" class="no-js "lang="en-US"> EXCLUSIVE: "I have a dream..." - Werner Knoblich, Mambu in 'The Fintech Magazine'
Thursday, May 23, 2024

EXCLUSIVE: “I have a dream…” – Werner Knoblich, Mambu in ‘The Fintech Magazine’

… and it’s that, after a decade of ‘digital transformation’, banks fully commit to the change journey. Mambu and its partners stand ready to act as guides

‘Financial services available at point of need, at point of time, and it’s easy’. That’s what Ben Snowman hopes to wake up to find banks across the board providing in 2032.

As VP of partnerships and advisory at Mambu, he’d like to think it will have helped them achieve it, too, by working in tandem with an ever-expanding ecosystem of companies that muscle-up Mambu’s deliberately ‘skinny’, Cloud-hosted, single code-based core banking platform.

“As a software-as-a-service business, we are really clear on what we are and really clear on what we’re not,” he said recently in an interview with one of those partners, Publicis Sapient. “[It’s] why the ecosystem is so important to us – which is the essence of composable banking. “Our identity is, frankly, a very skinny, pure public Cloud core banking platform, but the ecosystem of service companies means we can adapt to the clients’ needs. We have no intent to build anything that we would be better working within the ecosystem to offer clients.”

Werner Knoblich, chief revenue officer at Mambu, describes what it offers as ‘a reference architecture, composed of multiple components, with multiple companies, pre-architected together’.

“We live in a world where no one supplier can provide everything holistically, end to end, so you need more of a best-of-breed solution,” he says.

A 100 per cent API-driven product portfolio underpins the concept.

“So it’s very easy for a customer or a partner to integrate with us. It’s that way by design,” adds Knoblich.

Among Mambu’s 300 or so partners is Backbase. Headquartered, like Mambu, in Amsterdam, it’s an engagement banking platform that helps banks orchestrate journeys across the customer life cycle,from onboarding to servicing, loyalty and loan origination. Its front-end experience layer and Mambu’s core, both natively built in the Cloud, ‘provide 70-80 per cent of what all banks need to deliver those differentiated customer experiences’, claims Elliott Haralambous, global director for ecosystems at Backbase.

“We have this vision that, whether you’re based in Vietnam, the Nordics or Latin America, you can use the combination of Backbase and Mambu, born in the Cloud together, to power all sorts of banking experiences, and get live in months, not years. [It’s about] best-of-breed providers coming together to deliver exceptional customer experiences and help banks differentiate from their peers.”

Backbase, which joined Mambu as a partner in 2020, this year completed its first funding round after a decade of self-invested success. The €120million from Motive Partners, a New York-based investment firm focussed on fintechs, will help Backbase max out on current demand from legacy banks for its proposition: a single platform for any customer journey using middleware that harmonises the many separate databases that decades of digital transformation have created inside banks, and surfaces that to create multi-channel engagement.

The growing desire among institutions to make the most of what they have, rather than build new, is a trend that Ben Snowman has witnessed since COVID.

“Banks returned to a more protective way of running their businesses during COVID, having been exposed to fundamental innovation over the past decade,” he said. “Banks are building on that cost control element – and moving things into the public Cloud certainly helps with that. But they are simultaneously becoming more comfortable with new technologies. How they measure this is both in the cost and how quickly they can get products to market. It’s a high-velocity model.”

“We live in a world where no one supplier can provide everything holistically, end to end”

Werner Knoblich, Mambu

He’s seen the ‘speedboat strategy’ – which gave rise to NatWest’s Mettle and JPMorgan Chase’s Chase in the UK, Deutsche Bank’s Fyrst and Santander’s Openbank in Germany, and Bank Dora in the US, among others – slow in the West over recent years.

“It doesn’t mean banks have stopped innovating to refine products and attract new segments… But it’s not big-scale, big-picture innovation.”

Matt Williamson, VP of global financial services at digital design consultancy Mobiquity, also a Mambu partner, agrees there’s a definite strategic shift ‘away from a legacy culture, which is very much in-house fiefdoms’. “Now it’s about best of breed in a specific segment and then how do you make the most of that,” he says. “Mambu is obviously very good at the core banking element; we come in with the experience layer and become the glue, with other partners, to deliver an excellent customer outcome.

“As new things evolve, we can add services on top of the previous programme, without having to junk it – which is a very legacy way of doing things – and just adapt and overcome.”So, for Snowman to realise his dream, what did he think needed to happen?

“For banks to move from experimentation to the desire and full intent to move to new technologies for the greater good of the organisation and its customers.”


This article was published in The Fintech Magazine Issue 25, Page 117

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