Introduced in January 2018, Open Banking has, as its name suggests, opened up the UK’s financial services industry. As part of the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), the European directive designed to boost competition and variety of products in the sector, Open Banking requires the UK’s nine biggest banks to securely share customer data with third-party technology companies. Designed to provide consumers with greater control over their financial data, and more easily view and manage their finances, it allows them to view all of their accounts through one provider’s interface, for example, or make direct payments to online retailers via bank transfer.

However, although consumers may be enjoying a more seamless banking experience, traditional banks are facing increased competition from disruptive new online and mobile offerings such as Atom Bank, Starling and Monzo and are being required to invest more in their IT infrastructure just to keep pace and maintain relevance.

Digital Transformation
In a bid to increase efficiency and improve their customer experience, financial services providers, in common with most other businesses, are currently undergoing a digital transformation. Such initiatives can be hindered, however, by inflexible legacy IT systems and fragmented infrastructure.

Derek Thompson

Derek Thompson

The development of cloud-based services offers organisations the advantage of eliminating the need to introduce new hardware. At the same time, though, it also introduces additional complexities with regards to integration. For their digital transformation to succeed, businesses must be able to integrate new services with existing applications without being left with a deluge of discarded data.

Traditional banks need a means of tapping into and integrating the capabilities of a modern cloud platform that will enable them to successfully migrate their functions to a digital space and, by doing so, fundamentally underpin the delivery of an improved customer experience while eliminating data redundancy.

Liquid Expectations
Whether they’re dealing with a bank, an energy provider, Apple or Amazon, consumers today expect a seamless, frictionless interaction with an organisation’s products and services. These ‘liquid expectations’ have only been amplified since the introduction of Open Banking, and customers of financial services providers now expect a wide range of channel engagement options. It’s no longer enough to receive a bank statement by mail, for example. Customers now want to be able to purchase new products, or activate or change services within minutes, rather than days or weeks, and will show little loyalty to any bank that doesn’t allow them to do so. Meeting these expectations will put demands on the internal processes and operations of traditional banks who, until now have been operating in a heavily regulated environment, with little or no competition.

Each of the third parties that, due to Open Banking, now has access to a customer’s account details will typically have its own touchpoints or individual business processes. These applications are unlikely to be integrated, however, and in the case of traditional banks, may be decades old with no public APIs. Integration is therefore key to satisfying customer demand and enabling banks to capitalise on the opportunity that Open Banking offers for an experience in which the customer comes first, across all available channels.

Ideal Solution
To meet today’s customer expectations, the ideal integration solution will pull together several essential modern applications and components. By presenting engagement channels such as Facebook, Twitter, web, email and phone, for example, a front-end component will allow customers to contact their financial services provider using the channel of their choice.

Providing a 360-degree view of the customer, that gives service agents all the information they need on that customer and their interactions with the bank, regardless of channel, will help ensure that both the bank and third-parties are able to deliver an engaging, personalised customer experience.

Furthermore, to drive efficiency and greater customer success, the solution should employ an integration and orchestration layer that will surface legacy system data and connect it with sales, service, and marketing information. This integration should also help those banks that have been essentially locked out of modern cloud platforms due to their inflexible IT infrastructure and legacy systems, to tap into and maximise the capabilities of the growing number of SaaS applications.

Finally, the single source of data that results from integrating many of the separate organisations used by banks and third-parties for customer care and the provision of new and existing products and services, will help create a consistent customer experience. Rather than feeling as if they’re dealing with three or four separate companies, customers will enjoy interacting with one single, integrated entity instead. In giving consumers greater control over their financial services, Open Banking has increased expectations for a seamless experience. To meet these expectations, financial services providers must shake off the shackles of legacy IT infrastructure, and embrace the agility, speed and flexibility afforded by cloud technology. Implementing a reliable integration platform is key to remaining competitive in today’s fast-moving, disruptive financial services landscape.

About DEREK THOMPSON

Derek Thompson is the Vice President, EMEA, Dell Boomi, an independent business unit of Dell that provides cloud integration and workflow automation software to build. Thompson is responsible for scaling the business by increasing investment in Western Europe including the UK, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Nordics and Benelux as well as plan for expansion in the Middle East. Alongside this, he will leverage channel partners to deliver on aggressive growth plans. Thompson has worked at Informatica and Kalido, and is the Founder/CEO at Technica UK. He brings more than two decades’ worth of entrepreneurial, leadership, sales and business expansion experience to Boomi.