The Sibos Diaries: Chapter 2

By Phil Cantor,

Chief Marketing Officer,

iGTB | Polaris Financial Technology Limited

Sibos 2014

The iGTB booth at Sibos 2014 in Boston


Seen from left to right:

1. A massive strong “iGTB” logo

2.  The 9 screen video wall – this plays a 10 minute video on a constant loop. You can see the video at This is a popular feature with people liking the storytelling, the clean approach (which fits the booth perfectly), the animated “blue dot” and the real life nature of the content.

3 and 4.  Two large, wall mounted screens. These are no ordinary screens but touch screen all-in-one PCs, showing payments, central banking,
treasury and details of all of our products. These are major crowd pullers. One of the most popular and impressive items here was our “concept
car” – a putative design for a corporate portal based on the concept: what if the bank’s system actually understood what you are trying to achieve?

5. Above these, the message “Part of the Polaris group”. Important as it provides a chance for us to explain our heritage and our current focus and strength.

6. An interactive short throw projector with white board. A demo station where you can just write on what you can see. Again, an easy way to engage people.

8. The “Intellect” brand. This really helps as people begin to understand the iGTB, iRTM and iGCB brands as sub-brands of “Intellect”

9. Our gadget play area – the 46″ TV, a pedestal with iPads, tablets, iPhones and other devices.

10. A 25′ long graphic of Digital 360, showing how customer deals come into a bank, how the end result is inbound and outbound cash flow, and the transformation effected by a complex network of systems, but that can be improved by surrounding in a digital shell: digital outside for customer experience and digital inside for operational excellence.

Yesterday was a good day. Several people – our people and guests – commented on how empty Sibos seemed. Didn’t see it myself. We were always busy at the booth which got noticed around the venue. Further, during the day’s wrap up it became clear we had had some real quality meetings and even closed a deal. We were all rushed off our feet, which is good, especially Phil B – but this year was the first one Vijay was able to actually breathe, now he had Mark, Lee, JP also covering the strong European contingent.

Lots of social media coverage, and we even got a couple of banks “following” us on Twitter, which was pretty cool. . When I put out a photo via Anand at 4pm showing how busy the booth was “pretty good for a Sibos Monday” it got more people coming to the booth!

The day was rounded off for me by an evening meeting with a bank – a client – who is giving us a video testimonial today! He was so complimentary about us that I wrote down the exact words he said, so I’ll leave you with this:

“Yesterday at Harvard (ie the Advisory event) was more fruitful for us than the whole of today on our booth at Sibos.”


The Sibos Diaries: Chapter 1

By Phil Cantor,

Chief Marketing Officer,

iGTB | Polaris Financial Technology Limited


Another year.
Another Sibos.
Sibos Eve.
Where are we this year?
Oh that’s right, Boston.
Land of the free, cradle of liberty, Athens of America, hub of the universe (apparently), home of umpteen universities and Nobel laureates and cash register of the teamsters.

Arrived on Wednesday and already the stand (no I have to call it the booth now) looked grand (great). As we arrived, took our bags out the boot
(trunk), staggered along the pavement (sidewalk), entered the exhibition hall, down the lift (elevator) and saw the layout, got a tick (check mark) from me. At least here we won’t have language issues.

Big, bold, white-and-black-and-blue (black and blue, that doesn’t sound right, I’ll start again). Big and bold, blue highlights with black and
gray decals (well not yet, but in my mind having seen the plans) on a stunning white ground, the unadorned booth, floating in a sea of fork lift
trucks, cardboard clad materials sent from abroad, wooden clad materials sent from abroad, cardboard discarded wrappings from materials sent etc, wood ditto, carpet being laid, tools around and EVERYWHERE wires on the floor to be tripped over, pulled out, suddenly pulled taut…the booth supported during construction by a single, temporary goliath steel girder, rose like a majestic cruise liner in dry dock waiting to be launched, eager to feel the crack of champagne across its bows, rose tall and strong above the chaos, and if you listened hard you could hear, faintly, the very booth itself shouting from its very heart and soul “I am here”, “look at me”, “paint me!” and “decorate me!’ and even, if your imagination can run to this pitch, “buy things from me!”

Well it inspired me to get a touch lyrical, anyway.

