Convergence and big data the game changers


The convergence of mobile, social, data and the cloud has emerged as the game-changing trend for financial institutions in the year ahead, according to a poll of delegates who attended FST Media’s 8th annual Technology & Innovation — the Future of Banking & Financial Services conference.

Of those surveyed 44 per cent were looking at convergence as a game changer, and 31 per cent of respondents flagged the rise of big data analytics and predictive analytics.

Alan Grogan, Chief Analytics Officer at the Royal Bank of Scotland, highlighted the importance of customer relationships as the driver for these trends, saying “real-time analytics can help turn banking relationships with customers into banking partnerships.”

Opening keynote speaker Mark Hand, Managing Director of Retail Distribution at ANZ, also acknowledged “we are entering the age of the consumer.”

Lisa Claes, Executive Director of Distribution at ING Direct highlighted the need for banks to keep up with the nature of the ever changing customer.

According to Claes, 90 per cent of people have their smartphone within arms reach 100 per cent of the time, and with statistics like that she says banks really need to stay ahead, “we all live in a proliferation of channel world… needs and expectations today are now met through a proliferation of rich and a diverse network of platforms.”

Ian Muir, Head of Customer Experience at Westpac, commented on the significance of mobile, citing the success St George’s mobile app ‘Money Metre’ has had with 50,000 customers using the app a million times a month.

St George Bank’s General Manager of retail banking, Andrew Fell also said the bank is seeing a decrease of in-branch transactions of 10 per cent year-on-year, while mobile banking has increased by 350 per cent.

While many banks are moving toward a multi-channel strategy, it is not always the same experience on offer through each channel. The demand to unify these experiences for the customer is of greatest importance, according to Bankwest CIO, Andy Weir.

He pointed out a subtle difference between multi-channel strategies and omni-channel strategies, and why customers are demanding the latter, “omni-channel means seamless, whether I’m online, whether I’m on my mobile, whether I’m talking to a mobile banker, whether I’m in a store, it is absolutely the same user experience…. That’s what customers are increasingly demanding.”

This opinion was echoed by Vipin Kalra, Visa’s Country Manager for Australia, “The consumer experience needs to be very consistent across all channels, we talk about the omni-channel delivery and the customer experience and I think it’s so true that consumers are asking for a very similar experience across all channels… so whatever we do in one channel needs to be replicated into other channels, and that is where banks have done a very good job… that’s the kind of experience we need to replicate in a shopping environment as well.”