Olivier Brin and Hendrik Lang talk about the first three months after the acquisition, about the synergies, milestones and their shared vision for the future.
1. Hendrik and Olivier – How time flies! 100 days have already passed since Contovista was acquired by Finnova. What has happened since then? And what has changed?
Hendrik: We’ve achieved a lot in this time! Let’s start by speaking about our team. The new leadership team at Contovista boasts a combination of experienced and newer minds who all have one thing in common: a burning passion for data-driven banking.
The Finnova Analytical Framework (FAF) team joined forces with Contovista employees, with the integration running successfully since day 1. We are currently still in discussion with further creative talents. But we’re also making good progress with our products! The roadmap for the second half of the year has been approved and is now being implemented. We’ve also drawn up a backlog with exciting topics for 2023.
Olivier: Our new leadership team has been working together exceptionally well. I am delighted that we can continue working in a stable and well-coordinated manner. In addition to the organisational and operational issues that have arisen as a result of the takeover, I personally am thrilled that we’re launching the Carbon Footprint Manager as part of our summer release – this is something that’s so important to us.
2. Hendrik, what is your vision for the future of Finnova and Contovista?
Hendrik: Finnova and Contovista share the firm conviction that data is becoming increasingly important – whether in the areas of fraud, compliance, upselling, security or data-driven banking. We have now established a team of almost 50 employees who bring a great deal of expertise and experience in data-driven banking. We have extensive know-how in various disciplines such as data science, UX, frontend development and backend integration. This puts us in an incredibly strong position in the Swiss market.
However, we would now like to develop this area even further. Our priority is to expand our portfolio with numerous product innovations while also acquiring new customers in Germany and abroad. In serving our customers, we want to place particular emphasis on personal relationships so that we can respond to needs in a very targeted manner.
All in all, data-driven banking will be a crucial pillar for us in the future. All the more so because all products and solutions from this area can be used independently of the core banking system. This means that they can be scaled more extensively – a massive benefit from the point of view of Finnova/Contovista, as well as for the community.
3. Olivier, how do you see it? What can customers look forward to now and in the future?
Olivier: One thing is crystal clear: our customers can continue to expect innovative solutions from Contovista. We are continuously investing in data-driven banking and now have even more resources for this. The shared products of Finnova and Contovista are being strengthened, and development is in full swing. Together we want to use our combined strength to continue working on a forward-looking, data-driven banking ecosystem for Switzerland.
4. A question about integration and collaboration: Oliver, how is that going for you and the Contovista team? Have you noticed any synergies yet?
Olivier: Yes! Synergies are very noticeable, especially at a product level. Many of our products complement each other really well, e.g. the Finnova Analytical Framework and the Contovista Enrichment Engine (EE). The Personal Finance Manager (PFM) enriches e-banking. Integration at an employee level also has many advantages: the Contovista team benefits from Finnova’s experience while being able to maintain its own traits and values. And of course, Finnova also benefits from our strengths and knowledge!
Cross-team communication has been established and cooperation strengthened. And there are already some new colleagues from the Finnova headquarters in Lenzburg working for us in Schlieren, and vice versa.
5. Hendrik and Olivier, let’s talk in a little more detail about the benefits for customers. What is currently their biggest challenge, and how do they benefit from this merger?
Hendrik: The topic of data is becoming increasingly decisive for banks. We are currently observing that the Finnova Analytical Framework is being widely used for compliance and risk issues. There is obviously a great need for effective tools here. If I as a bank want to identify money laundering in an automated way or have to detect misuse early on, then I need tools that enable me to do this efficiently due to the sheer volume of data. This topic is of paramount importance, but it causes little joy for banks. This makes the support provided by our technology all the more valuable.
Banks take more pleasure in customer insights and customer experience than in addressing risks and complying with regulations. In these areas, too, we offer innovative solutions with the Contovista products and the Finnova Analytical Framework. On the one hand, banks can offer their customers a superior experience and personalised support with our Personal Finance Manager (PFM) and Business Finance Manager (BFM) products. This strengthens customer loyalty and boosts customer satisfaction. On the other hand, the Enrichment Engine and the Finnova Analytical Framework can provide customer advisors with insights into customer behaviour, enabling them to provide better, more personalised advice. They can offer targeted banking products that generate added value to individual customers.
