5 Ways to Build Better Mobile Banking Solutions

To successfully champion digital transformation in the banking industry, leadership teams need to carefully weigh their mobile options.

1. Design for Employee Adoption and Use

To encourage and increase the adoption and use of mobile apps by banking employees, the technology has to be easy to use while also providing the required functionality. This can mean having many different but highly targeted apps rather than a single multi-functional app that is less user-friendly. For example, apps that resemble more traditional web-based applications.

A good user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) can go a long way in encouraging the adoption and frequent use of mobile applications. However, a compelling employee app is also dependent on functionality to help increase security and efficient access to the right data while on the go.

Mobile decision makers in banks should opt for mobile app development technology that balances the need for flexibility on front-end UI/UX design with ease of integration to back-end systems.  There should also be greater control over security and policy management throughout the app development process. Creating mobile applications requires thoughtful planning that is essential if bankers are expected to use them frequently.

2. Build Security Into the Technology Stack

Due to the nature of the information financial institutions have access to and must work with, security is top of mind for any banking executive. The slew of hacking attacks on international banks and the Federal Reserve is alarming, and banks should guard against these risks at every point where client data is accessible.

As bank employees rely on data to serve customers, their points of access must also be secure. Compromising the account of even one banker who has access to client data can cause major problems. However, this does not mean that banks should avoid adopting new technologies. In fact, advancements in mobile technology such as biometric identification have given banks more tools than ever to help protect their workers’ access points to customer information.

Mobile security extends past the app itself – it has to encompass all touch points from user authentication to remote wipes and much more. When looking at enterprise mobility, executives must look beyond mobile device management to include the whole technology stack that supports mobile app development, integration, deployment and management.

This covers infrastructure (cloud and on-premise), software development frameworks and tooling, middleware, database and application platform considerations. As mobile applications become more complex and users increase, banks should consider adopting a cloud-based infrastructure to facilitate the storage, scaling and management of mobile projects and data as well as consider a trusted technology stack that is based on enterprise-grade and modern technologies that meet the need for flexibility and continuous development and deploy cycles.

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3. Integrate Data and Services

One of the benefits of mobile for banking employees lies in the ability to access client data easily from a variety of places and at different times. Banks have access to vast amounts of customer behavior data and must understand how to tie it into back-end systems and make the information available for their employees to act upon. However, this is easier said than done.

According to NGDATA, 80% of the data available to banks is either unstructured or semi-structured, making it difficult to store and analyze using traditional systems. One way to alleviate the difficulties of joining disparate data is through the use of Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (MBaaS), which acts as an access hub between mobile devices and back-end systems.

By using rapid mobile application development (RMAD) tools, reusable APIs and open source software, banks can provide their employees with added customer visibility as well as more agility to their services with shorter gaps between product updates. In turn, this can also help lower the cost of mobile development.

4. Establish Collaboration Between IT and Lines of Business (LOB)

In order to develop solid mobile banking applications and systems, collaboration between IT and lines of business (LOB) is necessary. There is evidence that the role of business leaders is increasing when it comes to mobile decision-making.

According to a Red Hat survey, LOB decision makers see mobile app development as being mostly IT-led for the time being, but see it shifting towards being business-led over the next two years. Rather than giving large projects to the technology department to handle entirely, consider the importance of involving the business and front-line users in the design and idea generation phase.

At the end of the day, it is employees specializing in finance and business who use the technology to do their work, so they need to be able to drive the decisions on what type of apps they want to use. Avoid silos by adopting a Mobile Center of Excellence (MCoE) approach, whereby the necessary skills from mobile security to integration and technology standards can pool resources and make them available to the business.

5. Set Clear Goals and Measures of Success

As with any other initiative, whether it is a new credit card offering or the opening of a retail bank, KPIs play an important role in helping to drive mobile success and business outcomes. By outlining clear goals, organizations can take more effective measures to meet their targets and deadlines.

According to Red Hat research, 69% of financial service organizations that measured mobile app success with defined KPIs saw positive ROI. The findings also revealed that organizations across the board expect lines of business to increasingly track the success of mobile development, further underscoring the collaborative approach.

Mobile development is an ongoing process since applications are not a one-and-done project. They should be regularly updated and improved to maximize their functionality. Given the cross-team nature of mobile development in a financial services context, setting goals and measuring success throughout is important to have everyone on the same page.

Mobility is a focus for banks as employees shift their preferences to a more mobile-centric approach. Developing great mobile applications for internal teams requires an investment in both technology and the resources to build, deploy and manage these applications.

It also requires a commitment to a cultural shift where employees and lines of business can have a greater role and decision-making power in mobile innovation, collaborating closer with IT as the enabler of the technology stack and tools that can make this innovation happen at speed.

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