Meanwhile, work to be done. What about this? Ah, well, that. That? No, that won’t do. Here comes Renu. Now don’t get me wrong, Renu is a
wonderful person. Always unfailingly good humoured, unfailingly polite, unfailingly personable. But there is something about the mumble-foot-high power-heel-clad Indian/Italian/New York master of the marketing universe that means, even though still a fair way off but walking towards you, you don’t want to be in the shoes of the booth vendor when there’s something that hasn’t been done right.

So by Thursday it got done right.

Friday and Saturday was multitasking day. (a) Run/attend two-full-day workshop on growth and closure (9.00-7.00, 8.30-3.00) and in parallel deal with further booth issues and answer a million questions about Sibos (Q1 XYZ? A: “It’s in the Show Guide”. Q2. ABC? A: “It’s in the show guide.” Q3. DEF? A: “Yes, are you DEF? – IT’S IN THE SHOW GUIDE!!”). Had a huddle session at the end of the workshop, basically we read out the show guide.

Ah, now there. We’ve said it.
Digital 360.

So what’s new? This year, a huge 8m wide graphic dominating the booth showing our Digital 360 theme. It shows a very simple representation of a bank: essentially a transformation and mapping process of Customer Deals coming into the bank at the front end as a result of, at the back end, cash flows going in and out. This transformation depends on a complex network of systems and linkages, providing STP where possible and using humans where necessary, but that transformation now wrapped in: Digital Outside, the CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE and Digital Inside, showing OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE, the whole making for Digital 360.

Over $50b is being spent by banks on digital transformation. I think we’ve hit a rich seam.

This was the theme of the GTB Advisory event. Held at the prestigious, old-worlde, grove of Academe the Harvard Faculty Club, we had around 50 for dinner including (all praise to Atanu) a strong contribution from the Middle East and a great speech from Harvard alumnus Professor Michael Mainelli, the theme was Digital 360. Michael focussed this onto three great questions, phrased as choices:

CHOICE 1: CUSTOMERS: more or less loyal in future?
CHOICE 2 Long-term transaction banking PRODUCTS: stellar or doomed?
CHOICE 3 REGULATORS: thief of budget or best friend?

In the morning there was the most enticing brunch, salmon, rare meat, soups, fruit, hoummus, dolmades, even Babaganoush in the adjacent room. We had an introduction from Al, who explained why he had left pretty much successfully leading a key bank in the US (well, it’s called KeyBank) to join us to lead the Americas business, then Michael facilitating a discussion with the group on the three choices, but the bulk of the day was the group splitting into four round tables, each led by a senior banker or a leading influencer (eg the Director of the European Banking Association) coming to conclusions about (1) Digital Outside, (2) Digital Inside, (3)Transition – how do we get there (answer: Progressive Modernization) and (4) the criticality of Data and Analysis. They concluded: they are all facets of the same issue. We finished with showing a “concept car” we have been working on in the labs under Henry’s expert guidance, based on the concept: “What if your bank’s portal actually understood what you were trying to do?” – which stunned the audience.

It all came down to getting the excitement we feel about iGTB – and iGCB, iRTM (sorry Laila, not an insurance event at all) out there.

After the brunch, quick debrief, back to the booth at 3pm, big huddle. Read out the show guide again.

Anyway, 6.15am I need to get to the car at 6.30 so will have to go. Thanks will come later – you know who you are. Wow, the Digital 360 video. And haven’t even started to talk about our gadget show on the booth. Wait for tomorrow. Al said it best: it’s a show. It’s easy to get distracted. But we’re here for a reason. Remember what we’re here for.

Hey ho, hey ho, it’s off to sell we go…

Is mobile banking keeping up with the digital banking revolution?

If one compared 4000 years banking history to the average human life-span, digital banking would have just started making unintelligible noises and mobile banking would be barely a month old. Yet the digitisation of financial services has led to a shift as extreme as the introduction of digital money or the development of central banks. Today most people have no need to physically visit their banks and can conduct transactions electronically. This has created a range of opportunities and challenges that will transform the banking industry in the coming years.

According to the The Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), Gen Y and Gen X are increasingly adopting new devices and online channels for financial purposes. 40% of Gen Y customers prefer using Personal Finance Management (PFM) tools to manage their expenses and savings, and are more inclined to interacting with a financial advisor on video chat, compared to boomers.
With customers buying financial services online, most banks have revamped their digital presence to simplify access to their products. The use of integrative technologies and game-like interfaces enables a more seamless end-to-end experience for customers with their bank. Another major source of investment has been in the area of big-data analytics which assists in suggesting relevant products to customers and fraud detection.

