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Technology as an enabler for product innovation

 

Rahul Jayakar

With technology leading the way towards all innovation, it’s imperative for product managers to think differently while zeroing on any development or buying a new technology. Product lead technology changes often fall on their face if they do not identify the purpose, the scalability and understanding of customer benefits.

Technology is (almost) everything Technology changes the way banks compete in the market place today, every new product or client offering has been at the back of strong technology infrastructure coupled with processing capability. While scoping dimension of clients’ needs or building differentiators whether on process, pricing or experience, technology is at the forefront.

Servicing of a manual offering like cash withdrawal is made simpler by technology, Mashreq launched cardless cash withdrawal for corporate through its front end channel making it a unique offering for its clients who required small value of cash for office expenses. The transaction is initiated through online channel and fulfilled through ATMs, saving precious time for the client to queue up in front of the cash dispensing teller. This is a win-win situation for customer and the bank. For the customer it improves convenience and user experience for the bank it helps in reducing the cost per transaction and increases digitization. Global Finance selected – Mashreq as “The Innovators 2017 – Transaction Services” for the cardless cash solution

Analytics is where it all begins While everything centers around what problem is the new innovation going to solve, it’s imperative to understand the scale of the applying the solution. This is where commerce and return on investment make an entry. A new solution needs to clearly spell out what issue it addresses, the scalability in terms of adopting it to various clients in same or different markets and how does it score over what’s being done currently.

The answers to the above should be from both sides i.e. from the banks perspective and client’s perspective. Banks which generally tend to design something very innovative seldom get the desired success because the client dimension is often missing. The true success of the solution lies in the wider usage.

Understanding the unknown Internal analytics give a significant insight into areas of improvement and issues; however not all issues may come out as significantly as when one starts viewing the areas being disrupted by FinTechs. FinTechs view solutions in a very simplified manner i.e. carrying data or value from point A to point B; hence the solutions are simple as well. Looking at a range of disruptive ideas also gives insights into how banks have built complexities around simple processes.

Parameterization of fields Maximum issues arise when fields which could change were not parameterized; cost spent on changing technologies at a later stage also cause cost overruns. Hence it is imperative that, at design stage itself one Identifies key fields that should be parameterized. Challenge self when any standalone field is presented especially when asking for a new development.

In conclusion  Hand-held has changed the way we interface with technology. Clients using banks services are increasingly demanding simple intuitive experience, backed by tangible benefits through cost or time saved. As Steve Jobs said ‘ Simple is harder than complex. You have to work harder to get your thinking clear to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end, because once you get there, you can move mountains’

Hence, Simple is not just at transactional level but also during the onboarding process and implementation. Put yourself in every client touch-point and you will get there. It’s all about user experience.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not convey any institutional view.

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Rahul Jayakar is the head of Mashreq’s Global Transaction Services, Products and Trade. Previously, his role within the bank consisted of Heading transaction banking business outside the UAE, covering 11 countries and financial institutions.

Rahul Jayakar is an experienced banking professional having worked in large multinational and regional financial institutions across the UAE and India. He was listed in the annual Global Finance list of ‘Who’s Who in Treasury & Cash Management 2016’. Global Finance stated, “This exclusive resource recognizes the most influential, creative, and powerful people in the corporate treasury and transaction services sectors. The individuals that we honour in Global Finance’s Who’s Who in Treasury and Cash Management have been recognized as best in their field by their peers and colleagues, including our editorial board. They are well equipped to successfully chart a course through these unknown waters.”

Prior to Mashreq, Rahul was with Standard Chartered Bank as a Transaction Banker in the Strategic Client Coverage Group and Wholesale Banking department. He previously had a variety of roles in sales and products which included, relationship management, asset distribution, trade finance and cash management.

Rahul graduated from Mumbai University in India with a Bachelor of Sciences degree in physics and completed an MBA from Sydenham Institute of Management Studies – Mumbai University.

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