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May 18, 2016

Can banks ward off fintech challenge with a startup mentality?

Posted by Balwant C Surti (View Profile | View All Posts) at 7:57 AM

In recent years, the Bank, that grand edifice of solidity and security from days past, has come under threat from sources ranging from regulators to customers to fraudsters to legacy technology. And today, it stands on the threshold of a new challenger - the technology-driven non-banking player, which sadly is getting into the heart of its business. The Fintech firms and the technology heavyweight (such as Apple, Google and Microsoft) are the prime challengers in this category.

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September 10, 2015

Tracking Mobile Banking Innovation - II

Posted by Balwant C Surti (View Profile | View All Posts) at 1:06 PM

The emerging markets have the numbers and the ambition, but innovation is not necessarily or innately indigenous. That was where I signed off in my last post, so let me pick it up from there.

What works for the developing can also work for the developed. Emerging markets typically innovate around constraints - like weak infrastructure or low literacy for example - that may not be applicable to more mature markets. The innovation process in emerging markets is often defined by a search for fundamental utility rather than indisputable excellence, which has driven frugal innovation in many of these countries.

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August 10, 2015

Tracking Mobile Banking Innovation - I

Posted by Balwant C Surti (View Profile | View All Posts) at 1:00 PM

On one side, a premium tablet, a transit app, an enterprise mobility management solution and a wearable phone/locator for kids. On the other, a cellular base station-powered vaccine cold chain, a global mobile education platform, and a mobile money transfer service.

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July 15, 2015

Software Product Documentation - Less is More

Posted by Balwant C Surti (View Profile | View All Posts) at 1:22 PM

Here is a quick question to begin with. When was the last time you referred to a bulky user manual for a consumer product? Chances are that you haven't done that in a while. There was a time when a manual was often larger than the product it described, such as a scientific calculator. But when I checked the documentation that came with my iPad mini, smartphone, and Acer Tablet, in each case it was minimal. Of course, there was plenty of electronic content online.

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August 22, 2014

Optimizing Training Costs in Core Banking Transformation

Posted by Balwant C Surti (View Profile | View All Posts) at 11:38 AM

Core Banking transformation enforces change of such magnitude that it requires massive re-training of staff. Almost every user in the bank will be touched by it and therefore large budgets need to be set aside for training. In a budgetary crunch, when banks are looking at cutting costs everywhere, training is almost always a casualty. At the same time no one wants to cut corners in improving employee productivity.

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August 15, 2014

Annoying Customers by Deploying Technology Not Yet Ready for Primetime

Posted by Balwant C Surti (View Profile | View All Posts) at 11:47 AM

Some months ago, my workplace Employee ID card was replaced by a smart card with an embedded chip and the simple swipe at the turnstile permitting entry, now also needs a fingerprint scan. Whereas in the past I could enter with one swipe, now I need to scan my fingerprint twice (sometimes more) every day. If I do manage to get in at the first scan, I am unreasonably happy. I am one of those gadget freaks and like to try out new things all the time, but this fingerprint scan at the gate beats me! I thought there was a knack to it that escaped me, but no, that isn't so. Having observed other people go through the multiple scan process has convinced me that this is standard fare! The technology works, in the sense that it lets me in and out everyday and I haven't yet got inextricably stuck. But it's frustrating as compared to the earlier experience where one swipe was enough. Clearly, the fingerprint scanning technology works but I feel that it is not ready for primetime. If this technology were to be used with customers, they would get annoyed and competitors would look to take advantage of that.

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June 16, 2014

Workforce Automation with Mobile Devices

Posted by Balwant C Surti (View Profile | View All Posts) at 11:18 AM

Automation is the key to effective selling, and sales force automation is prevalent in the retail industry. Workforce automation is an extension of sales force automation, where every employee works more efficiently using mobile devices such as tablets.

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May 29, 2014

"Groupon" Banking

Posted by Balwant C Surti (View Profile | View All Posts) at 10:07 AM

Who does not love a deal? Companies, such as Groupon have made a global business around deals, local ones in particular. Combine that with social media, deliver deals on mobile and analyze the resultant Big Data, and we are talking about an interesting opportunity for banks.

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September 27, 2013

Tablets for the Bank Workforce

Posted by Balwant C Surti (View Profile | View All Posts) at 7:26 AM

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Riding the crest of the technology wave, banks today are making a beeline for tablets for the use of their customer-facing workforce. While most banks have acquired tablets by the thousands, quite a few have gone the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) way. This eagerness on the part of banks to portray a tech-savvy image has in turn fueled the need for ready-to-deploy solutions compatible with tablets. This has thrown up a slew of products, developed by both in-house developers and IT vendors; however, most of them come across as mobile solutions rehashed to suit the tablet.

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April 17, 2013

Internet today, mobile tomorrow

Posted by Balwant C Surti (View Profile | View All Posts) at 5:38 AM

Internet today Mobile tomorrow.jpg

The recent Finextra article, "Consumers remain resistant to digital banking aspirations" resonated well with what I think about social media, mobile banking, Internet banking and branch banking. But I will not dwell on that; I will instead concentrate on what the research and the article say about mobile banking.

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December 13, 2012

Is it really that Simple?

Posted by Balwant C Surti (View Profile | View All Posts) at 10:53 AM

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Banksimple, a website whose name says it all.  Now renamed Simple.com. All part of the value proposition of making banking simple, I guess.

For the benefit of those who are not yet familiar with Simple.com, it's a cool front-end service that simplifies banking for customers. It connects with them through social media and eases money management. Which is something that banks have not yet been able to achieve. Will these types of services spell the end of traditional banking? Certainly (Bank) Simple thinks so, judging by its aggressive tag line - "get ready to leave your bank." What can banks do to counter such threats?

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October 10, 2012

Re-engineering? But isn't that so yesterday?

Posted by Balwant C Surti (View Profile | View All Posts) at 8:37 AM

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If you believe that "change is the only constant" then you will not find it difficult to accept that "re-engineering is the response to change that keeps you going".

It is assumed, may I add very wrongly, that re-engineering business processes is a one-time exercise. If we did live in a static world, then yes, we could arrive at the perfect process in a few iterations and stick with it forever. But our world is a very dynamic one. Today, technology is the one big change, which keeps the need for re-engineering constant! Here, I'll digress a bit to remind you of a biology lesson from school -species which do not adapt to their changing environment perish and disappear forever. It is no different in the business world. Corporations, which fail to keep up with change, are doomed to extinction.

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