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Archive for the ‘Web/Tech’ Category

North American bank IT spending priorities – Celent | Finextra

Celent reports at Finextra on the likely agenda for Bank IT investment in 2009.  No real surprises as Banks expected to think about rich internet [think Ajax] and social features.  However no surprise on the qualification that few such web 2.0 things will appear in 2009, so it might more of an experimential year.

North American bank IT spending to grow in 2009 – Celent | Finextra

Unsurprisingly risk management is expected to be the top trend this year, as banks look to get more use out of their systems in the wake of the crisis. Banks will stop viewing risk technology as just a regulatory necessity and embrace it as a way of saving money.

Web banking will also get investment as firms begin to realise they must improve customer interaction and experience through rich Internet applications and social networking features.

Celent says “bits and pieces” of Web 2.0 elements will appear this year but thinks it will be at least a year before cutting edge interactive online banking emerges.

Mobile banking will continue to gain momentum, although it will mainly focus on information services such as SMS text alerts

Written by Colin Henderson

January 14, 2009 at 23:54

Posted in Web/Tech

ONE HSBC offers a plan to reduce complexity and cost in IT

HSBC recognise the inherent problem with multiple systems and disparate, complex, mainframe based processes – and they are doing something about it.  The presentation is worth the read. 

It describes a situation that is not unlike most large Banks, and their approach to solve it is refreshing in that it recognises the fundamental role technology plays.  In particular it recognises the role the web, and web methods play in driving simplicity. 

HSBC on the value of IT | Finextra

More details on the project can be found in a Webcast and PDF presentation made to analysts on 28 October, and now available for download from the bank Website.

Written by Colin Henderson

November 9, 2008 at 23:56

Posted in Web/Tech

Forrester: mild tech slowdown ahead

George at Forrester highlights the results of their research, that technology spend will reduce.  The relevance to Bankwatch is the data on spend by financial services.  In particular as much as we feel ‘owned’ by IBM their revenues from US are only 6% – fascinating!

Forrester: mild tech slowdown ahead

Some IT vendors focus on financial services, and could find their business mildly tightened. Tata Consultancy (TCS) gets 43% of its revenues from financial services; Infosys 34%; IBM 29% (but only 6% from US financial firms).

The financial services sector (investment banks, regional banks, local banks, mutual fund companies, hedge funds, securities firms, credit card issuers, etc.) represents about 18% of the US IT market. The Wall Street portion (Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America,Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, et al.) is approximately a third of that, or about 6% of total U.S. IT spending. The troubled firms (Lehman, Merrill, Bear Stearns, AIG, Fannie, Freddie) represent only 2% of IT spending — this is the portion most in danger of being cut.

Written by Colin Henderson

September 20, 2008 at 01:31

Posted in Web/Tech

Which Banks get the Web Lifestyle | RBC

Further to my post back in April, its time to re-evaluate the Banks that do in fact get the web lifestyle, and are trying different things.  Offerring online banking does not get any mention in this.  Others, including especially netbanker do a great job at evaluating the latest online banking offerrings.  I am interested in how Banks are broadly embracing the web lifestyle.

Its not a long list, so suggestions are welcome. There are a few Credit Unions doing interesting stuff with blogs, and social media, and I will be looking to see if its clear that the conversations are opening up from those examples.

However an immediate example worth looking at is in Canada – RBC.

RBC Signature No Limit Banking Account: You Could Get a FREE Eee PC – RBC Royal Bank

If you’re looking to surf the net at a coffee shop, upload your latest vacation photos or just to stay in touch with your friends and family, a whole new mobile experience is now at your fingertips.

• Compact design, screen size 7″, only 0.92 kg
• Wireless connectivity
• Over 40 built-in applications

Yes indeed they are giving away free laptops, provided you open an account, actually deposit cash, register and pay some bills, and transfer some pre-authorised debits to them.

Something simple yet effective is the use of simple urls to test media. TV are things like or Another was, with no doubt switch1, 2, etc.

Such a simple concept, and chance to learn about how people will react, and in different channels.

A search on google for a few keywords did not find much except “RBC” and that produced an sponsored link. So RBC are dabbling in Google advertising.

We should note that RBC are trying lots of small quiet initiatives many driven by their Applied Technology group. The other most recent is the where they have turned some crazy (not so crazy) students loose and doing a good job. The posts are probably (my judgement) moderated, but still come across as genuine.

