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Banking Insights November 26, 2012

Banking Insights

JOOB was proud to be a key sponsor at the annual FST Media Technology and Innovation Conference this month in...

Category: Mobile

Insights from the Future of Banking and Financial Services Conference

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JOOB was proud to be a key sponsor at the annual FST Media Technology and Innovation Conference this month in Sydney. For us, it was about creating some real debate about different approaches to innovation in the financial services industry. Too often a familiar “me too, I agree” response emerges at these events. We were delighted and considered it a success that panelists on the Innovation Leaders Panel lead by JOOB disagreed on the best approach to meeting customers’ expectations.

Online and mobile banking, technological innovation and mobile strategy were a hot topics discussed by almost all of the key speakers at the event.

George Frazis, CEO of St George Bank opened up the conference talking about leveraging technology and innovation for better customer service. One key driver for innovation is the rapid uptake of mobile in their business with usage up 186% on last year – in one month there were 1.7 million mobile transactions worth $745 million.  Mobility, internet and social media is changing the way St George do business and challenging their business model – “out of the box” thinking is needed with an entrepreneurial approach to business, along with being mobile ready.

As often happens at these events, there were a few speakers who did a bit of the old chest beating  However, when it came to the Simple presentation from Co Founder and CEO Shamir Karkal, this was justified.  With a waiting list for customers to join, it’s evident how successful Simple have been at leveraging new technology to truly redefine the customer experience and emerge a new type of bank.

It was interesting to see how the uptake and use of video will be used in the future. Steen Mertz from Jyske Bank took us through their bank journey and impressed the audience with the unique use of TV as a powerful communication medium and tool to engage internally and externally.

Ubank’s launch of peoplelikeu.com.au provided a great example of how to deliver digital innovation through the convergence of big data and a new customer proposition.

The Innovation Leaders Panel with our own Mobile Digital Strategist, Justin Wilden was a fitting ending the event.  The themes throughout the conference were discussed, including the increased customer expectations redefining the customer experience, harnessing big data, keeping up with technological change, and using digital media and mobile to better engage customers and staff. An interesting debate was also sparked amongst the panellists about the best approach to fostering a forward thinking work environment which encourages innovation.

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Taking the initiative: A window of opportunity to design brilliant mobile wealth management experiences.

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So like the majority of people I have both my personal email and my work email linked to my phone. Like many others I dabble in the share market from time to time (read: probably 5 purchases/sells per year).

It will come as no surprise then that working in the mobile space and having an existing portfolio means I take an interest in the stock market apps out there.

I recently purchased StockTouch, which offers an array of ways to visually display different equities, sectors and how they are performing. Having spent a few minutes playing around with this new app it was somewhat unfortunate that my existing wealth management advisor happened to send through his fortnightly market update – an email with a PDF attachment. The difference in experiences could not have been more profound. One gives me access to the near real-time performance of USA and Global equities in an easily digestible interactive format (with links to market intel reports) the other is a PDF version of the same hardcopy market update report they have been churning out for years.

In my opinion, the opportunity and the need for financial planners/wealth management advisors to embrace a design-led approach to mobile is obvious. The larger banks are already leading the charge in personalising and enriching the mobile experiences they offer. Kiwibank provides all information from a single ‘personal teller’ aka John, searching for a branch via the St George app provides you with a photo of the local branch manager and their details.

It’s not hard to imagine the next step will be a convergence of retail and personal investment experiences, where you can open a trading account that is linked to your checking account from within the one application. Think a hybrid of CBA’s Commbank and Commsec apps.

However as mentioned before, the relationships financial planners/wealth management advisors hold with their clients cannot be underestimated. There is a real opportunity for specialist investment firms to leverage this relationship in a mobile environment. Tailored market research in an easily digestible format coupled with timely push notifications from a trusted advisor you’ve stayed with through good times and bad is an extremely strong value proposition.

The opportunity to take the lead is closing fast though, it won’t be long until the big four turn their attention to their respective investment arms and apply their learnings from delivering great retail experiences.

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Engaging Tomorrow’s Generation, Brings Benefits Today – the multiple opportunities mobile offers Financial Services.

