Old school retail banks are in a lot of trouble. Their traditional product-promotional approach hasn’t kept pace with the ways that many of their customers use technology.

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The future of retail banking will mean connecting with customers whenever, wherever and however they choose.

“Banks must seriously start thinking about how people want to be connected digitally,” Nancy Langmeyer recently said in SAP Business Trends. “Web 2.0 and the mobile Internet can provide a foundation for a new way of banking.”

Following a five-year core banking modernization program, Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s new high-tech around-the-clock banking meets customers on their terms — and may show the way forward for retail banks. CommBank has improved its services with the SAP Operations Control Center, which helps the bank see everything that’s happening in real time, Greg Pierce told SAP in a video.

“When customers press that button, when they take that money out of the ATM, when they try to access their account balance, they expect that to happen immediately,” Pierce said. “We can do data upgrades anytime, any day of the week without causing any customer any interference or impact at all.”

Transactions Speak Louder Than Words

CommBank is Australia’s largest financial institution, doing business with about 25 million customers, 51,000 employees and 1,100 branches across the South Pacific, U.S. and U.K. Its services include retail, institutional banking and fund management.

“We put through around 600 to 700 transactions per second,” Peter Dowd, general manager with CommBank’s Core Banking Modernization, said in an SAP video. “It’s essential that we have real-time monitoring in place to be able to service our customers in the best possible way.”

The IT solution SAP MaxAttention helped CommBank implement the Control Center, which gives users a transparent overview of their entire system, according to an SAP Control Center video. This makes it easy to spot malfunctions before they become problems.

Benefits of CommBank’s new 24/7 real-time banking approach include:

  • A 97 percent simplification in products, down to 18 core products from 610 product variants
  • A 75 percent reduction in time to market for new products
  • 37 percent fewer processing errors

CommBank’s new offerings include Kaching, a mobile app for checking account balances, paying bills, getting cash from an ATM and more. And the bank’s Pi platform can serve as a business’ mobile cash register, inventory tracker and loyalty rewards driver.

Get ‘Em Where They Live

“This program is all about the customer,” CommBank CIO Michael Harte said in a case study. “It’s about positioning ourselves to deliver what the customer wants anytime, anywhere.”

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SAP Operations Control Center helps everything within an organization run smoothly — “like a factory.”

And customers aren’t the only ones taking note.

“Investors’ attraction to [CommBank’s] stock seems to be as strong as ever before,” The Motley Fool Australia stated recently. “Just last week the stock skyrocketed past its previous peak to record a new all-time high.”

Old fashioned retail banks still concentrate on mobile services that promote their products, but they do so at their own peril. Institutions such as CommBank show that digital connections with customers are the key to a prosperous future.

Follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher

More From SAP Business Trends:

Keeping Customer Service Up When the Chips Are Down [VIDEO]

SAP’s “Secret Sauce” for Transforming a Global Business [VIDEO]

The Connected Bank: How to Catch Up in the Digital World

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  1. Tim Clark

    “Institutions such as CommBank show that digital connections with customers are the key to a prosperous future.” Great insight and great SAP customer story that we can all learn from, especially those looking to stay up to speed on the latest business/banking trends.

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