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Digital Banking and the Three Pillars of Digital Transformation

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digital transformation strategy

We live in an age of unprecedented digital convenience of comfort food, online retail, and on-demand transportation. Our customers, also the consumers of these services, continually reset their expectations from digital banking services based on their experiences in other industries. What’s more, banking is not only at the center of all this incredibly fast digital exchange but also a key enabler that cannot afford to miss a beat. Banks looking to make a mark in this digitally accelerated universe that is our lives must be truly digital. Being truly digital requires instilling speed and adaptability in every aspect of the business.

Against this backdrop, all banks have embarked on a digital transformation journey in some form or shape. However, despite elaborate strategies, few banks can be said to be truly digital. Not that banks are not providing digital banking services today, but how agile they can be and how quickly they can offer new digital services and experiences in the future is the litmus test and mark of a digital bank. The starting point towards this end state is a clear definition of what being truly digital means. And no definition is complete without a discussion about customer engagement.

The prescribed approaches

The spectrum of approaches available ranges from cosmetic fixes such as new channels for old services to digitizing the entire infrastructure.

New digital banking channels integrated with and built over legacy systems can ultimately be only as good as the backend systems. Even the most digitally optimized channel approach or architecture is limited by the efficiency (or lack thereof) of the underlying systems. For example, for a new account application, the processing is largely offline with no end-to-end solution available.

Incremental strategies also have their drawbacks associated with maintaining parallel systems (digital and legacy), delayed ROI and no clear visibility or assurance of effectiveness and results.

Clearly, the only way forward for banks is a complete digital transformation, a transformation that ensures that the underlying systems are also fully digital and capable of conversing with their digital upstream and downstream systems. To get this right, a meticulous orchestration of individual transformations is needed. Let’s look at these critical aspects.

Pillars of Digital transformation

Moving from silos to a hub

Legacy systems work in silos and focus primarily on an assigned banking function. The overall complexity of the banking system leads to m:n connections of such silos. This is also the case with the many-to-many connection scenario between channels and systems as multiple channels access multiple systems. Digital transformation must aim for more than just converting legacy silos to digital ones. The transformation should lead to the creation of a unified digital hub that eliminates complex interconnections.

Think customer. Think engagement

The goal of digital transformation should be to provide the customer with seamless, personalized, contextual and consistent experience throughout the journey and across all channels. Let’s look at what this really entails:

  1. Seamless and consistent experience across channels: Channels accessing individual underlying systems lead to inconsistency in experience. Unification is possible only when the channels use a common digital hub for providing digital services.
  2. Be with the customer throughout the journey: A recent report indicates that only 5% of banks in the USA support digital customer onboarding. A truly digital bank must be able to provide an entire gamut of offerings digitally. And the services should be fast and customer-centric.
  3. Personalized and contextual engagement: Today’s customers, with exposure to digital experiences offered by Uber, Amazon and Google want more than just a cross-sell popup from their banks. Customers expect their banks to know them personally and wish to receive only relevant suggestions and nothing else, be it an investment product or simply a retail banking scenario.

Personalization is a vast topic in itself but banks can start with theme based personalization, and content personalization (formats, language preferences, dashboard widgets, etc.), and then graduate to deeper areas such as functional and control personalization (limits, alerts, templates, adaptive authentication).

Additionally, personalization is incomplete without context. Unless a digital business gets customer context right, personalization rendered on the basis of information about life events or other data is of little relevance. Context complexity also varies from fundamental information such as time of the day, access channel right up to social media profile and shopping wish lists to name a few.

The engagement hub

To provide a personalized and contextual experience to a customer, banks should have a 360-degree view of the customer across systems. The hub which we talked about earlier should act as an engagement hub by generating data-driven insights about the customer. This essentially translates to the need for introduction of an engagement layer between core systems and the access channels.

Conclusion

There are varying strategies for digital banking transformation each with its own set of advantages. However, the success of any strategy ultimately depends on how it can provide relevant customer engagement across the various stages of customer journey. And the key to success lies in thinking and empathizing with the customer.

