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Two established players are the unpredicted stand-outs in this year’s hottest group of fintech innovators – SAP and Vitality Group. I spent a few minutes with Stephen Mitchley, Chief Strategy Officer at Vitality Group during the SAP Next-Gen Innovation Community for Financial Services at the SAP Leonardo Center in New York City.

Founded 25 years ago, Vitality has been innovating long before the advent of today’s startups. A subsidiary of insurance giant Discovery, the company partners with large insurers and self-insured employers to offer programs that motivate members to get fit and stay healthier. For example, after answering a few simple questions about how they eat or drive, members receive an initial assessment of their well-being, recommended action steps, and ongoing feedback from IoT-connected partners to make improvements.

“We are an engagement platform that looks to improve people’s health,” said Mitchley. “We’re incenting thousands of members who log-in daily to use wearables, exercise, focus on nutrition and lose weight. The incentives are incredibly powerful offering discount cruises, merchandise and other savings.”

Banking reinvented

Now Vitality wants to take fintech disruption one step further. Already running SAP ERP solutions, Vitality is partnering with SAP to develop a concept for a South African-based bank that brings the customer experience to new heights of convenience and value. The solution will use SAP ERP solutions and the SAP Cloud Platform to offer a range of digital financial services

“Connectivity is useful only if it drives a meaningful relationship that is cognizant of where someone is at,” said Mitchley. “We want to use machine learning and other technologies to build customer relationships beyond just incentives. You can create a more personalized, pleasing experience by guiding people to the financial services they need.”

Unlike many fintech companies that see the customers coming to them, Mitchley said Vitality directs customers to its partners. “People are looking for conversation and interaction. All they need to do is go to our partners, and use the technology that’s on their wrist or in their wallet to unlock the value. As a fintech, you don’t have to own the end-customer experience.”

Mitchley saw a strong match between the companies’ respective missions. “If you look at SAP’s desire to improve people’s lives, there’s a good cultural fit between us as Vitality wants to make people healthier,” he said. “As our different technologies mature, we’ll see a tighter fit between emerging innovation engines like SAP Leonardo and our platform.”

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