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Speaking to the owner of a boutique Sydney wealth management company recently I asked him what his greatest challenge was for the business. His response “engaging with my clients’ children”. Until recently I didn’t appreciate the colossal transfer of wealth that will occur in Australia over the next 15 years ($400b according to a 2010 Bankwest report). This owner-operator, like many wealth management firms, had built his company on reputation and relationships. The right school, the right network, combined with a proven track record. But why should his $10m dollar net-worth clients children choose to invest their inheritance with him instead of the private wealth division of the bank they have used since their first pocket money deposit?

Mobile as a channel not only provides an opportunity to engage with this next generation, but reengage with time poor executives that are bombarded with ‘weekly newsletters’. A recent Google “Our Mobile Planet: Australia” survey showed that 83% of people use their smartphones to communicate (emails/networking sites) and 49% to stay informed (read newspapers, information portals). Interestingly, 22% of interviewees were 45+ years old.

The early movers are already using mobile devices to assist advisors to engage with prospective clients. Philadelphia-based Brinker Capital launched it’s Absolute Return Mixer in April 2012, a well-designed and simple app tool that assists advisors to shape the conversation with new clients. It is also a way of hooking in new clients, by forcing them to register through their website if they want to see their AR Mixer results. San Francisco-based Personal Capital, a new venture by former PayPal CEO Bill Harris, has taken a different approach launching a highly transactional app that blurs the lines between tradition banking apps (think: expense tracking, fund transfers) with wealth management bread and butter (think: market insights, portfolio tracking). The strategy; a large number of consumers who download the Personal Capital app for expense tracking, fund transfers, mum/dad-type investing will then turn to one of their financial advisor when their wealth grows and expertise/management assistance is sought.

Closer to home, the insurance and banking industries have embraced this trend. MLC, St George, TAL are examples of significant industry players that have all launched internally focused apps to assist their salesforce in the field. After all, do you think your client is more likely to notice a push notification providing market insight while in a taxi checking their portfolio balance from your app or pick out an email newsletter amongst the other 300 sitting in their inbox?

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Infographic: “Let Them Eat Cake” – The Power of Mobility and BYOD.

View full size in browser here

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Financial Services Innovation Breakfast, Competing on Customer Experience.

We recently held the JOOB Financial Services Innovation Seminar in Sydney with the purpose of starting a dialogue for the changing needs of our customers in the financial services industry. Discussions at the event revolved around a common theme: the industry can no longer afford to compete with their competitors on products and price alone – they need to compete on customer experience, namely through new channels like smartphones and tablets.

The room was abuzz with company executives from across many of Australia’s top banks and financial services companies who are in various stages of enhancing the mobile experience for their customers.

Some well-known experts in the financial services industry presented to attendees, one such expert was Andrew Murrell, General Manager of Digital and Social Marketing at Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), the country’s largest bank.

Andrew offered some fantastic insights and in-depth analysis of how banks can use technology like smartphones and tablets to enhance the customer experience, giving examples of a couple of CBA’s mobile banking applications, including its revolutionary Kaching app.

Andrew also talked about how Australian consumers have changed, and that banks can no longer afford to rely solely on their internet banking websites to engage with customers – they must make the customer banking experience mobile, and interact with customers through mobile devices.

In addition, we also heard from Australian JOOB customer and ClearView Wealth Limited Managing Director, Simon Swanson. Simon spoke about why customer experience matters for financial services companies, particularly for a challenger brand in the wealth management and insurance industry like ClearView. One such way ClearView aims to distinguish itself from the competition and challenge bigger brands is to be a leader in experience – for customers, staff and partners – at anywhere, anytime, through a fully integrated customer experience platform.

In order to do this, the company had to tackle the problem of its legacy systems, separate systems, and of course, multiple devices its staff, partners and customers use to connect. Simon detailed how the company has managed to overcome these problems by implementing an integration layer to its systems, powered by JOOB. The integration layer now allows ClearView’s customers, partners and staff to now seamlessly access its Adviser and Wealth Portals, from any device, anywhere, anytime.

“It really hammered home just how much consumer behaviour is changing, and that financial services companies cannot afford to get left behind. It is now imperative that firms have a road map for the future, for modern, mobile financial services customer experiences.”

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Design-led thinking flips traditional development approaches

At Jade Software we’ve been taking a design led approach to product development for about five years now, and the pay-off has been huge. The biggest benefit for us has been the ability to get products to market faster and for less investment than before.

We are now using a similar design led approach to customer developments at JOOB and it is really delivering benefits to our customers.

But how does it work in practice?

