Retail Banks are Morphing into Something New

The traditional banking paradigm where the bank sets the rules and the customer accepts them is at odds with how consumer’s lives and habits have changed since the advent of the internet and smartphone. This is both a threat and an opportunity for retail banks as they choose to either cling to existing means of doing business or leverage their position of trust to shape shift into a new kind of entity that anticipates customer needs and offers an expanded range of services. Just as Amazon has fundamentally changed retail shopping, consumer finance and payments options will expand as new entrants make it easier to access and manage our money.

Accenture has built an entire business practice around this idea to help banks rethink how they can reshape their customer value proposition by embracing digital technologies to streamline and expand operations. Central to Accenture’s “Everyday Bank” concept is the bank’s “digital engine” which is a fast and flexible infrastructure that will allow services to be combined in creative ways based on the unique needs of different customers and business partners. Accenture advocates that banks extend themselves into partnerships that allow for new financial and non-financial offers to their customer base, to increase revenue and profit opportunities as well as customer stickiness.

Solace has been helping an increasing number of retail banks begin this transition by modernizing their application infrastructure for greater scale and agility. Introducing a flexible infrastructure as a service layer that’s ready for any kind of transaction or new service definition, is 24×7 reliable, and can easily handle short-lived demand spikes is a central principle behind this emerging concept. Traditionally IBM infrastructure has dominated within retail banks, but cost and flexibility concerns have bank IT strategists looking at alternatives. Solace recently introduced a series of IBM integration features to ease with this transition.

The reality is that nobody knows exactly what today’s banks will look like in ten years, aside from being quite different than today. But one thing is for sure – every retail bank will need to make some bold and uncomfortable decisions about what they are and what they want to be as they morph into the future “Everyday Bank”.