If banks can put down their weapons and share their toys any industry can

I blogged earlier about SWIFT as an example of a shared service that goes way beyond offering organisations a way of reducing overheads by cutting the need for people and IT assets.

The message that the UK government needs to cut costs has not missed anyone by now. Even the far reaches of the universe have probably had word of it by now. To this end share services are as relevant as ever.

The basic premise is that shared IT services will cut costs through the process of putting servers from a group of organisations into the same building and then use fewer people to support it.

But Swift, which was originally a payments service shared by a community of banks is using its strengths to experiment way beyond transacting payments securely and reliable. I wrote earlier about how SWIFT was testing out an App Store for banks.

Today I had a conversation with Swift’s head of innovation Kosta Peric, about another development in incubation. This one is all about identity management. More specifically the fact that Swift is developing a service where banks will be able to offer customers a way of securing their digital identities while making online activity easier.

Read the story I wrote here, but basically consumers might just have one digital identity that all the companies they have a relationship with, including government, can use as proof in a transaction. It will ensure that the consumer’s ID does not fall into the wrong hands.

It is an interesting one. It shows that banks, who are about the most competitive beasts around, are willing to put down their weapons and share their toys when it is pointless competing and for the greater good.

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