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Sidestepping pitfalls in the search for technology innovation

A very successful private equity investor once shared with delegates of a packed conference that he spends more time on the road than he does in his office. The reason, he said, is that he wants to see firsthand the types of companies in which his firm is considering investing. Not only that, but he would go to exotic lands during the worst times (weather-wise) of the year. Monsoons would hit the coasts, earthquakes would shake cities, and snowstorms would cripple roads and airports.

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Changing banking methods to stay the same

The artist Willem de Kooning, a master of abstract expressionism, once said that he had to change in order to stay the same. He was speaking about his art, but I suppose a technology innovator could be in that same frame of mind when thinking about her/his inventions.

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Gamification figures big in banking

Nowhere has the voice of the individual become more potent than in banking. The good news is that a new trend will help banks tap into the minds of their consumer base. Imagine using light-hearted, fun techniques to lead consumers through various scenarios and judge where next to engage with them. That's why ‘gamification’ can be so powerful.

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The journey to technology intensity: From seeking IT investment to inspiring it

My friend's organization was spending upwards of 3% of its revenue on IT. The corresponding figure for its peers is approximately 1.8% to 2.3%. So, does that mean my friend’s business has got its math all wrong?

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Four themes paving the path ahead for banks

Mohit Joshi on four key trends banks must work on, so they can mind their customers better – industrialization (e.g., core architecture), digital strategy (social media), infrastructure optimization (e.g., cloud), and regulatory compliance (e.g., Basel III).

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Balancing Compliance and Conversation

Here's a mashup of findings from two separate studies on the social media behavior of banks. According to the first, which looked at the Twitter performance of over 300 U.S. retail banks, almost 22% of the accounts were either dormant or deactivated. About 50% tweeted less than once every 3 days and 1 in 10 managed fewer than 20 tweets over 12 months. The second, a study of 50 leading private banks found that one-third did not even have an active Facebook profile and only half of the remaining two-thirds responded to a test request.

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Mobility and the Enterprise

Planet Earth has yet to pass the 7 billion mark when it comes to human beings alive on its surface. Yet it recently passed the 7.3 billion threshold for mobile devices. That there are more mobile telephones than people in the world is one thing. But when you factor out the many humans that are barely out of diapers, or very old, that ratio becomes even more extraordinary.

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The Year of Big Data in Banking

American retailer Target made a lot of headlines last year for figuring out that a teenager was pregnant, before her family did, simply based on her buying behavior. A poignant yet persuasive case for data analytics.

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A Wish for 2013: More Inclusivity, More Mobile

Having made it through 2012 after all, what can we look forward to in 2013? Well, mostly more of the same, but with some differences. The mobility story is no longer new, but it is expected to turn a significant chapter sometime early next year, when the number of tablets and smartphones in use will exceed that of personal, laptop and notebook computers.

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The top 10 mobility trends for 2013

It's safe to say we at Infosys know a thing or two about the benefits of being mobile. I think about some of the enormous projects we've completed over the years in which some of our closest and most trusted co-workers were thousands of miles away.

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What's hot. What's not. For banking in 2013

I do my banking with two regional banks. One bank gives away pocket calendars. The other gives away ballpoint pens. I, of course, see the sentiment behind both these customer-friendly gestures. And yet, I can also see that in the following year, commercial banks will be thinking less about stationery giveaways and more about how to burnish their product lines.

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The app-side of BYOD

Employees love it. Companies can leverage it. And IT administrators have learnt to live with it. So "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) will come to be. But that's just the beginning. Going forward, consumer mobile usage patterns will probably suggest even greater possibilities for leveraging enterprise mobility. One of these is a corporate app store.

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The magic in the banking process is dying. So the bank can resurrect

The Karmic cycle of birth and death is at the heart of Hindu philosophy. And it seems to have spilled over to banking as well! The (pure) banking product has been pronounced dead by many a banker, and present day offerings are not the sole preserve of traditional banking establishments.

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Finacle aspires to leadership of a higher kind

Gartner, Inc. has positioned Infosys as a Leader in the recently released 'Magic Quadrant for International Retail Core Banking 2012*' report for its Finacle™ core banking solution. The Leaders quadrant is occupied by vendors that demonstrate strong development methodologies, and all these vendors have a measurable strategy for disaggregating core banking software functionality into component-based constructs.

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Bury old banking service. Bring on the new.

The ATM for cash withdrawal. The Internet for a checkbook request. The mobile for account balance. An app that deposits checks, transfers money and pays bills on the go. And now, the online automated investment advisory platform that promises an optimized, customized portfolio.

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Infosys edge

It's a world of growing complexity and changing dynamics. And, I often find many vexing challenges, that businesses face, stem from the fact that they must, on the one hand, add on new capabilities to adapt to change, and on the other rationalize these add-ons in the interests of organizational efficiency and operational simplicity.

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The bank is dead. Long live banking.

Are predictions about the death of bank branches or even banks, exaggerated? Likely. But there's no denying the decimation of the bank, and especially the branch, as we know it: it is estimated that branch activity in the developed world is down by 90 percent compared to what it was around 20 years ago.

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An open letter to the god of wealth!

Mobile financial transaction represents a new model that helps bridge the gaps that telecom enterprises, banks, retailers and other businesses face, so they can reach out to millions of customers - thus touching their lives in a meaningful way. Mobile financial transaction, thus, creates a market that never existed.

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Digital money: The tipping point is here

Not very long ago, I was watching the news about the USD 1B acquisition of this company called Instagram by the social media giant Facebook. What struck me, when I read about Instagram, was that this fledgling company was premised on a very simple idea.

