Could this event really deliver the evidence of change both on the conference floor, where established brands and the 'FinTechs' set out their stalls, and in the more serious panel sessions which mixed up the new and old faces in an attempt to give a fresh look to a format that has been running in Europe since 2015?
Well to start with there was a new venue, The Rai in Amsterdam, which was bigger and more brash with its circus theme that worked really well to maintain participants' energy and interest throughout a busy 3 day agenda. It is difficult to imagine but try to visualise having a conversation on the stand about the latest in real-time payments whilst an acrobat and unicyclist are performing just in front of you!
This year I noticed the banks were keen to stress how far they have come in their journeys and a good example was set by Ralph Hamers, CEO ING Group who spoke about his ambition to become the go to global platform for all financial needs, which in turn builds upon his 'Think Forward' strategy designed to empower staff to enable this digital vision.
Looking back there were many more examples of this new brand of ambitious leadership as banks and PSPs realise that now is the time to adopt a more integrated approach with the emergence of topics such as big data, AI and those traditional players seeing this as an opportunity to create a breed of new value-added services as a by-product of the Open Banking era.
Of course, aside from all the serious stuff this is an event which sets out to inform and entertain in equal measure and the organisers have certainly delivered against both objectives in 2018. I enjoyed the full experience of my time in Amsterdam and have come back thinking about Tieto's position in the new payments eco system and also what hot topics might be prominent on the agenda next year.
This year will be a tough act to follow but I feel in 2019 there will be more focus on the actual results of the different collaborations between the tech platforms and banks. They need to start delivering through joined-up propositions which will really show benefit to the end consumer. We should also watch out for the continued growth of those quietly growing payment giants moving across from Asia. Ant Financial (Alipay) and WeChat, will expand their models and start to disrupt and drive their businesses in Europe - having a direct impact on the existing service providers.
On that note I expect to hear about more consolidation in the market as payment organisations try to align themselves with the right strategic partners and initiatives such as Blockchain deliver against their initial promise to revolutionise traditional areas of Financial Services such as lending and trade finance.
With all this to look forward it means our industry continues to be one of the most challenging and exciting places to work... long may this continue.