Technology for 2011

I started investigating new technology directions for Sberbank, and have been talking to many partners and vendors about how we can work together on innovative technology projects. I found myself explaining the “horizon” concept several times, so I’ve decided to post it while it’s still fresh in my mind…

We are going through a major technology upgrade effort, while simultaneously looking at, and investigating new technologies.  “New” by itself is not enough, as the new “stuff” has to support a business need, work in conjunction with business needs , or enable a new viable business model.  Also, “new” is relative, innovation is always context-sensitive, by geography, industry, company. I don’t give examples, so people do not get upset from comparisons between banking systems in two countries.

Within this local technology and business context, I define potential technology innovation collaboration projects with our partners in a more systematic way as “2010”, “2011”, and “2012” horizon projects.

A “2010” solution is a mature technology that somehow we do not use today – an old decision, lack of information, lack of support in Russia, etc. While my team will not work on piloting such technologies (not much to learn from experimenting with a new CRM implementation…), we are acting as a “recourse” channel, assessing and recommending forgotten technologies and ideas.

A “2011” technology solution is our  name for banking and financial services technologies at the version 1.0 or 1.1 maturity level. If they meet our business model viability and user experience criteria, we would most likely run a (relatively) short experiment, trying as much as possible to replicate a realistic setting, i.e. a “proof of concept” as opposed to a “demo”.

A technology in beta (or version 0.9) is a “2012” solution. We would look for the standard trifecta of technology feasibility (does it work?), business viability (can we make money?) and user experience (can a normal human being actually use it?). The outcome would be again technology experiments, proof-of –concept projects, piloting the technology in a an environment as similar to real production as possible, as fast as possible…

We have been building the list for the past month, and will assess the project portfolio in September, but that’s another methodology step, and another post.