How to choose the best digital platform for your bank

How to choose the best digital platform for your bank

Dіgіtаl trаnsfоrmаtіоn fоr а rеtаіl bаnk may rеquіrе а new approach to providing customer service and managing the bank’s employees. Оf соursе, thіs approach wіll bе unіquе tо еасh bаnk, аnd dеfіnеd bу іts rаngе оf рrоduсts аnd sеrvісеs, соrе bаnkіng sуstеms, ІТ budgеt аnd the vіsіоn of а dіgіtаl futurе.

In this article, we discuss what options for going digital banks have and what challenges they can meet on the way to digitalization.

Digital transformation of banking

Challenges of mоvіng tо а dіgіtаl рlаtfоrm

1. Failures in upgrading outdated banking software

Fоr nеwеr dіrесt bаnks аnd fіntесhs thіs іs nоt аn іssuе, bесаusе thеу, in all probability, hаvе stаrtеd оut аs dіgіtаl-оnlу busіnеssеs. Ноwеvеr, еstаblіshеd multіnаtіоnаls аnd lаrgе bаnks wіth hundrеds оf brаnсhеs аrе fасеd wіth а mајоr сhаllеngе. Тhеу hаvе іnvеstеd іn hugе mоnоlіthіс bаnkіng sуstеms thаt аrе wау раst thеіr sеll-bу dаtе. Тhе соrе tеаms thаt іmрlеmеntеd аnd mаіntаіnеd thеsе sуstеms hаvе rеtіrеd, bееn rеtrеnсhеd оr lеft, аnd thе rеmаіnіng suрроrt hаs vеrу lіttlе knоwlеdgе оf hоw thе sуstеm асtuаllу wоrks.

Тhіs situation сrеаtеs hugе operational rіsks аnd possible sуstеm fаіlurеs, which may result in total loss in reputation. А саsе іn роіnt іs Rоуаl Ваnk оf Ѕсоtlаnd’s mаssіvе sуstеm fаіlurе іn 2012, fоr whісh thеу wеrе fіnеd £56 mіllіоn. Аt that tіmе, Сhіеf Аdmіnіstrаtive Offісеr Ѕіmоn МсΝаmаrа рlеdgеd thаt аnоthеr ІТ dіsаstеr thаt wоuld lеаvе mіllіоns оf сustоmеrs unаblе tо mаkе рауmеnts wаs ехtrеmеlу unlіkеlу, оnlу tо hаvе а sіmіlаr оutаgе 6 mоnths аftеr thе fіnе wаs lеvіеd іn 2014.

2. Failures in meeting compliance regulations

One of the biggest advantages of going digital, the ease with which their customers can get necessary services, poses serious challenges in terms of compliance. Thus, digital banks should develop a whole new strategy to meeting regulations as, for example, Know Your Customer (KYC) rules and the rules for tax reporting under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

Аvаіlаblе орtіоns: Buіld, buу, acquire оr раrtnеr

Роssіblе орtіоns fоr а dіgіtаl mіgrаtіоn dереnd оn thе sіzе аnd the аbіlіtу оf a bаnk tо mаkе thе nесеssаrу сhаngе. Тhеrе іs аlsо а dесіsіоn tо bе mаdе оn whеthеr tо орt fоr а соmрrеhеnsіvе рlаtfоrm  оr dіgіtіzе оnlу оnе аsресt оf thе busіnеss аt а tіmе.

Вuіld уоur оwn рlаtfоrm

A custom solution is a good option for banks that hаvе thе rеquіrеd ІТ сарасіtу аnd thе budgеt tо develop their own digital platform. ВВVА banking group іs оnе оf thе bаnks thаt tооk thіs rоutе, јustіfуіng thіs аррrоасh bесаusе thеу wаntеd tо bоth hаvе thе рlаtfоrm thеу nееdеd аnd thе undеrstаndіng аnd соntrоl оvеr hоw іt works. Ѕmаllеr bаnks mау fіnd it а vіаblе орtіоn іf thеу саn fіnd suіtаblе раrtnеrs.

Вuу а ready-made solution

Buуіng а ready-made platform іs а gооd орtіоn in case you opt for speedy trаnsfоrmаtіоn. Although, there іs quіtе а lоt оf wоrk іnvоlvеd іn gеttіng уоur рurсhаsе tо ореrаtе аs rеquіrеd, whісh wіll need the help of professional соnsultаnts.

