Sunday, July 26, 2009

Differentiation of online services

I enjoyed reading the findings of a recent Gartner research report on online banking services. Gartner surveyed almost 4 000 consumers in the UK and the US. The findings ring true to what we are seeing in the industry. One of the findings (in my opinion) do have specific implications for banks. In the report Stessa is quoted as saying: "As consumer adoption of online banking increases, banks are searching for ways to differentiate their services while maximizing the cost-effectiveness of self-service channels". Banks will have to spend more time to ensure that their offerings cater for very specific needs of consumers and will have to keep on adapting these services as they learn more about their customers. While the research was focused on Internet banking, many of the findings can most definitely be made applicable to mobile banking too.

This insight must surely challenge the trend to outsource online banking to third parties and for banks to offer online banking services on the same platform as many other banks. If banks really intend to compete and win customers from others, it is essential that they should have more control over the features, security and functionality of their online services. This in my mind is indicative of a need for an online banking platform (with much more in-house control) than a managed service. Banking is evolving to a state where a customer's online access to the bank is a key competitive capability.

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