The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

OmniChannel vs Strategy

Chris Skinner summed Omnichannel perfectly suggesting it is “so last century, please delete it”.

Knowing Chris there is only so much dry sarcasm in that statement.  For me I have no idea why, when when 10 years ago we looked at branch, ATM, telephone and internet banking and we called it multi channel banking, we are now we are going into convulsions in attempts to define OmniChannel banking.  We added what, mobile, and now we have to shift to another word?

The Financial Brand is still falling into that trap I hate to say when they get sucked into the argument with  “Digital and OmniChannel Banking remains elusive”.

“Engaging clients … ”, delivering a customised …”, “big data …” … these various definitions really miss the point.

Any bank whether nuevo or traditional has multiple considerations relative to customers, technology, employees and processes.  Its much more complex than bland statments such as “consistent customer experience” et al.

If engaging clients is the strategy (not a bad plan btw) then that is the strategy. Next comes the tactics to implement, which will define that strategy, and that will require considerations across HR, technology, processes and channels.  I don’t see how the concept of OmniChannel helps in that discussion.  It is going to depend on the current deployment of the bank and where the bank wants to get to.

If you are a Bank with 1,200 branches then the decisions regarding channels are radically differnet than a bank starting from scratch.  Those are two extremes chosen to make the point that strategy depends on your starting point.  Even a neuvo bank initiated from within an existing bank still has strategy dependencies from within the parent bank, even when the neuvo bank is described internally as separate.  Shareholders see the broad entire picture and care little for independent internal new ideas that are not connected to the big picture.  In simple terms, the concept of cheap transactions means nothing if the baggage of old costs are not displaced.

This goes back to the 1995’ish predictions of certain consulting groups that internet transactions cost 1 cent versus branch transactions of $3.50.  Those statistics make us all cringe now because a transaction online doesn’t displace any costs in a branch.  It is actually an incremental cost.  That’s just one glaring example of the challenge in determining channel strategies for a bank, and OmniChannel is not the place to begin.

All this to say, lets not kill ourselves defining a stupid word such as OmniChannel.   Strategy is the place to begin, and that will produce the right considerations.

Written by Colin Henderson

February 2, 2015 at 02:08

Posted in Uncategorized

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  1. […] stuck myself in the last century, as I continue to talk about channels. Colin Henderson, writing on The Bankwatch, nails […]


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