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Henry Woodcock

Retail Finance

Henry Woodcock - IRESS

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Innovation in Financial Services

Innovation in Financial Services

A discussion of trends in innovation management within financial institutions, and the key processes, technology and cultural shifts driving innovation.

Financial Apps - here to stay?

02 May 2012  |  2241 views  |  1

Apps are fast becoming the emperor’s new clothes of the financial services world – businesses feel the need to have one and few people seem willing to stand up and tell them the truth.

A recent article listed the most valuable apps for advisers, however the list contained only a few really “useful” apps and indeed many had very simple functions and lacked any real value or substance; one was not actually even an app!

So why the rush to app development?

The growth in apps and the general rush to provide apps has been driven by the consumerisation of business software and the ready access to, and affordability of app based technology.

The key factors here are:

  • BYOD – the devices we use socially – mobile phones, tablets and iPads – are being brought into the workplace with a demand for at least basic enterprise connectivity
  • Usability – the way we interact with the apps and overall ease of use provide a rich, informative and enhancing user experience that traditional systems do not
  • Availability – collaboration, interactivity and always on 24×7 availability mean that social networks and apps like Twitter, Foursquare and LinkedIn provide both social and increasingly business value
  • Affordability – the fact is that you can buy complex and sophisticated software for the price of a morning coffee and have it now, when you want and where you want

App capabilities are now setting the new bar of expectation for both consumer and business applications. The “Cloud” is often viewed as a technology construct – understood in that it allows the end user to access their photographs, contacts and wine tasting notes anywhere and anytime, but the true value of this is only realised within the app that sits on top of it.

A recent US paper – YaYa zoomed in, a study in social media and the Millennial generation  – highlights how the demands on technology in both the consumer and business space are ever growing. “We want to stay ahead of the curve with technology and trends. If we’re not updating our technology and just ‘standing still,’ we are actually moving backwards. There’s no such thing as being content anymore.”

Financial organisations such as Allianz, RBS and Aviva appear to understand that demand and are underpinning their belief in the validity of well-designed apps across all markets with investment upwards of £300,000 with specialist app developers.

What works?

Technology and security factors aside there are some key elements for any successful app:

  • Deliver a usable, engaging and effective experience for users – every person that has your app is a potential agent for new sales!
  • Understand the use and the user of the proposition – what will provide lasting value?
  • Convenience – the mobile generation expects convenience in all aspects of their life which in turn means that they want access to information or services when they want it – adapt and flourish or stagnate and die

Successful and useful apps will be those where the market, the demographic and the value to the consumer and the provider have been well thought through.

TagsMobile & online

Comments: (1)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 03 May, 2012, 11:28

As I'd written in my personal blog last week, mobile apps offer MNOs a great opportunity to increase cross-selling and upselling of their VAS, boosting their ARPUs in the process. Not sure whether the same will hold good in BFSI where products and services are more complex. But, the mobile app initiatives by Allianz, Aviva and RBS are steps in the right direction. Even if they don't result in deals, they're a good source of leads. 

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Principal Mortgage Consultant Key activities: Business Development; Pre-sales Support; Market Intelligence; Regulatory & Legislative Insight; Solution Design; Business Consultancy.

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