If you are a bank looking to drive deeper engagement with your customers through customer-centric processes and consistent cross-channel journeys, talk to us to know about the Finacle Digital Engagement Hub (DEH). With this advanced omnichannel solution, you can on board, sell, service, and engage your retail, small business, and corporate customers. It offers a broad range of modern, emerging, and traditional channel experiences to every type of user – end customer, bank staff, external partner, and trusted third parties that consume your APIs. DEH powers clients across 76 countries and has been recognized as a leading digital banking solution by industry analysts. The Finacle FinTech ecosystem further strengthens the overall value proposition.

Balchandra Kemkar

Balchandra Kemkar

Author Bio: Balchandra Kemkar is an expert on Digital Banking at Infosys Finacle. In his role as a product manager for the Digital Banking suite, Balchandra is responsible for products such as the Finacle Digital Engagement Hub (DEH), Online Banking solution, and Mobile Banking solution for retail and corporate banks. His keen interest in technology can especially be narrowed down to emerging technologies such as IoT, Analytics, Blockchain, and UX. Balchandra has over 13 years of experience in IT. He has a Master’s in Business Administration from XLRI, Jamshedpur.

 

 

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Using payments to streamline everyday transport

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Using payments to streamline everyday transport 1

By Venceslas Cartier, Global Head of Transportation & Smart Mobility at Ingenico Enterprise Retail

Once upon a time the only way to get from A to B on public transport was with cash – and likely a pre-paid ticket bought from a physical office. Nowadays, thanks to technological developments, options range from contactless and mobile payments, to in-app tickets and more. As payment methods advance, consumers and merchants are naturally moving towards Mobility as a Service (MaaS) systems, integrating various forms of transport services into a single mobility service, accessible on demand.

This move towards MaaS does not only streamline the consumer experience, it has other positive impacts too. Incentivising public transport use reduces environmental pollution, improves mental wellbeing by reducing travel-related stress, and aids productivity by freeing up time otherwise spent driving. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the current trends affecting the transport sector, as well as how payments can optimise transportation for both operators and consumers alike.

Optimising transport with payments

The payment process is integral to any service. A payment service provider (PSP) can provide a range of key benefits to operators by proving a gateway to the transportation open payment ecosystem, and ensuring they meet objectives in 3 key areas.

  1. Environmentally, by reducing the use of personal cars and alleviating pollution and congestion.
  2. Societally, making urban mobility more inclusive in terms of improving access to all areas and for all socioeconomic classes.
  3. Economically, by optimising investment in eco-structure and fostering financial transactions, therefore improving the wealth of the city.

Payments professionals’ expertise and technological solutions can make payments easy again for transport operators. They can provide a range of options so that the customer can choose which one is right for them, leveraging the capabilities of the mobility services’ infrastructure (contactless, mobile wallets, P2P, closed-loop, QR code, and blockchain).

Furthermore, they can help promote inclusion and sustainable urban development. For example, methods such as prepaid virtual cards, or mobility accounts linked to a prepaid account can reduce the risks of excluding the unbanked. The environmental impact per kilometre can also be reduced, along with the use of vehicles with lower emissions per person per kilometre.

Finally, PSPs can put merchants’ minds at ease, providing payment liability, allowing aggregation of all due amounts from all mobility service providers, and collecting payments in one single transaction from users while dispatching revenue between mobility service providers.

Managing coronavirus

Venceslas Cartier

Venceslas Cartier

COVID-19’s disruption to the travel industry cannot be overlooked. In fact, research suggests that public transit ridership is down 70% across the globe since the onset of the virus, longer distance travel has seen reductions of up to 90%, and payment by cash has seen a 60% drop.

Being realistic, these behavioural shifts are unlikely to revert anytime soon, so it’s important for merchants to keep this in mind when thinking about payment methods. More than 70% of consumers and travellers say they are likely to avoid the use of cash over the next six months. As a result, more than 40 countries have already raised their contactless payment threshold, further helping consumers to avoid contact with frequently touched pin pads.

