My previous blog post attracted a very thoughtful response from Saiseshan and thanks to him to articulate aspects that are of significance.
To his point that connectivity is an issue, yes it indeed is but the rapid advance in Internet backbone makes information availability, real time, on time a reality in most countries now. Additionally, most of the larger financial services institutions would have a centralised IT system that should be a storehouse of information (databases, PDFs, HTML, documents any format) and there are several tools that can crawl different information sources and use knowledge indices to store knowledge content.
The issue in my opinion is not connectivity but in appreciation of the possible solutions by business and technology users. Sometime back, I consulted at a bank and implemented such a knowledge-centric solution. The results were remarkable and customers repeat calls to complain about services rendered fell dramatically.
Saiseshans point about using Web 2.0 to relook at corporate marketing is indeed a very pertinent one and needs some innovative thinking on how to make banks work more efficiently areas like trade finance, taxation, short-term lending & equipment finance would be prime candidates for better and more efficient approaches.
To my point on the growth and growth of online banking, it is easy to understand why consumers are loving it (no interactive voice response systems or IVRS being on top of the list probably) and why the institutions are loving it (no costly IVRS again). But the issue isnt the growth itself standard transactions would necessarily grow but we really havent seen the power of social networking, contact centre optimisation, knowledge management, personalisation and customisation enabled by Web 2.0 technologies coming together in a perfect storm and creating a blue ocean out there.
While these may in the long run impact the corporate a lot more than the retail customer (from a value perspective not a volume perspective), the key issue is how do banks ensure the customer banks with them, the deposit account is a critical component of lending (corporate and retail) and banks need to think innovatively of how to ensure the retail customer deposits his/her salary with the bank. I think this is where the first wave of online banking should focus on.
The other comment from Nagarjuna is also very pertinent and one of the reasons banks are perhaps unwilling to embark on such complex change management programs is the costs and risks associated with it. My only point here would be that these costs and associated risks are often exaggerated most of the execution is around re-using existing processes and platforms with minimal additional knowledge-centric tools and technologies, and retraining people it is rarely a rip and replace strategy. We can perhaps talk more about executing an integrated, online strategy in the next post.
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