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Beyond innovation: Ensuring a flawless digital performance for financial services

Fintech investment in the Asia-Pacific has experienced momentous growth, ballooning from around US$880 million in 2014 to almost US$3.5 billion in the first nine months of 2015, according to a recent report from Accenture

Customer expectations are behind much of this investment. Consumers are no longer distinguishing between online and offline worlds—they expect their financial digital experiences to be as seamless as all of their digital interactions and they are short on patience in this area. In fact, AppDynamics’ recent App Attention Span study found that 86 per cent of those surveyed had deleted or uninstalled at least one mobile app due to performance issues. Companies that fail to deliver flawless mobile experiences are at serious risk of losing customers and revenue.

As mobile applications are often the primary channel that consumers use for banking, financial services need to adapt now or else risk irrelevance. Yet we continually hear reports of high-profile online banking glitches, such as recent St George and ANZ Banks mobile outages. This leaves CIOs looking for an answer to the most pressing question in the sector: how do you drive software innovation while ensuring a high level of customer experience and a constant revenue stream?

The answer is simple, if not easy: provide a flawless mobile experience in order to maintain a satisfied and loyal consumer base. To do so, companies must implement application intelligence and application performance management solutions to identify and address issues before they cause serious disruption to consumers.

Present challenges

One of the main pressures on banks today is the increasingly high standards of performance and reliability that consumers demand from their mobile apps. Given growing competition in the retail banking sector, mobile banking apps must meet the highest standards of performance and reliability regardless of time, location or device. Additionally, a great mobile banking app must also provide a far greater range of services than traditional banking. To achieve this, banks must ensure customers have 24/7 access to key services, whether it be through proactively predicting when their applications will experience surges in traffic or spotting and fixing emerging glitches in real-time.

However, ageing legacy infrastructures are causing huge headaches across financial service IT departments. Implementing better systems into a company’s existing technology infrastructure costs time, money and raises the bank’s exposure to risk. Add to this the complexity of managing the requisite mix of software, hardware, cloud services, app developers and third party web services in order to facilitate millions of transactions a day across distributed applications.

The solution for the software defined bank

Software defined banks with highly complex IT architectures need to employ sophisticated analytics and monitoring applications to help mitigate risk. Application Performance Management (APM) solutions give online financial services certainty about the operation of their business, IT infrastructure and applications in real-time, and enable them rapidly respond to, or even predict, issues that may arise.

APM differs from traditional performance monitoring in that it brings the user experience to the forefront, rather than focusing on application metrics and machine data. APM tells us whether an app is responding quickly enough, delivering relevant results and engaging the user.

In many ways, the rise of the software-defined bank is great for business. It puts a renewed focus on innovation, brings the consumer experience to the forefront and offers the financial sector an opportunity to inspire loyalty amongst their customers by offering tools that fit their lifestyles and expectations.

It is not simply a matter of financial services creating flashy apps for their customers. IT departments and CIOs must identify where the most value can be added through innovation and think more about the performance of their applications if they are to remain relevant and competitive.

About the author

Andrew Brockfield is the Australia & New Zealand Country Manager at AppDynamics.

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