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There’s a Long Road Ahead…Weeks 6 to 10 in Review

Long Road Ahead

Over the past three months I’ve covered 10 transaction banking topics that can help take your institutions from good to great.  For the second half of my blog series, I’ve covered topics from non-functional requirements through to that ever important subject of Trust.

In case you missed some of my posts, here is a quick recap, or do please find the full blog on Finextra.  And remember, if you have any thoughts, opinions, or just want to disagree with me, just send me a note, or track me down at EBADay, SIBOS and/or EuroFinance.

Week 6:  Sleeping with the enemy - non-functional requirements
 
Non-functional requirements (NFRs) are the glue that keep the solution working and ultimately let you sleep at night. Good functionality cannot exist without good IT - just as good technical capabilities are useless if they're not functionally relevant.
 
The list of NFRs is short and simple:

• Security - Security is not just about secure internet connections, or plugging in card readers or biometrics; this has to be fundamental to the solution.

• Reliability and Resilience - Innovative solutions need reliability built in from the ground up and by engineers who know the industry. You can only conduct business if you’re open for business, and that’s only possible if your solution is reliable.

• Availability - Availability is about it working around the clock, just like the world does, permanent accessibility, 24x7x365.

• Scalability – Can the solution grow as my business grows?

• Extensibility - Is there provision for adding incremental features and data?

• Flexibility - Can I adjust what I want to do today?

• Testability - The ability not just to test a solution, but also the ability to perform recurring tests to show a proven result and the knowledge of what to test

 
Week 7: Mobile is not for everyone all the time
 
Smartphones have truly changed the consumer landscape; they are useful for browsing or grabbing snippets of information such as directions to a restaurant or factual data on a trivial point to win an argument with a friend.  For the consumer, smartphones are practical and reliable devices that help us navigate everyday activities and communication.
 
In the business world, however, the ‘real-estate’ of the mobile phone screen is simply too restrictive for many of today’s form-heavy, bank-required processes. Banks have been catching up on the consumer side of the market, and the rapid adoption of consumer mobile banking should be a warning bell to the corporate market. The want and need is there if we can offer products and solutions that make sense to execute from a 4-inch screen. 

Predicting what the future holds is tough, but one thing for sure is that the need to manage your work away from your desk will continue.  As our personal mobility has increased, and the boundaries between the office and home blur, we require access to work from wherever we are. Mobile is not just a device; it's a way of working.
 
Week 8: Basel III can make you omniscient
 
Basel III currently focuses on two main tenets to manage risk: Capital and Liquidity. Capital is separated into the categories of capital, containing leverage, risk coverage, risk management and supervision and market discipline. Liquidity includes global liquidity standard and supervisory monitoring. Each of these categories define an approach to provide greater control and a reduction in risk based on the premise that better monitoring and measurement offers greater risk protection.
 
But guess what, Basel III is another one of those regulations that’s only going to grow further. Basel III can offer great opportunity for change, which can ultimately improve the customer proposition. Basel III is one of those initiatives that cuts across the institution from front-to-back, left-to-right and forces the examination of assets, systems and procedures. As a result, the process of assessing readiness for Basel III has also magnified underlying problems in the infrastructure of the financial institution. 
 
Week 9: Taking your data from big to useful
 
“Big Data” are two words that have come together to say exactly what we currently have, vast amounts of data that financial institutions create on a minute by minute basis. It is no secret that banks have big data; the real question is how to make this data useful or, for an even simpler start, how to acquire this data and bring it into a useable scenario.
 
The problem is that data is currently scattered all over the place. The real data we want to access is often held in huge customer service and peripheral processing systems. This is the specialist data about customer behavior, such as what they do differently each day and more importantly, what the data can tell us about predicting future behavior. We need to do more than just collate the data into one place; the real power lies in understanding how to leverage it to create the products that our customers want to buy from us in the future.
 
With the advance of real-time payments, customers are going to expect and require more data. It's not good enough to simply provide an overnight posting update to customers; they expect real-time status and real-time interaction. They have a liquidity position to keep too. And because that gives them knowledge (and therefore power), they are prepared to pay for it.
 
Topic number 10: Let’s rally together to make you win – Establishing Trust
 
The number one item that trumps everything we do in our industry lives is trust. Trust is critical in building a mutually rewarding commercial relationship between a vendor and a financial institution; it’s what establishes a true partnership.  It’s only when we have trust that the business grows.
 
We are all busier than ever before, and growing quicker than businesses have in the past. However, with business growth comes the need to expect more from suppliers than just that the system or service they supply is operational. Businesses need someone who can help guide their thinking.
 
In this time of constrained budgets, we must all use our resources better.  Resources are more than just the team inside the bank.  Banks that are undergoing renovation need suppliers that have experience, that understand the business, that have the wherewithal and expertise to get a project moving forward when things go wrong...and things can go wrong when you’re undertaking difficult renovation.
 
So don’t look at suppliers as vendors.  It’s strong partnerships that are needed for all to benefit.