Monthly Archives: June 2014

Industry Trend: Social Servicing

This entry is part 27 of 30 in the series Trends

Banks are servicing customers on social media and this has a profound effect on the tone of customer comments on social media, according to Digital Bank.

In the book Skinner interviews Banco Sabvadell, a top-six bank in Spain who has serviced customers on social media since 2010 and see social media as “like a pub where people go to chat.”  They use it as an “integrated service channel” and a “video content viralization platform”, and as a way to have human conversations with customers.  It is a sales tool as well, with customer comments leading to sales, such as a positive comment by a taxi driver about a POS device in his cab.  Social media are leveraged by multiple organizations from the multichannel service team to the communications and marketing team.  Pol Navarro believes sees a tend in integrating Big Data and CRM to increase knowledge about customers and provide a more personalized experience.  Social media content is an important data source.

Technology Trend: Biometric Authentication

This entry is part 26 of 30 in the series Trends

The most notable example of biometric authentication is the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone.  I love it and use it at least 20 times a day!

I was fascinated by the finger vein scanner at the IBM lab in Singapore.  You do not need to make contact with the device, which appeals to my germ phobia.  Unfortunately, I have never used one of these in production.

I learned about an iris recognition app for smartphones at Spain’s Bank Inter in the introduction to the Digital Bank interview with Pol Navarro of Banco Sabadell).


exampleBank – Thought Leadership on a Digital Bank

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series exampleBank Business Strategy

The exampleBank executive team has completed scans of the environment and their own position.  Before moving on to creating strategy they want to validate their own findings and get some thought leadership on what a Digital Bank should look like.  They have taken a number of trends from the Digital Bank book, so they decide to begin with Chris Skinner’s vision of a Digital Bank in Part 1 of the book, section “Launching the Digital Bank”.

  1. What feeling will the bank convey?  Techno bank or human?  Focus on human interaction or mobile self-service?  How is exampleBank different and how will this be demonstrated?
  2. What are the weak points in the offerings of current banks and how can these be exploited?
  3. Focus on opening a bank without the requirement for branches (even though we will have a small number of trendy branches–with Genius Bars)
  4. Secure access to the ATM network (e.g. Vocalink in the UK).
  5. Make everything about exampleBank cool.  The “Apple of banking”. Different, creative.  What makes Simple cool is a culture that is constantly innovating to improve the user experience such as forward-looking PFM with features like goals and “safe-to-spend”.  See Digital Bank interview with Shamir Karkal of Simple: “We are constantly innovating. That is the most important part of our ethos . I don’t know what we will be doing five years from now but we will continue to be innovating.
  6. An aspirational brand for the masses.
  7. Create an amazing online user experience designed for mobile and tablet computers.  A snazzy “app store financial offer”.
  8. Gain loyalty and advocacy.  See Digital Bank interview with Paul Say of First Direct Bank: “There’s also value in terms of word of mouth. People start talking about you when you do things like this on their terms, not the bank’s terms. On the back of this, business comes. A key thing here is that recommendation is as good as writing the business, as people do work on word of mouth, particularly in this age. So don’t look at this just in terms of bottom line contribution, look at it in terms of your brand credentials, customer service experience credentials and how customers will talk about you outside of the bank, in terms of word of mouth and recommendations.
  9. Start at the core of banking:  Deposit taking.
  10. Cool and fun digital bank branding.  Cool = bank that people want to be with (member or staff).  interesting, responsive, modern, transparent and honest.  Technology oriented.  Mobile first — also with a few branches.
  11. Transparency is part of the business model per the Digital Bank interview with Brett King, founder of Moven and author of Banking 3.0.  “Absolutely, that [transparency of money] is our secret sauce. What we are realising is that there’s a value exchange that occurs between the service provider (Moven in this case) and the customer as a result.
  12. PFM capable, easy to use online and mobile.
  13. Authentication using geo-location and signal.  Possibly also biometrics.
  14. Voice activated services.
  15. Strong loyalty program including gifts and real-time location-specific offers, etc.
  16. Demonstrate a deep understanding (based upon a wide variety of information) of the customer in all interactions.
  17. Strong marketing campaign, viral and mainstream involving a believable celebrity personality.
  18. Culture:  Happy. Strong customer focus.  Fair in fees and approach.  Customer outside-in experience design.  Fair is well-defined and practiced.  Social/mobile tech savvy.
  19. No demographic customer segments.  Target customers will be those who want to deal with a cool and fair bank through mobile devices and be treated like a human.  Sections of mobile channel are devoted to target needs, ethnicity, religion and gender.
  20. Social interactions on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube are used to build a fan base.  “Screw-loose social lounge” for customers.  “live and unscrewed” social space for staff and management.  Note interview with Paul Say of First Direct bank in Digital BankWe know that customers had great experiences with us, and that was because they had real conversations with us and those conversations are two-way, and that is what we wanted to provide in our social media delivery.
  21. No lock-in fees, hidden charges, balloon payments, high overdraft charges, etc.
  22. Motto, such as “Don’t screw the customer”.  Offers that are easy to understand and predictable will back up this promise.
  23. Hiring practices focusing on social media outreach.  Selecting cool, friendly, fair, honest individuals who are tech-savvy.  Selection process involves testing, including character.
  24. Genius bars will be staffed by people who understand and can explain finance.
  25. Happy culture will create happy customers.
  26. Interest rate spread will be a source of income.  Since exampleBank will have a low-cost operating model it will be able to offer superior rates on both sides (for borrowers and investors).  This will be a key differentiation.
  27. There will be a focus on rewarding existing customers to build wallet share.  Knowing more about customers will allow exampleBank to provide rewards that matter to those customers.  Pricing will be a mechanism of rewards.
  28. Dress code is smart casual with designer labels.