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What Mobile Banking Needs

Abraham Maslow said that human beings must fulfill their (basic) need for air, food, water, sleep and other life-forces before they can move on to higher things. Actually, you can apply that logic to every aspect of life: fuel economy before interiors, fixed return before capital appreciation, home ownership before vacation...Must-have trumps nice-to-have every time.

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Building tomorrow's bank, today.

Banks are now facing the challenge that credit card companies confronted just a few years ago: Growth is practically impossible without devising new ways to make products and services more useful and compelling for customers.

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Please listen carefully. (Your menu options have changed)

As I booked tickets on my phone for an evening out at the movies, I marveled at how things had changed over the past couple of decades. (No, I'm not talking about the price of tickets, although that alarms me as well!). In a country of 1.2 billion, where 15 years ago even getting a regular phone was a luxury, here I was buying movie tickets on my mobile phone!!!

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Is market research breathing its last? Well, the smart phone isn't helping

If technology has influenced anything, it has perhaps had its greatest impact on our patience. A Google research team recently has confirmed that we humans cannot stand waiting. And our patience is wearing thinner every nanosecond.

over the past many decades.

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How much should you trust your mobile phone?

As user affection for mobile phones continue to soar every passing minute, employing mobile phones for financial transactions remains a cause for concern. The bolstering of user confidence especially for applications such as mobile money depends on concerted efforts of regulatory agencies taken against data security and data leakage.

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Mobile money trickles into the developing nations

Research reveals that users spend more time on their mobiles than on computers. Mobile money will go a long way in providing financial services to the unbanked and empower individuals to store and manage funds. All this forms a part of the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), and SME Finance Framework.

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How Would You Like to Pay? Smartphone

Smartphones are increasingly replacing currencies and cards as the preferred payment option for the upwardly mobile digerati. Growing adoption of mobile payment services helps consumers get the best deals, complete transaction and view real-time statements all through a handheld device. Reports predict six-fold increase in payments to $984 billion in 2014. Near Field Communication-enabled devices use wireless technology that helps to wave and pay with phone.

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I Know That Face

Advent of artificial intelligence systems such as face detection technology in financial sector, especially banking, is bound to have tremendous impact on customer service. Apart from alerting staff about regular customers' branch visits, it can also improve efficiency of ATMs. Face detection technology also throws open interesting possibilities to academics, marketers, application vendors, security professionals and regulators. Though there are several regulatory and security hurdles to contend with, its launch will change lives forever.

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Now that data's going really big, what's next?

Senior leadership in enterprises is yet to recognize value derived from data collection and evolve a successful data strategy in sync with their business goals. Institutions such as banks that gather large amount of consumer data must explore possibilities with big data. Further, enterprises need to manage information assets and identify critical data and bridge analytical resource gaps.

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Who will create the next billion-dollar business?

In the digital environment, financial services organizations employ Social Media to enable innovation and actively engage with employees. The main objective behind this motto is to equip digital employees to compete with nimble operators. Further, enterprises also endeavor to serve customers better. All these efforts culminate in providing immense business value. This results in the question as to what is the next big billion-dollar opportunity.

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Maybe banks need to study their ABCs

Beleaguered financial institutions scouting for a winning formula would do well to factor in the influence of social channels in driving business; give due consideration to customers financial position; weigh in affordability and accessibility; imbibe consumer individuality and investor awakening and arrest the slide with a combination of freethinking, wise action and prudent policies that put long-term benefits over short term interests.

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Confusion can be a good thing (and will lead to prosperity)

Similar to health ailments traversing the testing, diagnosis, treatment and recuperation route, each country suffering economic malaise goes through confusion, order and development to attain economic prosperity. A case in point is the economic meltdown experienced in the U.S. and the Europe. To restore order, these economies must attack the root cause of their malaise. Further, they need to take concerted action to stem the cascading effect of failure on rest of the world.

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Invasion of the Invisible Wallet

Google's launch of the first mobile wallet app, a few weeks ago, will trigger innovation in our lives. The NFC (Near Field Communication) technology on which Google's wallet works will evolve quickly. And this will replace the physical wallet.

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Does your business answer the why question?

Business stewardship is all about providing a “purposeful direction” to organizations that one is designated to lead. The biggest gain is achieved when leaders help talented associates find a clear sense of direction and make it profitable for them to walk that path.

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Banking? Thanks, but No Thanks

Conventional banking may not be relevant tomorrow to a set of people who are currently outside the financial net, namely, teenagers and the very young. Raised on a diet of technology, connectivity and instant gratification they may expect banking to be fuss-free, mobility-enabled and integrated with the social web.

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Mobile is the Money

Now, smartphones are leading mobile payments innovation at the top end of the market. Even kids seem to understand this phenomenon. And that's a demographic that's hard to ignore.

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Show me your mobile, I'll show you who you are

Multiple developments in mobile financial services sphere are turning smartphones into an all-seeing eye — one that can track every user move even when money is not changing hands. It can also provide a financial institution a wealth of information to offer all sorts of services to customers.

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The Little Bankers Get It

Banks can become more interesting and less boring if they deliver an enjoyable experience. Compared with emerging models and providers of financial services, traditional institutions appear a little sleepy. Are they becoming complacent?

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Banking in a Sachet

Consumers may soon demand pocket-sized financial services such as a customized package that comes at a lower cost but allows the use of just one or two service channels only. How about a pay-per-use deal on everything, including consultations with the retirement expert?

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