Be ready or be dead!

"If you Know Yourself and you know your enemies, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles..."

- Sun Tzu -

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Digital Maturity Model for Banks' Digital Transformation

As I noted in my last post , Banks should define its roadmap for Digital Transformation, But it is mandatory to have in hand the definitive Digital Maturity Model, something like the well known CMMI for the Software Industry. This model should provide levels of maturity for Banks. I´ve been amazed to see a lot of banks strugling with their own models. Consultants imposing their models, models built on the GO.

Since the Banking industry, just try ssearching the web for this term and easily there will be more that 250K results, none of them is a clear standard, none of them comes from a common source. So, as we are in such state of multiple efforts to have a good model, the only way out is to evaluate the success posibilities around and take one. Any other suggestion? Yes, right, the best path eventually be not the best one. We fail in the dilema of choosing the best based on the nearest truth. This means, that after benchmarking the market that affects the bank, something will come up and that will be the ideal model. Sad but true, as the Metallica´s song says??. Not at all, the truth is that the banking industry is big, the threats vary from place to place, and it is not practical to compare one bank in New York vs other one in Sri Lanka. Different realities? yes. In the end, there are different approaches, full of good intentions. This means that the bank across the street will implement a different model than its neighbour.  uuuuuh, scary!

It is scary just if you think that the Bank 1 considers that the level of digitalization for, let´s say its front office is roughly 80% and the Bank 2 assumes that for them the same level is 70%, but wait, The Bank A has 40 applications and Bank 2 has 110 applications. Sorry for Bank 2, now is paying for havig a lot more in applications than its rival.

Now, the point here shows how important is to adopt the right Maturity Model and be prepared to understand where is located the bank in question. Something like the problem of two speed runners, the first one like Bolt, tall, slender, etc, the second one will be a small man from X country who runs 100 m just 0.2 seconds behind Bolt. It is clear than regardless the runner´s height and other physical factors, the winner  is the one who scores less time for the same distance.

A common approach to measure the maturity index is to consider

1. Front Office
2. Middle Office
3. Back Office

and determine the percentage of Medium, Basic and Advanced degree of digitalization in every one.  As far as now, the Front Office in all banks has more chances to improve its digital face, nevertheless all 3 have impact in Customer Experience and are affected by Service Design. Again, the Maturity Model comes to show that it is important to measure Digital Maturity as a whole. What an intersting point,  isn´t it?

Keep in mind to have KPIs and  adopt a standardized model.

Most solutions fall in Customer Service digitalization, but the real Digital Transformation is a whole.   Hence, the maturity model should encompass internal and external actors affected by systems and operations.

Back in 2011, the vision of the branch of the future defined a revolutionary approach in customer service at branch level, it depicted integrated channels for service, Mobile as the biggest container, then inside this web applications that covered call center and the call center keeping inside the traditional Branch and the philosopy behind the concept is to have a continuous process of performance improvement. The missing concept behind this propossal was the model itself, there are thounsands of banks, each one living a particular reality, that is why we need a common framework, no less no more.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Crafting the path for a real Digital Transformation for Banks

Days ago talking with friends and after a short survey, I could confirm something that I just was wondering, in the Digital Transformation (DX) adventure it's easy to find financial institutions that believe in DX and have its roadmap, others that have been watching and have some steps addressed to change things but are misunderstanding transformation with filling themselves with a bunch of systems and applications, others that are aware of this change but do not know where to start, others who have not done anything. To cut short, the scale is full of representatives at any level.

One thing that attracted my attention is the majority is talking about FinTechs, FinTechs up, FinTechs down, in the sky, at the gym, FinTechs (FTs) everywhere and do not see that the main threat are themselves.  First, Banks should learn to survive and live with those alternate "money and financial disruptors", never ever better than today to say: If you cannot defeat them, be part of them".

Let's be clear,  there's a bunch of FT flourishing everywhere,  giant technology companies like Apple or Google with humongous numbers of data form credit card holders and users, PayPal running wild on money transfers,  in Asia the social networks allow for money transfers, Facebook and WhatsApp can take the hell upside down if they provide with money transfers and personal loans. Let's face it, FinTechs are the face of simplicity, that's why they are the best alternative in disruptive solutions.

But, DX it is not just fighting against FTs, it is about simplification, it is about do more with less effort. Unfortunately, less effort means less headcount in many situations. Here, it is important to plan with people in mind. Your workforce knowledge can lead to a bright future with better business services and lines. Who can tell what is wrong or right? Your people, who else, so why do you will fire them?

