If you need an example of digital disruption, you can’t do better than the retail banking industry. A byzantine collection of rules and regulations plus the overhang of many legacy systems have conspired to prevent banks from becoming more involved with their customers. And even innovations like the ATM from several decades ago, only serve to distance banks from their customers. This leaves plenty of opportunity for upstart technology vendors to disrupt the applecart. All of this combined with a generation of potential customers who were raised on digital products and services puts an important demographic up for grabs thus setting the stage for disruption.
Not long ago Salesforce recognized the dynamics in play and moved to develop vertical applications for selected industries including banking where large institutions need to address the requirements of large customer bases. The result is the Financial Services Cloud for Retail Banking, announced last week.
Some of what Salesforce delivers in its Financial Services Cloud will seem revolutionary to many bankers. Things like a rich assortment of applications for all phases for banking from loan origination to customer management. But a good chunk of the benefit comes directly from being a cloud solution with easy onboarding and updates scheduled three times per year.
Where the Salesforce Financial Services Cloud differs from many banking products is in how it brings together banking products resident in its AppExchange that together deliver concerted solutions. For example, nCino tells a powerful story of reducing loan origination time by orders of magnitude not by building a closed system but by integrating other platform products.
Vlocity, another partner with strong banking apps based on the cloud platform is another example. It provides intelligent agent and omni channel services for financial services and insurance. In these and other relationships you can see the Salesforce go to market approach solidifying. Partners bring expertise, which can be as big as loan origination or as specific as document signature capture. All of it goes into a solution that customers can craft for their specific industry needs.
As I’ve noted many times before, when companies get to the multi-billion dollar revenue level, they can’t expect to sell the same products in the same ways they did when their businesses were much smaller. To show growth a business needs help and that means acquiring other complementary businesses and selling in concert with partners that can add specificity to the core product. Salesforce has done both and I look forward to hearing more about vertical strategies at Dreamforce.