How Finance is investing for CX innovation

The new tech reconnecting infrastructure and data management

by Tony Leggio, Vice President of Finance Solutions, AT&T Business

Your website is a primary way that customers find information and seek to connect with you, but contact forms can be frustrating, and responses slow. Customers also don't want to deal with clunky interactive voice response systems. Are you using outdated methods and losing customers because of it?

It happened to one of the biggest brands in banking. Changing course was a difficult, high-stakes maneuver. Legacy infrastructure, CRM integration, and unified communications needed rethinking and retooling to provide the kind of consistent, omnichannel customer experience (CX) that’s attuned to the latest insights. The effort demanded a hybrid set of skills, operating models, affiliates, and technologies to do more than keep pace with the competition.

 

Misplaced confidence?

recent survey of 350 senior IT executives in the financial industry found that businesses are indeed confident that their current technology infrastructure will deliver on key data priorities, including better CX (81%), sales and marketing analytics (75%), and business intelligence (73%).

But there’s a problem. When it asked respondents about their biggest sources of frustration when they use data within their organizations, the survey revealed a contradiction. Businesses might be confident about their technology infrastructure, but they have serious reservations about their existing data management capabilities.

Banking on technology

Motivated by the rapid growth and innovation of fintech (financial technology), the industry’s established players are going for new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, and blockchain—and in a big way. Their main aim is to create the new sources of value and efficiencies needed to compete effectively for the next decade and beyond. Getting the most out of the new tech requires on-point modernization of their IT networks, parts of which are not fit-for-purpose in the digital era.

René Dufrene, General Manager of Finance Solutions at AT&T Business, points to the complexity of transformation. “It’s not just the technology,” he says. “Digital transformation involves many facets of the business: how to engage a bank’s customers online, in a branch or office, or in mobile apps, for example. The lines of business and IT must work together to create a comprehensive strategy that incorporates the network.”

APIs to engage and serve

For example, when customers increasingly prefer to use live chat instead of phone calls for simple tasks, chatbots can automate those tasks, saving support teams precious time. But how do companies know when it's time to connect the user with a live agent?

Turnkey apps like Click-to-Connect from AT&T Business include a feature-rich web tool that helps to easily manage queues, answer customer requests, and chat with customers. This helps control the cost of customer support by automatically handling routine user questions and seamlessly escalating to a live agent when needed. Agents can share web pages, images, and videos, and escalate the chat to a phone call, video call, or screen share. The Click-to-Connect chatbot option even includes IBM WATSON® artificial intelligence technology to reintroduce the human factor into the user experience, learning from the chat, and enhancing the application to improve future interactions. Application developers can build out and deploy innovative services by using AT&T application programming interfaces (APIs) and software development kits (SDKs).

According to Frederic Veron, formerly a CIO at Deutsche Bank and Global Head of Safety & Soundness, “Most organizations’ focus is on building a platform economy and APIs are really critical to that. They want to provide a library of APIs to help people to liberate our services – I think that’s what people are looking for today.”

Half or more of the surveyed organizations plan to make use of open ecosystems (for example, through the development of external APIs). But few are taking steps to ensure that their network environments are ready for open platforms.

  • The development and use of external APIs is a major technology focus for 64% of surveyed.
  • Nearly half, 47%, expect to rely largely on open-source standards for emerging technologies.
  • Over a third of IT executives (35%) think their firms are too cautious about participating in open innovation platforms and ecosystems.
  • No more than 22% of organizations plan to make open architectures an investment priority over the next 3 years.

Injecting new capabilities

According to Dufrene, if IT leaders have concerns about their networks’ existing capabilities, investing in them is the best response. The survey results confirm this. For example, 63% of respondents expect their networks to have edge computing capabilities in 3 years, compared with 22% who claim to have them today. Sixty percent of respondents say that, in 3 years, their networks will feature cloud-based application infrastructure, a steep rise from 39% today.

To learn more about CX data management with enterprise-grade self-service APIs and turnkey applications, visit the API Marketplace.

AT&T Business is a leading provider of Edge-to-Edge solutions for Financial Services and is the largest SD-WAN provider globally. Achieve smarter, more trusted interactions with business solutions that integrate our unique ecosystem of network, technology, and expertise to obtain near real-time intelligence from every corner of your enterprise.