They are also encouraging the team to engage in conversations elsewhere, and here and that is essential to get a blog noticed. Response on technorati remains low, and work is required to get the blog out there.

Which Banks understand the Web Lifestyle?
RBC gets a B for a good effort on a few different fronts, and thats a great start. Experiment, learn, and (yes Ron) innovate by trying new things. To get higher for RBC, and not fall back, will require some additional effectiveness and results in things like technorati.

Written by Colin Henderson

July 2, 2008 at 22:15

Microsoft misses the mark again with Office Live

Thought I would try out Office Live, despite the poor reviews today. 

Microsoft Office Live Workspaces misses the mark – Yahoo! News

OLW also requires Internet Explorer for full functionality.

Well, it turns out I can’t use it with Firefox, since IE is not available in my Linux OS.  MS just don’t get it.  I want to try it out, and they want to force me into Windows.  Nice try.

PS … Google Docs is working just fine

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Written by Colin Henderson

December 11, 2007 at 02:05

Posted in Web/Tech

Eight Business Technology trends | Mckinsey

Wordy, but interesting article on technology trends, that is quite deep, and highly relevant.  I found it useful to help sort through the relevance of peer to peer, and get a bit more granular on the benefits.

business technology trends – Eight business technology trends to watch – Information Technology – Applications – The McKinsey Quarterly

Technology alone is rarely the key to unlocking economic value: companies create real wealth when they combine technology with new ways of doing business. Through our work and research, we have identified eight technology-enabled trends that will help shape businesses and the economy in coming years. These trends fall within three broad areas of business activity: managing relationships, managing capital and assets, and leveraging information in new ways.

Categories of trends are sorted this way:-

Managing relationships
1. Distributing cocreation
2. Using consumers as innovators
3. Tapping into a world of talent
4. Extracting more value from interactions
Managing capital and assets
5. Expanding the frontiers of automation
6. Unbundling production from delivery
Leveraging information in new ways
7. Putting more science into management
8. Making businesses from information

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Written by Colin Henderson

December 7, 2007 at 22:15

Posted in Web/Tech

Part of the reason to get rid of the CIO title was …. customer | JP Rangaswami, BT

Fascinating interview from the thoughtful JP, now Managing Director, Design (was CIO) at British Telecom.  Note, BT has 150,000 employees worldwide.  This wide ranging interview speaks about converting BT to a platform based. networked company.  This is no different than a Bank, when you consider the multiple branch nodes, thousands or tens of thousands of employees, and billions of transactions annually. 

Watch for start ups to figure this out too.  The CTO role gets in the way of effective customer experience design.

» CIO BT Design: JP Rangaswami – Transcript | CIO Sessions Vision Series on

Dan Farber: Now you’ve been a CIO for many years, you were at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, you were the CIO at BT before you took on his role, let me just quote something you said about the role of the CIO, you warn that “the CIO role could disappear within a decade because all senior managers and board members will have to be knowledgeable about IT, and that’s almost a given in the you-tube generation”. So do you think that the role of the CIO, that you’re a dinosaur if you’re a CIO today?

JP Rangaswami: Perhaps not today, although believe it or not, at BT we’ve done away with the CIO title at our levels. … … Part of the reason to get rid of the CIO title was effectively to say that we represent disciplines far beyond just what was in IT in the past or in IS, that we represent networks, we represent products, we represent processes. What we represent is design so it made sense for us to come together and converge on that title.

The consequence of eliminating the CIO (read CTO) position is not a
semantic in job titles.  This is turning the organisation on its side. 
Instead of the traditional vertical view, of customer segment, product,
technology, marketing, this view looks for synergies across the

JP goes on to speak lucidly about:

Customer experience:

JP Rangaswami: First and foremost we go beyond just thinking about
just the technology and the systems to really include the networks, the
people and the processes. It really gives us a different perspective
because we can concentrate on the customer experience much more easily,
you can really look at the end to end from how the customer touches
anything we do to how we return that service to him when we can
concentrate on the cycle time we take on the number of times we get it
right so we can look at right first time levels. All these are
disciplines which we feel we are better empowered to deal with because
the role transcends the traditional IT role.