With data-driven banking, we already offer a wide range of products that benefit banks and their customers in a variety of ways. Together we will now further optimise and expand this portfolio. The improved integration of Contovista products and the Finnova Analytical Framework FAF alone offers considerable synergies and potential for customers.
And last but not least, the larger our shared customer base, the more data we can evaluate within our community. This increases the value of the solutions as well as generating extra added value for our customers.
Olivier: Generally speaking, our customers have to adapt to the evolved expectations and requirements of end customers and reinvent themselves as an organisation. This also applies to the vital issue of sustainability. Our products facilitate personal relationships with customers, enabling us to tailor offers accordingly. For example, this summer we launched the Carbon Footprint Manager, which automatically estimates the carbon footprint of purchases.
Our products facilitate personal relationships with customers, enabling us to tailor offers accordingly. For example, this summer we launched the Carbon Footprint Manager, which automatically estimates the carbon footprint of purchases.
With such offerings, we are increasingly better able to meet the needs of our customers. Firstly, we support banks in the difficult process of meeting evolving expectations. Young customers, for example, attach great importance to a cool user experience or sustainability, but they no longer want to pay for products where the value add is not obvious to them and have little interest in traditional banking services.
Second, today’s customers want personalised offers, just as they’re accustomed to in other areas of the digital world. And banks want that as well. After all, banks become more relevant by having greater proximity to their customers and by fostering a personal relationship with them: making tailored offers that add value to their everyday lives.
Banks become more relevant by having greater proximity to their customers and by fostering a personal relationship with them: making tailored offers that add value to their everyday lives.
And third, banks today urgently need new sources of revenue. We can help in this regard too, e.g. through the “next best product” or targeted segmentation.
6. Hendrik, one more question for you: what can existing customers expect from Contovista? What do you think will change for them with Finnova – and what won’t?
Hendrik: For Contovista’s existing customers, I envision a whole range of benefits arising from this new arrangement. Contovista is now part of a product solution provider whose core business is to develop solutions for financial institutions.
This means that Contovista benefits from Finnova’s proven know-how, the breadth of existing banking and technology experts, and its understanding of sustainable product development and efficient operations.
At the same time, data-driven banking is an independent department within Finnova, or if you will, an independent competence centre. This helps to maintain Contovista’s FinTech character. In addition, Contovista boasts many years of experience – or to put in another way, Swiss dominance – as a provider of products such as PFM, BFM and EE. All in all, there is now a high degree of professionalism and agility, from which all existing customers can benefit.
Product development is the number one priority. For Finnova, data is of strategic importance. We are used to investing in products upfront and can do so on a scale that wouldn’t be possible for a company the size of Contovista.
The “Finnova banks” among our existing customers can expect further synergies that we will unlock between the product portfolios of Contovista and Finnova, such as integrating PFM data into the Advisor Workbench (AWB). It goes without saying, however, that the “non-Finnova banks” among Contovista’s customers will also reap the benefits of the many innovations we are planning.
Furthermore, we see great potential to acquire further customers at home and abroad. In other words, customers can expect to enjoy an even larger community. The products scale better on the cost side, and the data quality also increases even further.
7. Olivier, I’d like to finish with a question for you: where do you personally see the data-driven banking unit within Finnova in 5 years? What are your ambitions as a team for the data-driven banking unit?
Olivier: In principle, data-driven decisions, solutions and offers can be integrated across the board. This is also an urgent need, as today’s banking services will be increasingly taken over by BigTechs in the coming years. We need to support banks on their journey towards developing future-proof offerings, remaining relevant and not losing the customer interface.
Supporting banks on their journey towards developing future-proof offerings, remaining relevant and not losing the customer interface.
The aim is to make daily banking much easier and seamless for me as a customer while also providing financial education through appropriate products. This is where Contovista’s team comes into play: Understand/Coach/Enable. Our solutions provide customers with improved insights and understanding (understand) and empower them (coach) to make their financial lives even better and easier (enable).
In addition to the aforementioned carbon footprint, MAP4 (the new generation of the Finnova Mobile Application), personalised product recommendations, and even more accurate data enrichment thanks to the Enrichment Engine, there are a number of other innovations we are working on. Of course, it all depends on the market conditions. In any case, we plan to further expand and bolster our expertise in artificial intelligence and the Enrichment Engine. And so we will continue to set data-driven standards and offer solutions – both in Switzerland and beyond!
Thank you for your time and the interview!