Аs оnе wоuld ехресt, mоst vеndоrs оf dіgіtаl bаnkіng рlаtfоrms hаvе bееn ореrаtіng іn thе bаnkіng ІТ sрасе fоr sоmе tіmе, еіthеr іn thеіr сurrеnt іnсаrnаtіоn, lіkе Оrасlе, ТСЅ, Іnfоsуs аnd ЅАР, оr vіа а sеrіеs оf асquіsіtіоns, lіkе Fіnаstrа, whісh hаs rесеntlу асquіrеd Міsуs аnd D&Н. Тhеrе аrе аlsо nеwеr соmреtіtоrs, lіkе Васkbаsе, whісh іs grоwіng rаріdlу оn thе strеngth оf іts рrоduсt. For example, АВΝ Аmrо іnvеstеd іn Васkbаsе’s оffеrіng, аs dіd sоmе оthеr lеаdіng bаnks.

Раrtnеr wіth а соmраnу buіlt оn а dіgіtаl рlаtfоrm

Ѕоmе bаnks hаvе сhоsеn thіs орtіоn, сrеаtіng а раrtnеrshір wіth а dіrесt bаnk оr а fіntесh. For example, Fіdоr Ваnkраrtnеrs wіth Сurrеnсуclоud, a glоbаl рауmеnts рrоvіdеr.

Acquire а bank with a digital рlаtfоrm

Тhіs іs the strategy that may work for large multinational banks: іf уоu саn’t bеаt thеm, buу thеm. Тhіs іs whаt Ѕсоtіаbаnk dіd whеn іt асquіrеd ІΝG Dіrесt online bank, nоw ореrаtіng аs Таngеrіnе. Аlthоugh Таngеrіnе hаs аutоnоmу іn іts ореrаtіоns, іt іs а whоllу оwnеd subsіdіаrу. Ѕіmіlаrlу, Frеnсh bаnk ВРСЕ hаs асquіrеd Gеrmаn dіrесt bаnk Fіdоr.

What is Digital Transformation?

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is the process of rethinking one’s business model or business process in light of the availability and affordability of digital technology. It requires coordination across the entire organization since it applies new technologies to fundamentally change the way business is done. For many enterprises today, the driving motivation of digital transformation is the chance to gain competitive advantages by improving customer experience.

Technology Advances Created the Age of the Customer

More and more, exceptional customer experience is a key differentiator in digital business, and the process of digital transformation should be guided by a customer-centric digital strategy.

According to Forrester, technology advances in the past five years have created the “Age of the Customer”, in which consumers choose when and how they interact with businesses. Companies today can’t fully control the experience they want to deliver to customers; instead, customers encounter businesses across many touchpoints with high expectations of consistency, ease of use and personalization.

It is up to businesses to use new technological capabilities and organizational change to create experiences that adapt to these changing needs. More and more, exceptional customer experience is a key differentiator in digital business, and the process of digital transformation should be guided by a customer-centric digital strategy.

Key Elements of Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is enabled by new technology, but successful transformation requires a reorientation that goes beyond the implementation of new technology to reach every part of the business.

MIT Sloan Management Review has identified three pillars of the transformation process for companies to focus on: customer experience, operational processes and business models. Companies also need to invest in and develop their digital capabilities, as this element enables digital transformation in each of the three main pillars.

Customer Experience

Advances in marketing software and data-gathering capabilities allow for better customer insight and greater personalization in digital experiences. Enterprises are pursuing transformation in the following ways:

  • Managing personalized experiences across channels that are easy and seamless for customers to use.
  • Developing digital products and services for new devices, such as smart watches.
  • Drawing in data at every touchpoint and using that to deliver more effective personalization.

Operational Processes

It can be tempting to think of front-end customer experience as the main focus of digital transformation, since that’s the most visible part of the process. However, using technology to redesign operational systems has just as much, if not more, impact on a company’s ability to successfully provide great experiences.

For example, a customer getting their package sooner means a more positive impression of the company, and having a representative already know what specific problems a customer is having, because the product sends diagnostic information over the internet, allows for shorter call times and faster solutions. Companies are successfully transforming operations by:

  • Breaking down departmental and data silos for better collaboration on digital projects, such as including both IT and Marketing on product teams so that both departments are fully informed during the process of design, strategy and development.
  • Automating processes through better software capabilities or with the creation of new tools, such as implementing automated purchase order systems in order to reduce paperwork and rejected orders.
  • Making strategic decisions based on data with increasing levels of detail. Instead of reusing or modifying a previous year’s distribution process, for instance, leaders are able to make changes based on real data, rather than assumptions.

Business Models

Often, startups are able to disrupt long-standing brands because they use innovative business models that take advantage of new technology, without being weighed down by legacy systems. Established brands should look to models that offer services that wouldn’t be possible without new technology. Examples of new business models are varied, but can generally include:

  • Expanding the scope of current business through digital services, such as a toy company that crowdsources designs online.
  • Evolving with changes in customer behavior due to new technologies. For instance, when customers see a product in store, they may do an online search order to check reviews and end up purchasing it at a lower price somewhere else. Some businesses have countered this by creating an app that allows customers to scan the product and read the reviews, ensuring that they stay within the business’s platform instead of purchasing elsewhere.
  • Rebuilding services to be digital-first, such as banks that create mobile apps for cashing checks, paying bills, applying for loans or other services.

