Mobile Banking Services – 5 Trends and 5 Insights around the world

Mobile Banking Services, or Bank on-the-go if you prefer, is getting so strong in some countries and with some segments of population like the Millenniums that Banks must now act quickly to understand its trends and become key players to profit from it.

One of the key factor of Mobile Banking Services growth is the high penetration level of Smartphones in Western countries where 50% of owners have been using a mobile banking application. All major Banks in North America have deployed or developed Mobile Banking Services in recent years which a large part of their Clientele is using.

In countries where a large proportion of the people is unbanked, cellular phones are being used as a commercial vector of all sorts!

“Banking is essential, not Banks,” famously said Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft, in 1994.

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Disruptions in Banking and Financing on the horizon, brace for impact

Major disruptions in Banking and Financing on the horizon; thanks to new technologies from Big Data Analytics to Mobile Apps that are reshaping this sector at a fast pace, resulting in new ways for companies and customers & consumers to interact, to manage their money and to conduct transactions.

Global investment in Fintech ventures hit $5.7 billion in the first quarter of 2016, and about half the funding went to projects in Asia, primarily in China. “The reason funding is taking off now is that the four platforms – Mobility, Big Data (IoT) and Analytics, Blockchain Technology (Bitcoin) and Machine Learning (AI) – are in their infancy,” said Catherine Wood, CEO of ARK Investment Management (US) at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions in 2016.

The fact is that Banking and Financial Services is one of the largest industries that is still not fully digitalized. In this field of activities, the technological revolution has just begun.

So let’s see what we’re up to and what major disruptions we may foresee.

Overview of upcoming disruptions in Banking and Financing

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Microsoft Continuum – The UX counterpart of Universal Windows Platform

Imagine not to need your Laptop with you on the road any more whether for work or in weekend because you can use your Smartphone as a computer PC simply by connecting it to a screen and a keyboard. How about that? Welcome to Microsoft Continuum, the UX counterpart of Universal Windows Platform.

This vision encapsulates the concept of « Mobile Computing » or if you prefer, a « computing experience » in which the user can not only access its information (networks, applications, contents) but also deploy a fully functional working environment, anywhere, on any device.

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How to assess the gain of Tablets for the Mobile Workforce?

Even though it might look so, it’s not necessarily true; and some questions about it must be revisited from time to time? So, how to assess the gain of Tablets for the Mobile Workforce?

I know, I know, you must think: « Come on, are you serious? ». In 2015?  But in fact, even though everybody has a mobile device today, it’s not crystal clear whether it’s really useful or even necessary.  More than often, and many have witnessed it, mobile devices are a source of distraction at work and the cause of errors, productivity loss, time loss, data loss, etc.

Well, let’s see it through…

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3 Web Development Best Practices to Safely Launch Your New Banking & Financial Services Application

We will discuss 3 Web Development Best Practices that can help you safely launch your new specialized banking & financial services application. We should have said three Web Development Best Practices of security since security is so crucial in the Banking and Finance sectors and it is the main topic of this post.

Do we really have to go back and review all the security threats and online hacks and attacks that happened over just the last 5 years or so… I hope not?

All financial institutions and banks have developed a strict policy for systematically securing their critical clientele web applications. But they should also apply such a targeted policy when developing web applications dedicated to their personnel by making development choices that will address today’s security requirements and adapt to help meet tomorrow’s challenges.  Therefore, they must carefully identify all web access to database and process involved in these web application projects and assess the level of risk presented by each type of online communications or user group; ideally, at the development stage.

Because security fixing costs 100 times more to correct once in production than in development. So, it would save a lot of pain and revenues to test-find security flaws at the latter stage.

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Rapid Development of Financial & Banks Web Applications

A Gain vs. Risk analysis favors rapid development of financial & banks web applications mostly because it will shed some light on some potential design issues, which is no small matter if this happens when you’re already far down into the development process.

Whatever field of activity you’re in, if you’re thinking web applications, it clearly involves providing access in the field to both process and data to Clients and / or to the Sales Force.

And when it comes to Banking and Finance, security is of the utmost importance, of course, even more so if we’re talking mobile web deployment but one would be wise to go beyond the “personal data and hacking risk paradigm”, and assess accurately and globally the level of security needed around each of its applications and each type of data involved in your next web application development.

This exercise will benefit you by simplifying application design; thus, accelerating your web applications development.

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Mobilizing Business Intelligence – challenges and parameters

Everybody talks about BI (Business Intelligence) and its virtues since a few years; everybody wants BI seeing in it a miracle remedy to its enterprise or Sales Force performance or thinking it could be the new growth vector they’re looking for. And probably with good reason but it can’t be done with a blink of an eye, there has to be a sound analysis done before mobilizing Business Intelligence!

