The financial crisis in 2008 ushered in difficult times for banks with severe consequences for profitability. Initially, banks reacted by issuing layoff notices, reducing pay and downsizing the information technology (IT) budget. However, cost cutting was not an effective solution as the root cause of sliding bottom lines was the erosion of credibility and customer trust. Today, banks are seeking newer ways and channels to rebuild loyalty and accelerate business growth.
As financial retailers, banks must shift from a departmentalized inward-looking view towards a perspective that allows them to become their customers’ financial partners. Banks looking to implement a strategy of zero distance from customers must first create an efficient map that unifies information about customer financial relationships across all providers along with other relevant lifestyle and behavioral information. Such information can help identify personas, understand interaction patterns, plot needs and expectations, and identify critical decision-making moments. Banks can also use this map to translate customer insights into appropriate actions.
Effective compliance with greater efficiency
The digital revolution has created the means for the banking and financial services industry to achieve greater operational ease and efficiency. For instance, all banks must meet the same requirements to stay compliant, which results in similar processes being created across various banks. Since meeting compliance standards does not offer any individual benefit or competitive differentiation, the industry should consider collaborating for compliance, thereby enabling shared efforts and lower costs.
Analytics and visualization for clear insights
As with other retailers, the success of financial retailers will be determined by their ability to understand and cater to customers. The number of channels that a bank has is no longer important; instead it is vital to learn what channel a customer prefers. Therefore, to achieve smarter targeting, customers must be served as ‘segments of one’. Creating data and consuming technologies and scenarios such as mobility, Internet of Things (IoT), wearable devices, social, and analytics will become indispensable to the hyper-personalization of offerings along with the need to be more customer-specific while optimizing costs.
IT modernization and utilities
For banks in the commercial segment, the business opportunity lies in moving beyond transaction processing into the advisory realm. There are significant opportunities for these banks to leverage Big Data to improve their risk-assessment, trading and decision-making abilities. Further, the growing need for banks to create, consume and work with data of staggering volume and variety will make collaborative industry ‘utilities’ commonplace. In fact, a digitally evolved ecosystem will enable established players in the business to white-label some parts of their core technology and make it available to the newer players in the business, instantly turning potential competition into a source of revenue.