Smartphones accessing Westpac’s mobile banking channel jumped 90 per cent in the 12 months to April 2012 — it now has 1 million active users of its mobile banking platform.
This banking platform has been a continuing focus for Westpac, which has been building its suite of mobility apps for iPads, iPhones and Androids, according to Clive Whincup, CIO at Westpac.
“The uptake is so dramatic, it’s so exponential, people’s behaviours are changing all the time. We can’t always predict and set a time [to say] what customers are going to do. We need to track them step-by-step, follow the trends [and] follow the usage patterns,” he said.
“We look very closely at indicies which give us an idea of how many active users [there are] and what is the customer experience holistically.”
This approach has resulted in the development team at Westpac working more closely on analysing users’ experience, with that analysis currently being funnelled back into the development process of future apps.
“We’re really focused on how people are using the device. Actually, that’s where the main driver of innovation is coming from. A lot of our user interface design and user interface workshops are based around how people interact with different devices,” Whincup said.
For example, how someone uses an iPhone is different to how they may use an iPad, according to Whincup.
While Westpac is now 70 per cent of its way through its strategic investment program (SIP) - the bank announced it was halfway through the SIP program in November last year - it was two new initiatives currently underway and will progressively roll out initiatives this year and next year.
“[Our strategy is] a progressive strategy rather than a rip and replace, and we’re sticking to that. We still believe that’s the correct approach,” Whincup said.
“Underpinning our online strategy and mobile strategy is our online transformation program, which is one of the SIPs ... That is going to deliver a completely new infrastructure for our future internet and online capability which goes across all of the mobile capabilities ... as well as the more traditional desktops and laptop-based apps.”
Westpac also plans to release a mobile payments app in the future, with Whincup stating it was a growth area for the bank. However, he also said it poses risks and there are currently a large number of mobile payment apps in the market, with some of those products being “experimental”.
“We don’t believe we’ll see a clear single pathway forward for micro payments – mobile payments – for some time, so we’ll be coming to the market with a number of options ... which address different customer niches, different customer segments and different behaviour patterns,” Whincup said.
“Then we’ll see how it develops from there because I think what we are seeing is certainly the pace of change in the mobile space is so rapid that we’re participating in a number of different areas, but it will evolve. It will evolve in a way that we won’t be able to predict.”
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