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Ant Financials, the most valuable fintech unicorn created ripples in the world wide financial markets and created a history of disruption in the FinTech world. Ant Financials expanded very fast by partnering with Chinese Banks and Institutions, biometric payments, fuel filling stations, wholesale and retail market partners, grocery shops, public sector, railways, private sector, insurance, and lending partners.

With behavior-based financial incentive models, Ant Financials has grown exponentially in the last few years worldwide.  Ant financials first started as a bank and then quickly developed it is own banking systems as container-based microservices and commercialized the offering to other business partners.

There is one thing that is a key differentiating factor with Ant Financials, their simple platform-based 3-1-0 strategy than a number-crunching strategy that corporates generally use to grow the business.
"It takes three minutes to apply for a loan; one second to transfer the funds; and there is zero manual intervention in the whole process"

It reminds me of Indra Nooyi's Quote "It is not the performance and/or purpose but it is a performance with purpose, connect what is good to business with what is good to economy and people".

Jack Ma exactly did that with his 3 principles :

  • Make everyone financially inclusive and provide equal opportunities to everyone and kill the origins of feudalism

  • If you are the only rich person in the village, then the whole village gets jealous and will like to bring you down. If you instead provide a platform for everyone in the village to earn then you will be creating history in the world

  • It is not "Made in China" or "Made in Europe" or "Made in the USA", it is "Made with the Internet". Creditworthiness is not a privilege for only a few people, but it should be accessible to everyone on the internet for providing a great future for all children across the world.

Jack Ma has the first principle-based design thinking from the beginning and he visualized end to end consumer experiences for Ant Financials where he connected retail and wholesale commerce, financial markets, social channels, digital and entertainment media consumers in a single platform rather than trying to fit his software to old branch-based banking processes.


Jack ma combined this platform approach in everything from payments and lending to insurance and investing with its linear microlending and micro-investing. This hybrid approach combines complementary platform and linear services to create a financial services ecosystem of unparalleled breadth.

Now we will see how SAP fares in this equation with their product portfolio and the gaps.


SAP Fioneer

According to this blog, The new solutions under SAP Fioneer will cover the full cycle of banking and insurance operations processes and help meet regulatory requirements They will be based on integrated data and provide an opportunity to move FSI processes to the SAP Business Technology Platform in the cloud.

SAP Fioneer spin-off is one of the intelligent moves by SAP but however, there is a fundamental difference on what the firm wants to do compared to Ant Financials " While Ant Financials is looking to redefine the financial and regulatory markets in future using container and API based real-time microservice software packages based on future consumer behaviors to benefit everyone in the world using first principles-based design thinking, SAP seemed to look to fit the product to help banks and insurance providers to meet regulatory markets and legacy processes that are in existence for decades which may fit or not fit be a purpose for future trading requirements by next-generation consumers!"

Example: I wouldn't need a complex SAP S/4 HANA  FPSL reconciliation distributed ledger and legacy contract-based processing if I am going to use smart contracts and blockchain where trade happens in real-time and data storage is scaled on-demand in the future. "Would banks really exist in the future, I may be dreaming but it looks like a reality based on current technology advancements?".

Why replicate current data models in SAP S/4 FPSL/FSDM that are used by banks and build a product that fits current processes? Instead, let's SAP Fioneer create data models and service offerings that help banks to transact with a customer like never before and help banks to redefine and simplify their current KYC, Credit Monitoring, regulatory, anti-money laundering, and Insurance Processes and amplify customer experiences? Why should we use ask customers to submit digital forms for KYC when we can check customer creditworthiness by integrating them into different social channels? Doesn't Facebook or Snapchat have more customer information than banks? Should we really need to use MBC/Swift to transfer money to different banks or should we use hyper ledger fabric to connect all banks? Can SAP revolutionize reinsurance policies like Etherisc using BTP Hyper Ledger Fabric?

SAP product portfolio below is as comprehensive as Alibaba, but the key difference is "Data is moved between different platforms seamlessly using real-time API's and container-based microservice-based software components and licensing is based on microservice software product apps that are centered around futuristic trading principles of consumers and corporates rather than legacy trading principles of consumers and corporates ".

SAP S/4 HANA Essentials have microservice-based best practice scope item license offerings but the same commercial model is not replicated to all SAP products even with "Rise with SAP" and hence adoption by enterprises is limited as they are constrained on licensing due to costs.

While SAP API Hub is fantastic and provides a lot of pre-packaged integrations to connect various SAP products in different industries, it is still a bit complex, time-consuming to integrate all SAP software products as they are built using monolithic principles instead of microservice principles.

Regulators - Big Guys

Jack Ma apparently went missing for a few months as he challenged regulators with his statement "pawn-shop mentality". 

As much as regulators are risk-averse to change with respect to all these new technologies, it is impossible to stop the growth of the internet and the future is definitely going to be machine or AI-based regulation and it is inevitable to change regulatory laws in the future for the connected digital world.

SAP shouldn't fit their product to current regulatory processes but instead help corporates to innovate, simplify and experiment with the regulatory processes( Ex: Financial Conduct Authority Regulatory Experiment that paved a new path in regulatory world) and help banks and consumers to build futuristic machine and AI-based regulatory processes to attract consumers that it is in line with future trading principles and bring agility in the entire regulatory ecosystem by leveraging SAP BTP and Intelligent Technologies.



If SAP Fioneer wants to penetrate into FSI market via Dediq like Ant Financials then SAP needs to relook at licensing model and banking processes from a future consumer point of view and use first principle FUTURE PROCESS based design thinking in product development by leveraging SAP BTP and Intelligent technologies i.e. "Build Microservice products for Consumers that will help banks to attract and retain new and old consumers and build new regulatory virtual police microservices to amplify the impact on consumers rather than fitting the products to current or old trading processes and helping the banks to comply with paper-based regulatory requirements that are designed centuries ago by our great grandfathers".

Please note the views expressed here are mine and not the views of my organization. I am very interested to hear thoughts from the SAP community across the world.

Reference Materials

If you are passionate about Fintech, I suggest all fellow SAP readers read this amazing book! I am really enjoying reading this book!