantly faster wireless speeds with reduced latency compared to the current 4G LTE wireless networks. It will also allow banks to move their parts of their current wired infrastructure to 5G wireless. The most obvious impact will be the additional function that can be delivered to the mobile banking channel. A bank will soon be able to provide full video banking to consumers across any channel including mobile devices for not only banking functions but also customer support and enhanced marketing. 5G will also make an impact on other banking delivery channels. Examples include, bank branches which have been constrained by traditional wired networks where most banks still have in-branch servers to support and manage branch operations and provide a stand-in environment for potential wired network outages. I have had many discussions with banks about moving to a thin client model in the branch allowing the branch systems to consume the same catalog of enterprise business services used by other channels. The answer I consistently hear...
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