To build a better customer experience, start with the architecture

To build a better customer experience, start with the architecture

Richard Mullins, director at Acceleration Middle East & Africa.

Most brands are looking at the customer experience as the most powerful way they have to set themselves apart in a market where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to compete on price and product features alone. They’re ramping up investment in customer experience management processes and solutions accordingly.

Yet the reality for most organisations is that they are struggling to transform their customer experience in a consistent and scalable manner across multiple channels and touchpoints. They have mapped out customer journeys, yet cannot reliably identify people across different touchpoints or engage with customers in a uniform, coherent manner across different channels.

As a result, customers get a fragmented experience, with little consistency between different touchpoints and the brand loses out on opportunities to convert customers or to increase customer satisfaction. For instance, many banks will have a responsive team to manage customer interactions on social media, while responses on email will be slower and less thorough.

Often, the teams managing the different channels don’t share data, with the result that a customer might need to ask the same questions twice and get different answers. Wouldn’t it be great if the bank could identify a customer who ran a query on its bond calculator, then was able to follow up with an offer in an email or an alert in the mobile banking app?

The technology to create a more consistent experience across channels exists, but to take advantage of it, brands need to start transforming their processes and systems. One of the major challenges that they must address lies in breaking down organisational and technology siloes, allowing data across the business to be shared and used more effectively.

This means looking at customer-experience transformation from an organisation-wide perspective, understanding which data the company has about its customers, in which databases and apps it resides (CRM systems, social media, web analytics, transactional systems etc.), and how the brand can more effectively structure its engagement with the customer as well as identify the same customer across multiple systems and channels.

This is the discipline of customer experience architecture, and it is the natural starting point for a more effective customer experience management strategy. A customer experience architecture is a blueprint for mapping customer experiences across technologies and data points to the customer journey and touchpoints. It provides an understanding of the pillars brands need to drive and enable better customer experiences:

  • Data—who the customer is, what the brand knows about them what they are going, and through which channels.
  • Technology—which channels and systems form part of the customer journey, and how they interact with each other.
  • Operations—operationalising data insights to trigger better customer experiences, whether that means giving people in the business insights they need for decision-making or triggering automated, personalised engagements for customers based on their behaviour and preferences.

Without a sound architecture, brands will struggle to translate their customer experience strategy into a functional operating model. It is the key to ensuring that the reality of the customer experience lives up to the vision.

By Richard Mullins, Director at Acceleration Middle East and Africa

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PayU South Africa sees huge traffic spike from Black Friday

PayU South Africa sees huge traffic spike from Black Friday

PayU South Africa sees huge traffic spike from Black Friday.

On Black Friday, 24 November 2017, many of the South African eCommerce companies experienced massive spike in traffic on their various websites. Matching this spike, payment services provider, PayU, facilitated an increase of around 8.5 times the transaction volumes from 2016’s Black Friday and experienced 0% downtime across all of their system components.

“Despite the massive increase in transaction volumes for our South African merchants, our platform remained fully operational for the duration of Black Friday as well as the weekend that followed. Active monitoring and routing contributed to the increased success rate of transactions processed during the day and alleviated some of the issues of last year,” says Karen Nadasen, PayU South Africa CEO.

The company also hit a new platform high for the amount of successful transactions processed, both per second and per hour, in the 18:00 to 19:00 slot on Friday evening.

“We exceeded the total number of successful payments processed for Black Friday this year, compared to last year, at just after 14:00 on Friday and are extremely happy with this result, as a lot of planning and pre-emptive support was put in place long before the actual trading day,” says Nadasen.

Edited by Dean Workman
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When the retail chain is forged

When the retail chain is forged

Martin Walshaw, Senior Engineer at F5 Networks.

For online consumers, ‘tis the season to be jolly. For businesses, it’s a time where the retail chain may be forged in life. For hackers, it’s a poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket.

To avoid data becoming dead as a doornail, retailers must deliver a better intuitive, connected experience for the consumer to shop online. With the likes of easy access sign-in through devices designed for functionality over security, retailers increase their digital exposure without necessarily thinking about the impact it has on their own defences.

Seasonal retail sales can provide significant openings for hackers, as spikes in traffic put pressure on bandwidth and network capacity. So, what the Dickens is going on?

The ghost of an idea

In South Africa, online spending is forecast to grow to over R53 billion by 2018, from around R37 billion in 2016. Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas will all make a sizable contribution to this upward trajectory.

