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By Diane Murray, EMEA Strategy Lead, Progress

Digital experiences play a different role in different industries and the financial services industry has its own specific set of needs to engage with customers. With the surge in customers banking online when branches closed during the pandemic, customers are now more digital-savvy than ever, with research by RFi Group revealing that 73% of British consumers are now using e-banking methods. Brand reputation now rests almost entirely on users’ digital experiences. The direct correlation of digital experience to business success cannot be underestimated by financial services organisations.

Whether in a retail or commercial context, rising customer standards, investor expectations, compliance, performance, and security make up just some of a complex list of requirements for digital experiences provided by financial services firms. Integrating disparate systems, guaranteeing uptime, and managing secure data transfer and storage are just some of the challenges faced. Financial organisations need to share customer data across business functions, to leverage data-driven insight to outperform competitors. A financial institution’s digital transformation may be complex, yet it requires just one key tool for building a robust digital presence: a Digital Experience Platform (DXP).

What is digital experience in financial services?

Financial institutions know they must adopt technology to enable their customers to connect with them anytime and anywhere. Delivering high quality services through an app or website is critical to attracting and retaining consumers. With the explosion of available data and analytics, their customers’ experiences also need to be tailored to improve relevance. A DXP is an integrated array of technologies designed to deliver this breadth of unique experiences to a wide variety of audiences.

Digital experience couldn’t mean more to brands right now, and when dealing with customers’ personal and business finances, they have unsurprisingly high expectations in terms of communication, convenience, and security.  The shift online has fuelled demands for real-time banking and services and truly personalised experiences, which are tailored to customers’ habits and preferences.

Necessity to access and manage our personal finances whenever we choose has further driven banks’ digital adoption. Those brands that do it well secure new account openings, loans, and other products. It has become critical for banks and other financial organisations to use digital technologies to facilitate visibility and interaction between themselves and their users (customer, partner, or employee) through more and more digital channels. User demand is ever increasing for remarkable digital experiences which are insightful, efficient, and personalised. If a competitor bank is more secure, more engaging, and responsive, customer loyalty is easily swayed. The growing ease of switching to a competitor just adds to the pressure.

Evolution of the DXP market

DXPs have been available for a couple of years now, superseding Content Management Systems (CMS) and Web Content Management Systems (WCMS). In 2020, DXPs formally emerged as the platform for organisations to embrace digital opportunities, upon Gartner establishing its DXP Magic Quadrant. DXPs are used to build, deploy and continually improve websites, portals, mobile and other digital experiences. They combine and coordinate applications, including content management, search and navigation, personalisation, integration and aggregation, collaboration, workflow, analytics, mobile and multichannel support. A DXP binds together capabilities from these applications to form seamless digital experiences with journey mapping and a 360-degree view of the customer.

Objectives and challenges for digital in financial services

Financial services organisations require a DXP to address specific objectives and challenges for digital in this industry. Some of the relevant challenges DXPs can address include a slowing in maintaining financial products and rates due to risk and inefficiency. It could also be struggling to achieve compliance objectives in digital form, or problems integrating their website with other systems and data sources. Perhaps it’s a need to deliver UX that adapts constantly to your product priorities, having the ability to seize new leads at short notice, or facing a continual struggling to compete in offering self-service functionality.

Other key needs of financial organisations include website compliance, systems and data integration, user experience design, digital marketing automation and support for partners and portals.

Advantages of DXPs for financial services organisations

Some might think they already have a website that’s adequate. But if your website was built on a proprietary CMS, making changes to the website can be troublesome, to say the least. Whether you are launching a new page or simply adding an option to a drop-down menu, any time you want to make changes, you need to ask the CMS vendor. It might be laborious to improve the accessibility of your website or add multilingual content.

Other than just offering a simple service brochure on the website, banks and other lenders probably want the website to replicate the opportunities offered at the in-branch experience, for customers to be able to create accounts, take out loans and do many other common banking activities. The right DXP can provide this same consistent messaging and functionality.

There are some trending DXP features which are driving the future of digital experiences in this sector, such as content management, artificial intelligence, analytics and insights, personalisation, cloud capabilities, integration, interoperability, and extensibility.

What’s critical is that web and mobile banking applications are primarily used as marketing or transactional vehicles. It’s vital to be able to customise and personalise the experience and integration with custom backend or third-party systems. Industry-specific tools can facilitate removing impediments and help achieve business goals for financial websites and portals.

DXPs can perform vital functions like workflow, video-embedding, drag-and-drop page building, localisation, and translation, which are now table stakes for the modern digital experience. The distinct benefits of a DXP include continuous development and continuous delivery, personalised interactions across all digital touchpoints, analytics to report on and predict the success of campaign strategy, data source integration through APIs, plugins and connectors, ability to craft a customer journey, marketing automation capabilities, access to machine learning and other uses of AI, and real collaboration between digital marketing and DevOps teams.

