Mobile Apps and the Financial Sector
While the mobile revolution has introduced sweeping changes and disrupted industries big and small around the world, the financial sector has not kept pace, frequently hamstrung by regulatory concerns that which have left many users frustrated at the lack of transformation. While retail banking has made up a lot of lost ground, it is the investment banking sector where change is needed most.
Yet today, there is an acknowledgement amongst most capital markets and investment banking firms (CMIB) that there is no viable future for them that does not embrace the power of mobile. “Those firms which can deliver the benefit of more information, more quickly and in a way which is more actionable, are sure to exert a magnetic pull on both clients and high-performing potential employees.” You can review the mobile investment banking whitepaper here.
In many cases, the impetus to change is being driven by clients, who would simply prefer that the data they require is served to their mobile devices with the same level of security as any other platform.
“Faced with the pressure to satisfy their clients and attract the best employees, banks need to deliver successful mobile solutions. They can’t afford to deliver an unsatisfactory app, or an app which doesn’t get the uptake. They need a right-first-time strategy for mobile — one that is totally optimized to the power and functionality of the device, as well as to heightened client expectations.”
Mobile Banking Boom
By 2019, it’s projected that over 2 billion people will use mobile banking, and that customers expect to be able to track, trade and spend from within their mobile devices.
Yet there are inherent risks in delivering a mobile solution that doesn’t live up to the expectations of users. It’s not only the threat of losing clients which is a consequence of a poor (or non-existent) mobile strategy. High-functioning employees are also attracted to firms which are seen to be cutting-edge and moving with the times. Fundamentally, banks need to understand the needs of their clients and employees, deliver appropriate solutions and work to a timeframe that recognizes that ‘now is the time’ for mobile.
Once the financial sector embraces the challenge of delivering data to mobile devices, then it faces some complex choices around how best to deliver that data. Should they embrace mobile websites built using HTML 5, or should they focus on native apps which are appealing for end users but are difficult to update and improve over time? These questions need to be asked and answered, yet most evidence seems to indicate that a native app is a superior solution for the industry, provided the right partners are employed for the work.
Banks and financial institutions need to think very deeply about who they choose to work with. David Pinches, a CMO writing on the blog of UK software consultancy, Scott Logic, explains that “if you work in a heavily regulated, and therefore particularly complex industry, such as financial services for example, it may be worth narrowing your search to find a specialist firm with a strong track record of success in your area.”
Of course, too much data can overwhelm a mobile device. In order to exploit the inherent strengths of mobile devices, CMIB institutions should focus their resources on mobile charting as an effective way of conveying useful information to end users.
There are many ways to achieve strong data visualizations on mobile, but success boils down to five key factors: The charts and visualizations should be fast, familiar, meaningful, interactive and animated. And that requires a strong open-minded technology partner. “A consultancy that is technology agnostic is more likely to help you choose the right solution to meet the objectives of your individual project,” writes Pinches, “and therefore the needs of your users.”
While the drive to deliver financial information onto mobile is firmly under way, shinobicontrols.com reminds us that it’s not enough to build attractive apps, ultimately they need to deliver meaningful, timely and actionable information for the users.
Key Fintech Trends and Outlook:
- Investing has changed. Today, decisions are made on mobile – anywhere, anytime
- “[Corporate banking] is on the cusp of a far-reaching digital shakeout. Business clients are not only open to transacting and liaising with relationship managers over digital platforms but also the majority are willing to switch—and even pay a premium—to work with banks capable of delivering the type of integrated, omnichannel service they’ve grown accustomed to in other spheres.” – Boston Consulting Group 2
- Unfortunately, investment banks have been hampered by regulatory, technical and financial challenges – compounded by the sector’s traditional reliance on the BlackBerry
- Data is only as good as the insight you can gain from it. So how can these vast amounts of data be employed, and served up in a way that offers real and instant meaning?
- According to Google, 91 per cent of smartphone users will abandon an app they find slow, or that doesn’t provide what they want. 40 per cent of them are less likely to come back to the site or the app; 28 per cent are less likely to buy from that brand in the future; and 29 per cent will immediately abandon the app for a competitor site or app
- “With the use of advanced data visualization tools, finance leaders are now able to translate broad and deep sets of data into easily digested, actionable intelligence for the entire company” – Tech Target
- Key to data visualization is charts; a well-designed chart can instantly represent information in a way that arrays of data simply can’t. Even a simple column takes time to decipher, while we can rapidly interpret a chart. We’re better at understanding shapes and colors than we are at words and numbers.
- Investment banks need access to specialists who understand how to make charting deliver both style and substance.
- Mobile apps are the future, and native mobile apps are the future for CMIB institutions, not least because of the intuitive features and charting features they offer.
- Employees, managers, intermediaries and partners can all exploit the advantages of mobile, making better decisions because the bank’s data can tell them more.
By Jeremy Daniel
Jeremy Daniel is an author, online marketing strategist and a firm believer in the transformative power of mobile technology for emerging markets. Jeremy has written across various media platforms since 2001, from television to advertising to print, and spends most of his time in the beautiful city of Cape Town, South Africa.