Francisco Gonzalez shares BBVA's digital transformation case with Harvard faculty

- Francisco Gonzalez: Banks should become data-driven organizations in order to deliver knowledge-based banking: new and better financial products and services based on information and better suited to every customer's needs and expectations

- BBVA Chairman and CEO warned, "We are witnessing the dawn of Big Data technology, the Internet of Things is just taking off, and Artificial Intelligence is in its infancy. We are running a race which has no finish line, nor a pre-fixed route. We don't even have a set of rules to guide us in our efforts."

Nov 23, 2015, 13:23 ET from BBVA

BOSTON, Nov. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- BBVA Chairman and CEO Francisco González participated in the Strategy Research Conference, which was organized by the Harvard Business School to analyze how large multinationals are changing their strategies to respond to technological change. Top executives from companies such as PepsiCo and Mozilla also participated.

In his address, Francisco González underscored that "technology will be the driver of a dramatic improvement of productivity and efficiency in banking, on the same scale as that experienced in other already digitalized industries." And this is not something that will happen in a remote future, warned BBVA's chairman: "It's already underway and will only accelerate."

Dozens of startups are already disrupting many segments of the banking value chain and taking advantage of technology to offer a superior customer experience. "In 2014, fintech companies attracted over $12 billion of investment. Investments for the first half of 2015 have already exceeded $13 billion."

Most of these newcomers – even big digital companies such as Amazon, Google or Apple - are still relying on (conventional) banks for infrastructure and keeping themselves largely on the fringes of the banking system, mainly due to regulation. González is convinced that the window of opportunity for banks "will close before long," and that the change needed is a "long, complex process, involving not only technological transformation but also a profound organizational and cultural change."

A Knowledge-Based Bank

According to the BBVA Chairman and CEO, this transformation should be oriented toward maximizing banks' most important competitive advantage: Data. "Banks should become data-driven organizations in order to deliver knowledge banking: new and better financial products and services based on information and better suited to every customer's needs and expectations." 

Keeping this goal in mind, BBVA has focused in recent years on strengthening its data analytics capabilities, setting up BBVA Data & Analytics, and incorporating top digital talent into the bank's workforce. "Our Big Data teams in Spain and in the U.S. are already working in areas such as customer analytics, processes, risk & fraud, and new data products," explained González.

González shared his conviction about BBVA's progress: "We have come far, and we feel that we are now in a position to lead the transformation of the banking industry and become the first knowledge-based bank."

But technological change continues apace and society is changing with it, Gonzalez told the HBS audience. "We are witnessing the dawn of Big Data technology, the Internet of Things is just taking off, and Artificial Intelligence is in its infancy. So we are running a race which has no finish line, nor a pre-fixed route. We don't even have a set of rules to guide us in our efforts."

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About BBVA 

BBVA is a customer-centric global financial services group founded in 1857. The Group is the largest financial institution in Spain and Mexico and it has leading franchises in South America and the Sunbelt Region of the United States; and it is also the leading shareholder in Turkey's Garanti. Its diversified business is focused on high-growth markets and it relies on technology as a key sustainable competitive advantage. Corporate responsibility is at the core of its business model. BBVA fosters financial education and inclusion, and supports scientific research and culture. It operates with the highest integrity, a long-term vision and applies the best practices. The Group is present in the main sustainability indexes.

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SOURCE BBVA