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Effective mobile banking solutions are proving crucial to today’s financial services industry, enabling banks to compete with fintechs and deliver exciting customer experiences. “For many years technology has enabled banks to develop industrialized, scalable but standardized services,” says Marcelo Marquez, director of worldwide financial services at Microsoft. “Today, we are using technology to differentiate between users – whether they are employees or customers – and provide the experience they need.”

Steve van den Heever, group sales director financial services at Dimension Data, notes that banks are increasingly looking to leverage collaboration technologies to reduce costs, enhance the customer experience and improve services. “The cost to service a client on mobile is less than 10 cents compared to over US$4.25 for a traditional branch visit,” says van den Heever. “Mobile offers more convenience and personalization in the client’s real-world banking and retail experiences, driven primarily by location, Internet of Things, data intelligence and collaboration. Mobile devices immediately deliver client benefits in terms of convenience, lifestyle apps, image capture and social awareness capabilities. These collectively provide a compelling business case to prioritize transforming not only the customer channel, but the end-to-end process to enable a more seamless business model in the future.”

As consumers demand more convenient ways to manage their money, banks are increasingly focused on delivering a mobile-enabled self-serve model – but legacy investments can present a challenge. “Research shows that customers would prefer to move their money using their bank’s technology rather than a third-party app,” says Lori Murray, worldwide bank offering director at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). “Banks are looking to develop apps that enable customers to open accounts, apply for loans and transfer payments. However, their legacy technology can make it difficult to deliver their core applications on a mobile device. We developed our framework to help them achieve that, so they can deliver the experience today’s users need without having to replace their legacy systems.”

HPE provides a framework – using Microsoft technologies such as Enterprise Management Suite, Windows 10 and Azure – to deliver end-to-end or individual solutions that can integrate with the bank’s legacy technologies. These include a lending solution that enables banks to provide mobile apps for two-tap loan applications, the Digital Enterprise Branch Transformation solution which helps to pull banks through to an integrated, digital experience, and the Continuum network which enables users to plug into the television or other large screen as well as using smartphones and tablets.

A user-focused approach is key to delivering this. “Mobility is about much more than the device,” says Enda Curran, mobile solutions business development lead at HPE. “It’s about the application, how it’s accessed, by whom, where, and how their data is secured. For example, Microsoft Azure is enabling new ways to interact with different users, whether they are customers or employees. We work with our clients and their users to design an application, to make sure we understand how they’re going to use it, what will drive adoption and usage, and how to ensure that it provides the user with data or notifications that are relevant to them.”

With the right mobile solutions in place, bankers can effectively take the branch to the customer. “Capabilities such as encryption, remote identity management and digital signatures mean that bankers with a mobile device are no longer locked to their desk,” says Marquez. “Apps such as Cortana Intelligence Suite leverage machine learning to create predictive models so they can recommend the next best conversation to have with a customer. When they need input from an expert, bankers can use Skype for Business to bring the right persona into their discussion with the customer. They can use digital signatures to conclude any transactions securely on the spot. Teams of bankers and investors can meet and share notes across the world using Surface Hub. This capability for paperless operation is transforming banks and making them much more efficient.”

Dimension Data works with global banking organizations to enable seamless collaboration and communication between employees, service providers and customers. For example, a Skype for Business branch advisor solution implementation at a leading Australian bank has resulted in increased customer satisfaction with access to expert lending and financial advisors, improved reach through video-conferencing, and streamlined collaboration between employees.

“Collaboration technology across mobile devices is having a significant impact in enabling banks to meet the needs of customers in remote locations,” says van den Heever. “In particular, mobile payments and wallets are poised for massive growth. We are also seeing increasing interest in delivering a compelling and personalized digital experience to clients, combining data intelligence at the client point of contact, social gamification and converged collaboration.”

Banks that embrace a persona-driven mobile strategy are poised to work smarter, and to reach more customers, than ever before. “We are moving into an era of persona-driven technology and services,” concludes Marquez. “Technology that used to be cost-prohibitive is now mainstream, enabling banks to provide any capability. That could be low-cost, GPS-enabled devices that enable microfinance loan collectors to visit customers in remote locations, or developing bot advisors that will provide the next generation of user interface on customers’ devices. The key to success lies in knowing who is using the technology, and delivering the apps and information that gives each user the experience they need.”