A persistent methodology exists within the banking industry, obstructing the best intentions for progress. I’ve found myself at the epicenter of this barrier and frustrated by the complacency of the status quo. Watching the titans of innovation battle in different industries, I’ve often wondered when the revolution will come to banking, shaking the very foundation the institution sits on. I believe that there is opportunity in this industry to address a complexity that perplexes the most foundational thinkers. The evidence indicates that capturing emerging opportunities in banking will require a differentiated experience. Although banks have not always been set up to serve, the future of banking will require a consultative, transparent, and integrated business model designed to be a valuable experience.
According to Accenture, in order to realize success, banks must:
- Shift their operating philosophy from a product-oriented organization to a customer-driven organization
- Embrace and integrate new technologies, channels and strategies
The juxtaposition between product-oriented to customer-driven is not a new concept. Developing the culture and mindset is the hardest part because of the foundation of banking. The natural tendency is to think solely about the financial viability of a bank’s products due to the commodity characteristics each product carries. Consumer mindset is shifting in many other industries, but because so few institutions manage so large a chunk of banking worldwide, it’s an industry that lags innovation and disruption. This leaves an opportunity to start to develop the experiences that draw the attention of those who spread ideas.
Integrating new technologies, channels and strategies is required to generate the possibility of future success. Considering this, it’s easy to prescribe mobile as the future of technology integration into daily lives of consumers. This adoption of mobile phones has been paramount as you look at similar technology comparisons. In fact, 57% of smart phone owners use their phone for mobile banking.
Adoption of technology is an equal contender as we consider the consumer experience. Building a financial engine that is light years ahead of the competition does not matter if no one uses it. Channel and strategy becomes the differentiating attribute.
The craft of Banking
What if capturing emerging opportunities in banking was not dependent on the latest mobile technology or automated process? Mobile technology and digital capabilities are a delivery method for value but they are not a strategy to distinguish an experience. The value of technology is intrinsic to customers in today’s market. So the question remains, what is the dependency in which the future will be won?
People can feel dedication and detail. They understand when there has been countless hours and effort poured into a design. Drawing parallels from an artist who labors over his craft day in and day out, we can begin to imagine the process in which we can innovate any industry. Through the burdens of infrastructure and static methods, there is a path to address a blank page and constraints of any problem we face.
Any offer of a path forward or some 10 step plan to develop a remarkable experience would be irresponsible. The ocean is too big to boil. Where there is opportunity to to start to think of problems facing your organization today and start asking questions.
Empathize – Learn from people
Define – Find patterns
Ideate – Design Principles
Prototype – Make tangible
Test – Iterate relentlessly
How can we apply the principles of illustration, writing, painting, architecture, or any physical design to process, experience, capabilities, and business models? The trick is to understand that every human being is born an artist. I’m defining an artist as someone who goes from 0 to 1, from a blank page to a beautiful illustration, from a river to a suspension bridge. This is intrinsically human. Creating is not what makes you fall in love with design, experiencing great design does. So what separates true designers from the rest of us? Inspiration. True designers get up every morning and go to work on great design, the rest of us wait for that moment of inspiration, that never comes.
Capturing emerging opportunities in banking
So who is doing this well, right now?
With the deregulation of the UK bank charter requirements, it has left a huge opportunity for disruption and focus on customer experience. Atom Bank is designing a future for its customers without an excuse of legacy infrastructure. The experience displayed by their website is enough to get you excited. Other online brands have launched in the past, but Atom is the first bank focused on an app that gained a licence. In fact, a quote from Atom Bank showcases their design thinking.
“The more we learn about how you like to bank, the better we’ll get at keeping you one step ahead.”
This wealth management platform aimed at creating a simple, valuable platform for Wealth Advisory firms and Private Banks that provides tailored, high-touch service to their clients. This simultaneously scales customization and grows the business to gain and maintain a competitive advantage. By creating one system, one platform that manages all of the critical information for the entire investment community, we have created the operating system for our financial world. The Addepar platform is secure, salable, and fast—freeing you up to spend more time on what matters most: investment analysis, building trusted relationships and growing your business.
They’ve also partnered with Morgan Stanley.
There are many others who are working in this space, trying to deliver the best possible experience for customers through streamlined technology. Exploring more into this space will showcase the digital revolution coming to banking and help us all understand how to address opportunities in the space.