Customer positioning:

JP Rangaswami: Well yes, what I actually said was, in the past we used
to say “instead of giving a man a fish we teach him how to fish”. Today
we’re building hurricanes and windmills, capturing energy that the
customer creates and our role really is to expose our assets in such a
way that that customer can create new value for himself and for his
customers by the provision of our assets as usable tools and services,
and that is as much a design construct as anything else. It is way
beyond what we traditionally called IT.

Justification for Social Network access to Employees:

JP Rangaswami: Well I would ask the question the other way around
and ask how the other companies justify what they’re doing [by banning FaceBook]. But
fundamentally, what does facebook look like to me within an
institution? It allows me to form groups of interest which is no
different from arranging a meeting or creating a center of competence.
It allows me to send messages to other people in an efficient way
rather than blasting people with email based spam. It gives me the
opportunity for people to subscribe to things their interested in, it
gives me a newsfeed for what people are doing in a sharable consumable
fashion, it allows me the opportunity even to publish the interests of
different people in such a way I can look at what my colleagues are
doing, what my subordinates are doing. In fact if you look at what I’m
doing with facebook, what I’m really achieving, what any of us who
wants to use it in an enterprise environment achieves, is to say that
you’ve taken what happened t at the water cooler or at the coffee shop
and made it persistent, made it shareable, made it teachable, made it
learnable. That’s a huge win because we’ve spent years talking about
the value of the water cooler conversations, of the coffee shops, of
the more amorphous softer discussions. Now we have the ability to
actually understand what these relationships are, how information and
decision making migrates horizontally, laterally through an
organization, rather than through the published hierarchies, how people
really work, and what people do as part of that work. It’s time we
broke the assembly line mindset, I think social networking tools give
us an opportunity to look at the relationship graphs, to look at the
people who form the malcolm, gladwell, mavens and connectors and
salesmen. To look at the flows that matter rather than the flows of the
politics, and these are immense tools.

Software as a service:

JP Rangaswami: Absolutely. Part of why we built BT design the way we
have is to realize that the past of having networks and products is
really not where we’re going. We’re a platform based software driven
networked IT services company. That’s what the transformation requires
us to be, that’s what we’re shooting for, and that’s the way we believe
we’re going to provide the customer the experience he wants. That means
delivering services to the customer where he wants it, how he wants it,
when he wants it, with whatever device whatever form of connect,
whatever time of day. These constructs are not easy to apply unless you
think of software as a service in being able to expose the assets as
services not as products, and then to be able to expose them in such a
way that the customer can actually create other services out of them,
whitelabeling, mashing, the creation of managed mashable networks. All
of this is only possible if you take the software as a service mindset

I have followed JP for years, and if you are interested his blog is here.

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Written by Colin Henderson

November 14, 2007 at 11:04

Thoughts on Google, FaceBook, and internet evolution

Once in a while its interesting to take a look at general internet trends. Its not banking specific in the short term, but it will be. 

While FaceBook is all the rage at the moment, I am still on the fence, and here is why.  FaceBook is a walled garden determined to produce a private environment with sufficient numbers of participants that will drive advertising revenue.

Google is the antithesis, and regards the entire internet as its garden.  This sets up the ultimate battle between control and openness. 

  • Control:  FaceBook offers an engaging environment where people can interact with each other and with their applications, but search engines/ advertising platforms are shut out, except for the ones that pay, and in FB’s case thats Microsoft
  • Openness:  Google’s strategy is to make the entire internet (except the FaceBook walled garden) so engaging that users will deem open internet more valuable than the quasi private FaceBook.

FaceBook sees themselves as an application platform, while Google sees the internet as an application platform.  Its a classic battle.  This from ZDNet on Google and their approach. 

» Google’s new mantra: Making the Web a better platform for all | Between the Lines |

According to Gundotra, Google is happy to create a more level playing field by giving away core code (not the revenue generating search or ad technology) to application developers. “If the motive is to drive usage on the Internet, it’s ok. We hope users will love to use our products and that they are useful to developers, such as gadgets.”

On the question of a Google browser, Gundotra answered cryptically, “We have a lot of people to make the Web better.” Google might open source technology to browser makers such as Mozilla, Microsoft and Apple, but it’s not clear if they will embrace them. It’s not a big stretch to think of Google reinventing the browser or doing something with the Firefox code if Mozilla isn’t innovating fast enough to satisfy Larry and Sergey dreams for the Web as a platform.

