Cisco’s recent survey of 7200 banking customers in 12 countries left me with a crystal-clear takeaway: consumers are ready for the Internet of Everything (IoE) — and they want it now.
But to meet that demand, banks need to assess their own capabilities as they begin to light up their own “dark assets” with network connectivity and embark on the journey to IoE readiness.
In our survey, we tested five key IoE-enabled banking concepts related to advice (virtual financial advice, virtual mortgage advice, and automated financial advice) and mobility (branch recognition and mobile payments). These concepts resonated with customers globally: 75 percent of all respondents would move their money to another provider for one or more of the five concepts. And while the interest is significant everywhere, in emerging markets, respondents are twice as likely to move their money.
These days, however, many customers feel a “value gap” with their banks. Our study revealed that 28 percent of bank customers globally do not trust banks to represent their best interests. What’s more, if banks don’t offer the kinds of interactive, contextual, and convenient experiences that customers expect, competitors — some from outside the traditional realm of finance — are ready to meet their needs. Four out of five customers in Cisco’s survey would trust a non-bank to handle their banking needs. That could be a technology start-up, a retailer, or even a social media company.
These disruptive competitors are engaging customers with convenient transactions and proactive services. But banks have an opportunity to leapfrog these challengers by leveraging their own expertise, physical branch assets, and rich customer data. As they combine these core advantages with IoE, banks can be the new disruptors.
But how does a bank begin the journey to IoE readiness?
First, banks need to understand the value gap — the disconnect between how banks currently use their assets and the expectations of their customers. To bridge the gap, banks must take a careful audit of their dark assets — with an eye toward connecting all of the elements of IoE: people, process, data, and things. The overall goal is to determine what can be “lit up” to drive deeper customer insight.
For many banks, raw data remains a key dark asset, since much of it remains untapped as a source of relevant insight. Banks that analyze this data to better understand their customers, and then create more convenient and contextual experiences based on these insights, will win the battle for relevance. Moreover, by combining actionable insights from this data with their own institutional expertise and physical branch assets, banks can offer customers the best of all worlds.
For example, a bank can treat loyal customers with specialized services: by informing them in advance of wait times, having key documents ready when they arrive at the branch, or by linking them to offers and discounts from local retailers. Analytics (together with collaboration tools) can further empower branch associates with actionable insights, driving deeper customer interactions.
Today, many banks rely on business processes that were designed with legacy technology for a branch network. When banks layer technology over paper-based, manual processes, the result is more complexity, higher costs, and dissatisfied customers. IoE solutions can digitize and connect business processes. Given the complexity they confront, banks need to respond dynamically. Because manual processes cannot keep up with complexity and change, agile infrastructures and organizational models are critical. These will enable banks to offer the kinds of IoE-enabled interactions favored by customers.
Banks will also need the appropriate architectures, strategies, and organizational changes. An innovation mind-set must be championed, starting with the CEO. An ecosystem of partners, vendors, and start-ups will also help banks accelerate cultural, technological, and business process changes. This will pave the way toward a fully digital banking experience that provides better advice to more customers and delivers the secure, value-added mobile services that customers expect.
Like all industries in the IoE era, banks face a challenging period of intense change. However, I believe that savvy banks will see the Internet of Everything as an opportunity to become fully digitized, while leveraging their traditional core strengths. As a result, they’ll close the value gap and become the new disruptors.