Unfortunately, the race for seasonal profit often sees retailers take their eye off the cybersecurity ball in a bid to drive business, including scaling back security measures to capture a bigger slice of the digital retail pie.

The ramifications of a security breach for retailers cover both loss of trust and loss of revenue – the former if the breach includes customer data; the latter if the attack brings down the site (or in-store technology). To protect against this, retailers need to adopt a multi-layered approach of on-premises solutions and the cloud to keep their online services safe. Volumetric, DDoS attacks will require a flexible mitigation solution to protect the network, the session and the user.

Against the recent threatening backdrop of WannaCry and Petya, the cybersecurity stakes are higher and more far-reaching than ever before. Research company Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that, by 2021, the annual cost of global cyber attacks could hit an eye-watering $6 trillion.

So, do retailers have a ghost of a chance to protect themselves? Our online shopping behaviours, which invariably reach fever pitch during the holiday season, are certainly creating a goldmine for unscrupulous cyber criminals.

Humbug, I hear you say? Well, the sheer scale of retail-based attack vectors can be difficult to fathom, particularly as our spending habits spread worldwide in the hunt for the best bargain.

In a recent PayPal survey, 43% of surveyed South Africans made a cross-border purchase last year. While the overall shopping experience is increasingly interconnected and accessible to the masses, it is also more user-friendly and profitable for cybercriminals – not least because other targets like financial services institutions are becoming distinctly harder nuts to crack.

Data is the gravy

The prize for customer data is rich pickings for unscrupulous cyber criminals. ‘There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are,’ might be the sentiment from the retailers.

For retailers, staying safe is a relentless task, but necessary to safeguard customer data and vital applications.

Fortunately, there are a range of advanced security solutions for organisations to arm devices in real-time against all manner of online threats, without the user having to do anything. This snuffs out the danger of things like users being misled to bogus websites or having their credentials exposed through malicious scripts, which target the application, user and device. Today, device and behavioural variables can be rapidly ascertained, seamlessly clearing the way for honest consumers to shop away while malware or nefarious bots are left out in the cold.

Strong threat analysis measures should be in place to capture any irregularities from the outset. At the very least, online retailers should ensure they have “Trusted Shop Certificates”, which guarantee a minimum, but standardised level of security and consumer trust. Even so, the stark truth is that, without some form of fraud protection, they are walking on very thin ice.

Switched-on retailers can also give customers invaluable credit card peace of mind by using solutions that rigorously encrypt at the application level, ensuring that any data intercepted by troublemakers is impenetrable.

To conquer the seasonal holiday onslaught, the onus is on retailers to deliver an intuitive, connected experience for consumers. A sustainable, consumer-facing website needs to focus security efforts as closely as possible to the application.

Notably, the ability to scale into the cloud is fast emerging as an e-commerce prerequisite to ensure customer satisfaction, business continuity and profit. This calls for robust security measures at every juncture, including identity and access management (IAM), encryption/decryption technologies (SSL/TLS), as well as anti-fraud and DDoS mitigation technologies. A Web Application Firewall (WAF) is also essential for online businesses, as they rely on web-enabled applications. Available in any deployment scenario (and as a standalone service), a strong WAF solution will protect apps and data from known and unknown threats, defend against bots that bypass standard protections, and virtually patch app vulnerabilities.

Spirit of the future

As the story goes, ‘there are some upon this earth who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry and selfishness in our name’.

However, there is no point being a Scrooge when it comes to cybersecurity. Retailers can do much more to prevent attacks occurring. The amount of data being transferred across the internet is only growing and service providers must protect the traffic they are managing. Like many other online sectors, retail is becoming more reliant on infrastructure providers to provide the first layer of defence against targeted attacks on network traffic.

Consumers want to shop with peace and goodwill and peace of mind. In time, organisations that are compliant and provide secure online services will earn trust and associated repeat custom.

Those operations that ignore the learnings of the past will soon become obsolete. Indeed, “if they would rather die… they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population”. Or perhaps, if both retailers and consumers get into the spirit of cybersecurity, then we will bear witness to a prosperous future and enjoy a happy New Year.

By Martin Walshaw, Senior Systems Engineer at F5 Networks

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Mobile app launched to track Africa’s pro cycling team

Mobile app launched to track Africa’s pro cycling team

Health and wellness mobile application tracks Africa’s pro cycling team.

Dimension Data, has launched a health and wellness mobile app at the annual training camp of Africa’s professional cycling team, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. The app, Pila, which means ‘to live’ in Nguni, was custom designed to Team Dimension Data’s specific requirements.