DXP features which matter for financial services

With many DXP vendors and solutions on the market, organisations must choose a DXP based on the right features and capabilities for their specific organisation. Some key features to consider include:

  •   A composable DXP will enable an organisation to build a DXP with capabilities which best suit the business as it grows.  These may include: Digital Asset Management, Social Media Connectivity, Digital Commerce, Multiexperience Support, Applied Artificial Intelligence, Collaboration & Knowledge Sharing, Chat with AI/ML Features, Architecture and Platform Design, and Customer Data Management.
  •   Content management – A more sophisticated DXP will focus on composability of components so the content component of a DXP will be different from a stand-alone CMS, assigning those overlapping capabilities to other modular components such as digital asset management.
  •   Analytics/insights/recommendations – AI can accelerate testing and ultimately offer suggestions about what content could have performed better rather than merely reporting on it. Actionable analytics provide the ability to assess and continually improve performance through testing along with business intelligence integration.
  •   Personalisation – One of the key prerequisites for digital experience, in every online interaction. With this as a built-in feature of your DXP, there’s no need to have a separate personalisation tool.
  •   Cloud capabilities – With hosting options such as Microsoft Azure, AWS and Google, the cloud deployment of your DXP can offer operational efficiency, autoscaling, near elimination of downtime risk and insight into the CI/CD processes streamline and optimise the management of your environment, freeing up your DevOps team to focus on their priorities.
  •   MACH principles (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless), are getting lots of attention these days, and as revealed by the name, can only be applied in a cloud environment.
  •   Integration, interoperability, and extensibility – Your DXP platform becomes the backbone of your Martech stack as you connect to your existing business systems and introduce modular components to increase the power and efficiency of your solution. Any modern platform offers an API layer to facilitate integration, interoperability, and extensibility. These should be robust and well-documented.
  •   Look for a commitment to developers, such as adoption of the latest front-end development technologies such as .NET Core, which offers cross-platform development and rapid deployment. Look also for low-code and no-code connectivity options that highlight a commitment to providing ease of use for all practitioners using the platform. Ensure there is a strong developer community and partner channel backing the DXP you choose, to enable beneficial community innovation tools and widgets.
  •   Search Engine Optimisation – If a customer can’t find an organisation, it may as well not exist. Therefore, a DXP that has search engine optimisation (SEO) tools is vital as it enables an organisation to climb up the search rankings. It’s also important to have functionality for mobile formats, Open Graph settings and automated generation of metadata.
  •   Site Search and Navigation – Customers need the website to be easy to navigate. Search indexes allow you to define different sets of content to be searched by the visitors on your website. Most DXPs come with site search services but this is an essential feature.
  •   Customer Journey Mapping – Probably the capability that most defines a digital experience platform is the ability to orchestrate and evaluate the success of the customer experience comprehensively and seamlessly. DXPs do this programmatically and intentionally with content and connectivity through multichannel presentation of your brand’s message.
  •   Account Services/Security & Access Control – In order to manage the customer journey effectively, DXPs must provide a means to manage customer profiles securely for activity behind a secure and authenticated login. Vital for financial services organisations, self-service capabilities can only be supported if users can identify themselves with confidence knowing their data and interactions remain secure and private.
  •   Security and compliance are critical – A user-friendly interface, which is designed with the latest security best practice in mind, so customers have peace of mind; trust is everything in digital banking.

The ideal DXP will enable you to build what you need, deploy where and how you want, empower your customers, then manage it all safely and securely. A scalable DXP is core to a robust digital presence and will enable the fastest business growth.

Benefits of choosing the right DXP

With a flexible DXP platform, your new website can seamlessly transition the in-branch experience to the digital realm, offering an innovative and frictionless customer digital experience. Marketing and non-technical users will be able to manage the site independently. Most importantly, it will stay ahead of the evolving digital world, especially taking care of security requirements. And its best deliverables are multi-language support, personalisation, and customisation which means you are consistently tuned in to customer data and delivering information according to their habits and preferences.

With the freedom to execute campaigns independently and the ability to collect and analyse customer data, the marketing team will be better equipped to hit their KPIs. This might include growth in new account openings, faster load speeds, demonstrable SEO improvements and a marked increase in other optional language views.

With a rich feature set, API integrations can enable the delivery of several features, including location/ATM finders, rates data for account and loan calculators and smart internal site search. By adding and customising the right DXP functionality, a financial services organisation can develop a digital presence that echoes its superior customer service standards.

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