The Movement Toward an Omni-Channel Approach to Banking

by Edward O'Brien 0

Financial institutions currently aregrappling with a wide range of vexing challenges, from a reductionin revenues and net interest margins, to increases incosts-particularly servicing costs-that are hurting overallprofitability for banks and credit unions of all sizes. While manyof these institutions are working hard to elevate their channelsystems from individual, siloed systems to integrated multi-channelsolutions, some may not realize that channel strategy is a movingtarget.

Many of the more progressive financial institutions are seekingbetter and more efficient ways to conduct business, and some aremaking significant changes to their business models. They areoffering new and innovative services to better serve theircustomers and members. Initially, the financial instiutions offeredincremental options, but are increasingly offering solutions thatspan multiple channels and offer access and insight to multiplechannels simultaneously.

As a result of these issues, financial institutions are trying toaccomplish two seemingly incompatible tasks: providing high levelsof customer service while trying to reduce their cost of sales.These financial institutions – particularly large banks – arelooking to leverage changes and upgrades to their core and CRMsolutions with needed enhancements in their channel managementsystems.

There has been a movement recently toward increased nativeinteroperability between channel, core, and CRM systems,particularly with several large, national banks. The impetus forsuch a change is a realization that current multi-channelinitiatives – while an improvement over siloed systems – are oftenlacking in the eyes of customers and members who are demandingreal-time visibility into transaction and account information, anunderstanding of their banking needs and behaviors, and a need forimprovements in the overall customer experience.

This transition from a multichannel to an omnichannel environmentis the next step in channel strategy for many financialinstitutions. The journey will require significant upgrades orreplacements of key systems over time, often with the help of core,back-office, and channel systems partners, but will result inincreased customer and member satisfaction and improvedorganizational efficiencies for financial institutions.