Challenges of Business Intelligence

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Mobility Strategy – the stakes for the enterprise and the Mobile Workforce

Dedicating someone specifically to Mobility, putting him/her  in charge of establishing a solid link and creating a bridge between business units (including the Mobile Workforce) and the IT department; that’s the very first step any enterprise, concerned with new business challenges and new business process, and looking forward to enhance both productivity and profitability, should take.

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HTML 5: custom business application or off-the-shelf software?

hAs we mentioned in our previous post, it’s clear that, mostly for economic reasons, companies want applications that are “ready-to-mobilize”. The demand is there: 75% use standard applications and 20%, custom business applications. Further, we continued on to show that developers see positive opportunities for both options. Off-the-shelf as well as custom-made business applications…

One in the hand, is better than two in the bush

Recently however, a senior mobile developer confided to me that he had seriously considered dropping some mobile development platforms. Because customers were just not ready to absorb the costs of cross-platform development. Instead, in order to save money these clients were asking him to select THE platform (or sometimes two) with the greatest reach and potential, to evaluate the costs for it and to eliminate the others! While this is understandable, it’s not necessarily an elegant solution and very often proves problematic because there are few companies or homogeneous target audiences that use only one model of mobile device, let alone a single OS.

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A Custom Mobilized application and productivity of an enterprise

This is the third opus of a series of posts and comments published by « Enterprise Mobility Matters » which will be the subject of a “parallel blogging” experiment with Analystik, editor of the « Productivité + » blog, onto which you will find a reply to these posts and comments.

 

Why Develop a Customized Mobility Application?

We have ended our third post with this conclusion: “Now, can a Smartphone contribute to optimizing those processes critical to mobile workers productivity?  A true leader will immediately proceed by analyzing its critical business processes and assessing their optimization potential with Smartphones. He will have in no time put into place metrics to ensure the productivity gains are at the rendezvous!!!”

 

And while analyzing your critical processes, a question may erupt at the top of your mind. Shall I develop a customized mobile application?

 

The question is quite simple and the answer is as simple, since the « required-to-be- mobilized » function is not available within the mobile applications park, you will most probably be facing one of three situations calling upon a customized mobile application:

 

  • The business function to be mobilized is in fact part of a custom-made application

Ex: ERP which was custom-made for your enterprise can be mobilized. It will be available to any smartphone compatible with some restriction.

 

  • An activity executed on the road can now be automated, thanks to Smartphones capabilities

Ex: technicians are now using BlackBerry’s instead of paper forms.

 

  • New-generation Smartphones increased capabilities let us anticipate some internal business functions to be mobilized.

Ex: An enterprise CRM advanced functionalities such as access to strategic data mobilized.

The smartphone power helps to get mobilized application

Let’s mention, to make our point, that today’s Smartphones technical specs (BlackBerry Storm, iPhone, Treo Pro) are quite impressive for such little devices:

  • processors from 400 to 600 MHz
  • screens up to 480×360 pixels
  • memory cards up to 32 Go
  • 3.2 megapixels cameras.

Let’s not forget that at the turn of the Millennium, a lot of people were working with desktops just barely faster. Hard disks were not at 1 Go yet and desktop digital cameras were still quite exotic!

 

From the moment your business operation specifics require the development of a customized mobile application, you will have but only two choices:

  • Smartphone embarked application
  • Web application calling upon your Smartphone Internet capabilities

 

Which is which, how to choose between developing an « embarked » versus a « Web » mobile app?  What follows is more of an analysis guide than a comprehensive list of evaluation criteria.

5 development steps

 

1st step

  • The first point to assess the “criticality” level of the application to be mobilized.  Must this application run at all time and at all cost, in an uninterrupted fashion in order to ensure the enterprise or the workers productivity?  If so, then without any doubt you must develop a Web app onto which your Smartphones will hook themselves.

2nd step

  • Secondly, security is a serious matter to take into account.  Can you keep embarked data, or transferred data or data captured on the road on the device without any risk for either the enterprise or its clients’ security?  If not, then a Web app is your best solution again.

3rd step

  • The nature of the application to be mobilized is also not to be neglected. Is this application processing much more data than it is providing?  For example, verifying the quantity of a specific item in inventory demands a lot of processing but delivers only one data; thus, the processing is done with data only available from the inside of the enterprise to which your Smartphone doesn’t have access, then…

4th step

  • Another important criteria to consider is the geographical environment of the mobile workers, do they always have good network connectivity?   If not, then you should capitalize on your Smartphone.

5th step

  • Finally, the nature of your operations or of the job on the road can tell you how to go about things.  For example, if your operations call upon functions such as taking a picture, a vocal note, downloading and/or reading a file, etc.?  Then, it’s a no brainer.

 

In any case, more than anything, your top motivation for developing a customized mobile application is the existence of a potential gain and the final justification should be the confirmation of the expected gain.  If there is an opportunity to do better or more or do the same but with less resource with the help of a Smartphone, then you shouldn’t hesitate!!!   The logic is quite simple, how or when will the development cost be compensated by the expected gains; in short, what is the ROI?

Denis Paul van ChesteinMichel Martel