The roadmap definition is not enough, there's a lot to take in account:

- Customer
- Processes
- Key Services
- Technology
- Security
- Key indicators
- Follow up dashboards
- Strategy

Nevertheless, the main pillars to define a real  DT roadmap are:

Customer on board Strategy Technology Operations Culture. Organization. People
Aquisition Brand Management Applications Agile Change Management Culture
Customer Experience Ecosystem Management Connectivity Automatic Resource Management Leadership and Governance
Behavior Knowledge Investment and Financing Data and Analytics Integrated Services Management Organizational Talent Design Management
Trust and Perception Market and customers Distribution Gonvernance Understanding and Real Time Analysis Workforce enablement
Portfolio, Concept and Innovation Networking Adaptive and Intelligent process management
Stakeholders Management Security Standards' Automation and Governance
Strategic Management Architecture

There are advices, yes of course, a lot. But every company is quite different. So, it is mandatory to have master advisors at hand. Take care when dealing with technologies like Blockchain or Kubernets implementations (to name a couple) , technical resources are scarce and you need good ones.

To finish this post, take a look at BBVA, they have an innovation pool, good to check for Apps ideas for your bank. Take a look, reinvent your services, get better ones.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Links and tips for AGILE and LEAN

Representative People to follow: 

Martin Fowler
Uncle Bob
Dan North
Kent Beck
Mike Beedle
Arie van Bennekum
Alistair Cockburn
Ward Cunningham
James Grenning
Jim Highsmith
Andrew Hunt
Ron Jeffries
Jon Kern
Brian Marick
Steve Mellor
Ken Schwaber
Jeff Sutherland
Dave Thomas
James Shore
Jurgen Apelo

Libros, hay unos que son obligatorios, esta la biblia continuous delivery:

The pragmatic programmer
Refactoring to Patterns
Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code
Growing Object-Oriented Software
Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship

Los ultimos son muy tecnicos, como yo te he dicho ando muy enfocado a ser buen desarrollador, los buenos programadores, generan, mejores resultados, mejores aplicaciones, por eso me gusta el cuento de software craftsmanship porque es un pacto con el aprendizaje, con la calidad, con el mejoramiento continuo


The evolution from User eXperience to Service Design in the Banking Industry

UX, the upper level, the visual side, that layer where Interaction Design shares glories with Usability, both of them glued with Visual Design. That layer where Content (and content strategists command) and User Research reign. UX, the starting point for a more and more complex universe.

Certainly, you have heard terms such as UX and CX. CX a wider concept than UX. CX is something like a metamorphosis, the monkey transformed into a human. It is when the street walker attracted by a casual billboard decides to enter the store and demands high quality service. Everything in CX starts with a Brand; the Brand eventually would shine or suffer deprecation, all by the customer. But that happy or sadly end depends on Customer Service, Advertising, Sales process (E2E), delivery process, Pricing, perceived quality. In this system, the experience is digital, non-digital, emotional, and physical.

What a supreme experience for the customer who suffers from a flat tire at 2 am, stops his car, takes out his mobile phone, buys a new pair of tires (let`s suppose a full change for the flat tire and its pair) and in a matter of 30 minutes plus his car has a pair of new tires and the man is heading home. All of this because the tire dealer move as fast as the help message and the buying order was received and deliver a pair of new tires and besides its delivery service also helped to remove the old tires and installed the new ones at no cost.

The classical Customer Experience journey starts with a human in need of something, material or virtual (product or service) and ends with a big smile or a frustrated son of Adam. But for service companies such TELCOS, Insurance Companies, FinTech Start Ups, Banks and others, the Customer Journey is not just a mere journey is an entire life. Tradition is dead, those years when a Bank was like a tradition in families is no more. There`s a fierce fight in the Banks` Red Ocean, but fortunately there are chances to find blue waters through innovating services.

Now…yes, and what about Service Design. The key for success is to create seamless customer experiences that drive differentiation and long-term value. Let`s suppose UX is the Moon and CX the earth…Service Design (SD) would be something like a comet than shines into the night and affects both, the planet and the asteroid.  SD will complement the atrocities described for UX and CX.  SD deals with Consulting, Support, Education, Success, and Community.

Companies call themselves as customer centric ones; everything revolves around that tyrant, the customer. But wait, he is not the tyrant, he`s also the prey and salvation, yes! The loyal customer will let us increase revenue, gain market, develop new products among other things.  A proper design should be based on in-depth knowledge of the customer’s current and projected needs at the core; with all the activities, roles and processes aligned to enable smooth customer experience across all traceable points.  Services are the engine that power loyalty, retention, advocacy and, therefore, revenue growth.

Healthy habits include KPIs, benchmarking against competition, continuous improvement, research of the products and new ways of service selling.  The team for a successful SD becomes complex,. With marketing gurus, psychologists,  brand champions, Big Data analysts, etc.