The traditional approach for a large client project was rather cumbersome. Traditionally you would get all the business stakeholders in a room to define their goals and objectives. Then run smaller offshoot workshops with the same group of people to define all the elements of the application in detail. By the end you’d typically have a huge list of application features that would get prioritized by the client lead and development would kick off .

As we’ve moved into the Enterprise Mobile market we came to realise that the traditional approach to software development led to bloated applications specs (how many features can you really fit on a smartphone), and with agile development the UX and Core Application details were being defined on the fly. So we had to flip our own processes and approach on it’s head to deal with mobile and had to separate the delivery layers.

Using design led principles we now separate our discovery into three streams, the core business value definition, the user experience, and then once this is defined and agreed the technical architecture begins.

For example;

We have a wealth management client that has end customers that it services through the independent financial adviser network; the business challenge is to create long term trust with the end user without the disintermediation of the adviser. We are doing this by creating a suite of tools that service the end customer and support the adviser in sales, and service such e.g. automated opt-in campaign.

The business model has been developed with the internal stakeholders and takes a long term view of what could impact their environment. Then working with the advisers, and the end customers in a very intimate way we develop the actual design of the experience using wireframes. Then importantly we iterate. Lastly once we have proven business value, proven client and adviser value, and a set of proven wireframes we initiate the technical design for the project.

The end result is very compelling, the cost to develop this way is greatly reduced as a lot of the design “features” that don’t add real value are removed before a developer starts coding. We also find that as the applications are built to deliver client value, they get used more often, and uptake is greatly increased. As an aside our clients get real value out of this approach as their projects are more successful which means they come back to us. It’s win, win, win.

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BYOD vs. CYOD

King Canute has found a compromise! He will allow the tide to come in on the parts of the beach he has chosen.

Choose Your Own Device aims to be a middle ground between Bring Your Own Device and history.

CYOD means that the company continues to supply employees with equipment, but that there is now a menu of devices to choose from. The device remains as company property and security controls are managed by IT. The company controls what can be done on the device.

CYOD effectively removes the hardware and platform as an issue, but that is not the point. When an employee says they want an iPhone, they do not mean a device that runs iOS, but only has the same choice of apps and access as a Blackberry.

We need to secure data, protect customer privacy, and meet legal obligations. As part of that it is obvious that attention needs to be paid to how information held by the enterprise is secured and access to it controlled.

We have traditionally taken a horizontal approach to security, where each layer of the greater system is examined and locked down. This starts with applying security to servers, and ends up at the desktop and mobile device. This approach worked well in the past, when all parts of the enterprise were under IT control, there was no direct customer access, and the workforce was docile.

What is needed for today’s environment is a vertical approach to security, where security and access is considered holistically at an application level, taking a vertical slice through all the components that make up that application – be it email, social media, or an enterprise specific app.

This approach provides a more sensible way to handle the diverse components that make up a modern IT environment, including Cloud services, BYOD, internet cafe browsers, and public networks.

In terms of security for mobile, this means that we need to think in terms of Mobile Application Management, rather than Device Management. Security should be applied to the app not the device, and should be integrated vertically into the security management plan for the entire application from end-user interface to data storage.

Implementation of this type of security plan means that the difference between BYOD and CYOD is not about security, but about who owns and supplies the equipment – which is appropriate and sensible.

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Why application aggregation is important

We are often asked by customers to design an application for the tablets that will work like their current desktop applications. Why?

