Breaking Digital Gridlock

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Breaking Weekly Digital Gridlock #27: Data Analytics and the Zombie Apocalypse Pt. 1

Weekly FinTech Tip: Start Developing A Few Essential Survival Skills  Now To Prepare for a Financial Zombie Apocalypse

Data analytics and the zombie apocalypse. How do those two things fit together? I’m a huge Walking Dead fan. I’ve been watching Walking Dead for a long, long time, and from watching Walking Dead, I saw some similarities between what I’m seeing in the landscape of the banking world and the post-apocalyptic landscape that we see in the media about zombies. So, what does a financial zombie apocalypse look like? Let’s get started.

  • A financial zombie apocalypse will include reduced interchange income due to new products and services that demand a customer keep a remote balance. Think about the target card. Think about Facebook’s new Libra product. They’re going to want you to change your money into Libra and then keep a balance on the other side. As all of these balances cut in, they’re going to reduce your ability to get interchange because you’re going to be spending through other platforms.
  • Proliferation of new digital services among the world’s largest banks will make it harder to acquire new customers and provide competing services and products.
  • Reduced margins will create more competition from non-bank entities.
  • Imagine that large entities such as Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft start providing bank-like services through their models.

That could be the beginning of what I’m calling the financial zombie apocalypse.

How do you survive a regular zombie apocalypse? The following are the survival skills that I have determined that you need based on my many viewings of The Walking Dead:

  • You have to travel light and move fast. What does this mean for a financial institution? You have to move much faster that you do today, and that means no more big data centers. That’s the big one. You can’t have these big data centers where you’re buying servers that take time to spin up and require you to purchase support and all of these other things. You have to be agile and move quickly, and that means utilizing cloud services. Move your data services, features, and products to the cloud. Another area where you can travel light is your footprint. Big branches with 15 tellers aren’t necessarily going to be as useful as they once were. It doesn’t mean you don’t need branches. It just means they need to change. How do you reduce a branch’s footprint and provide valuable services?
  • You have to find and keep a team around you. Do you need more tellers, or do you need more people that can assess, organize, and analyze data? There is only enough food for so many mouths, so you must pick and choose who you want on your team based on skill sets. That’s very important. However, there are two parts to this. You must also KEEP your team. Once you find these people, how do you keep them from running off and joining other groups? Well, that means you’re going to have to make sure their compensation and benefits are good and valuable, and maybe even give them other reasons to stay. Loyalty, alignment with your cause, alignment with your organization’s philosophy, alignment with who you are as a culture. How did Rick keep his team on The Walking Dead? He was a great leader. People want to follow man anywhere, and because they were willing to follow him, he was able to bring that team together. Rick also brought resources. He fed, protected, and took care of his people. You’re going to have to do the same thing with your team.
  • You have to make a little go a long way. How will you stretch your resources when you can no longer afford to throw manpower at every problem? That means you can’t hire anymore FTEs or just throw manpower at loans, HELOCs, or even indirect car loans. How will you survive? How will you take the FTEs and the resources that you already have and make them 3 or 4 times more effective and efficient? How will you augment what they can do and make them better, and how will you measure that? How will you know for sure that you’re achieving those goals? How will you know for sure that you’re making a little go a long way? Are you willing to go look at every department and every position to make sure that they’re bringing value in this new world.
  • You have to arm yourself, because people are coming to get you, your stuff, and your team. Finally, however you arm yourself, you need ammo. Guns are no good if you can’t shoot them, and that means you have to look for, find, and collect ammo to hoard. Rick carries around this ginormous gun. I don’t know much about guns, but I do know that it’s a large gun. You also see Daryl with his crossbow. Everyone has these niche but important weapons. What would your weapons be in a financial zombie apocalypse? Well, I would submit to you that your first and most important weapon is going to be your digital.

This has been a FinTech Minute. My name is John Best. I am the CEO of Best Innovation Group and author of Breaking Digital Gridlock. If you liked this “data analytics in the zombie apocalypse” motif here, there is an entire chapter in the book on it. You can find Breaking Digital Gridlock on Amazon or anywhere books are sold. If you would like to see what new and exciting things we are up to at Best Innovation Group, visit Thanks for listening, and be sure to subscribe to my channel using the link below for notifications whenever we post new videos!

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