The recent influence of consumer technology is evident across a number of industries, and this includes financial services. Consumer technology has changed the way people communicate with each other in their day-to-day lives, and this communication shift is now visible within financial services. People are beginning to chat with their financial advisors, bank branches and investors across a large range of mediums even beyond a mobile phone, such as Skype, chat sessions, or even Facebook. Naturally, managing directors and investors have started to ask why their reporting, risk – or even trading systems – can’t have the same ease of use as other consumer software.
According to Belatrix, 40 percent of U.S. consumers will move to another provider if a bank’s website is not mobile-optimized. Similarly, an article published in UX Magazine says that a whopping 91 percent of mobile users keep their phones or tablets within reach 100 percent of the time and over 400 million users rely on mobile banking worldwide.
Slowly but surely, investors and other external recipients are moving away from wanting paper statements or having to log into a website from a physical desktop machine. Consumers of the information, as well as users of software technology, want the ability to have on-demand access to information through user-driven portals or at the very least, mobile compatibility.
A good example of this is in the field of performance and analytics, where providing the right information, at the right time (on demand) to the right individuals, whenever and wherever they are in the world has become critical. As performance and analytics results become a key tool to investors and shareholders who require increased transparency, analysis and detail in decision making, on-demand and portal-based access (including customized dashboards tailored to each individual or institution) is more important than ever before. . This provides the right information, at the right time (on demand) to the right individuals wherever they are in the world and at whatever time they are at in the world.
What this really means though is that firms will have to continue to invest more in technology. Users are getting used to near-constant updates, feedback and information on their queries. Financial systems need to be built to adapt to a more dynamic, fluid approach and provide new and more integrated systems that allow users to access their data and reports on demand and from various locations and mediums.
Financial services and the financial industry as a whole continue to be heavily regulated, so financial services institutions need to be diligent, flexible and adaptive while maintaining their low risk profile – which isn’t an easy combination in today’s environment. The big focus continues to be and will be on user experience and pace of system development. This in turn will tie in to the ways that the industry communicates with each other and with their customers, thus resulting in a need for larger IT budgets to support these advancements.
Strict regulations have resulted in technologies focused on functionality and compliance with regulatory requirements rather than on user experience. This has left many systems all too similar in their lack of usability and providing no real distinct advantage in a competitive marketplace.
Once software is built, it takes on a structure and personality of its own, and creates restrictions for the development of a better user experience and the on-boarding of new users. User experience provides an opportunity to limit the requirements placed on the user and encourage more firm-wide adoption of software solutions.
In today’s landscape, putting that user experience front of mind as part of overall technology adoption by an organization or a group of users has become critical to not only provide an easier integration process but also to create a differentiator in a crowded market.