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It’s business unusual

I finish the day and my feet are tired and my head is buzzing. I feel like I’ve walked about 20 miles and been awake since 2007. SIBOS days take their toll.

The breaking news about Lloyds TSB and HBOS fuels the rumour mill and gossip columns, and the stands and exhibitors are more interested in the news from home than the news here.

Or so it seems.

But this is misplaced.

SIBOS is still an important meeting point, and it is too easy to let the news from home subsume the networking and ideas generated here.

I spend most of the afternoon in the exhibit hall and talking with bankers, technologists and consultants, and I get an overwhelming sense of excitement and foreboding.

The fear and foreboding is that the upheaval in the West will stall growth, cancel budgets and divert plans. The excitement is that the upheaval in the West will lead to more regulation, more mergers and acquisitions and therefore more projects.

Speaking of projects, I finish the day chatting with a corporate treasurer, a rare find and a highly sought after animal who has disguised himself for most of the day as a geek. I think this was to avoid anyone discovering the idea that he could make a decision and has a budget.

In talking with this corporate beast, there were some interesting nuggets, the most interesting of which is that they are converting their fragmented and diverse treasury and ledger operations across to SAP.

But, rather than planning a five year implementation which is what most of his peers have done, this treasurer has spread the project out to 2020.

“2020!” I say incredulously. “But we may all be dead and gone by then!”

I’m always optimistic.

“2020!” he says emphatically. “Because whoever heard of a SAP project that took less than ten years?”

My favourite comment of the day and one I shall treasure as I go into night mode.

Night mode sounds like some sort of a vampire operation, but no. I’m just off for dinner and clubbing, as is usual in a SIBOS week.

But this is not business as usual. This is business unusual, a comment Juan Senor used in this morning’s plenary.

Business unusual, continual change, non-stop processing, real-time risks.

This week at SIBOS is all about disruption, change and innovation.

Love it or loathe it, if you’re in banking, you’re in it, so adapt, change or die.

About Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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