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A digital banker or technologist for a digital banking solution

The concept of digitization, referring to digital platforms, digital services or digital channels, has been making waves in the financial services industry across the globe during the past few years. Banks and customers alike are deriving their own conclusions on what digital could bring or mean to this space. Each bank is using solutions, services and marketing to create a digital “image” of their organization. However, end customers are confused and perhaps lured by the terminology without actually deriving any value from it by way of customer service or earnings.

From a technology perspective, these documents, solutions, and services need to be converted into digital form with workflows which are automatic, to enable both banks and customers to operate online at their convenience, without manual intervention from staff.

The digitization concept can be illustrated with the example of the mobile. From a customer perspective, mobile phones have evolved beyond being just phones to smart devices of transaction, information retrieval and payment. With the addition of data storage capacity and features, smartphones are today powerful handheld gadgets. However, other applications, technologies, and service providers haven’t  kept pace, resulting in a service to digital gap.

Banks and IT vendors offered many solutions and services but could not meet the demands of the customer. Another reason could be the slow turnaround time in understanding customer needs and delivering new solutions and services to fulfill them.

The mobile is not the only area where the digitalization of banking is creating a gap; scanning, photographing, photocopying, fax, courier, email are also instances of how the availability of multiple technologies or instruments which are not integrated, and the absence of workflows, are resulting in manual intervention or store and forward mechanisms.

Isolated technology solutions with partial functionality are becoming a hindrance to the common man trying to meet his needs. Some companies are using obsolete technologies with architectural and design constraints, limiting features, usability and automation. The need of the hour is simple, innovative, user-friendly solutions, which meet customer demands. Security and authentication are other critical elements of any workable solution.

To conclude, a banker or technologist needs to think digital, meaning they need to figure out how daily activities can be digitized while ensuring integration, automation and workflow for smooth transaction processing. Changing customer needs must be the priority of technologists as they go about designing digital solutions that can keep pace with the evolution of the digital world. With customer demands increasing all the time, both technology providers and financial institutions need to play a crucial part in developing software/technology digital platforms which could potentially be based on OSS technologies, and allow customers to tailor various functions according to their needs. For that a digital banker or technologist needs to think intuitively and digitally.

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Comments: (3)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 25 March, 2016, 13:27Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

The banking industry has created algo trading that works without human intervention. Within 5-6 years since its mainstream adoption, algo trading accounts for 60% of stock trading in USA (Source: Flash Boys, Michael Lewis). To me, algo trading is one of the greatest examples of digitization.

If banking is capable of achieving that, has it occured to you that there might be strong reasons why it's not making commensurate progress on multichannel, omnichannel, analytics and other areas of digitization?

  • Maybe they lack ROI?
  • Maybe they're not uniformly wanted - or even accepted - by all their customers?
  • Maybe their tech vendors lack the expertise to support them in their initiatives? 

Advice is cheap. Probing a little deep is hard because it may expose skeletons in the cupboard. More on Finextra at http://qwt.io/s_ketharaman/CTsq and http://qwt.io/s_ketharaman/OaiH.

Hitesh Thakkar
Hitesh Thakkar - FIS Payments Software and Services India - India 28 March, 2016, 12:08Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Think Digital First - has been the way shown by consulting firms to bankers as well as Technology vendors have demostrated its stength and innovation in coverting end to end manual process of onboarding customer into Digital form.

Waiting game is still going on to see decision makers coming out if their Silo thinking :)

Graham Seel
Graham Seel - BankTech Consulting - Concord 29 March, 2016, 19:37Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Good article and comments. ROI has certainly been an inhibitor - digitization for the sake of it is hard to justify, even as a foundation for other potential benefits later. Trade Finance is a great example. So many of the underlying documents (shipping, bills of lading, insurance, customs docs, even invoices) are still paper-bound that Letter of Credit processing is expensive, time-consuming and risk-prone (especially AML). But digitizing it all is going to be very expensive, and there hasn't been a solid ROI. Corporate customers are instead moving to take on their own credit risk and go to open account, or to other means of hedging risk. Having said that, there are a couple of early efforts at exploring the use of distributed ledgers and smart contracts as a cost-effective way of moving toward digitization - time will tell whether the business case can be made effectively.