How Can Banks Achieve A Successful Mobile-First Strategy?

Traditional FS organisations are coming round to the new reality of mobile banking


It is predicted that the number of mobile phone owners using their device for banking purposes will double to over 1.75 billion within the next five years. Banks cannot ignore the implications of what this means to their future business models, and a mobile-first approach will be essential in leading the way.

That’s not to suggest there isn’t already plenty of activity in the mobile banking space. In 2014, 15,000 banking apps were downloaded every day and it is predicted that 25%of the top 50 global banks will have launched an app store for customers by 2016.

Meanwhile, banks must acknowledge the impact of the tech giants like Google, Apple and Amazon who are focusing on financial services. They are threatening traditional banks with the development of mobile wallets and integrated payment services which are giving them invaluable insight into consumer behaviour.

Despite banking brand loyalty being traditionally high, the financial crisis, media perception and new regulations mean that from a consumer’s perspective, these non-bank competitors are becoming a credible alternative. 73% of millennials say they would be more excited about a new offering in financial services from Google, Amazon, Apple, PayPal or Square than from their own nationwide bank in the U.S. and 33% believe they won’t need a bank at all in five years – Europe won’t look much different.

As a result, the road ahead to mobile access can look a little foreboding; but it needn’t be. From understanding customer demands through to finding the right platform, here are my top tips for achieving a solid mobile-first strategy.

  • Champion Agile development

Agile methodology addresses many of the significant challenges facing banks today, such as the need to quickly adapt to customer demands and work cost-effectively on a single platform. It allows developers to focus on repeated, abbreviated work cycles, where stakeholder teams are involved throughout the process.

When businesses see the results of their decisions quickly, they become empowered to make decisions faster. Often referred to as the ‘fail fast’ model, agile allows you to become experimental in your customer offerings.

  • Drive innovation through analytics

Banks don’t often know what their customers really want. But mobile technology enables them to capture user behaviour, needs and preferences, producing data sets that provide a rich source of customer insights. These insights provide support for a more customer-led strategy but only if they can be delivered in a timely fashion.

It is essential to have a strategy to capture all this new data but the real key is to ensure it can be reasoned over as soon as it becomes available. Agile methodology extends beyond the development lifecycle and delivers real-time analytics through data science disciplines. The result will be mobile banking solutions that focus on targeted offers, making the user experience more personalised.

  • Use lean start-up techniques

Lean start-up methodology is an approach that creates new services in uncertain situations. It, involves launching services rapidly to test assumptions and using customer feedback to continuously update the product.

Non-banks have been able to challenge the established financial marketplace because they are not afraid of disruptive innovation, but lean start-up techniques can be used by traditional financial institutions to spark innovation and trigger entrepreneurial thinking at a reasonable cost.

  • Adopt a mobile-enabled Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solution

Many enterprises wanting to deliver software at high velocity and scale are often impeded by the complexity of deploying, upgrading, operating and dynamically scaling their applications, but cloud-based technology can be used to address this.

Platform-as a-Service (PaaS), a cloud solution, provides the answers and also significantly benefits mobile-first strategies. A mobile-enabled PaaS, not only provides a cost-effective way of developing products quickly but also unlocks the power of big data.

PaaS is essential to app development, but it needs to be mobile-enabled to offer omni-channel support, the ability to push notifications to customers, data sync across mobile devices and to simplify the interface with existing back-end banking systems.

Going mobile is unquestionably a strategic necessity for banks. Doing it right requires an IT infrastructure that adopts an agile framework for development and can marshal real-time data and analytics on a grand scale with PaaS. This alone is not enough however: the results of the data analysis must be made to be operational. It also requires a new mind-set at board level to embrace the same agile thinking, decision-making and collaborative spirit. 


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