Financial services

The Future Of Banking Is Mobile – Or Is It?

Jost Hoppermann
Vice President, Principal Analyst
October 5, 2011

A few days ago at Oracle OpenWorld 2011, I attended a presentation from one of the major consulting companies. The topic: banking in 2020. I heard about big data, the need for real-time analysis of information (in particular from the Internet), and a few other trends. While many of these trends were not new, I could only agree that they would be important in the future, as they align with Forrester’s 2008 research on what banking will look like in the future. (If you are interested in details regarding Forrester’s research on this topic, please see “Financial Services Of The Future: Collaborative Competition Will Be The Norm” and “Banking IT In 2023 Updated,” keeping in mind that 2023 is a metaphor for a longer-term perspective.) However, there was one statement within the presentation that I seriously disagree with.

The presenter stated that 2020 would bring more transactions and interactions via the mobile channel than via the Internet channel and that consequently the mobile channel would be the only relevant channel and the Internet channel would die out. Why do I disagree? Forrester’s research on banking in the future clearly identifies the need for ubiquitous banking: Convenient mobile banking from anywhere at any time will be the norm, and virtual branches will be the rule. So far, no disagreement. However, this does neither mean that the mobile channel should be the channel a bank prescribes for its customers nor that the mobile channel will be the single architecturally dominant channel. What does this mean?

A focus on the mobile channel is an approach that we see in a number of banks as well as institutions outside of financial services. However, it is a best practice when focusing on the mobile channel to include architectural concepts that can extend mobile artifacts to other channels and reuse them there. In the long term, banks need to achieve multichannel maturity level 3: the support of multichannel business processes independent from the underlying channel. Consequently, in this future — which is still years away for many banks —a shift from the Internet to the mobile channel does not necessarily mean that the Internet channel will die out. In the world of ubiquitous banking, the shift toward more mobile channel interactions — or any other channel — will simply occur within the broader infrastructure supporting multichannel business processes.

As always, let me know what you think: I would appreciate your feedback.


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