Blog and news posts in all categories

Leadership in Swiss Banks

How are leadership styles developing in Swiss banks – basically, Lewin’s traditional leadership styles such as authoritarian/patriarchal, cooperative, etc. are well known. Nowadays, a distinction can also be made between transactional and transformational leadership. This article explains how these leadership styles differ from each other and why the leadership styles in banks are changing towards agile organizational forms.

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Business Ecosystems – Overrated or a real opportunity for financial services providers?

A few years ago, the topic of “business ecosystems” seemed to be the panacea for financial services institutions – everything “HAD” to be or become an ecosystem. Now, the yield curve is turning and earnings from maturity transformation are bubbling up again. So, all over with the “ecosystem”? In addition to answering this question, this blog post highlights aspects to be considered by organizations to successfully leverage the Business Ecosystems phenomenon.

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Development of core banking systems in Switzerland  

In 2017/2018, the Core Banking Radar examined the eight most relevant core banking systems for Switzerland using a comprehensive methodology. In 2022/2023, the interviews with representatives of these established systems in Switzerland were repeated in order to find out how the systems have developed. This blog post highlights the four overarching activities that core banking systems have been engaged in over the past few years.

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Asymmetric cryptography and digital signatures – Part 2

The first part of this blog series introduced the concept of symmetric cryptography, which can en-sure the confidentiality of data to be exchanged. Symmetric cryptography is based on the funda-mental assumption that the key used, which is to be kept secret, must be transmitted between the communication partners via a secure channel, since otherwise third parties with knowledge of the key can access the ciphertext. Accordingly, with the help of symmetric cryptography, the problem of secret message transmission is reduced to secret key transmission only. To get around this prob-lem, this second part of the blog series presents an introduction to the concept of asymmetric cryp-tography.

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Trend Impact Radar 2023: New Trends for the Financial Industry – Part 2

The Competence Center Ecosystems regularly identifies and analyzes the most important trends impacting financial institutions and financial-related service providers. In doing so, we address the development of megatrends, macrotrends and microtrends as well as their impact on the financial industry. As a follow-up to our last blog, which focused on the megatrends and macrotrends we identified as newly relevant to the financial industry in our last internal update, today I would like to present a selection of related microtrends that relate to the topics of data, customer, employees and corporate responsibility.

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Tokenization – Potentials, Challenges and Use Cases in the Financial Industry Environment

In connection with blockchain technology, the financial industry often talks about the tokenization of assets and attributes enormous potential to it. In the context of the supposed potential of tokenized assets, it is worthwhile to start by taking a more detailed look at the definition of the term. In the first part of this series of articles, potentials and challenges of tokenization in the context of the financial industry are discussed. Selected use cases are presented in the second part and positioning opportunities for financial institutions are outlined in the third part.

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Distributed Ledger Technology for the Real Estate Market – A Meaningful Synthesis?

The global financial crisis is a prime example of the real estate industry’s relevance to and close interconnectedness with the financial industry. To prevent the real estate market from negatively impacting the financial industry, different challenges need to be solved. Technological innovations such as distributed ledger technology (DLT), especially blockchain technology, have opened up new opportunities for addressing these challenges in recent years. This post analyzes the impact of DLT on each step of the real estate acquisition process (particularly the mortgage process).

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Applying Reference Models – From Bank Model to Core Banking Radar

Reference models are, as the name suggests, models that can be used as a reference when creating a company-specific model. In order to show how the use of a reference model can look like, this article describes how the so-called functional model specific to the Core Banking Radar was derived from the bank model, which queries the coverage of functionalities in core banking systems.

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Exemplary Measures & Key Takeaways for Banks in the Context of Launching a Digital Assets Offering

The first part of this two-part blog post outlined challenges for a bank launching a digital asset offering. As a starting point, a financial institution was outlined which, in a first step, would like to enable wealthy private clients to trade selected digital assets (e.g. Bitcoin and Ethereum) in cooperation with an external partner. In the second part, selected measures are presented, success factors are described and key takeaways for the launch of such an offering are highlighted. The contents are based on experiences from projects and discussions with experts.

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Selected Challenges & Success Factors for Banks in the Context of Launching a Digital Assets Offering

Various banks have opened up more to the topic of digital assets in recent months and are actively driving forward concept and implementation projects for a digital asset offering or are already offering one. For a successful launch, various fields of action need to be addressed. The basis for the conception, operational implementation and launch of a digital asset offering is to ensure the relevant expertise in the appropriate depth and breadth both in the project team and in the specialist departments involved during the conception and implementation phase, the leap from a project-oriented way of working (Change the Bank, CtB) to operation (Run the Bank, RtB), and anchoring in the corporate culture.
This blog post will outline selected challenges in these three areas of action, present exemplary measures, describe success factors, and highlight key takeaways.

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A General View on the Developments Concerning FTX

Cryptocurrencies are once again on everyone’s lips after one of the largest trading platforms for cryptocurrencies, FTX.com, with a market valuation of $32 billion, filed for bankruptcy on November 11, 2022. The cause was a liquidity shortage at the Bahamas-based crypto exchange founded by Sam Bankman-Fried as a result of a bank run. In this blog post, we have a deeper look at the developments leading up to the crypto exchange’s insolvency.

