Retail banking innovation programmes can face a variety of internal barriers to success, ranging from resistance from inhouse technology fiefdoms, governance, and the demand for swift ROI, according to the panel of industry experts on the Finextra/Infosys Webcast, 'Retail Banking Innovation - Adapting to a new age', broadcast on Thursday.
Moderated by James Gardner, a fomer head of innovation at Lloyds TSB and noted BankerVision blogger, the Webcast panel heard contributions from Sanat Rao, VP & worldwide head business development and alliances, Finacle, Infosys; Stewart Bromley, head of digital solutions, HSBC (First Direct); Saul van Beurden, operations & IT banking/strategy & support, ING; and Liisa Kanniainen, VP at Nordea and executive director, Mobey Forum.
Beurden describes ING as a "strategic follower", as opposed to an "early adopter", of innovation. He says ING sees that position as having more "stability." Beurden goes on to say that banks need to recognise how many so-called "painful moments" they face off to their customers and reconcile these with what he describes as a "pleasure curve." (Such as a store offering a child's play area, while parents wait in line at the register.) He adds that ING will be making a technology announcement around this "pleasure curve" for customers in the next nine months.
Kanniainen emphasises the need for department "heroes", who are allowed to make "small mistakes" without any forced mandate from a centralised innovation department. She goes on to say that by allowing small mistakes, Nordea learns from their innovation projects and improves on them. "If you do big mistakes, you burn your hands, do nothing for five years, but you don't learn," she says.
Bromley added to the idea of learning from small mistakes by recalling HSBC/First Direct's first move into video banking. He says that the bank customers were pleased with the service, but the technology used was a point-to-point platform and was therefore not scalable. HSBC/First Direct discontinued that pilot, but has since re-launched video banking, via WebEx, which is scalable and is getting a positive reaction from their clients.
This webcast is now available to view on demand. Just register at www.finextra.com/innovation.