The app tracks the daily physical and mental performance of the team’s 39 World Tour and Continental riders located in 10 countries. Data collected from the team includes geographical location and time zones, quality and quantity of sleep, response to training, muscle soreness, as well as mood, motivation, and stress levels.

Developed by Dimension Data’s Digital Practice in partnership with Team Dimension Data’s riders, and Australia-based MIK Health, Phila is also a communication and data-sharing management tool for the team.

Every day, Phila prompts the riders to complete an assessment via their mobile device. The information is correlated with existing training data captured by the team’s TrainingPeaks application, and is used to monitor training performance alongside overall health and wellness.

“It was crucial that we designed an app which was easy to use 365 days a year, and riders could upload their assessment responses in two to three minutes,” explains Dr Carol Austin, Head of Performance Sport and Medical for Team Dimension Data. “Our goal was to keep the questions to a minimum, but extract the maximum data to identify any factors that could jeopardise our rider’s ability to train – even weather conditions and equipment issues.”

In addition to the riders being geographically distributed, they’re often in different cycles of racing, training, and resting. It’s difficult for riders, coaches, doctors, and performance staff to stay in constant communication. Phila is a simple way to capture key information and share it with the team’s support staff, who can respond immediately to injuries or illness and adapt rider racing and training schedules.”

Scott Gibson, Dimension Data’s Group Executive – Digital Practice said, “The health application is just one component of the collection mechanism for critical data that we’ll feed into the analytics platform we’re building for Team Dimension Data. This data will be enhanced with additional datasets, and the implementation of a machine learning solution together with predictive analytics to improve team planning and management performance.”

Dimension Data is the title sponsor of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. However, says Gibson, the sponsorship is not just about financial investment in the team. “In the same way that we believe the technologies of the new digital age will help our clients achieve their business outcomes, we aim to develop digital technologies that will assist Team Dimension Data to achieve their 2020 vision of winning the Tour de France.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Bitcoin surpasses the $10 000 mark

Bitcoin surpasses the $10 000 mark

Bitcoin surpasses the $10 000 mark.

On Tuesday 28 November 2017, for the first time since the creation of Bitcoin in 2008, the cryptocurrency surpassed the USD $10 000 mark and it shows no signs of slowing down as it continues to climb towards $11 000.

The surge in price comes off the backdrop cries from doubters who claim it is only a matter of time until the Bitcoin bubble bursts. Well it hasn’t yet and quite frankly does not show any signs of weakening. Despite concerns around Bitcoin’s association with criminal activities, investors have still jumped onto the Bitcoin train as an alternative to traditional assets such as gold.

Dr Daniele Bianchi, of Warwick Business School, an Assistant Professor of Finance, who researches crypto-currencies including Bitcoin, speaking on Bitcoin’s rise past $10 000 said: “Despite fears about the Bitcoin ‘bubble’ bursting, the price of the new digital coins is going through the roof. Indeed, the increasing demand pressure from investors and speculators makes the case for an even further increase in Bitcoin prices in the near future.”

“As the supply of Bitcoins is kept fixed by the underlying protocol, price increases are essentially due to increasing demand. Bitcoin is becoming more like an asset class rather than a method of payment. This is something that the public and regulators should realise to fully understand the price dynamics of Bitcoin.”

“In a sign of accelerating demand pressure, the number of active Bitcoin wallets has grown almost five-fold over five years. Similarly, the number of exchanges has been increasing exponentially since early 2017, partly driven by the explosion of the Initial Coin Offering (ICOs) as a funding strategy to set new marketplaces, and partly driven by increasing margins and profitability due to increasing Bitcoin prices.”

“Demand pressure is essentially driven by two things. Firstly, the increasing awareness by both the public and investors that cryptocurrencies are here to stay, and secondly, the increasing professionalisation of cryptocurrency trading,” concluded Dr Bianchi.

By Dean Workman
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HDMI 2.1 is here and it supports 10K resolution

HDMI 2.1 is here and it supports 10K resolution

HDMI 2.1 is here and it supports 10k.

On Tuesday 28 November 2017, the HDMI Forum finally released the new HDMI specification, HDMI 2.1, to all vendors who have already adopted HDMI 2.0, according to a report from Neowin.

The specification, which was originally unveiled back in January 2017, will also be backwards compatible with all previous HDMI specification.

