To rank among the best electronic corporate banking offerings today, a platform must securely deliver information to smartphones and tablets and facilitate fully integrated payments.
The addition of these two features to Greenwich Associates list of requirements for “best-of-breed” status reflects the industry’s continuing progress in rolling out and refining new functionality, as well as the increasing importance of mobile technology in the fight for corporate bank customers and assets.
Evolution of a service
As recently as 1999, the firm notes in a report, electronic banking platforms were not really platforms at all, but were a series of unintegrated systems accessed through different screens and interfaces that mainly facilitated basic transactions like balance inquiries and payment initiation.
Over time banks added decision-support tools such as intraday balances for multiple account types, integrated administrative features for user entitlements, approval workflows, and status notifications on a single summary screen. These tools evolved into more sophisticated and customizable search features and predictive analytics with broad applications across customers’ businesses.
“Because the industry has progressed so rapidly, many traits associated with best-of-breed platforms as recently as 2008 have become table-stake expectations for all online banking systems,” says Marc Harrison, a Greenwich Associates consultant and leader of the firm’s Online Services Benchmarking Program. “Today, what truly differentiates the industry’s premier platforms is full and secure mobile and tablet integration and better interfaces and data structures that facilitate a more robust user experience.”
Regardless of how long it takes for widespread demand for full functionality through tablets and smartphones to materialize among companies, Greenwich Associates sees huge potential for efficiency improvements through mobile alerts, robust authentication schemes, and other functions.
“The question facing banks is not, ‘Is mobile relevant to corporates?’” says Harrison. “Rather, it’s ‘Which of these hundreds of potential mobile apps, features and technologies will catch on, and how should I be optimizing my investments?’”