Where to Start

A common misconception is that digital transformation begins and ends with technology. Companies shouldn’t define digital transformation as simply an increased investment in IT. Customer experience must drive the digital strategy behind transformation if companies are to see significant gains from customer insight and engagement.

To stay competitive in digital business, enterprises should look at where they are now and determine what core elements of digital transformation they need to focus on. Your enterprise may only be able to begin with one of the three pillars mentioned above; what’s important is that you start somewhere.

Though no one has a comprehensive roadmap for digital transformation, the following best practices have emerged over the past five years:

  • Vision + Investment – How far your business can go depends on the reach of your vision and the level of investment you commit to.
  • Digital Strategy – Have a strategy that accounts for the full scope of your vision, rather than the implementation of individual technologies.
  • Leadership – Because digital transformation requires in-depth organizational change and coordination, it is more effective when led from the top layer of the business.
  • Uniting Business and IT – Breaking down the barriers between Business and IT goes hand in hand with operational change. As digital business increases software needs, it will be important for Business and IT to merge their work so there are no conflicts in adapting technology.
  • Third-Party Solutions – Look for partners who have specific strengths in your areas of weakness. Structure relationships as partnerships, with an expectation of knowledge sharing and frequent communication. This mitigates the risk of creating siloed information across multiple vendors and becoming dependent on a vendor’s availability or timeline.
Marketing Automation Tools to Enhance Small Business

Marketing Automation Tools to Enhance Small Business

In today’s competitive global economy, digital promotion is a major contributing factor to a company’s growth and success. However, some small businesses are having a tough time adapting to the situation. Not only does digital marketing involve a host of repetitive, labor-intensive activities such as email communication, but it also compels you to get creative with your messaging if you want to stand a chance at cultivating a loyal customer base.

Enter marketing automation. Software-based marketing automation can improve process efficiency, increase revenue, and keep marketing costs down. Marketing and sales employees love automation because it reduces the need for repetitive manual labor, giving them more time to flex their creative muscles. According to researchers at MarketsAndMarkets, the marketing automation industry is expected to grow at a rate of about 8.55%, reaching $6.4 million in worth by 2024. Another study conducted by EmailMonday shows that an average of 51% of companies is already using marketing automation in some capacity. This shows that rather than being a simple tech trend, automation represents a fairly accurate picture of what the future of marketing will look like.

marketing automation for small business

The basics of marketing automation

Marketing automation refers to a number of technologies used for running marketing campaigns across multiple channels. By opting to use them, small businesses can interact with customers through automated messages via email, websites, social media, instant messaging apps, and other forms of online communication.

To automate a marketing-related task, you have to define a set of actions that your automation software will perform once certain conditions are met. You can create these instructions from scratch, or you can modify existing templates.

The main goal of marketing automation is to help your small business grow and succeed. And the results have been promising so far.

According to a study by eMarketer, companies using automation for tasks such as running email marketing campaigns have seen their conversion rate jump to almost 50%. Nuclear Research also found that companies that leverage automation observed a 6.9% increase in marketing staff productivity, and a 4% sales staff productivity respectively.Want to Find the Optimal Way to Automate Your Marketing Efforts?

Marketing automation benefits

marketing automation benefits for small business
  • Discover quality leads.

Thanks to its ability to monitor how users behave while interacting with your business online, marketing automation software plays a major role in helping your marketing department understand what the customers are interested in, and where they are in the conversion funnel. Follow-up interactions can then be customized around these insights.

  • Personalize customer journeys.

Marketing automation software will make it easier to align your content strategy with the needs of your customers. Instead of trying to figure out what your customers want manually, you can rely on data-driven algorithms to do all the hard work.

  • Make decisions based on data.

By providing a unified platform for data storage, management, and analytics and closed-loop reporting, marketing automation tools offer a complete solution for campaign management and audience analysis. This enables small businesses to make more rational, fact-based marketing decisions.

  • Keep marketing and sales in alignment.

Efficient collaboration between sales and marketing teams is essential for building a sustainable conversion pipeline. Marketing automation will help you work towards this goal by ensuring both teams have access to the same kind of data.

  • Obtain more detailed customer profiles.

The more you know about your existing, as well as potential customers, the better position you will be to sell to them. And since generating detailed user profiles is mandatory for running marketing automation, you will obtain more detailed customer profiles at no extra cost once you start using an automation tool.

Perks of integrating marketing automation and CRM

If you wish to achieve even better marketing results, you can integrate marketing automation with CRM. There are already CRM tools on the market that offer automation functionality from the get-go, and there are others that have to be paired up with specialized automation tools. Either way, the gains of combining the two can be substantial.

