Creating value through partnerships
With a diverse background within the bank, Ida Blom has gained a detailed understanding of what it takes to drive product development. She is responsible for expanding and supporting SEB’s product partnerships within Corporate Banking. She tells us about her unique role of Partner Manager and explains how partnerships help SEB grow.
– Significant changes can be seen within the Corporate Banking area, not least within Cash Management, Trade Finance and Asset Solutions. Customers are demanding a different type of transparency and flexibility than before. In order to maintain relevant offers you need to create an understanding of the market - keeping track of new players. Partnerships within these areas, which are currently rare, can therefore have several benefits in comparison to building products in-house. The products often have a faster time to market and do not compete with more prioritised tasks in SEB’s development plan. Hence, increasing the number of partnerships can create more time for the bank’s core business.
– The type of partnerships we look for are very much based on market needs. We always try to keep track of what customers expect from us - what type of services, potential gaps, and most importantly how these gaps can be filled. Together with the Product Owner, we then discuss the different solutions that are available on the market. Once those have been pinpointed, we can begin to create dialogues and evaluate which companies and solutions seem most relevant.
What inspires you in the role of Partner Manager?
– Since I work with both large and small potential partners, I get inspired by all the different ideas that are currently out there on the market. One of the most rewarding moments is when you find a partnership that contributes with new and modern solutions, while also strengthening SEB’s own brand. Therefore, I work a lot on finding long-term relationships where we can create value for customers together.
– Something else that I especially enjoy about my role is that it’s very free! My days can vary a lot, especially since I help support several areas. In that sense, you could say that I have many different colleagues. Some days I only sit in meetings with people within Cash Management, and other days I work more on finding new partnerships - which later leads to that partner becoming my closest colleague. So, my team changes a lot and is very dependent on the area I choose to focus on.
How would you describe the culture within Corporate Banking?
– We have a very curious culture, where people are happy to share about their current work. We often get inspired by each other, especially since the competencies in our group are very broad. Since we have colleagues and customers both locally and globally, you constantly get to learn and hear from different perspectives. It makes this area more dynamic and interesting, which I appreciate. Constantly learning and not being afraid to challenge yourself are consequently two aspects that I find especially important if you want to grow within Corporate Banking. You need to be able to drive things forwards on your own, dare to try something new, be proactive and come up with new ideas.
– I began working at SEB after I graduated from Uppsala University and ended up staying here for many years since there was always something new and exciting to do. However, about five years ago I began working at another company, but later chose to return to SEB to take the role of Partner Manager. And that’s probably the highest compliment you can pay an employer - coming back. My role is still relatively new, so I got a lot of freedom to shape it, which made me even more interested in returning to the bank. Additionally, working at SEB means working with extremely competent people, while also having many opportunities to develop your career. If you, on top of that, can show that you have the right drive you can create completely new conditions to grow.