BAI Retail Delivery 2010 Roundup (Part 2)

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25 October 2010
While most of the banking world (including key members of the Celent team) has seemingly moved on to Amsterdam for SIBOS, I thought I'd append a few more thoughts to Jacob's post about last week's BAI Retail Delivery conference. Both Jacob & I were faced with variations of the "whither on-line vs. mobile?" question numerous times during the conference. This reflects the fact that as Jacob put it in his post, "mobile is a raging topic" and that some people are beginning to think that mobile could replace the on-line channel. However, I'm afraid that aren't that simple. As many of this blog's readers will certainly agree, our view is that both on-line and mobile will require ongoing attention in the banking space. And to make matters a wee bit more complicated, it's now time to start thinking about tablets. The need for continued focus on both on-line and mobile banking products stems from their form factor strengths & weaknesses when applied to differing intersections of use cases and demographics. For example, mobile banking is great for on-the-run balance inquiries, but one would struggle with its small screen and keyboard for PFM. On-line banking is fantastic for investment research & trading, but its tethered, non-push technology makes it useless for real-time alerting. Younger customers with a narrower set of banking needs expect mobile banking, but older customers using relatively complicated banking products are going to demand on-line banking. Whereas tablets can bridge form factor strengths (i.e., they offer the best of both on-line and mobile interfaces), the roughly $500 price point makes it a luxury for most customers. Put another way, on-line, mobile and tablet banking developers will be employed for years to come. I did not attend any of this year's BAI sessions, but mobile-related observations based on countless bank/vendor meetings included the following:
  • Mobile RDC. This is quickly becoming the "must have" mobile feature that vendors mentioned they are increasingly supporting. Although customer adoption is a big unknown (USAA's numbers are meaningless to most banks), banks are adding mRDC to their mobile banking checklist when evaluating vendors.
  • P2P. Unlike last year when mobile P2P was the BAI "belle of the ball", this year's conference seemed devoid of P2P discussion. Sure, a number of vendors are ratcheting up their support of it, but the breathless descriptions about the potential for this feature have subdued considerably.
  • Marketing & cross-sell. More than ever before at BAI, there was an increased focus on tapping into the mobile channel's marketing possibilities -- this included video chats with bank representatives, the inevitable leveraging of contextual marketing (based on time & place) by couponing players such as BillShrink and Cardlytics, and the use of bold tablet banner ads. Another interesting tablet use case was the selling and pre-processing of deposit and loan products to customers waiting in bank branch lines.
These are just a few BAI-related mobile observations -- I'd very much welcome any other observations from our readers.

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