Google is also considering ways to provide infrastructure services to developers. Currently, gadget developers can serve their code of Google’s servers, but the company has been coy about broader usage.

“Google is a world class leader in scale infrastructure, and we hope to apply it to the Web, but we have no announcement at this time,” Gundotra said. It would make sense for Google to provide services to smaller developers similar to what Amazon does with its S3 and Elastic Compute Cloud as a way to bring more innovation quickly to the Web.

This from FaceBook, and their approach which is strategically valid too, being based on user control, and raw traffic from [FaceBook] trusted friends.  I qualify friends because I have to say FaceBook have taken liberties with the english meaning of that word, but nonetheless, there is a raw connection drawn between those that are ‘friended’ which transcends earthbound day to day life. 

» Facebook: Committed to the sanctity of the social graph | Between the Lines |

“We are trying to build the most accurate representation, a digital mapping of how people interact in real world,” Vora explained. She brought the canonical Facebook photo application as the example of how the social graph can work. Facebook Photos isn’t feature rich like other services, but it has more traffic because of the social tagging tied into the social graph.

Photos are propagated as more users tag people and share with their Facebook friends. It’s an indicator of social interaction and the social graph, Vora said.

It remains to be seen where this battle will go, but a battle it will be.  We also have the sheer financial and technological, albeit unfocussed, power of Microsoft and Yahoo to consider.  They are not yet part of the battle because they have no clear strategy in the future of the internet space, but they will be players because of their commitment and size.

Anyhow, people are wrestling with the volume of information and advertising bombarding them today.  They will seek protection in different ways, by basking in the volume or hiding from it.  One question is whether that protection will come from environmental control (Facebook) or personal control (Google).  With that statement I have made my preference clear, but the future is never linear, and as adjustments are made, I see two winning approaches evolving.

On the technology front new tools are in development that support web applications in ways that we can only dream of today.  Prism offers the world of applications within your browser, unencumbered by back buttons, and URL bars.  A scaled down browser with a clear line of sight to the application people want … email, RSS, Calendar, FaceBook even – see here for current applications for Prism.   Prism is relevant  because as a web application presentation it actually supports either FaceBook of Google.  By the same token, those two will never achieve real success unless a Prism or like, vehicle exists.  Its not co-incidence, that Google might be considering taking on development of the Firefox/Mozilla browser. 

Having meanadered all over the place here, we can zero right back to banking.  It doesn’t take much of a leap to consider a connection to your Bank through a Prism like vehicle.  The power of a desktop application, combined with the advantages of a thin client browser.  This is the promise of web based applications, and the only outstanding question… will that be with Google or FaceBook sir?

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Written by Colin Henderson

October 28, 2007 at 01:47

Posted in Web/Tech

Fairfax County Credit Union invites participants to develop a 30 second commercial

Here is one of the most open ended and creative attempts yet, to bring user generated content to Banking.  Some will say high risk, but kudos for Fairfax for trying this out.  Note they offer up their brand images for use, and in PC and Mac format.

GenY Extreme Checking Video Contest

Fairfax County Federal Credit Union needs your creativity and style!!!
Create a 30 second commercial to show how Fairfax County FCU
Gen Y Extreme Checking Account fits your lifestyle!

Hat tip to CUemployee

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Written by Colin Henderson

October 17, 2007 at 20:41

Posted in Innovation, Web/Tech

Note to Bank CIO/ CTO | Time to review web based Office Apps

As discussed last year, and related to the 5 computer theory, the ‘Office suite’ space just went red hot, with Google Presentation now live, and IBM stepping back into it, with the annoucement of Lotus Symphony (name from the past :-|).

IBM Deals Itself Into Microsoft Office Space With Free Lotus Suite

IBM has announced the launch of a free Microsoft Office competitor: Lotus Symphony, at the same time Google launched its final product in the triple play office suite Presently.

Relevance to Bankwatch:
If you haven’t looked at web applications, now is the time.  Two questions to ask:

  1. What are the efficiency benefits of simple, true document sharing and collaboration?  (Note if you use Microsoft Sharepoint, try Google docs, and compare – think the masses, not the HQ presentation folks)
  2. Do you really require the full MS Office package on 20,000 desktops across an entire country, and the attendant support infrastructure costs?

Written by Colin Henderson

September 18, 2007 at 10:10

Posted in Web/Tech

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