Mobile Banking is as much a Platform Strategy as it is about the User Experience

Christopher Danvers, VP Payments & Digital Services, American Airlines Federal Credit Union
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Christopher Danvers, VP Payments & Digital Services, American Airlines Federal Credit Union

Christopher Danvers, VP Payments & Digital Services, American Airlines Federal Credit Union

It goes without saying that the user experience for mobile banking is critically important. Intuitiveness, ease of use, and how the end user feels after using the app will ultimately determine how successful your mobile banking strategy will be.

Think of a great user experience as the end game; so what do you need to do right to win your end game? A few things that come to mind are:

• A clearly defined strategy that articulates for your organization what you are trying to achieve with mobile banking
• Executive buy-in so all areas of the organization understand what the strategy means or the enterprise as well as their respective teams
• Alignment of ownership of the your mobile strategy with the right combination of other channels, products, and/or transactional capabilities you’re trying to advance

  Your mobile banking strategy should also define what kind of platform(s) you’d need to ultimately build your user experience‚Äč  

Thinking Platform(s) First

Your mobile banking strategy should also define what kind of platform(s) you’d need to ultimately build your user experience. Considerations should include:

• Integration and Platform Combinations – Will all of your business partner’s platforms play nice together? Think about the entire list of partner platforms that will need to talk to each other to build out your mobile experience, and whether or not they have complimentary integration capabilities.

• Integration Capabilities – How Application Programming Interface (API) friendly is your mobile platform? Can they support suites of APIs offered through your other business partner platforms? Or, will you need to rely on other integration experiences, such as Single sign-on (SSO); and how will those translate to the user experience you desire to offer?
• Custom Development Needs – What kind of experiences would you desire that will be considered custom development rather than standard functionality available out of the box? Are the technologies, such as APIs there to support your vision?
• Custom Development Capabilities If you have a mature development skillset within your organization, does the platform offer a Software Development Kit (SDK)? If you don’t, then will your platform provider develop these for you and at what cost? And, how quickly can this process enable your organization to respond to needs that require custom development?
• Technical Debt Does the combination of required business partner platforms and integration pressure from the mobile channel saddle your organization with too much technical debt? As you expand the expectations of integration across your mix of business partner platforms, are you taking necessary steps to “pay down” your technical debt?

This “platform first” perspective will become even more important as integration expectations expand beyond your partner’s platforms. We first saw this trend with the emergence of wearables such as watches viewed as extensions to your traditional mobile device, and in response the same mobile ecosystem being extended to those devices.

The latest trend is developing around voice command devices like Amazon Echo and it’s underling Alexa persona/engine. As these devices continue to become embedded into our everyday lives, consumer’s expectations change and they’ll likely demand you be where they now want to transact, so your platform’s scalability and ability to expand integration will be of critical importance.

Courage and Conviction

Now that you have your strategy, executive buy-in, completed a good assessment of your collective business partner integration and have calculated your technical debt— and more importantly a strategy that will help you “pay down” this debit—it’s time to execute.

This will require courage and conviction to stay true to your strategy and in some cases will require you to change some existing business relationships, and perhaps defend unpopular decisions required along the way. Using your strategy as the litmus test for these tougher decisions can help ensure you’re making changes for the right reasons, and not shying away from changes that might be necessary but more difficult.

Measuring Your Success

We embarked on our first iteration of our payments and digital services strategy about Four years ago, which included a digital banking platform conversion. Two and a half years after that conversion we’ve seen some great performance indicators, including

• 45 percent increase in registered users; now representing 67 percent of our membership
• 54 percent increase in active users with 71 percent of registered users considered active
• 109 percent increase in overall login activity
• 240 percent increase in logins from mobile devices, which now represent over 65 percent of all login activity
• 94 percent increase in intra-account transfer activity

Mobile is a journey with an end game that will be a constantly moving target. While we’ve made progress executing against our strategy we still have a lot of work ahead of us, but the numbers we’re seeing are a promising sign that we’re heading in the right direction.

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