According to a report by Engadget, some of the new specifications include:

  • Higher video bandwidth
  • Supports 48 Gbps
  • Faster refresh rates for high video resolution — 60 Hz for 8K and 120 Hz for 4K
  • Dynamic HDR
  • Supports resolutions up to 10K for commercial and speciality use

This new version will also look to eliminate lag for smoother gameplay with a Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), while Quick Frame Transport (QFT) reduces latency, which will no doubt please the gaming community. While Quick Media Switching, or QMS, reduces the amount of blank-screen wait time while switching media.

HDMI 2.1 also includes Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), which automatically sets the ideal latency for the smoothest viewing experience. Just to clarify, you do not need to rush to the store to go and buy the new version and upgrade all your equipment. As 4K is only starting to gain real commercial traction, the introduction of the new specifications is mainly future facing.

By Dean Workman
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FNB awards R10.5 million to employees at FNB Innovators Awards

FNB awards R10.5 million to employees at FNB Innovators Awards

Yolande Duvenage, Head of Innovation at FNB.

First National Bank (FNB) has announced that it has awarded over R 10.5 million to its most innovative employees for radically disrupting and introducing game-changing innovations within the financial industry through its FNB Innovators Awards. This adds to the overall total of R 54.5 million given away since the launch of the highly successful employee programme in 2004; which encourages FNBers to actively participate and enable the innovation process within the banking industry.

According to the bank, creating and building on ideas that inspire and disrupt has been a winning formula for the FNB Innovators 2.0 programme. “Our commitment to innovation best practice has helped benchmark FNB within the industry as well as globally. Encouraging our employees to re-invent banking processes and come up with deep-rooted innovations has helped in extending more value to our retail and business clients. This forward-thinking approach helps to keep us ahead of our competitors,” says FNB Innovation Head, Jolandé Duvenage.

She adds, “I applaud all the entrants in this year’s competition. Their ongoing dedication to ensure that FNB remains truly innovative in this highly competitive market is inspiring and admirable.”

The top 2017 innovation winners include:

· Life simplified + digitising life insurance: Life simplified uses existing bank data to streamline the take up process of life insurance, and creates end-to-end automated processes for the best customer experience. Digitising life insurance is all about offering life insurance to FNB customers via the bank’s digital platforms. Customers can either apply online or on the FNB App, from the comfort of their couch.

· Multicurrency: This innovation fuelled the building of an enterprise-wide, generic multi-currency platform that leverages off existing systems, policies and process. It gives customers full control over their account and funds, and ensures a unified customer experience between the base currency and the foreign currency.

· nav»: Making customer lives easier. nav» provides smart disruptive solutions on the FNB App; designed to help customers make the most of their money and innovatively address angst in their daily lives. nav» Home makes the home buying and selling journey a lot easier and nav» Car assists with car maintenance solutions including licence disc renewal with delivery, amongst other helpful tools.

“Ideas grow best when shared in the most collaborative environment which enables all aspects of innovation. Incorporating innovation in all of our digital platforms has increasingly empowered our customers to manage their banking at any given time or place. This seamless integration and digitisation remains a core strategy of the FNB digital journey,” says Duvenage.

The FNB Innovators programme has seen over 10 000 implemented innovations to date and, according to the company, it remains central to the FNB growth strategy as it enables the bank to deliver on its brand promise of “help”.

Edited by Dean Workman
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26 percent of ransomware attacks now target business

26 percent of ransomware attacks now target business

26 percent of ransomware attacks now target business. (Image Source: CNBC)

According to a study by Kaspersky Lab, 26.2 percent of those targeted by ransomware were business users in 2017, compared to 22.6 percent in 2016. This is due in part to three unprecedented attacks targeting corporate networks that changed forever the landscape for this increasingly virulent threat.

2017 will be remembered as the year the ransomware threat suddenly and spectacularly evolved with advanced threat actors targeting businesses the world over with a series of destructive worm-powered attacks whose ultimate goal remains a mystery. These attacks included WannaCry on May 12, ExPetr on June 27, and BadRabbit in late October. They all used exploits designed to compromise corporate networks. Businesses were also targeted by other ransomware and the company prevented ransomware infections on over 240,000 corporate users overall.

“The headline attacks of 2017 are an extreme example of growing criminal interest in corporate targets. We spotted this trend in 2016, it has accelerated throughout 2017 and shows no signs of slowing down. Business victims are remarkably vulnerable, can be charged a higher ransom than individuals and are often willing to pay up in order to keep the business operational. New business-focused infection vectors, such as through remote desktop systems are not surprisingly also on the rise,” said Fedor Sinitsyn, Senior Malware Analyst, Kaspersky Lab.

