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Opinion: Banking on mobile for the future

VP Avaya

Banks know they cannot afford to be on the back foot when it comes to mobile, yet the speed of consumer adoption is far faster than most businesses can contemplate

July 27, 2012 11:00 by

Of course, along with the ability to understand the customer’s vertical landscape, and provide a consultative led approach, resellers must also ‘deliver the goods’. Banks know they cannot afford to be on the back foot when it comes to mobile, yet the speed of consumer adoption is far faster than most businesses can contemplate.  Organisations need not only to select and purchase the technology, but also to integrate it so they can provide a comprehensive, integrated and consistent service to the consumer. This is backed up by the Avaya and BT research results showing the average consumer uses nearly three different channels just to buy one financial product. Financial organisations are looking for resellers that can deliver both the immediate benefits of mobile and the long term integration that quality customer relationship management requires. Offering technologies that are based on open standards, such as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), is one way to achieve this since it can help achieve immediate mobile goals whilst still enabling integration with existing customer service channels and in a time frame that is much more palatable than a bespoke, proprietary integration would require.

Mitigating the risk and knock-on costs associated with upgrading to mobile customer service is another crucial concern in the financial services industry. While financial institutions are keen to keep pace with changing consumer demands, large, multi-channel organisations generally do not have the appetite or the budget to overhaul their legacy infrastructure to achieve this goal.

Again, open standards technology can help customers breathe new life into their legacy systems with cutting edge mobile systems, delivering immediate, short term business advantages with steady evolution towards a more costly infrastructure upgrade later on. Increasingly, financial organisations are looking to their technology partners to provide this type of road map for change.

We are also living in the era of big data, and mobile interactions can provide a rich seam of information. Most financial institutions are already aware of the massive potential for consumer data from the mobile channel to enable a much more tailored customer experience.  However, this requires expert back-end integration with business intelligence applications, so that the data can actually become meaningful and valuable. Savvy channel partners who are already dealing with a customer’s mobile strategy will see this as a natural evolution in their customer engagement programme.

When organisations offer mobility to customers they are, in essence, putting a greater strain – both in terms of traffic and security – on their networks and IT departments. Adequate network monitoring is a key part of any mobile strategy that sometimes financial institutions haven’t thought through fully. Once again we see resellers collaborating with their vendor partners and stepping up, offering  monitoring solutions that as well as being efficacious are easy, perhaps offering IT staff a single view for all monitoring.

With the current economic uncertainty, banks and other financial institutions are forced to prioritise investments that deliver to the bottom line. Mobile banking creates both time and cost savings for customers and banks alike. Investing in it can make a tangible difference to their business and hence it represents an important opportunity for resellers who can demonstrate they are advisors, not just technology providers.

We are still at the beginning of the financial services mobile revolution but we know that each small step is incrementally taking us closer to significant change: it is only a matter of time before mobile phones replace ATMs and credit cards. Channel partners that are able to maximise this opportunity now are likely to gain a key foothold in the market for many years to come.

By Nidal Abou-Ltaif, VP of Emerging Regions, Avaya

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