Mobile 'Banking' and BI - Enhancing Operational Productivity

Hardly a day goes by without some new innovation in mobile payments or mobile banking being announced. It’s hardly surprising, as ‘consumers in control’ are demanding banks provide services that meet the capabilities of mobile devices. But the other thing one notices is the almost complete focus on consumer applications – and very little on corporate banking. A couple of months ago I posted a blog interview with Georg Fasching of Luup, one of the few providers of payment and authorization applications for corporate treasurers. However, yet another area of value for mobility is within the bank – the integration of traditional banking operations applications with mobile devices.

An operations manager will often be around the bank in meetings or perhaps at other off-site locations. Possibly they were in Texas at the NACHA conference this month! Of course these managers can probably log in to various applications for management reports or address escalated issues by logging in from their laptop. But I am now seeing more interest in mobile applications as a quick yet secure means of accessing certain operations activities. For example:

· Summary views of operational status (queues, rejects, repairs)

· KPI dashboards of daily operational activity, funds flows or branch performance

· Exception conditions requiring intervention or delegation

Microsoft’s technology partners are looking into how mobile device applications can be integrated to some of the traditional banking and payments applications. There’s obviously something of a challenge integrating real time mobile business intelligence (BI) with batch based systems, but value-add scenarios can still be developed in those situations. Regardless of the data types and user roles, the key to success is the depth of the BI stack.

The Microsoft BI stack, which in January 2011 was rated at the top of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for BI, allows for integration of multiple data types and sources through SQL Reporting Services. On the consumption side, the self-service capabilities allow analytics and reporting through the familiar Microsoft Office suite of products. The next step is also making that available through mobile devices. The result is a cross-device solution using the same data sources, but enabling different consumption models. As in interesting exercise in this experience, check out PushBI from Extended Results. This is a ‘horizontal’ technology solution, but think about how something like this might apply to your bank, or as a vendor, add value to your applications.