Other ransomware trends in 2017:

  • Overall, just under 950,000 unique users were attacked in 2017, compared to around 1.5 million in 2016 – with the difference between them largely a reflection of detection methodology (for example: the downloaders often associated with crypto malware are now better detected by heuristic technologies, so not classified together with the ransomware-related verdicts collected by our telemetry.)
  • The three major attacks, as well as other, less notorious families including AES-NI and Uiwix, used sophisticated exploits leaked online in spring 2017 by a group known as the Shadow Brokers.
  • There was a marked decline in new families of ransomware: 38 in 2017, down from 62 in 2016, with a corresponding increase in modifications to existing ransomware (over 96,000 new modifications detected in 2017, compared to 54,000 in 2016). The rise in modifications may reflect attempts by attackers to obfuscate their ransomware as security solutions get better at detecting them.
  • From the second quarter of 2017, a number of groups ended their ransomware activities and published the keys needed to decrypt files. These included AES-NI, xdata, Petya/Mischa/GoldenEye and Crysis. Crysis later reappeared – possibly raised from the dead by a different group.
  • The growing trend for infecting companies through remote desktop systems continued in 2017, when this approach became one of the main propagation methods for several widespread families, such as Crysis, Purgen/GlobeImposter and Cryakl.
  • 65% of businesses that were hit by ransomware in 2017, said they lost access to a significant amount or even all their data; and one in six of those who paid up never recovered their data. These numbers are largely consistent with 2016.

Fortunately, the No More Ransom initiative, launched in July 2016 is thriving. The project brings together law enforcement and security vendors to track down and disrupt the big ransomware families, helping individuals to get their data back and undermining the criminals’ lucrative business model.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Making customers central to the digital journey is key for banks, insurers

Making customers central to the digital journey is key for banks, insurers

Adam Ikdal Managing Partner at BCG.

For years, the power of digital has seen it placed at the top of strategic plans and interventions to streamline and add value to business processes and the bottom line overall. The introduction of digital technologies has undoubtedly impacted on businesses in a real and measurable way, and as innovation continues to speed up exponentially, it is going to reveal yet more opportunities for early adopters to gain a competitive advantage.

Nowhere have we seen greater evidence of this than in the banking and insurance sectors, where growth has taken place at an unprecedented rate in pursuit of operational efficiency to drive better customer service. Customer service lies at the heart of what organisations in these fields do, providing financial services and products designed to improve people’s lives.

At BCG, we maintain that companies that prioritise customer-centricity are able to exceed expectations in several areas: product selection and availability, interaction experience, service quality, channel accessibility, and communications. This remains true today.

But it is here that the disconnect often comes in. The most common mistake companies – South African and international alike – can make is focusing on the technology to achieve those aims, rather than the customer using that tech to access or engage with their product or service. Only by prioritising the entire customer journey from start to finish can banks and insurance companies truly understand pain points that those consumers face and actively map out and develop on-demand solutions that meet their customers’ needs.

Digital is currently one of those pain points in South Africa, where there is still fairly substantial skepticism surrounding its uptake and use – particularly to access financial services and products. This is driven largely by three factors: penetration, usage and price levels.

Although mobile penetration continues to grow rapidly in the country, with research showing that smartphone penetration has surpassed the third mark and sits anywhere between 37 and 45 percent, the challenge emerges in that there is a lack of financial literacy which continues to hamper even the most ground-breaking solutions.

Combined with price levels that are beyond reach for many segments of the population, a fear of being scammed also prevents mobile financial services solutions from reaching their full potential in South Africa.

In order to fully embrace the introduction and roll out of more pioneering solutions that fit seamlessly into customers’ lives, banks and insurance companies are going to have to ensure that they address these concerns while simultaneously creating innovative tools for their customers in order to address and overcome their pain points to provide better service.

There are already examples of solutions like this that are revolutionising the financial services sector and that companies can take heed of and learn from. A notable case in point in the life insurance market is the combination of an app with Uber in order to set up appointments and enable the almost instant dispatch of a health professional to conduct the necessary health tests required for cover.

In the past, there would often be a long wait between completing the application for life insurance and the physical medical examination that is a necessity to get approved for cover. It could take anything from a few days to a week between lodging the application and the actual drawing of blood for testing. Digital has proven to be a game changer because the app allows customers to set up appointments immediately and for the qualified nurse to use Uber to get to the appointment.

