Asia skills shortage hindering mobile uptake


Despite tech giants like Facebook and Google leading the charge towards online transactions and mobile banking, “the gap between demand for skilled mobile developers and their lack of availability is hindering the roll-out of mobile banking applications by financial service institutions,” says analyst Oliver Weidlich, Founder and Director at Mobile Experience.

Delegates polled at FST Media’s Technology & Innovation – The Future of Banking & Financial Services conference in Kuala Lumpur said the number one technology game-changer for the next twelve months was mobile technology (67 per cent). However, when asked what the top IT priority would be for 2013/2014, building mobile apps received a zero per cent response. Weidlich theorises this could be because mobile may be wrapped into ‘enhancing multi-channel delivery capabilities, including social media’ which received the highest priority rating of 39 per cent in the poll, as mobile and tablet development can often fall under the same organisational banner.

Even with the possibility of innovation bundling in the poll, Weidlich emphasised the more likely explanation for the disparity is “the specialised skill-set required to design and deliver rich mobile applications is in very high demand compared to market supply. This means developers and app designers can charge a premium, making entry into the mobile space even more expensive for banks.”

Weidlich also pointed out “marketing and customer-facing elements of financial service organisations are driving mobile development so they can fulfill their customer engagement objectives, and making these priorities fit with those of their IT department can be difficult. Ultimately, mobile needs to be a core capability for all of these finance groups.”

Implementing cost-effective new technologies was the number one challenge facing IT professionals in financial service industries today, according to the same FST Media poll, receiving 38 per cent of the total sample. This was followed by ‘getting buy-in from management for new projects’ with 29 per cent, a point also echoed by Weidlich: “This is a period of changing what banking actually is, and getting senior executive buy-in is one of the biggest challenges facing those who are trying to make it happen.”

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Access presentations and audio recordings from FST Media’s Technology & Innovation – the Future of Banking and Financial Services conference here