Case studies that can inform exampleBank strategy are Simple, First Direct, Metro bank, Tesco.

Next on the agenda is to put pen to paper on the business strategy, starting with the corporate strategy.

Technology Trend: Fast Cycle of Consumer Technology

This entry is part 25 of 30 in the series Trends

Banks need to be agile in the build/test/deploy of new apps.  Digital Bank describes banks that invested in iPhone and then customers switched to Samsung.  This will accelerate.  Indeed, consumer technology is an important part of the environment for Banks.  Pol Navarro believes “innovation is a need to adapt to an environment, which changes faster and faster.  If companies do not change at least as fast as their environment, they will not survive.” in his interview in part 2 of the book.

Banks need the capability to sustain a rapid deployment of new apps on diverse devices.  The devices will not all be phones or tablets.  No one knows which technologies will be important or for how long.

Reading List: ZAPTHINK’s Vision for Enterprise IT in 2020

I am keen on the convergence I see between technology, design and art.  So I enjoyed looking at ZAPTHINK’s Vision for Enterprise IT in 2020.  I recommend that you give it a dowzapthink Posternload.

I have modest knowledge on (or advice about) the companies sponsoring this poster.  I think of it like a football game–I drink beer but don’t mind the posters about soft-drinks displayed on the scoreboard.

I hope to revisit this post over the coming weeks and drill down on its content.


Reading List: MITRE System Engineering Guide

The head of strategy for a major corporation once told me that if he wanted an iPad app he could get a local vendor to build one in 2 weeks.  I responded “An iPad app to do what?”  He thought for a moment, and then said that I had a point.

You can build a consensus around a simple iPad app — or anything simple, for that matter.  And it certainly sounds easy enough to build.

Simple designs for consumer products are better than complex designs–especially because they need to fit into a complex consumer life.  Simple enterprise systems are better–especially because they need to fit into a complex enterprise.

But the process to design something simple such that it fits into a complex environment is not simple.

In fact, the process is called System Engineering, which doesn’t even sound simple.  It certainly doesn’t sound like a “quick win” or anything that will deliver results this quarter!  If you split “System Engineering” in half, both words still sound complicated.  If you prepend the word “complex” then you get “Complex Systems Engineering”.   Who invited this guy to the meeting?

Nonetheless, someone has to take on the thankless job of taming this complexity into a system that can be used by people who have no time to understand a complex system because they are working in a complex environment.  This task falls to us designers, architects and engineers.

For the architects and engineers I recommend a look at the MITRE Systems Engineering Guide.  There are many SE processes that are tailored to different uses and you do not need to stop using yours and use this one, but it is a good baseline to use to make sure that the people who want to “keep it simple” have not stripped your process down to something that misses the point:  Complexity.

I also recommend a look at ZAPTHINK’s Vision for Enterprise IT in 2020.  Complex System Engineering is one of a handful of competencies listed that is required for “Designing systems to exhibit emergent properties like business agility”.

Reading List: Business Model Generation

I highly recommend the book Business Model Generation by Alex Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, and many other contributors.  If you search for “business model” on my blog you will find many references to this book.

book_heroThis book, among other things such as Stephen Fry’s Changes to Computer Thinking, inspired me to take up sketching!  The book is paradise for a visual learner such as myself.


Technology Trend: WiFi Availability

This entry is part 24 of 30 in the series Trends

According to Digital Banker the number of WiFi units shipped has quadrupled in the last five years (as of mid-2014).

This should also be considered a market trend as consumers are most certainly coming to expect WiFi.  I keep the mobile data turned off on one of my phones and I know many who do the same.  I get annoyed when a place of business does not provide WiFi.

I can not imagine working without WiFi but many bank branch employees must do just that.  How do they help customers without access to the bank Web site and Google?  Do they drag customers back to their desk?  If so, the site they need access to is probably blocked–An architect at a major bank in ASEAN complained that he couldn’t even access my blog!

Banks need WiFi in their branches for both their employees and their customers.