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Part II: Need for Change – Transformational Needs and Best Practices for Enterprises Using Distributed Ledger Technologies

Distributed ledger technology (DLT) makes it possible to guarantee the integrity of transactions without a central authority. This innovation is therefore seen as having the potential to revolutionize existing financial market infrastructures in the long term [1]. However, the adoption and use of DLT-based platforms has multiple implications for businesses. The technology brings not only technical but also organizational challenges that require new competencies in various business functions. In this article, we explain which challenges affect which corporate functions and which best practices a company can follow when implementing change.

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How Does It Benefit Us to View Business Ecosystems as Complex Adaptive Systems?

Our longterm goal at CC Ecosystems is to assess ecosystem processes and their impacts in a valid way that can be quantified and measured. To do this, however, we first need a suitable analytical framework: We need to delimit our object of study in such a way that its complexity is reduced to a manageable level, but at the same time no relevant features of an ecosystem are excluded from the study. Natural sciences use the theory of complex adaptive systems (CAS) to study systems that consist of interconnected elements and have adaptive capabilities in the form of adaptation and learning. In order to find out whether an ecosystem can really be considered as a CAS, we provide a comparison of the definitions and the derived properties of an ecosystem and the CAS.

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Need for Change – Challenges for Companies in Using Distributed Ledger Technologies

Digital products and services are not only changing the everyday life of individuals or society. The new technologies on which they are based can also lead to changes in operational IT in a wide range of business areas, especially in service companies. The distributed ledger technology, a new form of a distributed database, which ensures the integrity of all types of transactions without a central authority, is one such technology. Besides the question, in which areas it can be used, companies therefore also have to ask what internal impact can be expected when using this technology.

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Insights from the Open Banking Summit 2022

“Financial Industry Meets BigTech”: On the 25th of August 2022, the third Open Banking Summit opened its doors in the Google event rooms in Zurich. The OpenBankingProject.ch organized this event for the third time and once again provided a stimulating get-together on the topic of open banking. The event featured national and international success stories, and the subsequent panel discussion reflected on and discussed selected topics and questions posed by the audience. Once again this year, around 120 decision-makers from the Swiss financial sector gathered to learn about current developments and to network over the subsequent aperitif.

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Core Banking Radar – “Neo Core Banking Systems and their importance for the IT Architecture of the future”

Various trends, such as an increased focus on customer interaction and embedded banking, will shape the bank of the future. To provide services along the entire “customer journey”, banks are increasingly dependent on networking with other industries. The expansion of partnerships in the ecosystem goes hand in hand with the promotion of integration capabilities via APIs and steady investment in the banking architecture. The latest Core Banking Radar article examines the system architecture of the bank of the future and, in this context, compares the four neo-core banking systems examined in earlier publications of this series.

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DeFi 2.0

Since DeFi Summer 2020, DeFi applications have become a significant trend in the blockchain industry. However, vulnerabilities of DeFi applications have also been identified over the past 24 months. The third and final part of our series “Decentralized Finance – a Hype, a Threat or an Opportunity for Regulated Financial Institutions?” takes a closer look at recent developments in the DeFi sector (DeFi 2.0) and how they address well-known challenges in the context of DeFi, such as the potential for errors when setting up smart contracts, the lack of incentive structures for investors, or the requirements for investors’ technical and professional knowledge, without compromising the strengths of DeFi applications.

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Beyond Banking: How Continuous Integration & Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) Accelerates Customer Value Creation in the Financial Services Industry

Software is eating the world. The production of high-quality software solutions is increasingly becoming a decisive competitive factor for companies that operate in the environment of digital technologies. Particularly in a highly regulated market, such as the financial market, very special challenges apply to the companies involved in software development. One financial services provider that has been successfully using this approach for three years now is Commerzbank, and as part of a project, we had the opportunity to explore the topic of CI/CD with them in general and their experiences and learnings in particular. The result is the “CI/CD White Paper”.

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Agile Mindset – What Exactly Is an Agile Mindset and Why Is It so Important?

The success of agile teams or even entire agile companies is not exclusively due to the application of agile techniques, practices and methods, but above all to a certain attitude, way of thinking and behavior of both the individual and the entire team – the so-called “agile mindset”. And the agile mindset is an essential success factor in an agile transformation. In this post, I’d like to explain in more detail why this is so.

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Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) and Agile Management: How OKRs Can Support Agile Leadership

The abbreviation OKR, which stands for objectives and key results, is a method that pursues the goal of promoting transparency, clarity and communication of goals and justifying the prioritization of activities. In February, Fabian Lehner already wrote about the basics and the potential of OKRs in the blog post “OKR – The Key to a Successful Company”. After all, many fast-growing companies such as Google, Spotify, LinkedIn or Amazon use this method. Building on this blog post, today we would like to explore the question of how OKRs support agile management and how agile leadership with OKRs actually works.

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