The ubiquity of mobile systems implies that within the next few years, most financial transactions will be via such devices. This will lead to a huge expansion of the customer-base of banks since mobile internet requires much less user infrastructure. The challenge for the banks is obvious: creating simple, unified and secure end-to-end platforms, which can handle huge data and traffic with little or no downtime.

Mobile banking offers more transactional features as opposed to the full menu of services. However, the list of services available through mobile banking will increase in the future, ultimately encompassing all of the banks’ offerings. This requires a paradigm shift in security architecture (WAP based interactions do not have firewall protection) and creation of platform independent applications. Further, the banks have to present themselves in a new light to an audience much of whose social and professional lives are conducted virtually with the physical location being irrelevant. Making the mobile banking platform a scaled-down version of the bank’s webpage is not the solution.

This scenario has opened up an avenue for development of full mobile banking by new players. More such innovative applications are the order of the day, if mobile banking has to realise the full promise of the digital banking revolution.

As mobile banking dominates the market, banks need to keep up with digital banking developments in this competitive market. They should look at adopting new banking technologies and integrating advanced transaction banking platforms. Get to know about a high-speed banking platform which provides an advanced highway to run customer payments services, receivables management, cash management, liquidity management, trade finance and supply chain finance in an integrated set, through a single platform.

Find out more in this year’s annual conference of Sibos, where iGTB will be showcasing its core comprehensive products, from Corporate Banking Exchange, Customer Onboarding, Payments Services Hub to Liquidity Management.

Adopt New Banking Technology To Tune Into Your Mobile Banking Customers

Digital Banking Sibos

Want to Process Transactions worth $Billions and achieve a STP Rate of Over 97%? Here’s how…

Consider this. Your company just landed a big international deal and a multi-currency transaction of a substantial amount needs to be processed.  After hours of filling out various forms, the banker states that the payment will take up to three weeks to process! Frustrating isn’t it, especially in this digital age where everything happens at lightning pace at the click of a button or rather ones “fingertips”?

However, this is a story of the past. With increasing expectations of high transaction process speeds and efficiency, new banking technology is being introduced in the payment and securities industry. In this digitized and automated world, corporate customers expect their bankers to be up to date with technology and provide speed, efficiency and security, in order to be able to transact seamlessly beyond boundaries.

The Evolving Landscape of the Payment Industry – Straight-Through Processing (STP)

With a dynamic change of pace in payments and foreign exchange, emerging multicurrency offshore systems, and with focus on liquidity in clearing systems and managing risk, corporates are compelled to be competitive in a complex environment. They demand tight control on their working capital and expect seamless, secure, transparent, automatic and electronic transaction processing.

As financial institutions find ways to provide that exclusive customer experience and at the same time reduce costs, automation of processes seems to be the perfect solution. Straight-through processing is the end-to-end automation of the payment process, and involves minimal manual intervention. STP solutions are widely being adopted by financial institutions in order to:

  • Lower costs
  • Improve processing speeds
  • Reduce manual errors and redundancy
  • Streamline operations and increase efficiency
  • Ensure security and transparency in transactions

Why STP Solutions are the Way Forward

In order to capitalize on the rising business potential of e-collections and payables, corporate customers need to find a solution that is robust, scalable and has a future-proof platform that supports both transaction and file based processing with a high degree of STP.

Corporates need to find an advanced STP platform which has best-in-class security features, cost efficiency and payment performance capabilities. Transaction processing on a channel agnostic platform should be combined with flexibility to meet changing customer needs, regulatory reforms and operational arrangements.

An ideal platform is a high-speed banking platform that provides an advanced highway to run customer payments services, receivables management, cash management, liquidity management, trade finance and supply chain finance in an integrated set, through a single platform.

Get know more in this year’s annual conference of Sibos, where iGTB will be showcasing its core comprehensive products, from Corporate Banking Exchange, Customer Onboarding, Payments Services Hub to Liquidity Management.


Process transactions worth $billions

Achieve higher STP rates

Create an exclusive customer experience

With a robust on-boarding STP platform 


Global Transaction Banking – Stability in an Unstable Environment

Customers today are more sophisticated, tech-savvy and complex than ever before. Companies need to create highly innovative and superior IT strategies and business models. To implement these strategies, they require the banking industry to provide financial mobility, flexibility, accessibility, control and visibility.