Top advices on developing for effective User Experience in Banking

1. Practice some Design Thingking principles, think like your customer

Commonly, banks tend to design products using interfaces that are defined by bankers. They assume, wrongly, that users know about banks like professionals and also they try to mimic the obscure process in the user interface... guess what, users are common people that wants to be served fast and easy. So, keep calm and try to behave as a common mortal before designing any interface

2. Every application is different. Stop copying other interfaces' behavior and L&F.

Other misconception about applications and interfaces is to think like if a Size fits for All. Wrong! The behavior of a good application should fit the device that is managed by the user.  Some informational web sites are OK detecting how to fit in the device that is calling for them. But it is for information, period. Transactional applications need to adapt comfortably to the current device, but such automatic adaptability is far to be the best. So, there is the urgency of having a specific design for every device. And also kill the "Copycat" custom. Apply psychology and sociology principles.

If you like to mimic some other service or application from your competitors or referents, stop, think what are pros and cons, try to be original and evolutive.

3. UX is not cheap. You need specialized people in UX Banking and ... invest time!

The last move in this pasarela is being User Centric, and like in "Au Couture" you need specialized UX designers. Maybe a good UX designer can do the job, but there is also the time cost of try and error, or wireframes. Do not be afraid of using lots of resources like Brainstorming sessions, information gathering, prototypes, beta testers or users groups. Try using kids and old people for testing, go and ask your teen relatives.

4. Success do no to come just with a new User interface

Maybe this can sound rude, but nothing changes just painting that rotten car to have it running like a brand new one. The real change comes from inside your systems, new web services, security zones,  maybe some services in cloud, etc.  Think about everything. You can end up with dislikes in the App Store because your customers cannot register or the messages never arrive on time. UX is a matter of combining best of the best. I do not mean you need to invest in such top line software or hardware but to use efficiently your infrastructure and commit essential changes that make the difference of seconds to milliseconds in transaction response.

5. UX and CX is a matter of multidisciplinary teams, it is not just graphic design

Focus your mind in a new Ferrari Sport Car...very good looking outside and a real jewel inside. The jewel that moves that piece of engineering and design is not visible for the street passenger. Do you understand? You need people working on graphic design, other in user interaction, other ones in marketing research to understand which transactions are prone to error, which ones can make a difference, etc. For instance, unfortunately none of my banks have such an useful feature that allows me to interact with Siri, Cortana or Alexa and instruct the bank to execute the customary monthly money transfer to my old aunt. WOW!  Yes, a phrase can save me the torture of login, menu, etc. Do you see the difference.

You need to sum: User's opinion, bank's strategy, technical opinions, market research, innovation

6. innovative

Old approach: traditional transactions such transfers,  account statements, checks balance...should be in my service.

Stop! think about mobile payments, wire transfers,  peer's loans. Yes, why no to provide your customers with services like peer to peer loans. If you do not implement services like that, any FinTech will and your customers will be running from your bank, but that is not what you want, do you?  Think about bankarization, there are people who do not use banks for a number of factors but they need to access the payment system. What if.....

I hope your efforts in UX and CX will make a difference in the World not just in your country.

Monday, July 10, 2017

exploiting the big data

Let's visit the Marketplace, data comes from everywhere, Social Networks, Telcos,  Retail expenses,  clothing preferences, education records, Uber rides, Foursquare check ins and likes,  Airbnb reservations due leisure or work. Just to name a few and we can go further, ATM's visits than can trace the geographic area of our customer influence.

We can predict customer expenses based on consumption habits, as we can geotag we can also be like credit card cops, simply detecting the customer's current location and credit card current debit place.
Even we could predict cash usage, not difficult at all. But What can we do with this humongous-information.
The first approach to create really disruptive services that can compete with quite focused FinTech ones is to understand what the customer wants, what is he used to do.
 No matter if we deal with millenials or Baby Boomers, customers have specific behaviors, they left their tracks, and Big Data with her friends IA, Analytic engines, etc, is able to show us the right path for deploying business.

Yes, you can name other actors such Blockchain, but this in the end is a technology not a business model. In Telco´s words: We need to fight back Churn. Why out customers are leaving for FinTech services. When Uber hit the market, it was clear that a flexible payment channel should be his spine for offering its service, now Uber´s customer can use Paypal or Credit Cards. What about the unbanked? How one of them could effectively access services such Airbnb, or Online stores.

A few years back, companies were crazy about BI, deploying complex boards to check for its data, transformed in bars and curves. Then the Big Data explosion comes to scene changing some variables but the Control Panel is still here with new visualization tools. Just that the Control Panel needs fresh ideas, something to push the data mining to undiscovered universes.

We have data: Knowledge, we have the Blue Ocean ahead, the first one to hit will hit harder and will establish models and needs. The human being tends to gets  accustomed to comfort, for us any discomfort creates an obnoxious experience. That`s why Data processing should help to offer better experiences.