However, the pandemic has only accelerated the way things were heading already and highlighted the benefits. Within the context of the pandemic, transportation needs to reinvent itself and adapt its processes to suit the shift in commuter habits that we’ve already seen and will continue to see in the future.

Other trends to keep an eye on

Contactless has been steadily growing on the transport scene, as have mobile payments and in-app purchases. In fact, the recent move to mobile and online ticketing is the most promising method so far, having seen significant growth in the last few years and having been accelerated by COVID-19 as discussed above. Once consumers move to these easy, convenient, and seamless methods, it’s rare that they revert – so it’s a good idea for operators to think how they can cater to these preferences.

Speed and convenience are a must for busy travellers – but not at the expense of data security. Finding the right payments partner is therefore crucial so operators can safeguard their customers’ personal data, while also keeping on top of other security regulations/features such as P2P encryption, PCI certification, and tokenisation.

Next steps for operators

Public transport is essential for many peoples’ everyday lives – COVID-19 or no COVID-19. As such, mobility service providers can make a great difference to their service and operations by implementing the right solutions.

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Grey skies ahead – Malta prepares for a gloomy 2021 if they can’t tackle financial crime

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Grey skies ahead – Malta prepares for a gloomy 2021 if they can’t tackle financial crime 2

By Dhanum Nursigadoo, ComplyAdvantage

With the summer drawing to a close, many countries who rely significantly on warm weather tourism will be assessing the impact of Covid-19. Being a small island in the middle of the Mediterranean you would expect Malta to be taking a significant economical hit – just like we are seeing in other popular European holiday destinations – but this doesn’t take into account the strength of the Maltese economy.

Emerging from the eurozone crisis with one of the most dynamic economies strategically positioned between three continents, Malta has had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the EU and has recently seen its GDP growth expand year-on-year.  But perhaps the most important aspect of the Maltese economy has been its attraction for foreign businesses with only a 5% tax on profits. It is no secret that Malta is a tax haven, probably one of the most effective tax havens in the world.

But you can’t pick and choose who takes shelter, and it’s no secret that money launderers have been taking advantage of the regulatory landscape in this archipelago.

The conditions of a tax haven suit criminal enterprises, who can take advantage of the opaque environment and blend their illegal activities with the same operations enjoyed by high net worth individuals and corporations who are looking to reduce their tax bill. And last year Malta’s keenness for secrecy and avoidance resulted in a damning report by Moneyval – the Council of Europe’s Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) body – which found that while the nation had made some efforts to curb money laundering there was still much to be desired in order to bring the tax haven up to standard. Overall, they were of the opinion that Malta viewed combating money laundering as a non-priority and this resulted in branding Malta with low to partial ratings for 30 out of the 40 Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations.

The findings of the report were stated to have the potential to “create within the wider public the perception that there may exist a culture of inactivity or impunity”. This follows on from a series of international high-profile stories regarding Malta and financial crime. Most shocking was the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia – who investigated corruption and money laundering in her native country – and was killed by a car-bomb three years ago leading to international outrage and condemnation.

Now Malta is in a race against time to turn their reputation around or they will suffer genuine consequences. The FATF have threatened to place Malta on a “greylist” of high-risk jurisdictions unless they have shown a genuine commitment to combatting financial crime and implemented the recommendations of the Moneyval report. If they fail, this would make Malta the first EU country to make the list and join others such as Panama, Syria and Zimbabwe.

The pandemic has actually given Malta more time to meet these obligations, and it has been widely reported that an initial summer deadline has now been moved to October due to the widespread disruption.

As we head into the autumn, there are signs that Malta has begun to take action. The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has created and established an empowered AML now headed up by Anthony Eddington, formerly of the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and who has previous experience of tackling anti-financial crime at Deutsche Bank. This team has already begun working closely with international experts, specifically partners in the US through the US embassy in Malta and the United States Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). In May this collaboration led to 25 new cases focused on money laundering in particular, and with plans to increase standard inspections and on-site investigations into businesses in Malta, it appears there is a change to the country’s priorities.