Moreover as economic pressures continue to affect the banking industry, banks need to gear up for continuous changes in the expanding roles of banks, corporate treasurers and regulatory landscape. In the banking fraternity, global transaction banking is considered as one of the more stable and profit-making business sections. It is important that banks stay tuned to the latest trends to stay a step ahead in the industry. Some of the top trends in the global transaction banking industry include:

  1. The rising risk of digital currency adoption: There is increasing adoption of digital currency like Bitcoin owing to the reducing confidence in banking systems. As peer-to-peer technologies are introduced and open source P2P Money is being used, widespread adoption in corporate banking is highly unlikely. For banks that have a footprint in many markets, it may be necessary in the future to support emerging digital technologies such as digital currencies, to stay a step ahead in global banking.
  2. The convergence of corporate-centric, multi-products and services: Driven by the expanding role of corporate treasurers, there is an increasing expectation from banks to provide integrated solutions through a single point of contact. As the responsibilities of corporate treasurers have extended to a wider range of activities, they expect their banks to support them by providing cutting edge, on-the-go service and products.
  3. The increasing demand for international banking services in emerging markets: As developing countries emerge as key players, banks need to extend their services to meet the cash management needs of their clients. As corporate clients look at increasing their global footprint and FIs seek solutions to support expansion, banks need to upgrade their capabilities. They need to adopt emerging banking technology to provide clients with payments and liquidity solutions, internationally. With the expansion of operations and transactions, what is expected from banks is the need for centralized functionality with easy accessibility, flexibility, control and visibility.
  4. Compliance with the ever changing regulatory landscape:The banking industry today is not only pressurized by a challenging economic environment, they also face the never-ending issue of keeping up with changing regulations. As FIs and corporate clients expand into emerging markets and look for worldwide transaction banking solutions, complying with different regulatory requirements is complicated. In order to comply with many regulations, which are different across geographies, corporate investors are interested in sourcing solutions from global banks and banking technology providers.
  5. The shift of expectations from core banking services to value added services: Cash management is a critical component for companies, and banks that are involved in cash management maintain a long standing relationship with their clients. However, unlike traditional banking, corporate clients today expect their banks to be more than transaction service providers. They expect additional value added services such as accessibility, flexibility and security.

The way ahead in global transaction banking, is for banks to move beyond their core service and product offerings. As corporate clients shift focus of their IT budget from basic compliance of regulations to creating a competitive edge, banks need to adopt emerging banking technologies in order to provide advanced services and products.

With focus on gaining a single platform to support high-speed banking activities, an ideal platform is required to provide an advanced highway to run customer payments services, receivables management, cash management, liquidity management, trade finance and supply chain finance thorough an integrated system.

Know more in this year’s annual conference of Sibos, where iGTB will be showcasing its core comprehensive products, from Corporate Banking Exchange, Customer Onboarding, Payments Services Hub to Liquidity Management.

Enable corporate clients to be…

Financially mobile, flexible and accessible…

With a high-speed banking platform. 


Know Your Digital Banking Customer

Know Your Customer

By 2015, digital banking is predicted to overtake branch banking as the preferred channel, according to the report, ‘The New Digital Tipping Point’ by PwC.

In this digitally frenzied environment, majority of the population is immersed in some device or the other, be it laptops, mobiles or tablets. It is important for banks to utilize innovative banking technology and understand the new age digital banking customer.

Digital Banking Customer – Segmentation by Generation 

There are interesting characteristics of each generation from Baby Boomers (Hippies, Yuppies), Generation X (Lacthkey Kids), Generation Y (Millennial Generation), and Generation Z (Digital Natives) to the future of Generation Alpha (Google Kids).

According to the PwC research, ‘The New Digital Tipping Point, Generation Y or the ‘Millennial Generation’ is 20% times more likely to consider using mobile or online banking than Baby Boomers. They are characteristically tech-savvy, brand loyal and consistently choose their primary bank when planning to buy new banking products.

With Generation Y being the segment that embraces technology and digital communication, banks need to focus on this group and build a primary customer relationship with them.

Give What Digital Banking Customers Want

Many banks have been following the trend of “show us your transaction history, and we will tell you who you are.”  This approach of understanding customers no longer truly applies. While it is important to know customer behavior, it is more important to understand why they transact the way they do and how they wish to interact with banks.

To understand digital banking customers, you need to know what they want.

