Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
We have only just scraped the surface of the digital transformation of banking, and a complete rethink will be necessary if the sector is to reach its digital potential.
This was the message delivered by the general manager for digital and payments at the Bank of Queensland, Andrew Murrell, to the audience at the recent FST Media Future of Customer Experience and Business Intelligence conference in Melbourne.
Murrell said that if digital transformation could be represented on the face of a 24-hour clock, we would only be at 12.15am.
“If you look at websites, they have evolved, but the reality is many of them are still brochures online – heavily driven by product and compliance in terms of the nature of their content,” he said. “Internet banking is still very much transactional, based on transferring money and paying bills, and focused on the transactional nature rather than the customer experience.”
What the banking sector needed to understand, however, was that even the leaders in transaction thinking, including Apple, Google and Facebook, had been replaced in the minds of consumers by experiential companies such as Uber.
“Uber is essentially a payment device, but the last thing you think about when using that is the payment,” Murrell said. “It is about a customer experience of ordering a car, watching it arrive, and rating the driver afterwards.”
He said this was even being echoed now by Domino’s Pizza, which was advertising its real-time pizza tracking service rather than its food.
“The Uberisation of financial services and that customer experience is where we need to get to take that next leap in digital, and much of that is only possible through the use of data,” Murrell said.
While big data had been around for more than five years, Murrell questioned how many organisations were truly using it to drive contextual experience online or offline.
“Banks have always thought we had a wealth of information about our customers stored away in a vault called a group data warehouse,” he said. “But by the time you got that out in a big batch and tried to do something with it, it was probably out of date. That was done in months, and we need to real time.”
The need for greater utilisation of data within the bank is in part behind a decision to launch branch-specific Facebook pages across the Bank of Queensland’s network, centrally moderated but with locally created content.
“All conversations will be able to feed back in to our central repository of voice-of-the-customer to try and understand them better,” Murrell said. “So we are trying to put the community back in, using social to fuse that offline and online world. And that is just one of the things they are doing from a data perspective.”
He said one of the emerging opportunities for all banks was the impending arrival of the New Payments Platform (NPP) for low value payments, which would provide a very fast and data-rich payments platform, including the ability to make payments to aliases such as email addresses and phone numbers, and to attach 100MB of data to a payment.
“The plumbing is great, but what it is coming along with that is the overall services which have been developed in accordance with open source principles,” Murrell said. “And we foresee many new entrants developing value-added services on top of traditional payments. This is where we see the Uber-isation of financial services coming to life.
“Our organisations are going to need to totally shift in terms of how we look at digital, data and payments to deliver very innovative services to our customers.”
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