Living Services: Turning the Tide in Personal Banking

In digital services, we can see a few waves of transformation. The first one was about the desktop web. It was the first digital service wave that really disrupted and challenged traditional businesses.
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The wave started growing in the early 90s, and hit the commercial mainstream in the second half of the decade. Internet services – which were conceived in this wave – are still powering the digital economy. Within a personal banking setting this gave us the capability to manage our own money, rather than relying on visiting physical stores and banks being solely in control.

The last decade was all about the rise of mobility. Again, there was a ton of activity and development in the first half of the decade, and then in the second half – especially with the launch of the iPhone – disruption and transformation really took off on a huge scale. This mobility wave is what we’re riding today, and it’s possibly even more transformational than the desktop web wave.

The Third Wave of Digital Transformation

Mobile devices opened the door to transformative services that touch multiple aspects of our daily lives as the lines between online and offline continue to blur. However, thus far, few banks have gone beyond offering mobile apps that let people check their balance and transfer funds between accounts.

The huge growth in the number of people using smart mobile devices is due in large part to the fact that they make our lives immeasurably easier, more fun and useful. In this context, why should banking be any different to social media, photo-sharing, browsing mobile media content, booking a holiday, downloading an ebook, or checking in on work? Commerce and currency are after all, the undercurrent to all our lives.

The third wave is growing right now, and like the previous two waves, it will be very powerful. We call it ‘Living Services’, because in essence we believe that the major transformation is about real-time data and service adaptability, for and around the individual.

Living Services, Real-Time Data and Service Adaptability

Living Services will allow us to design experiences that are truly alive, and which are shaped uniquely around each user. Living services are enabled by an ever-growing range of digital devices that are connected to each other and/or the Internet. These devices also have various sensors, and this will allow the capturing and analysis of huge amounts of data – often in real time.

One of the global leaders in living services is Garanti, Turkey’s second largest private bank, who launched iGaranti. The service, which was jointly developed by Fjord, effectively ‘atomises’ the bank into a series of applications. The service aggregates wallet, savings, loans and offers apps. It features live updates and data represented in real time via highly visual dashboards, as well as location-based offerings related both to financial and retail services. The way each individual uses iGaranti can be customised according to their needs and preferences.

The service is designed to be as live and fully connected as possible, merging users’ real life requirements and other digital services they choose to use, whether that’s social media or other branded apps. This is the critical difference between traditional and off-line banking. Crucially, services iGaranti are structured so that the bank itself takes a back seat and instead, enables the customer to decide which channels or applications they want to use to control their money.

We believe the leap forward within personal banking will be radical. It will see banks divest themselves of even more control over the flow of money and the context in which financial services are managed.

To keep pace in the digital age, banks will need to think differently and let go of what were once rigidly branded and ring-fenced services. As consumers increasingly turn to the services that offer convenience as well as efficiency, banks will find there is a commercial imperative to do so.

Author: Harald Timmer