Blog: The Important Supporting Role of “Disputive” Technology

May 31, 2017  |  UWE KRAUSE

If today’s technology landscape were a feature film, the disrupters would play the leading role. Already this century, our business models – and even our very way of life – have been disrupted by “actors” like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Tesla, Uber, Airbnb and more.

With such luminaries in leading roles, it’s easy to forget the importance of the supporting actors – those who, often, create the very foundation needed for the leads to be successful. When it comes to innovation, it’s becoming clear that “disputive” technology plays a critical (and often overlooked) supporting role.

Getting to know disputive technology
At its core, the idea behind disputive technology is that evolution has just as important a role to play as revolution. Disputive technology is a term for the evolutionary technology that plays an integral role in our progress.

This concept resonates deeply in the financial industry.

Digitization has radically changed consumer expectations. And financial institutions (FIs) have been hustling to respond. The concept of flipping the switch from the legacy environment – the “analog” world, if you will – to digitization is revolutionary. And it can be overwhelming. In fact, it’s not unusual for organizations to become somewhat paralyzed by it.

This is where the supporting role of disputive technology enters the scene. Disputive technology enables us to improve and evolve – in incremental ways that are manageable and valuable. It disputes the status quo and provides the opportunity for meaningful progress on the journey to revolution. In the financial space, disputive technology represents the middle ground between things like traditional currency and bitcoin. The conventional branch and the teller-less. There’s so much to explore in between. And we’ll miss it if we’re only chasing the disrupters. The leading roles. The revolution.

At Diebold Nixdorf, we’re committed to exploring – and introducing – both disruptive and disputive technologies. We believe they both have important roles in our “cast” of offerings. And many of our customers agree. The idea of disputive options – those that drive meaningful evolution – is a point of interest for many of them. And these options mean that if they’re not quite ready for revolution, they can still embrace valuable change.

Exploring disputive technology
How do we explore and pursue disputive technologies? When it comes to creating systems and even transforming branches, we consider three key areas we refer to as “The Three Ds.” They include Design, Demographics and Digitization.

  • Design: Here, we consider the evolutionary opportunities we have to impact not only what systems look like, but also the features they offer and the role they play in the transformed branch environment of the future. How should systems deliver relevant and desired functionality and interfaces? In what type of environment should they exist? How will they help enhance or transform the branch? How should they help FIs evolve on their journeys to becoming more consumer-centric? Feedback from our customers – and their customers – plays a key role in our exploration of design. Since there is no one-size-fits-all solution and each customer’s journey is unique, the approach to design and functionality must transcend the branch design and teller resource design.
  • Demographics: You would be hard-pressed to find an FI that isn’t thinking about, planning for and implementing solutions to become more consumer-centric. In fact, consumer centricity plays a core role in branch transformation. Studying and understanding demographics and the rapid shift in consumer behaviors and preferences is critical to consumer centricity. We relentlessly follow consumer trends and explore options for applying them to financial technologies. We work with FIs to understand how interactions are actually changing within their channels and environments. We engage consumers to test concepts and provide feedback about potential technologies. Demographics are the heart of evolution.
  • Digitization: Digitization is about more than introducing digital channels or improving digital capabilities. It’s about complete digital enablement across the financial enterprise. When it comes to systems technology, Diebold Nixdorf looks at digitization as a means to bridge the physical to digital – and back again. Why? Because we know that today’s consumers don’t want to choose between the physical and digital. Not for their currency and payments. And not for their channels. Instead, they want those payments and channels to be fluid. Because they derive value from them for different reasons at different times. This insight is critical to disputive technology.

Bringing disputive technology to market
Disputive technology is the very philosophy upon which we recently developed the Diebold Nixdorf CS 2020.

On its surface, the CS 2020 is a cash dispenser. But what makes it a disputive technology is its evolution of the user interface and options for authentication. The system features a range of advanced software-enabled digital functions, including the ability to authenticate and transact without the use of a traditional card reader or PIN pad. Instead, the CS 2020 offers cash accessibility via mobile or near-field communication (NFC) technology.

Air Bank, an emerging financial institution in the Czech Republic, is piloting the CS 2020. Diebold Nixdorf rapidly configured and deployed the end-to-end system for Air Bank using state-of-the-art hardware technology that’s powered by advanced software. Our purpose in building the CS 2020 – to merge today’s needs with tomorrow’s vision for cash access for all users – truly embodies the philosophy of disputive technology.

Anticipating what’s next
Looking to the future, the supporting role of disputive technology will go far beyond the systems level. The philosophy has even broader application in the branch environment. Consider how it could help build momentum for branch transformation initiatives. The concept of branch transformation, when considered only
through the revolutionary lens, can bring with it much inertia. Some FIs will pursue and find success in the revolutionary. The teller-less branch, for example. But for others, the momentum for success will be spurred by evolution. After all, in today’s dynamic environment, there’s still a need for both the leading and supporting roles.

Interested in exploring disputive technology? Let’s start a conversation today.

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