Digital software that makes banking cool
When it comes to cool you may think of expensive sunglasses, E-type Jaguars or James Dean.
Banks may be low on that list, but digital software might be giving it some extra verve.
“Banks are increasingly looking at how they can become more engaged with their customers,” says Darryl Proctor, product director, digital, Temenos. “They are trying to be cool again – a place where they are not just trusted but fit into and help peoples’ everyday lives. That is the key to the digital journey banks are now on. To be the app on their phone that customers can’t live without.”
The main drivers behind this, Proctor adds, are to restore reputation but also customer retention.
“Banks understand that switching to rivals is a lot easier than it was 10 years ago. So, they need to be more engaged and innovative,” he states. “It is no longer acceptable to onboard a customer and then provide a mediocre service. Your customers will move.”
He says banks are becoming more digitally mature but that they vary in their stages of preparedness. “Maybe they are looking to build a separate digital brand or replace existing legacy systems, but what is clear is that they are not thinking ‘I am going to prepare and then I am done’,” Proctor says. “This is a living thing, a cycle to continue. It changes quite rapidly helped by new fintechs out there every day inventing exciting and different hardware or software.”
Temenos Infinity, the cloud-native, cloud-agnostic front-office digital product, is helping banks by giving them the freedom to innovate and the speed to deliver outstanding digital customer experiences.
It’s a digital front-office product which to date has over 500 banking clients and covers all banking verticals, offering customer acquisition and onboarding, omni-channel banking, customer retention and marketing, with modules supporting payments, wealth advisor, financial crime, risk and compliance, and analytics.
Temenos Infinity can be delivered on-premise, in any cloud, or as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering and has 700 published APIs for third-party integration.
It can be easily implemented on any core banking system or integrated with the market-leading Temenos T24 Transact core banking product, giving banks the freedom to continuously renovate their banking platform starting first with the customer experience. Temenos has over 3,000 clients globally, including 41 of the world’s top 50 banks.
“Banks need a platform which will help them make use of new digital technologies from augmented to virtual reality. With Temenos Infinity, we can allow onboarding customers, for example, to pause their applications and then resume using other devices,” Proctor explains. “It also helps banks ask prospective new customers for information in the right order. So, email or telephone number first rather than asking them to find a driver’s licence, which could be tucked away in the bottom of a drawer! You lose customers that way. It is design-led thinking based on real life experience.”
This, he says, has led to 40% improvement in onboarding rates at major banks. Indeed, one global bank has taken an average length of 40 days for a customer to onboard down to 10 days.
Proctor adds that the same bank has gone live with its onboarding platform in 26 countries in just nine months – quite an achievement given regulatory complexities around the globe.
“We give flexibility to our clients. We always think when we are developing our software about it being API and cloud-first, about it being open and low code,” Proctor states.
“For some time, banks have been looking at Temenos’ software as a way of rationalising systems, improving efficiency and cutting costs. It has been an inward look but now they want to walk around in their customers’ shoes more and get closer to them. That is the new digital focus. The consumer’s view of the world, be they a small medium enterprise (SME), a retail customer or wealth client,” he adds. “The marketing and product managers of the bank want to know how they can help their customers more. It is no longer about system features or functions like I need to make a payment three times a day.”
A slick onboarding experience is where this starts, but it must continue through a customer’s whole lifecycle with the bank. “With Temenos Infinity and our engagement platform we enable a bank to activate geolocation. So, if a customer is in a car dealership looking for a bank loan then the bank will know that they can help them there and then,” Proctor explains. “What products can they offer that customer such as insurance?”
He envisages further growth following Temenos’ $559 million purchase of digital banking SaaS company, Kony. The Kony DBX product has a suite of mobile banking apps delivering exceptional omni-channel experiences including support for conversational interfaces, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and wearable technologies. Key to this success is Kony’s development platform that accelerates product cycles and increases agility by reducing the load on bank IT to design and iterate user experiences.
“Kony brings a digital mindset at scale. Kony’s talent combined with our digital teams means that we now have 2000 people who wake up every morning, thinking and breathing about how a customer is using their bank. I’ve never seen that in the market before,” he says. “That combined with Temenos, which knows how a bank works, gives us an unrivaled market presence.”
He says another strength of Kony is that it has experience working in other sectors. “They have seen how customers use software in a variety of industries, such as aviation, and then apply that to banking,” he states. “For some time, we have been grappling with the question, ‘what will banks do when they want to have new front-end offerings’. Do they hire a lot of people and develop natively, but repetitively, on device specifics like iOS or Android, which would cost them lots of money? Why would you do that when Kony brings a multi-experience development platform allowing us to understand what device we are deploying the software to and using that information to deploy as a native feature on the device, do the work once, but still deliver native experiences”
It also means utilising those wearable and AI technologies. “Through the platform, if I want to build a consumer lending app as part of the banking offering, I can build it into a wearable smartwatch,” Proctor explains. “It means if I am in a shop and I need a loan I can apply through that watch! It is part of your daily life.”
What won’t change are the building blocks of Temenos’ success to date, including a commitment to plough back 20% of its revenues into R&D – the highest in banking software. “We have a laser focus on our software and take any opportunity to make it better. We are also obsessed with how our customers use our software, and with making it the best it can be,” he states. “We want them to be better and that means partnering with them on innovation. It’s about bringing the banks and their customers to life. Our motto is ‘people are the key’. Focus on that, and you will succeed.”
Temenos sees further growth ahead. “We are looking at the full cycle of how the bank and the customer uses our digital software from front to back. I’m passionate about making their experience the best it can be,” Proctor says.
By David Craick, senior staff writer, FinTech Futures