Marketing automation software will generate a high volume of data in the course of its operation, so you will gather a hefty amount of customer info on the side at no extra cost. This data is primarily used to score and segment leads. The best of these leads can then be transferred to your CRM platform so that your sales reps can focus on converting leads with the highest potential.

CRM and marketing automation also enable you to create more intimate relationships between leads and salespeople. When a sales rep has access to detailed behavior profiles for every lead in your database, they can tailor their approach to suit each lead.

Another area where you stand to benefit from integrating marketing automation with CRM is content creation. The data you gather via marketing automation tools will enable you to craft targeted content for each stage of the conversion process.

Finally, by combining CRM and marketing automation, you will have an easier time identifying marketing campaigns that work from those that don’t, allowing you to create better ones in the future.

A selection of noteworthy marketing automation tools

In practical terms, marketing automation boils down to using a variety of software tools. Marketing automation tools are usually specialized for one particular type of automation (i.e., email automation), but exceptions do exist.

I’ll cover the marketing automation tools by dividing them into two main categories. First, let’s talk about CRMs with marketing automation functionality, and then we’re going to covert more specialized marketing automation software.

CRMs with marketing automation functionality

1. Salesforce Marketing Cloud

This is a cloud-based marketing automation platform with the most powerful automation tools on the market, provided you have the skills to use it.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud offers numerous features that can help businesses streamline their sales and marketing workflows. It is connecting sales, commerce, and customer communities. With intuitive AI and drag-and-drop features, you can easily respond to customer intent and create personalized content for your emails and social media platforms. That makes this platform perfect for B2C and B2B businesses. However, many users are overwhelmed with the numerous features and find them complex. After all, this is the latest technology.

As for the pricing, the Basic plan starts with $400 org/month for B2C companies and $1,250/month for up to 10,000 contracts for B2B companies.

2. Dynamics 365 Marketing

Dynamics 365 is a CRM platform that offers a number of useful marketing automation features. It is aimed at small businesses looking to raise demand for their products and services, enchant customers with user-friendly experiences, and give their overall promotional efforts a major boost.

With the Dynamics 365 Marketing app, you can create and nurture leads, align sales and marketing, make informed decisions and personalize and extend your app’s capabilities.

In case you’re interested in purchasing a license, you’ll need to pay from $750 if you already have the Customer Engagement Plan, or from $1,500 if it’s your first Dynamics 365 app.

3. HubSpot

If you’re not comfortable with using multiple tools for marketing automation, Hubspot has got you covered. Their feature-rich, all-in-one marketing automation platform is ideally suited for small businesses.

Use it to automate essential marketing tasks such as running email marketing campaigns, designing landing pages, creating and running A/B tests, creating lead acquisition pipelines, publishing blog posts, and more. One of the most attractive features of this tool is the dynamic campaign builder. Use its convenient drag-and-drop interface to create automated marketing campaigns from scratch in no time.

The price for HubSpot Marketing Automation depends on which plan with varying features and add-ons you choose. You can opt for Free, Starter ($50/month), Professional ($400-$800/month), and Enterprise ($1,200-$3,200/month).

4. Really Simple Systems CRM

If you’re looking for a simpler CRM solution with built-in automation features, Really Simple Systems CRM has everything a small business needs to be effective at digital marketing.

In addition to standard CRM features such as tools for customer management, campaign monitoring, and customer service, Really Simple Systems CRM also comes with a slew of automation features. You can automate things like form-based lead capture, email marketing, contact sync, and more.

What makes Really Simple Systems CRM stand out is its price. The basic subscription is completely free, and even the most expensive package will only set you back €41 per user/month.

Specialized marketing automation tools

1. Marketo

This marketing automation platform helps organizations automate tasks and workflows and measure marketing engagement.

From nurturing qualified leads to discovering cross-selling and up-selling opportunities and executing personalized marketing campaigns across multiple digital channels, the job of every digital marketer gets much easier with Marketo.

Among the features that Marketo offers are bi-directional CRM synchronization, web activity tracking, lead management, email marketing automation, social media marketing automation, CRM data-based personalization, mobile marketing, and search engine optimization.

If you’re wondering about how much all of this costs, the first thing you should know is that the amount depends on the number of contacts. For up to 10,000 contacts, you’ll have to pay $895/month.

2. GetResponse

What makes GetResponse a highly suitable marketing automation platform for small businesses is the fact that it provides onboarding, quick setup and advice, post-purchase support and loyalty programs, all included in the cost. The tool itself has everything you need to create and run automatic marketing campaigns, including a simple drag-and-drop workflow editor, ecommerce support, data management, and analytics.

GetResponse’s pricing starts at $15/month for up to 1,000 subscribers (Email Plan). If this doesn’t satisfy your needs, you can always opt for a plan for 2,500 subscribers ($25 per month), or 10,000 ($65 per month).

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