By understanding their customers’ pain points, the company in question was able to roll out an on-demand solution that meets their needs and improves their satisfaction levels. In fact, because of the solution, the company has reported an increase in customer satisfaction levels across all LSMs – but particularly lower LSMs, who are able to get cover much more quickly.

Although it might appear a seemingly simple example, it illustrates perfectly the power of digital as a means of improving customer service by eliminating pain points. While digital is by no means a blanket solution or silver bullet to solve all business or customer service challenges and businesses need to adopt an omnichannel approach to how they interact and engage with their customers, it is a critical step in the right direction to introducing innovative solutions that answer real customer needs.

The rewards to be gained by placing customers at the summit of the company’s priorities will ensure that the business is able to continuously introduce what those customers need when they need it – a truly invaluable competitive advantage in the fast-moving financial services arena.

By Adam Ikdal, Managing Partner at BCG

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Banks that are not ready for digital disruption will struggle

Banks that are not ready for digital disruption will struggle

Kele Boakgomo, Managing Director for Financial Services practice at Accenture in South Africa.

The banking industry continues to experience disruption – by new players, new opportunities and new risks – influenced by a number of forces including Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Although some financial institutions such as Citi are using their APIs to open-up their data, processes and other business functionality to an ecosystem of customers, employees, third-party developers and vendors, many however are still entrenched in their traditional operating models. Institutions that are not ready for digital disruption will struggle in the years to come.

Non-banking players such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Alibaba (GAFAA) – to mention a few – are unleashing the power of technology by developing platform-based business models which represent over US$2.6 trillion in market capitalisation worldwide. According to the 2016 Accenture Technology Vision for Banking, 84 percent of bank executives believe platforms will be the “glue” that brings organisations together in the digital economy. By 2018, sharing proprietary data with third parties will not be an option for banks. Institutions that are not preparing for digital disruption will struggle in the years to come.

In South Africa, Financial Services institutions are embracing digital and creating APIs for external collaboration. However, this approach is very slow and measured.

GAFAA and FinTech companies are offering consumers seamless digital experiences by integrating multiple ecosystems. Banks are not immune to new experiences that are blurring the lines between different industry sectors and meeting flexible, changing consumer expectations. Consumers are rejecting banks’ traditional, rigid command-and-control structures.

Embracing digital disruption and becoming an open bank
Being an open bank means operating like a platform company, with a business model that connects people and processes with assets and a technology infrastructure to manage internal and external users’ interactions. A successful open bank needs to:

  • Collaborate holistically from the outset and encourage a cultural shift so that everyone in the C-suite is involved in the conversation about open banking and understands how it can help to achieve the bank’s objectives.
  • Highlight the gains in revenue growth, cost reduction and talent management. Revenue growth can result from generating value from the “outside-in” using APIs to offer services, such as data brokerage and authentication services. Cost reduction can be achieved as open banking helps to reduce time to market and application delivery costs, easing integration with traditional technology providers, such as payments processors, credit bureaus, FinTech companies, data providers, or core banking vendors.
  • Help the process of talent management, leveraging skills in mobile content design and mobile app development to give banks an innovative, tech-savvy and customer-focused image that, in turn, attracts the best talent.

Seeking out differentiation
Banks must spell out the business goals that will drive API creation, consumption or both as they seek out how to offer differentiated services to their customers. To do so, banks need to design engaging API experiences that appeal to developers through user-friendly developer sites, enhanced self-service capabilities, good API documentation and “sandboxes” for testing and monetising APIs. They also need new operating models for new value delivery.

New operating models are needed to take into account organisational structures that blend together product development and IT operations to enable open banking. An effective IT architecture should include a developer portal to manage the relationship between the bank and its API users, a business administration portal, and an API getaway for reducing API-related risk – enforcing identity and access management and security.

Mind-set and culture are vital to driving customer benefits from open banking. Strong C-suite support backed by a sound mix of different layers of knowledge and expertise will be critical. Finally, to manage partner ecosystems effectively banks needs fast decisions based on a large amount of data from API users. Artificial intelligence tools can help to reshape and adapt the process as it executes in runtime.

Digital disruption is the driver that enables banks to keep pace with customer demands. By adopting the right digital business model, banks can take advantage of open banking to unleash new business value.

By Kele Boakgomo, Managing Director for Financial Services practice at Accenture in South Africa

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