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Glue Reply is the Reply group company that specialises in architecture, integration and data. Glue Reply helps organisations maximise the value from business change and technology investments by enabling them to define, design, implement and resource best practice. By focusing on customers’ strategic objectives, Glue Reply develops architectures that inform an appropriate, efficient and effective business response. Glue Reply provides high value, independent advice using the framework of people, process and tools.
Banking and finances are a very personal thing, but the emergence of digital and social platforms have given consumers a new way to engage, a greater voice and subsequent influence over the service they demand. This has fundamentally changed the playing field for banks and other financial services providers.
With increased competition in the market and the threat from new challengers, banks need to focus on innovating the digital customer experience to retain and grow their customer base.
Bricks and mortar retailers faced a similar challenge with the advent of ecommerce and emergence of new retail brands. They soon learnt that when adding digital elements to their existing channels, customers expect the same quality of service across every one. John Lewis and Argos have worked hard to create great omni-channel experiences and are leading the way.
Fundamentally, whatever the channel, there are four elements which retailers are now embracing that should inspire digital innovation around the customer experience strategy:
1) OFFER A PERSONAL SERVICE: Customers don’t like being passed around, they want swift and insightful service and don’t want to have to ‘explain themselves’ each time a new agent tries to help them. Digital platforms offer the opportunity to provide customers with a personal service that binds together the actions and conversations the customer has had across different channels with the bank, providing context and useful data to personalise. Joining these ‘conversations’ requires joining systems and IT architecture is the key to maximising the value across the business from all digital platforms.
2) SERVICE ON THEIR TERMS: Banking and financial services is an industry where this mantra should apply the most. The nature of banking and financial affairs is something that everyone needs to take an active interest in. The easier the bank makes it for customers to understand and subsequently manage their finances, the more the banks will be delivering on their promises to “support”, “be fair” and “be on your side”.
3) ADDED BENEFITS WITHOUT INTRUSION: A bank needs to educate and put forward the right products for the customer to consider within regulatory guidelines. Integrated back end systems combined with digital platforms allow the bank to recommend alternative product suggestions and keep the ‘conversation’ going. Through IT architecture and data analysis banks are able to understand the pain points that are preventing intelligent data insight.
4) A DISTINCTIVE PROPOSITION: It is the challenger banks, such as Metro Bank, that are slowly gaining consumers’ attention, but Rome wasn’t built in a day and these banks have a long way to go to compete with the established high street banks. The established banks need to think differently to move forward; otherwise they are not going to exist as a bank for much longer. Banks need to stop focusing on their traditional areas and keeping it ‘alive’ and think about moving forward. Business capability modelling can help ensure IT functions are structured to meet the future needs of the business.
Most banks know exactly how they want to enhance the customer journey and become more ‘digital’ but they are hampered by incumbent IT systems. The foundation on which the bank can deliver innovative aspects to its service to secure its future depends on its underlying IT architecture. When it comes to digital innovation, it isn’t just about delivery new capabilities to keep pace with market developments; it should be about how the bank is working to change the game with the next generation of products and services.
Tomorrow’s innovation rests on today’s foundations and many banks and providers are battling with numerous core systems and information that they can’t integrate behind the new digital interfaces created. Many established bricks and mortar retailers have found themselves in the same boat and learnt that the key to getting ahead in the race for customers is to focus on incremental changes that show value and add benefit to the customer experience at the same time as addressing the underlying IT architecture. Banks know what their customers want and they have the data to be able to provide it. Leveraging enterprise architecture principles can help align investment to the overall business strategy. Strategic IT project planning, governance and selection has never been more important to deliver digital innovation.