Seven Elements & Seven Expectations
Every customer-centric Financial Institution requires a customer-centric banking platform. This does not mean that technology goes first. Focusing on the customer means setting their expectations as the starting point and then identifying the necessary elements to satisfy them in a cost-effective way.
In this article, we show the seven elements that every customer-centric banking platform must consider in order to satisfy the seven key expectations that customers from Financial Institutions have in the current business context.
Before diving into the elements and expectations, let’s begin by making some clarifications regarding the platform-based business models. Every platform facilitates direct interaction between two or more different market sides, generating network effects. We can find transactional platforms and innovation platforms. The first kind allows involved parties to exchange goods, services or information, and the second kind gives third parties the ability to get involved and generate value, expanding the features and functionalities offered. Uber, Airbnb or Amazon Marketplace are transactional platforms, while Google Android, Facebook for Developers or Microsoft Azure are innovation platforms.
Bantotal is a customer-centric innovation platform. Broadly speaking, this makes it possible to create solutions that enhance the experience of the Financial Institutions’ customers. This kind of platform consists of a series of building blocks on which Developers can get integrated, widening the possibilities provided by the platform for the Financial Institutions and their customers, in this case. The bigger the number of Developers integrated and the quality of their products and services, the bigger the utility that will derive from the platform for Financial Institutions and their customers. Additionally, if there is a big number of Institutions that use the platform, the ecosystem will become more attractive for Developers.
It is important to highlight that the owner of the platform can also develop solutions to be part of the ecosystem. An example would be Bantotal’s Digital Banking division: BPeople. Their solutions are part of the ecosystem and are integrated to the platform through services. This business model can be represented by the three levels shown in the following image.
During the last decade, improvements coming from different areas have been combined and spread everywhere. As a result, interactions went from on-site to virtual, from slow to fast, and it also made high levels of complexity invisible for the customer’s eyes.
In this context, it is not possible for a Financial Institution to become digital and generate memorable experiences without a customer-centric banking platform, which provides the possibility to analyze data that can be used to develop customized and contextual solutions that are highly available, cost-efficient, secure, and innovative.
Seven Elements & Seven Expectations
There are seven key expectations that Financial Institutions need to satisfy and, among other things, they need a banking platform that contemplates the elements needed to achieve that goal. These expectations are the following:
- Being able to operate without delays or time restrictions
- Ensuring data confidentiality
- Having accessible, flexible, and cost-efficient solutions
- Providing End-to-End solutions
- Feeling of trust
- Feeling of proximity
- Having the best solution for each purpose
In order to satisfy these expectations, Financial Institutions need a banking platform that contemplates the following seven elements:
- Heavy Duty
- Building Blocks
Image 3: Seven expectations solved by seven key elements
Banking platforms that contemplate these seven elements can be considered as: customer-centric banking platforms.
Six of these elements are found on the Platform’s Level I, which is called ‘Core’, and one of them (Ecosystem) is found on Levels II and III, which refer to the place where integration is processed and where there is a value exchange with the end customer, respectively (see Image 1.)
Next, we will describe each one of the seven elements represented in the following diagram (Image 2.)
Image 2: The seven elements of a customer-centric banking platform
- Heavy Duty – Scalable and available 24×7
In order to understand the current business context, it is paramount to identify the characteristics of the new way of interaction between the Financial Institution and its customers. The relationship has substantially increased its amplitude. In other words, it has multiplied the moments in the life of a person in which the Financial Institution is able to add value. Additionally, the banking digitalization process, together with financial inclusion, is creating an increase in the volume of transactions made at every moment. This means that customers expect to demand services at any given moment and in an agile way. Therefore, a customer-centric banking platform must be resilient, ensuring a proper processing of high transactional volumes 24 hours a day. This element is what we call ‘Heavy Duty.’
- Security – Designed to be secure
There has been an increase in confidential data stored on the cloud and used through native applications or web solutions.
Building Blocks must be designed considering the confidentiality of processed data and we cannot assume that security is something that needs to be solved in later stages of development due to it being considered an operational matter. In other words, security implies not separating the product from the security of the information that will be used by the system and that it will be integrated to the design and development process.
Every customer-centric banking platform must ensure data confidentiality and needs to consider this matter when first developing the solutions that will work as the basis for all products.
