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Banking in the InterCloud: Delivering Additional Computing and Storage

July 28, 2014 at 1:02 pm PST

Financial Services firms are being challenged and forced to change the way that their applications, information, content, compute, storage, and network resources are deployed and consumed. It is a multi-dimensional issue that is forcing financial services firms to change of how IT is delivered. They are beginning to look for ways to stretch their data centers, as they often need more compute and storage capacity than their own facilities provide, especially during those peak high-demand times. The move is toward the service delivery of IT through cloud computing, a dynamic and service-oriented delivery paradigm that organizes and allocates IT-enabled services to meet business demand as needed.

Challenges With Financial Services IT Delivery

Data centers are costly to build and operate, but there are times when you need more resources. Cisco’s InterCloud solution lets banks create a hybrid cloud to extend their data center and cloud capacity when needed. Through InterCloud, banks can store more data and have more computing power, operating just as if it were in an on-premises data center. InterCloud could also be used to augment current big data and risk/analytics environments that banks have deployed in recent years. In many cases, additional compute capacity is needed only for a short time in order to run certain risk models or to provide additional reporting for regulatory requirements. Read More »

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Interaction Technology: Neutralizing the Barriers of Time, Location, and Staffing Levels

In my last blog, I continued the discussion about the 24-hour bank and how banks must transition from the physical business model to the digital business model. As part of my series on the 24-hour bank, this post builds on the question of how banks could begin to develop the capabilities, enabled by technology, to address the operational and logistical challenges inherent in operating in a customer-driven 24-hour world.

First are the factors that shape our existing banking distribution model: the traditional route to market and how clients connect and interact with their bank. Starting with branches, the traditional distribution model has evolved with the development of technologies such as the telephone, ATM’s, and the Internet. While these technologies provided increased options for clients to interact and transact, they were still affected by constraints of the existing operating model– the availability of bank staff with the requisite skills.

How so? Contact centers, telephone, and online banking required a shift in staffing models to enable customers to interact and transact outside of the normal work day. ATM’s began to allow customer self-service for certain basic transactions at any time of day. Collectively, these technologies extended operating hours for clients, but services were limited due the fact that the expertise required for more complex services were still unavailable outside the traditional workday. Read More »

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Cisco and Ignite Sales Join Forces to Solve Banks’ Customer Acquisition Challenges

Accelerating organic growth across segments, products, and services is a prime objective for today’s banks. The rubber often hits the road with the account opening process. And that process can go flat, especially when a customer runs into difficulties that cause it to breakdown creating an undesired customer experience. Cisco and Ignite Sales know that those potholes can be avoided and that’s why we recently teamed up during the Save the Bank Challenge Technology Showcase at the American Banker Digital Bankers Summit, in Los Angeles, CA and demonstrated how cross-channel account opening is a core element of an engaging customer on-boarding experience.

Customers who have a great on-boarding experience are inclined to consider additional products or services from the bank and the best time to capitalize on this opportunity is at the point of sales, when they are already buying. With the Cisco and Ignite Sales solution, banks have an opportunity to make account opening the centerpiece of a compelling customer acquisition strategy. Our ‘Save the Bank’ demonstration showed an Omnichannel account opening process that closes the gap that all too often exists between digital channels and in the branch. Read More »

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Delivering More Personalized Customer Service

At Cisco Live, Hans Hwang, VP of Cisco Advanced Services spoke with Todd Walthall, Vice President, Digital Servicing Integration from American Express about how they are taking their customer service to the next level. By partnering with Cisco, American Express is piloting video chat capabilities in their American Express iPad application. With a push of a video icon button on an iPad, a video window appears, and a customer connects directly to a customer service representative to receive concierge service.

AmEx at Cisco Live 3c

Seeing this demo reminded me of a recent session I had the opportunity to attend where Rob Honts from Accenture presented on customer retention and loyalty, which is part of their annual Global Consumer Pulse Research survey. One of the key findings that Rob highlighted from the survey is that the number one reason customers stay with and switch their service provider is due to customer service. Not convenience. Not product.  Dare, I say it? Not brand. But customer service. Read More »

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Open 24 Hours: Bringing the Full Capabilities of the Branch to Digital Channels

In my previous blog I introduced the series with the idea that financial services firms are now being expected to operate and be “Open 24 Hours.” Underlying this is the transition from the physical business model to the digital business model. This principle can be built upon by exploring the factors that are driving this change and some of the challenges that need to be addressed.

The explosion of digital devices, mobile apps, Wi-Fi everywhere, cloud computing and broadband internet together, provides consumers with increasing ways to explore and shop online. With increased use, shopping and buying online is quickly becoming the normal approach, especially with younger consumers. In fact, a recent study found that 64 percent of generation Y pays half or more of their bills electronically.

Increasingly, consumers start their purchasing journey in the digital space – primarily on the internet. This initial step is usually preceded by a referral from a friend, colleague or family member based on a superior experience. Regardless, the trend for consumers especially in the retail industry is to shop online and purchase offline.

How is this manifesting for retail banks? Just look at the forecasts of usage patterns and changing transaction mix across banking channels. Recent industry surveys all confirm that the volume and mix of transactions is forecasted to change over the next five years. Specifically, the internet, through mobile channels, is increasing in usage. The branch channel is expected to flatten and in developed markets, expected to decrease. In addition, the nature and type of transactions traditionally conducted in the branch is shifting to digital channels, as more technology-enabled solutions are deployed. Read More »

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