Digital banking innovation has evolved as technology companies are focusing on creating software that is more customer-centric. Currently, there are three areas of focus that banking companies need to consider when understanding the customer:

  • Banking Technology – In order to ‘know your customer’, you need to provide exclusive interactions the way customers want, whether it is through mobile or online channels. New banking software programs should include customized features based on user profiles, preferences, online behavior and value added services.
  • Security – Digital banking should embed robust technology that provides security and protects information and communication. Security systems should protect users’ devices and the IT infrastructure of banks as well.
  • Private Banking – As the next generation of digital customers begin to dominate the market, private banks need to rework their strategies and adopt new technology. Customers extensively use new channels, devices and platforms to transact, find out about other financial products and write reviews. Banks need to keep up and engage customers through various channels and build a strong relationship through customization, personalization and customer-centric products and services.

Digital banking technology and products should be built based on a strong understanding of the digital customer behavior and preferences. In order to create a customer-centric experience, banks need to adopt new and advanced banking technology.

Find out how you can capitalize on the digital banking wave in this year’s annual conference of SIBOS, where iGTB will be showcasing its global transaction banking products, from Corporate Banking Exchange, Customer On-boarding, Payments Services Hub to Liquidity Management and more.

Create a Customer-Centric Experience with Cutting-Edge Banking Technology

Read more about the Top 3 Trends in Digital  Banking


Globalization 3.0 for Customer 3.0 with Web 2.0 – The Future of Transaction Banking

In this era of Globalization 3.0, the next generation of Customer 3.0 dominates the market and companies have to keep pace by using innovative technology designs such as Web 2.0 to thrive in this hyper-connected, competitive environment.

In the banking industry, the role of bankers and corporate treasurers has evolved from being mere transaction providers. To service new age customers who demand real time transacting and access to information, the focus of banks should be on building integrated systems and flexible architectures to provide real-time data and relevant reports.

Create a Customer-Centric, Technology-Oriented Roadmap

With the digital transformation happening in the banking industry, banks need to upgrade their systems to make it more flexible, accessible, transparent and customer-centric. They need to create a roadmap to integrate technology that will revolve around customer behavior and preferred services and products. Some of the milestones that banks should work towards in their transformative journey include:

1 – Real-Time Data Accessibility

Majority of corporate treasurers state that it is critical to have access to real time information in order to optimize their online cash management experience. With the environment becoming highly competitive and the prolific use of devices, there is a frantic need for customers and bankers to access real time information and data. Banks will have to build systems that provide access to this real time information and a well-strategized communication plan as well.

 2 – Building Integrated Systems

As the role of banks and corporate treasurers evolve, integrated and consolidated transactional capabilities have to be improved. With corporate banking becoming more demanding, it will not be sufficient to build corporate portals that provide access to account information and payment transactions. Providing a 360 degree view of financial data and enabling detailed reporting using analytics will become necessary.

3 – Flexible Architectures

As emerging banking technologies are introduced, banks will need to improve their cash management systems based on flexible architectures. This will enable them to easily integrate systems efficiently and add new channels faster in order to offer new services and products especially in this age of social and local mobility in financial transactions.

4 – Use of Analytics

Analytics plays an important role in banking. However, it is fairly underutilized especially in the banking treasury services and corporate sector. Besides using behavioral tracking and risk management for fraud prevention, analytical methods such as trend analysis can also provide insightful direction for banks to better position their products and introduce higher level of services and value-adds.

5 – Relevant Reports

As stated by majority of the corporate treasurers, most of the static reports submitted by banks are not relevant and they prefer exporting data from the bank’s site to generate their own reports. It is high time that banks create dynamic and interactive reporting designs to enable multibank capabilities. The way forward is an advanced platform feature that will allow users to transfer funds and initiate payments within the report.


With these milestones in mind, banks and financial institutions need to increase technology investment and optimally utilize automated systems to provide customized products and services.

As the new generation of customers dominates an evolving market, banks need to differentiate themselves in this competitive market. They should be open to investing in emerging banking technologies which will be supported by an advanced transaction banking platform. Get to know about a high-speed banking platform which provides an advanced highway to run customer payments services, receivables management, cash management, liquidity management, trade finance and supply chain finance in an integrated set, through a single platform.


Find out more in this year’s annual conference of Sibos, where iGTB will be showcasing its core comprehensive products, from Corporate Banking Exchange, Customer Onboarding, Payments Services Hub to Liquidity Management.


Create a Customer-Centric, Technology-Oriented Roadmap and Invest in Technology to be a part of the Future of Transaction Banking