August 25, 2015

What if there was an appstore for financial services?

Antti Seppälä

Solution Head, Digital Branch in Financial Services, Tieto

Our field study shows that small business owners have four key needs for new financial services: scalability to changing needs, easiness to use and the ability to predict and visualise business trends from banking data. What if the solution was a financial ‘webstore’ - a service provided by banks that connects fragmented financial applications into one?

Financial management is a complex business for typical small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Successful enterprises grow rapidly and need to adapt to new business environments quickly - which often means the services they need today are not the same ones they will need tomorrow.

This was the starting point for our collaborative research project together with Nordic bank Nordea, Nokia, VTT and Aalto University. In the study partly funded by DIGILE we focused on co-creating new financial services together with the end-users to simplify their financial administration.

Research insight: small businesses want (and need) apps!

Through interviews with small business owners and field studies at their workplaces, we discovered that that small business owners want new ways to manage their finances. The key needs were scalability, easiness to use and the ability to predict and visualise business trends from banking data. Currently there is no single service-provider or platform that provides flexible and scalable financial management tools for changing needs.

Banks today do not play much of an active role in the financial management process, as enterprises turn to them for routine transactional services and lending, but little else. Anything that adds value to financial data—growth forecasting, for example—is handled elsewhere or not at all. All in all, the current solutions are not only time-consuming and inefficient, but fail to provide holistic insights from all available transactional data.

As a solution we created the AppCollection concept—a service provided by banks that connects fragmented and overlapping financial applications for SME’s financial management into one dashboard. The apps can range from simple automation tools that minimise low-level administrative tasks to innovative forecasting applications that visualise business trends and facilitate financial decision-making.

Banks are ideally positioned to provide a financial app collection to their SME customers, who benefit from any services that allow them to focus on the day-to-day operation of their businesses. Banks are already frequent touchpoints for the enterprises, who generally conduct multiple transactions per week, and they are already sitting on a huge amount of valuable data resulting from these transactional services.

Appstores have the potential to revitalize banking

Banks are uniquely positioned to develop any number of services for specific customer scenarios. By tapping into their existing wealth of data, banks could offer customers an array of cost-effective solutions. An appstore-type ecosystem would cut costs, accelerate time-to-market, enable partner networks, support mobile devices and fundamentally improve the overall user experience.

Through an app collection, new apps can also be effectively introduced to customers and existing apps and services can be incorporated into the ecosystem, prolonging the lifespan of old systems.

Banks must now decide if they want to step up from merely offering routine services. The  are already sitting on a huge amount of valuable data resulting from these transactional services. By tapping into their existing wealth of data, banks can offer customers an array of cost-effective and flexible solutions, and better service.

Read also a blog post about possibility to have mobile banking apps alerting for new opportunities and potential financial problems in real-time, and reacting to these matters was just one swipe away: Proactive push notifications—the future of banking

Read more about Tieto Customer Experience Management here and/or follow us on LinkedIn

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Customer Experience Management for Financial Services

Download our study which investigates CEM within the Finance Industry in the Nordic region, with emphasis on the generic CEM maturity and development actions on digital CEM. 98 Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian decision makers within Finance were interviewed in this quantitative study.

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