Importantly, the report highlighted a problem for countries that choose to become tax havens. In some cases it was not that the Maltese authorities deliberately turned a blind-eye, but simply that they did not have the necessary knowledge to effectively tackle financial crime in the first place. Law enforcement appeared unable to even recognise when crime was occurring.

But this blurring of financial compliance will not help businesses if Malta does indeed become “greylisted” this year. While not as devastating as being blacklisted (the two occupants of this list are Iran and North Korea) there are significant detrimental effects to being put on the FATF greylist. Although this signals that the country is committed to developing AML/CFT plans (unlike the blacklist) it still sends out a warning signal to the world that this is a high-risk area, with the country in question subject to increased monitoring and potential sanctions from the IMF and the World Bank. Make no mistake, being put on the greylist will be catastrophic for Malta’s economy.

It remains to be seen how the work to avoid such a calamity will affect Malta’s tax haven status. Perhaps with an increased fight against financial crime there will be less ability to defend one of Europe’s most competitive tax regimes. But if Malta does not show they are genuinely committed to tackling this problem, then the pandemic disruption to the island’s tourism may be minor in comparison to the grey clouds that now approach their shores.

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How will the UK prepare a supply chain for the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines?

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How will the UK prepare a supply chain for the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines? 3

By Don Marshall, Marketing role at Exporta.

The challenge of mobilising a supply chain for the introduction of a global and nationwide vaccine will be enormously complex. The process will be costly, and it’s likely the figures will stretch to the hundreds of millions for both the production of the vaccine itself and its distribution across the UK. We must prepare and plan a supply chain strategy to ensure it reaches those most in need in a timely and safe manner.

The task of immunising a whole population is something that has never been planned or likely imagined by anyone within a standard supply chain. A supply chain that goes directly from the manufacturer to the end consumer, or user/ patient in this case, is complex and goes beyond the scope of any single logistics company. It would have to be conceived and delivered via a large joint effort and collaboration between multiple organisations. Effectively distributing the vaccine will depend on the source of manufacture, its storage requirements, and protection of the vaccines from manufacture through to patient administration.

The majority of vaccines require storage within a specific temperature range and need to be handled safely and in hygienic conditions. Depending on where the vaccines are manufactured, the transport legs will vary; if they are coming from overseas, air freight will increase cost and complexity. In addition to supplying the vaccine, syringes, needles and containers also need to be taken into account when preparing the supply chain.

Securing the specific types of boxes or containers i.e. the lidded containers normally used for transporting pharmaceutical products will mean acquiring them from all available stockists and manufacturers. Delivery vehicles would then need to be considered, with temperature-control factored in. The medical supply chain can inform their approach to distribution by assessing data from previous supply chains, and how large quantities of vaccines have been sent out in the past. Collating successful vaccine delivery examples from other parts of the world would be advantageous here, the more we can do to prepare for a logistical challenge of this magnitude, the better.

The distribution of this COVID vaccine will be unique in its scale and for that reason, additional supply chains will need to be mobilised. Apart from medical supply chains, those best suited for this type of transportation are the fresh/frozen food industries and supermarkets. I would mobilise these businesses to assist with the vaccine’s distribution wherever possible and use their car parks and facilities for the temporary medical centres needed to administer the vaccine to the public.

Using the food industry and supermarket networks would leave the current pharmaceutical supply chains intact for health services, pharmacies and the NHS. It would protect those vital services and continue to serve communities across the UK. Inevitably, it would place a short term strain on food supply chains, but these are supply chains that are well-equipped and versed in coping with excess demand i.e. the spike endured from the brief spell of public panic buying at the start of the crisis. With adequate resourcing and planning, I believe the UK supply chain can and will handle this challenge.

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