Magazine article American Banker

5 Takeaways from SAP's Client Conference: Reporter's Notebook

Magazine article American Banker

5 Takeaways from SAP's Client Conference: Reporter's Notebook

Article excerpt

Byline: Mary Wisniewski

It's hard to be a bank.

During the SAP Financial Services Forum held in New York this week, the challenges the industry faces were repeatedly outlined by numerous speakers, including the Honorable Sheila Bair and an exec from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Let's just say the list goes on and on: The budget line for complying with regulations continues to trend up for banks, thus pressuring their profits, while consumers' lack of trust in the financial services industry keeps on raging on. All the while, the need for banks to provide a better customer experience remains a pressing issue, which also means financial institutions must get better at offering products and services in a multi-channel environment that are both easier for their customers to use and more meaningful to them individually.

Despite the litany of complaints about constraints, a number of banks are still doing cool stuff for their customer. As SAP's Michael Nixon said during a presentation, referencing author Peter Sims: "little bets" can help companies discover and develop ideas.

To that end, bank execs shared ideas and company learnings throughout the forum that were meant to help inspire fellow financial services players to not only survive the climate but perform better. Here are five takeaways from the first day of the event:

1. Customers want to talk to banks when they want to talk to banks. Indeed, outbound communications are less relevant than inbound messages, said Andrew Hagger, Andrew Hagger, general manager a head transformation and analytics, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which has been changing to SAP's core for years (a project which it refers to as "the revolution"). The challenge for banks, then, is to have the information on why the customer is seeking out the contact readily available, he said. …

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