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Nov 5, 2019

In the age of digital disruption that we are in, only being able to access banking via branches is not enough for SMBs. For their own survival—and to keep customers happy and efficient both now and in the future—banks need to improve the overall digital experience for their customers by offering them seamless connections across channels. It’s time for transaction banks to unlock success through digital integration.

With emerging markets leading the digital disruptions race, banks in these regions are harnessing technology faster than their developed-market peers. However, SMBs are expecting more from their banking partners because they need deep corporate connectivity and a multi-banking strategy for cross-border trade to expand their business. Digital transformation and continuous innovation have become the modern-day imperative for financial institutions to thrive in such a landscape.

Integration is a primary challenge for banks that inhibits them from offering connected customer experience. While automation can be a starting point as a growth strategy, for building a future-ready bank, the entire banking landscape should be re-architected with a front-to-back digital transformation. Structural upgrades will also be needed for back-end modernization of the infrastructure which allows banks to extend an innovative transaction banking ecosystem to SMBs.

Transaction banks that design a customer experience from a client-centric perspective can offer greater flexibility, customizability, and leverage emerging technologies like intelligent data analytics, real-time solutions, and automated processes, to win more customers. According to the CGI Transaction Banking Survey 2018 report, SMBs worldwide are evaluating their banking relationship with a two-point agenda: innovation and customer experience. Banks need to accelerate their digital transformation journey to retain their existing customers and offer more value-added services.

So how do banks begin to re-envision their integration strategy and make it a top priority?

Linking journeys to operations and creating value
During the first wave of digital adoption, transaction banks had centered their digital journey on the front-end customer experience alone. However, to pursue a bolder vision of digital transformation and to survive the future of innovation, banks now need to unlock their success by adopting a more holistic approach – by integrating business and technology silos.

SMBs are looking for faster ways to innovate, gain access to more tailored products and services that battle their challenges, and leverage the power of data to get actionable business insights quickly. Enhancing customer experience offers an enormous scope of differentiation to banks.

Banks need to realize that building seamless interconnectivity in their transaction banking platforms requires a front-to-back digital transformation strategy. It will not only transform the underlying core technology of their existing platforms but also drive an integrated operating model that allows the creation and delivery of bespoke products.

Also, by adopting specifically tailored digitization strategies to each customer segment separately, banks can better differentiate the customer experience and design more effective product bundles that cater to customer preferences.

Banks in emerging markets can leverage digital technologies to make the customer journey intuitive, real-time, and personalized. Digital innovation provides a catalyst for simplifying products and customer experience. However, for creating long-term sustainable value, banks need to take a step further: link the new experience to the underlying operational processes. This requires an understanding of two things: what creates value across a given journey from the customer’s point of view (like faster customer-onboarding, personalization, cross-channel functionality) and what drives business costs and revenues (like the number of manual touches, risk management compliance costs, the transformation of business processes).

Unleash the power of interconnectivity
Digital applications and process are deeply entrenched in the world today, forcing banks to take up the transformation mandate if they want to remain competitive. Banks need a new level of interconnectivity to become a part of the digital future and to benefit from an integrated and dynamic digital ecosystem. By transforming the distribution model to a digital ecosystem, improving their value propositions and developing end-to-end customer-centric journeys, banks can increase their market growth as well as enhance customer satisfaction.

A modern integration strategy is what it will take to realize this vision. With a decentralized, scalable and flexible architecture and micro services-aligned approach to integration, banks can offer more plug-and-play connectivity, real-time processing to support the volume of integrations required and provide a seamless connected customer experience.

With seamless integration and value-added services, corporate customers can spread their wings and find new frontiers that boost cross-border business and economy. It’s what the transaction banks will need to offer to survive and thrive the competitive landscape of emerging markets.

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