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Mobility's Shifting Landscape

Posted by Rajashekara V. Maiya (View Profile | View All Posts) at 9:40 AM

The digital revolution is beginning to look more and more like a mobile revolution, at least in banking. The maturity of a bank's mobile services portfolio is increasingly becoming the metric that drives customers to choose or switch service providers. And banks are returning the favor by placing mobility right at the top of their innovation priorities.

The digital revolution is beginning to look more and more like a mobile revolution, at least in banking. The maturity of a bank's mobile services portfolio is increasingly becoming the metric that drives customers to choose or switch service providers. And banks are returning the favor by placing mobility right at the top of their innovation priorities.

But mobility is still a relatively nascent concept where multiple components are shifting and settling, all the while opening up new opportunities as well as challenges. Here are a few of those shifts that banks will have to address in order to stay on top of their mobile game.

The shift of power to the end points: Whether from a consumer, partner or regulator perspective, the power of purchasing, decision making and judging will increasingly move to the (mobile-enabled) end points. Banks must recognize this shift early on and lead the change by making necessary enhancements to systems, policies and processes.

The shift of interaction from person-to-person to screen-to-screen: Many in-person interactions have already moved to the handheld screen, which compels banks to revisit their content & communication strategies in the new context. But experience remains the buzzword and banks need to design interactions around fulfillment and consumer delight, rather than processes and transactions.

The shift to industrialization: Mobility has been an important catalyst for the wave of industrialization, rationalization and standardization that is sweeping through the banking world. The "factory model" of banking will not only standardize products at the back-end but will also simultaneously enable their customization at the front-end. Mobile should be an integral part of the "one size fits all" strategy to ensure that customers can undertake all activities - purchase, deposit, consult, transact, complain and compliment - on a mobile screen.

The shift from form factor to all forms or formless: Wearables shipments are expected to grow four-fold over the next four years. Wearables, some predict, will free experience from all constraints of time and space. But some wearable devices, such as glasses, will also raise the quality of personal interaction by enabling the parties to maintain eye contact, even when using the device. And customers will expect to bank with it.

The shift from less- to -less: In the few decades of its existence, IT has mainly worked behind the scenes as an enabler of efficiency, productivity, agility and resource utilization. The mobile wave will usher in a new paradigm where "extensive, explosive and exponential" will replace the traditional "incremental, conservative and linear" approach. Interaction will have to become timeless, effortless, people-less, even bankless, and therefore technology will have to be more intelligent, interactive, predictive and proactive.

These are just some of the temporal shifts, which though topically important, are merely signs of a deeper, foundational transformation that mobility will bring to banking. But for mobile to realize its potential to be the future of banking, banks have to ensure that mobility remains the central focus in every strategic decision they make.

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