A tablet provides a very different user experience and any application design should look to utilise the benefits that a tablet form factor presents but also be aware of the limitations. Creating a mobile application allows an enterprise the opportunity to create a custom solution that will truly benefit their end users so why settle for an application that was designed to be used by millions of different customers on a PC – including all your competitors?
A typical user tends to use multiple back end applications to do their job. On a PC that is not a major problem, just open anther application and switch between the applications with the flick of a mouse. Tablets don’t function that well with multiple applications for a number of reasons e.g. copy and paste is slow.
A sales person may use their email client to look up a conversation with their customer or staff, then use a CRM tool to manage the customer relationship but while they are doing that they also need to know what the stock levels are of the products so they need access to ERP so you end up with at least 3 different user interfaces, multiple user sessions to maintain, additional software licenses.
The alternative would be to completely reconsider how you approach the concept of what an application is. Wikipedia states that an application on a PC is computer software designed to help the user to perform specific tasks. The sum of multiple individual tasks is an outcome so why not design your mobile application to deliver an outcome rather than just manage a single task?
In the example of the sales person, build a single application that draws data and writes to the relevant back end system in a contextual manner. The customer data is drawn from the CRM solution based on the calendar meeting details or even based on a geofenced customer site. The ERP solution provides the product and stock details as part of the sales call so there is no need to log in to a different application, just continue working in the one you are using.
Another approach that seems imminently sensible from an IT perspective but impacts the end user is the use of a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution. Yes, you can duplicate your desktop to a tablet but why? Any IT manager who proposes to roll out VDI to tablets should go out of the office for a few days and use VDI and experience the limitations that this approach has. Yes, it makes sense from a security perspective, but if a sales person can’t do his job then your competitors (who are using tablets with well-engineered applications) will gain your customers and most likely, your sales people.
Windows 8 on tablets with a touch interface is going to be a game changer. Given that most tablets will run on ARM CPU’s you will have the opportunity to create new tablet centric applications that really use the power of mobility – for a lot less than you may think. Consider what your mobile end users do in the course of a day and then start to design an application that allows them to be truly mobile and productive. Help them to deliver an outcome, not just a number of tasks.

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Aussie Smartphone Penetration – The Stats, the growth and what it means, where’s the value?

A lot has been written about the Aussie mobile market. Second behind Singapore in world smartphone adoption, about to push over 50%. Mobility is quickly moving from a nice to have, to a must have in market. Suddenly all of the mobile projects that were put on the back burner due to poor ROI are looking a little better, more people equals more opportunity which equals more value.

Even so, through all the stats, execs are still left wondering exactly where the value is in going mobile.

We see the opportunity a little like the below.

Experience is Everything.
Mobile is yet another customer touchpoint, one that now is expected rather than a value add, it’s a medium to position the company as a leader in experience innovation. It’s a chance to build trust, loyalty and value. Take financial services for example. In a mature and developed marketplace like finance it’s becoming increasingly hard to separate on price and product alone. Innovators like CBA and their Kaching app are using mobile as a way to deliver an unrivaled experience, often delivered simply through modernising and mobilising current business systems in an intuitive mobile interface.

For you and your customer the value sits in creating a brilliant unrivaled experiences not a mobile app.

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By 2015 Microsoft Mobile will surpass iOS – really??

A few months ago I was looking at the device sales forecasts by operating systems from Gartner and Forrester and both showed a very strong growth for Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system. It seemed wildly optimistic – both reports suggested that Microsoft would catch up to Apple and surpass it by 2015.

Then came the release of the Nokia Lumina handsets running Mango and the first previews of Windows 8 on a tablet with the same Metro interface. According to someone (probably an MS employee) on Wikipedia this tile interface is based on Swiss graphic design which means nothing to me but all the same, interesting.

What really struck me when I had the opportunity to play with a Windows 8 tablet recently was that this was the solution to the enterprise mobility challenge. iOS is a fantastic operating system, it doesn’t crash, it is simple to use and is beautiful stylistically. At the same time though it presents a number of challenges for an enterprise user, primarily the fact that spreadsheets are impossible to use on an iPad. People who are on the go and deal with customers use a lot of spreadsheets so they inevitably end up using an iPad and a laptop so their bag just keeps getting heavier.

Windows 8 devices will support a mouse, keyboard and other accessories when docked via Bluetooth or USB and then when you take the tablet out of the docking station it becomes a fully functional tablet. I suspect that the soon to be announced version of Office will have a new approach to Excel to support the touch gestures – if not, it would be a huge failing in the application. The tablet devices are probably going to run on ARM CPU’s so you won’t be able to use your legacy desktop applications – but why would you want to if you can use contextual applications based on the Metro interface?

JOOB has been working on a number of projects where the application on the phone or tablet becomes the sum of a number of back end systems that are collated into a user friendly, contextual application. So instead of multi-tasking between several applications while talking to a customer, you simply open a single application and let the JOOB framework do the interface to the various systems. The end result is an application that requires virtually no user training yet delivers the business requirements for that particular person anywhere, any time.

So expect to see a lot of Microsoft on mobiles in the next year as users and IT teams discover the power of mobility using the new Microsoft Metro interface whether on a Nokia smartphone or a tablet or a desktop. I think Gartner and Forrester hit the nail on the head.

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