Celent Retail Banking Research Agenda

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2019 Outlook


There isn’t a strategic decision that a bank makes today that doesn’t have a technology component. Celent’s retail banking team will focus in the coming year on providing a realistic and informed view on the developments that will affect those strategic decisions. One continuing imperative for banks and credit unions is improving the customer experience across every dimension — not just digital. Spurred on by competition from fintechs and bigtech, banks are refining their strategies to keep the customer front and center while learning from the best experiences outside banking.

Banks aren’t going to be able to do that alone. They’ll need to harness the power of the ecosystem to develop partnerships with suppliers and sometime competitors. Becoming better partners should be another item high on their agenda, and with the advent of open banking in Europe and its move to the US, those banks that lag on improving this skill will find themselves at a significant disadvantage.

While customers and regulators have been driving change, technology advances give bankers new tools to respond. Some of the most notable are APIs and microservices, cloud, machinelearning, language (NLP and NLG), androbotic process automation.

Celent’s retail banking research will be wide-ranging as we seek to help banks understand the changing technology landscape, prioritize their wide array of strategic choices, and select the partners to help them on the journey. We’ll be exploring a host of topics, organized around our three themes.


The seemingly simple act of categorizing the changes in banking technology is actually quite complicated. We’ll continue to publish a wide range of proprietary research organized across three broad and inter-related themes of Digital, Innovation & Fintech, and Legacy & Ecosystem Transformation.

Digital — Exploring new frontiers while integrating heritage channels to create a seamless customer experience

Banks and credit unions must provide their customers and members a mobile experience, while being mindful that today only half of consumers bank on their phone. Efficient and effective transactions are a must, but building relationships is a critical defense against competitors. Those relationships will be built across channels and reinforced by digital. We’ll explore not just the attention-grabbing customer-facing technologies, but the platforms that support them, and how best to integrate the front, middle, and back offices. We’ll also examine developments in the mortgage technology space and loan collection, along with advances in enterprise content management (ECM). Artificial intelligence (an overly broad term) seems helpful in obtaining budget, but what’s really going on? We’ll watch both machine learning and language, via natural language generation (NLG) and natural language processing (NLP). Chatbots and Conversational AI continue to progress, although not as fast as many predicted. We’ll keep you posted on the reality beyond the hype.

Innovation and Fintech — Leveraging Emerging Technology and Collaborative Partnerships

The Innovation & Fintech theme is closely intertwined with Digital. In 2019, we’ll examine banks’ IT spending intentions and survey them on their top strategic priorities. As the payments evolution continues apace, we’ll be there to help clients understand the latest developments. And as the bad guys continue to evolve, authentication and fraud techniques become ever more critical; we’ll be watching the vendors who can help banks face these persistent and ongoing threats. And don’t forget that in April we’ll announce our annual Celent Model Bank Winners, publishing case studies on each of their innovative solutions.

Ecosystem and Legacy Transformation — Changing Culture Is Key to Exploiting Technology Effectively

A host of new core cloud providers has begun to make an impact; tracking them is high on our agenda, together with developments from heritage players. Add in Open Banking and platforms, and it’s clear that the ecosystem is becoming more important than ever; we’ll monitor the progress of APIs as more banks continue to refine their strategy and implement them across a broader range of functions. Attitudes toward partnering, and the progress banks are making, is a rapidly changing area, so we’ll keep an eye on the development of the ecosystem and the role that fintechs play in it. Partnering — from selecting the right companies, to vetting them, then working effectively with them — is a skill in and of itself, but one that many banks can improve. We’ll be there to help.

To access a more detailed outline for our 2019 plans, Celent Clients can log into the website and download the full Research Agenda.