Mobile Banking Innovations: 5 Keys to Defining a Mobile App Development Strategy

We live in a multi-channel world, where customers can and will move between devices during the course of a single transaction. Whether it’s a simple retail transaction, or one that’s more complex such as a loan application or an insurance claim, your customers expect you to support mobile banking innovations that allow them to use their phones. “Mobile first” design, once promoted as the new standard of a mobile world, no longer works in a multi-device, multi-channel world—especially when it comes to mobile account openings.

Multi-channel is more than just catering for mobile and a desktop (which can be addressed with responsive design). It’s also about different mediums of transactions, including call centers, fax, and more. That’s why your mobile app development strategy needs to be more than just a mobile-only strategy.

Which is Better in Digital Banking: A Mobile App or the Mobile Web?
Typically, when we think of mobile banking innovations we think of apps. But many of us also do a lot of browsing of websites and online web applications via our mobile browsers. There is always the option to build for this ‘mobile web’ either instead of or alongside mobile apps.
Mobile web applications are transaction-oriented, hosted online, and they’re optimized for mobile devices. For these reasons the mobile web can be perfect for occasional or one-time use digital banking scenarios, such as a mobile account opening. Mobile apps also have advantages, however, including they’re “sticky” and convenient.

It’s not necessarily a simple, straightforward decision on how to support mobile banking innovations like apps or the mobile web. This blog post gives five considerations to contemplate before you jump into mobile development.

#1 – Can I configure an existing app instead of building a new one?
The first question to ask is if there’s an existing app that will give you what you need. There are an increasingly varied and powerful set of enterprise-class mobile apps such, Box, Dropbox, and more that you can use off the shelf or customize.

#2 – Do I really need an app or should I use the mobile web?
The real question is to understand the nature of the digital banking problem you are trying to solve and decide whether it is an intrinsically ‘sticky’ function. By intrinsically sticky we mean ‘is it a business function that the user is going to perform often, and which they need readily available at all times on their mobile device?’ You cannot make a business function sticky by turning it into an app.

Only consider building an app if the business function truly is one that customers will want to use regularly, offline, or they need to access device capabilities—otherwise use the mobile web. Given this logic, a mobile account opening for example, would be best served using the mobile web.

#3 – Can I use a composite approach?
A composite approach allows you to reserve your more commonly used features for your app and still access less frequently used features via a link to the web. In mobile app development you should always give careful consideration to a composite approach as it may give you the best path forward to implement the most important parts of your digital banking strategy.

#4 – What technique should I use to build my app?
Assuming you have decided you need an app and not the mobile web, how should you build it? Organizations are faced with an increasingly complicated device landscape, with at least two primary device types (iOS and Android) and several others including new Windows devices. Anything which helps developers have a single knowledge-base and code-base across multiple platforms is generally a good thing.

The hierarchy looks something like this:

  • You should build using a HTML5 approach unless you have extremely good reasons to do otherwise.
  • If you have good reason to build an app natively, then consider a cross-platform framework.
  • Consider using the platform’s native tools if it is absolutely the only way to achieve a particular function. You can also consider developing a native app if you only have a small number of apps to build, or if you want to outsource development, in which case using popular tools may be more important than speed or cross-platform capabilities.

#5 – Can I shift some of the responsibility from IT to the business?
One consideration is whether you can effectively empower the business to take some responsibility for the development of content. The modern approach to marketing-type websites is for IT to maintain a web content management system and for the business to maintain the content that is hosted by that system. Where possible, it makes sense to do something similar by finding a mobile app platform that allows the business to develop mobile content.

Next Steps: More Tips on Mobile App Development
Hopefully you now have a good sense of the challenges in delivering digital banking mobile applications for a wide range of device types. What’s the single biggest take away to remember? Always match the type of development to your application’s purpose.

Get even more mobile app development tips by downloading the full white paper: “Mobile App Development: Define Your Strategy with a Fast Five-Point Checklist.”

Don Bergal
Don Bergal

Don is CMO, building and leading worldwide marketing at Avoka. He has a successful 25 year record of growing technology businesses in marketing, operations, and sales management, particularly with early stage and high growth companies.

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