NatWest CIO Ian Povey – Head of Payments Services & Technology – on the strategic transformation of payments and a journey of change benefitting both the bank and its customers

“It may be a cliché, but a transformation journey really has no end… If you fixate on a constant end state without ‘checking in’ you can, and likely will, fail in your objectives.” A wise outlook from a CIO with three decades of change management experience across banking’s payments panorama.

After joining NatWest in 2019, Ian Povey has led a transformation programme for payments and its embedded data focused on empowering technology to act independently of other near neighbour technology capabilities.

“During my time at PayPal, I saw the benefit of being able to establish an abstraction layer or perimeter via APIs that permit channels or partners to grow and adjust without being held back by a core capability like payments,” he recalls, “Likewise our control functions, for fraud and fincrime for example, and importantly key services such as core banking and our data & analytics functions.”

Digitisation of the customer experience

NatWest’s strategy is centred by its aim to be “a relationship bank for a digital world” driven by sustainability and supporting customers through each stage of their lives.

“While we can fixate on digitisation, we must be mindful of inclusion and the diverse customer behaviours that range from cash to digital solutions,” says Povey. “All customer journeys should be simple and easy to understand from end-to-end. When we look at the technology focus in payments, we look at the experience achieved across platforms and must always think of ourselves as a customer to succeed and compete.”

Change management

“It’s more about the hosting environments, as opposed to the application and solutions themselves,” reasons Povey when considering the path of change. “The tension in that is technology teams being able to truthfully engage around their domain strategies and the interlocking of them.”

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