Global Innovator award winner Denizbank shares its success
At the recent Efma/Accenture Global Innovation Awards, Turkey’s Denizbank scooped the award for Global Innovator. We spoke to Gurhan Cam, the bank’s senior vice president of digital generation banking, to find out more.
How is Denizbank unique when it comes to innovation?
Ideas are the spine of our innovation. Our innovation process centres around distinctive ideas and begins with setting the goal to create strategic advantage in the marketplace. DenizBank provides employees with a free space to declare their opinions and necessary sources to make these ideas come true. So, we think particularly about how innovation is going to add the utmost value to our mission, and we focus on the areas where innovation has the greatest potential. We believe that innovation can revolutionise an industry, change consumer habits and challenge economic assumptions. Therefore, we embrace innovation not only to create value for financial sector, but also for making our customers’ lives easier as a whole. We also sense that the digital experience today is created by the sum of all touch points for customers. Therefore, we are making vital investments in technology to ensure digital excellence and to create ubiquitious products and services.
What are the main challenges of innovating on a global level?
There is a paradigm shift all over the world towards the digitisation of human life. We are witnessing a new generation who ignores desktop banking and who starts their financial transactions directly via mobile. It won’t take a long time for this generation to become the target audience for financial organisations. As innovative banking technologies hit the market, consumers’ dependence on physical tools gradually reduces. The main challenge here is to stay up-to-date about the new generation of customers’ problems and be able to meet these needs rapidly.
How are you meeting those challenges?
We have determined our strategy in this direction since the very beginning and steered our route towards digital. For us, there is no limit in the world of innovation. With the know-how of our technology base Intertech and our Digital Generation Banking Deparment, we continuously strive to adapt to the new generation’s evolving reality. By making significant investments in innovation, we differentiate our products and services by deeply focusing on these customers’ troubles. And we will continue to do so in the future without losing pace.
What’s the next step for innovation at Denizbank?
We placed innovation at the core of our organisation. We keep track of emerging technologies and develop a strategic roadmap before these technologies hit the market. We observe the rise of IoT technology and its inevitable implications on the banking industry. Therefore, we plan to administer IoT into every aspect of our financial services. We have already begun using beacon technology together with our fastPay Mobile Wallet, and launched it before anyone else. Moreover, big data has a huge role with IoT technology, and we are equipped with the necessary means to produce meaningful information from big data through our standalone IT subsidiary Intertech. After getting connected with things, our focus will be on artificial intelligence. This naturally comes along with digitising every function of our bank. Besides, we believe that every business function should coordinate with each other and act coherently to achieve what we call ’collective wisdom’ in order to accomplish innovation within the organisation.
What advice do you offer to banks that want to innovate?
The key for financial institutions to survive in such an environment is to pursue a strategy of sustainable innovation. How do you know, as a big company, when you’re hitting the inflection point? You never know. So the best companies are forever paranoid and make innovation a continuous process. On the other hand, unless the CEO makes innovation a priority in a company, it won’t happen. Innovation requires a level of risk-taking and failure that is impossible without executive air cover. The best growth companies create a culture of innovation.