As banks are increasingly moving towards specialized solutions to meet complex client needs, there is a need to redesign the channel solutions/architecture. Many IT vendors envisaged this change and are building solutions for the future in the form of a comprehensive channel platform offering.
Internet banking channels are widely used by corporate /retail customers in the current environment. The technology revolution in mobile in the recent past is slowly paving the way for mobile banking to overtake Internet banking as the preferred channel and is also enabling customers to access the Internet over a mobile/platform. In the retail banking space, apart from using the mobile to make routine balance/transaction enquiries customers are also utilizing it for fund transfers, domestic/international payments, and utility bill payments. With the Internet being accessible over a mobile platform thanks to advanced technologies, more and more customers are moving towards mobile instead of Internet banking platforms.
Some of the corporate banking solutions provided by vendors for Cash Management and Trade Finance come with a customer front end and accounting /processing back office piece. The need for Internet access along with a trading portal among companies availing of Treasury services from banks has given rise to a customer front end requirement in Treasury. Corporate Loan Origination is another area where integrated front/back end solutions are already in use.
Private/Wealth Management solutions being offered currently provide a portal to the customer for viewing or querying balances and are enabling security trading with a back end solution.
Using the customer front end, the corporate customer is able to log-in and inquire/transact in the following manner:
For each of these transactions, the workflows need to be designed in such a way that when the customer initiates the transaction through the Internet, processing and settlement/accounting happens at the core back end. There needs to be seamless integration between multiple solutions in different platforms. It could also happen that a transaction initiated through the Internet is processed through multiple processing solutions before settlement/accounting happens in the core back end.
When corporate customers expanded operations the dependence on the Internet with multiple log-ins and portal access for Trade Finance, Cash Management and Treasury became a necessity. A corporate entity requires a solution with a single log-in to access different applications covering all the requirements and a dashboard to provide a consolidated view/position. This should seamlessly connect with various gadgets used by a corporate executive to approve transactions as and when required based on hierarchy defined in the system. When a single current /operative account is tied up with all processing solutions, a single consolidated view is possible. Because of the nature of business and specialization offered by different banks, corporate customers may prefer multiple bank accounts. A comprehensive channel platform and linkage to multiple bank accounts and solutions with seamless integration is required. This needs to be designed to cover security elements / data integrity /data segregation as part of integration.
The next set of technology challenges revolves around building a comprehensive internet offering with a single sign on with different subsystems /portals linked to the same, and an automated update, status check and view wherever required, with data segregation/integrity. Though corporate customers can provide restricted access to their concerned staff handling these operations, from a management dashboard perspective, a consolidated view for managing and utilizing the funds is critical. A dashboard on the enterprise platform which updates on a real time basis based on the transactions initiated in any of the applications is required. The integration elements /workflow need to be redesigned for smooth processing and accounting connecting all the channels/sources and back end/core systems wherever necessary.
The solutions developed by some of the IT vendors are under implementation and are awaiting market acceptance and penetration in this space to strengthen. However, IT vendors need to provide a solution which is integrated, comprehensive and more user friendly to the corporate customer, considering the banking and nonbanking requirements across the entire financial ecosystem. In a fast moving world, business processes demand a quicker turn-around time, and hence data available in a snapshot view would help to enhance decision making capabilities. The same model can be extended/ adopted through a mobile banking platform with Internet enablement.