Working and developing in different ecosystems has taught us some important lessons.
If we want to constantly and quickly create new services that provide a great customer experience, we can't do everything alone. This is why the power of ecosystems is undeniable.
To create the future of financial ecosystems and smarter societies overall, there are three important lessons I think we should highlight. The first is that an ecosystem looks different compared to other co-operations. The traditional rule book is thrown out and you don't work according to a signed contract. Instead you have a mutual rule book with common principles.
The second lesson is directly connected to this – since there is no signed contract, you need someone to drive the ecosystem without being the one paying for the service, as in a more traditional customer/supplier relationship. A type of advisory group provides governance and constantly clarifies the direction, instead of a hierarchical steering group making the decisions.
The third lesson is that an ecosystem constantly evolves. Members change all the time in such projects, and some might even leave. It means that some companies take the lead for a moment, while others can almost disappear during a phase or a couple of phases. Be aware of the changes, and make sure the project keeps powering through.
So what have some of the financial ecosystems created? Well, for instance, we see that it's now easier than ever for consumers to pay and transfer money thanks to services such as Siirto and Swish. Improving the consumer experience will continue to be a key part of developing and creating solutions to meet future needs.
Financial services are changing because customer expectations are changing – on everything from easiness of use, mobile anytime, to more intelligent and personal services. The customer expectation today is that of instant actions and services. And because of that, instant actions will be an even bigger part of the customer journey within financial services, along with the rest of the industries.
Let me give an example: First we made money transfers instant. But it's not merely consumers who expect real-time money transfers. Instead of receiving our salaries once a month it is possible to pay out a part of the salary every day. For people who work against deliverables or have part-time jobs it could be a good idea to be compensated instantly. Or, self-employed entrepreneurs can pay their own salaries when they need to. Similarly, we can look at every single process that has been based on batches to move into a more instant world.
There are more and more things that actors can't do alone, which is why companies work together to improve customer journeys within financial services. With the learning gained so far, we can aim for more demanding processes. An area where the customer journey needs to be improved is the home buying process. The services have mainly been focused on the seller, and for the buyer it's hard to collect data to know if the home has a good location or what the neighbours are like.
There is also a bank process that could be simplified; getting a loan promise, sending physical papers and certificates to the bank etc. We will be able to simplify these types of processes through ecosystems, while making the customer journeys smoother. This is the power of ecosystems, and this is the future – would you like to be a part of that journey?
Sami is heading new concepts and business development on the Banking and Finance domain. He helps banks and finance companies to serve their customers better via digitalized services and solutions for business growth, customer experience and loyalty, as well as reducing the cost of serving customers. Sami is a thought leader in a number of ecosystems and joint initiatives on Instant Payments, Digital Company and Credit value chains driving cross-industry innovation.