19 October 2017

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Reghunathan Sukumara Pillai - Infosys

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Digital Maturity or Bank Maturity or Customer Maturity

20 February 2016  |  3181 views  |  0

The maturity of a bank's digital services depends on the breadth of offerings and their consumption by customers through digital channels. The number of transactions happening through self-service channels, proportion of transactions happening through digital platforms and their turnaround times, extent of automation and straight through processing, and customer segments availing the services, are all measurable parameters of maturity level. In most parts of the globe, digital services in retail and transaction banking are still evolving and banks need to invest millions of dollars in infrastructure/software solutions to provide a comprehensive digital customer experience.

It is not ideal to equate digital experience with user interface, while ignoring vital aspects such as integration and the back end financial ecosystem and accounting processes. Also, the usage of multiple devices to complete a single transaction does not necessarily indicate digital maturity. Though usability and user interface are important, chaining of processes, and integration with the banking system, are a must to achieve the end goal.

Large banks with a multitude of legacy systems would face challenges in converting to purely digital banks unless they replace those back end systems with modern core banking systems (CBS). And banks, which already have a core banking system in place, would need to extend that to an omni-channel framework to provide a seamless digital experience.

The maturity and robustness of security and authentication systems accompanying the digital framework is another critical parameter for improving customer trust and confidence. The service and process maturity of the financial ecosystem also plays a critical part in the success of digital services. Manual processes, store and forward mechanisms, or too much operational and authorization control, will hamper the digital delivery mechanism from a banking perspective.

But even as banks across the globe work their way up the maturity curve, it is equally important that their customers also improve in technological maturity. Though banks can innovate and deliver digital services, their uptake will be minimal as long as customers are not technologically mature. Their digital efforts might meet with partial success, but certainly not to the extent desired.

To conclude, the success of digital platforms and services depends on the maturity of service, technology, security and authentication mechanisms, and customers. The maturity of underlying infrastructure, including platforms, networks, digital devices etc., also plays a critical part in the success of digital services. To achieve this, government authorities, banks and customers have to play a critical role. Until then, digital banking will remain a theoretical concept rather than practical reality. 

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