Last year’s Executive Management Programme identified the need to implement truly dynamic strategic management processes in the fast-changing competitive environment of cards and payments businesses. It has been a busy summer with significant changes announced in interchange, the muscle-flexing of newcomers with different business models in financial services and the incessant hype about mobile wallets and new technologies: clearly the need for organisations to incorporate dynamic strategic management in their strategy formulation and planning activities has never been greater.
Fixed strategies, usually set in stone for several years and lacking the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances, are the norm for most card and payment organisations. This is why many decisions with far-reaching consequences are so difficult. The trains have left the station, so to speak: how can executives stop, divert or accelerate them?
One thing is for certain. Do not get caught up in the hype or allow competitor activities and industry ‘noise’ to drive what you do. However, you need to take these developments on board, assess their impact quickly and continually reconsider the viability, practicality and suitability of your own strategic plans – making changes where needed.
Some of the biggest decisions facing payments businesses for a long time are now being made: the level of investment in new technologies and channels; how to build brand to differentiate from the pack; how to effectively incorporate data analytics in segmentation, product and marketing strategies; and who to partner with to establish sustainable competitive advantage.
These are just some of the strategic challenges. A wrong move now could mean major problems for many years. Periodic strategic planning is really not enough. Payments organisations need to live and breathe strategy as part of business as usual and have the integrated dynamic models and processes that will enable them to assess impacts, evaluate scenario possibilities and adapt and change business strategies as appropriate.