Guest View: The new tech-enabled banking landscape

Gene Hayden, Vice President and General Manager for Sales and Marketing, Asia, Emerson Network Power

The banking industry is rapidly changing, driven by the growth of alternative channels by which customers can access banking services, and how banks are investing more to keep their operations secure. As banks continuously adapt to these changes, they have to plan their approach carefully. The ultimate objective is to cultivate customer relationships, advance growth, and reduce operational cost. Competitiveness is not merely achieved by incorporating the latest innovations; it is equally important to take a holistic look at existing IT infrastructure to determine complementary acquisitions that would give optimal ROI.

Recent developments in the Asia Pacific BFSI market illustrate the different best practices adopted by some banks to navigate through growing infrastructure demands. In a saturated BFSI market, customer service is the strongest currency. Intelligent planning and adoption of supporting technologies can not only optimize customer service but also give banks more flexibility in anticipating future requirements.

Customers Take on Mobile and Internet Banking

Customers are progressively shifting to new banking channels as they open up. Branch usage in Asia is down 29 percent (from 2009 to 2011), while mobile and internet banking saw an uptick of 36 percent and 39 percent in developed economies and emerging markets, respectively. These new channels offer unprecedented convenience, giving customers account access and the ability to complete basic transactions.

A Singapore securities and investment group was one of the first market players to unveil an iPhone trading application which enabled users to trade stocks using their smartphones. As the app gained more users, the firm needed to ensure the IT infrastructure was able to support the additional bandwidth. Protecting critical equipment was vital to ensuring the mobile app's availability. Working with Emerson Network Power, the firm sought an agile thermal management solution to keep their equipment running optimally. As it delivered each cooling demand, scalability matched the mobile app's dynamic quality, helping the firm modulate their infrastructure capacity and resulting to energy savings.

Another channel that's replacing traditional banking is the financial kiosk. The kiosk accelerates the processing of standard bank transactions, limiting queues and human error. They are also cost-effective alternatives since they reduce operational cost incurred by employee overhead and setting up of branch offices. Customers will be able to process their transactions at any time. However, unlike a branch office, there is zero service when the kiosk is inoperable. Support infrastructure to maximize the kiosk's availability then becomes essential. 

Reliability through visibility and control helps the bank ensure the kiosk's availability. Reliable back-up power in case of unexpected power fluctuation provides a seamless transaction and banking experience for the customer and prevents costly equipment damage. Visibility and control through an integrated power quality and management service provides the ability to address issues remotely - saving the bank resources by eliminating the need to send manpower to address the problem.

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