- Cloud – Being able to operate on the Cloud and contemplate the SaaS model
Most of the solutions we use are stored on the cloud, facilitating its access from any device or place, with high levels of adaptation to our needs, as well as cost-efficient. All these benefits are possible mostly because of the possibilities that derive from ‘The Cloud.’ If the Financial Institution has a Cloud platform, it will be able to offer some of these benefits to its customers.
Cloud implies much more than just the possibility to access the platform from the Cloud. A customer-centric banking platform must allow the Financial Institution to specialize in its business, allocating its attention and resources to making customer experience better, ensuring management and maintenance of the platform and associated infrastructure 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A Cloud Platform ensures that the information is always available, adjusting the infrastructure to the needs of the business, accompanying their growth, as needed. This should be realized through technologies that allow the automation of most processes that would traditionally be performed by a human, such as the use of orchestrators that have the ability to perform deployments of databases, programs, and security aspects, among others. Within the orchestrator, there should also be triggers that allow the increase or decrease of infrastructure capacity in an automated way.
A customer-centric banking platform must be designed to operate on-premise as well as on private or public clouds, depending on the characteristics, needs, and expectations of the Financial Institution’s customers and business model.
- API – Facilitating integration
The high levels of technological specialization imply the need to integrate with multiple apps, but this should be done in a transparent way for the end customer. This way, it will be able to satisfy any need, from beginning to end, regardless of the systems involved.
Building Blocks must be designed thinking that they will be integrated to other systems; therefore, the API should be considered in the architecture and documented in such a way that it is self-explanatory. This API contributes to the automation of processes, facilitating the interaction among different apps, internal and external to the Financial Institution. Every customer-centric banking platform must be integrable; otherwise, it would be a product and not a platform.
- Building Blocks – A group of common systems used as the building starting point
The entire model is built on Level I (Core). Here are the Building Blocks that solve the proper accounting, interest accrual, loan amortization, etc. This way, the customer’s trust is mostly determined by the proper functioning of the modules on which all the solutions used are integrated. We are talking about a group of technology systems, called Building Blocks, that are used by the owner of the platform and the Developers that integrate the Ecosystem to develop complementary programs and services that increase the value provided to the Financial Institution and its customers when using the Platform.
The concept of Building Blocks implies that each module completely and independently solves a specific aspect of the business. Some examples of Building Blocks can be the Loan System or the Long-Term Deposit System.
Almost all current big organizations have a platform-based business model (Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon, among others.) This has allowed the unification of different parts of the market, building on top of an existing base and creating network effects.
- Data – Data collection and rendering
We are transitioning from a world of ‘one size fits all’ solutions to a world that allows a high degree of customization. The way to offer close solutions that contemplate the needs, wishes, and expectations of customers is through the analysis of the data that they generate.
The digitalization of processes implies an increase in the amount of data generated. The customer-centric platform must contemplate the collection and rendering of data, so that they can be used in the business decision-making, aiming to satisfy the specific needs of each customer. The current business context requires a change in how information is produced, managed, and used. This element is key in every customer-centric banking platform.
- Ecosystem – Ensuring the integration of innovative solutions
There has been an increase in innovative and highly specialized solutions that come from different places. Nowadays, we are used to using the best solution for each specific purpose. For example, we use applications such as Spotify when listening to music, Netflix when watching movies, Dropbox or Google Drive as an information repository, etc. On the financial sphere, and given the technological improvement, it is not possible to think that only one supplier is able to develop the best solutions for all cases in all areas. In other words, it is not possible to design an innovation platform without an ecosystem. In order for this to happen, besides the technical requirements, there must also be a program that deals with its creation and development. In the case of Bantotal, this is called BDevelopers and it aims to attract and integrate available innovation to the Platform in order to spread and facilitate the use of the solutions integrated by Bantotal’s community of customers.
Technological disruption has created a change in the way Financial Institutions interact with their customers. In order to satisfy their expectations, these Institutions need to transform in terms of their culture, products, and processes. And, to go through that transformation, they require a customer-centric banking platform, among other things. In the context of this new relationship, customers expect to operate without delays or time restrictions, while having accessible, flexible, and low-cost solutions that also ensure data confidentiality. They also expect close and efficient solutions that solve each and every need in an optimal and complete way. To satisfy these expectations, the banking platform needs a group of Building Blocks designed to be integrated with third parties and on top of which they can develop different solutions, widening the value that the platform provides to the end customer in the context of an ecosystem. It must be scalable and operate 24×7, ensuring data confidentiality. It must also be able to operate on the cloud and facilitate data collection and rendering.
Strategic Planning Manager at Bantotal