Once and for all, financial services should abandon the brick and  mortar and traditional web models, try to use mobile devices, IoT, explode the gray internet and obscure data, transform services such transportation to implement revolutionary services. On the other hand redefine complex processes and study new ways of securing information.

Turn to new technologies and players, yes it is fair, but getting advantage of data.

Staying ahead with the right SEO for Mobile

The use of mobile devices is, as everybody knows, in a stunning rampant growth, New devices are launched by giants as Apple, Samsung, HTC and others and users are avid buyers of fresh technology. But users want the right content displayed in their fancy and expensive mobiles, if they do not find the right content or service they are always eager to switch for the service provider that fulfill their needs.

Users are looking for information in internet before buying or signing for services, they use more and more its current location to searching for physical places or to reach services (taxis for example). Back in 2010, Google started to offer Places, by using such service local business can be present in internet even without a web page. If small business can be present and be able to be reached by thousands of web navigators, what is happening with banks? Even the Rockies can use internet tools to sell services or products at low cost,  so are doing stablished brands too. But there are some customers’ requirements that are yet to be fulfilled, for instance enable your position sharing in your mobile and ask for your bank agencies near you. What happened? Did you got a flat results page or maps with flags to identify the nearest branch?

Searching from mobiles?

Yes, you search from your mobile and what the heck!  A lot of searching comes from such devices and revenue from mobile searching is increasing.  At this point in the life, a lot of banks have changed their web sites interfaces to be mobile friendly. But there are still web pages using Flash and Jscript in ways that are not usable in mobile phones. Content is sometimes impossible to reach, other there are pages that offer a frustrating user experience and this list of problems is lengthy.
Anyway, other factor to consider when you think about mobiles and your site is the possibility that web search engines can find your mobile site formatting useful.  I am talking about SEO for mobiles, specifically for banks. No doubt that this is also applicable to other business as well.  Think that if you already have a good positioning for traditional search you should be good at mobile searches.
Have you heard about transcoding from mobile search engines, if not this one is for you. Mobile Robots are quite specifics to search “mobile sites” , such spiders do additional analysis to be sure that the found site behaves adaptively to mobile devices. If engine find that the site’s content is not very trustful at showing its content they transcode the site when users click or tap on the link. Transcoding means that the site is shown using a formatting that is “guaranteed” to be displayed at mobiles. I have included in this link the test for, using Google Mobilizer for you to see how a good transcoded page looks like, or just point to enter your web address and check to see if you like how you site looks.
Sadly, I found that a lot of banks are years behind top technical directives, they should check that their sites are “Mobile”, that is sites that are completely viewable from mobile devices.  New mobile applications like Square Cash use minimalist interfaces, but that is not always the case of institutional web sites.  There are heavy tasks to execute to assure that your mobile site is really mobile, luckily we can have a short list of them: 
1.       Try using just HTML5. Get rid of JavaScript , Flash or other proprietary formats that can be showed in mobile devices
2.       If your pages are slow at loading or have those automatic refreshing features, do extensive optimization.

You have a growing number of mobile users

Probably starting from you, you check for web content that comes from different sources, one of them is your bank.  Do you know what are looking for your mobile customers? What is the star product in your mobile world?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Big Data and customers’ retention

As any other business, banking relies heavily on its customers. Is it possible to predict if any customer is about to leave? Well, starting from the fact that keeping customers under your umbrella costs less than acquiring new ones we are in a good path. Acquiring new customers cost from 5 to 15 times more than retaining current ones.

Let´s suppose we have Loui who all Mondays goes to the ATM for his customary $100, all of a sudden Loui transactions begin to be scarce or inexistent. Loui is about to leave but we do not know why. And the worst is that we barely notice about Loui among all our customers. How important is to predict customers who move off from our bank? Which kind of data do we need to analyze?

Our mission is to predict customer’s departure before it actually happens to retain him. Data that comes to our help include: number of contracted products, savings evolution or account movement, occupation, claims, demographic data, etc.

Other source is the one that the bank has collected from lost customers, who had left the bank. Behavioral patterns are there.

Moreover, there are different kind of “break ups” to design and build maps of departure, profile of customers who leave, most common channels that originate such response from our customers, geographic zones, products, and related data.  

What do we obtain from such analysis?

1.       To   know which customers’ segment should be care and kept.

2.       Plans and strategies to respond before customer relinquishment. We can know with anticipation when, who and why.

3.       Increase customer’s satisfaction and fidelity by knowing his needs in a better way.  consumption

How to analyze
·         External Sources that have information about demographics, employment status and current personal status.
·         Social Networks
·         Fusion and analysis of structured and unstructured data
·         Interactive data visualization
·         Customer value that it is used as index of acquiring customers who potentially can leave  
·         Statistical external sources with expenditures/payments information.