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The Bank Technology Hot List: Solutions That Sizzle

According to a cross section of bank tech executives, this could be the year that heretofore unproven solutions -- including mobile payments, cloud computing and social networking -- become essential components of banks' strategies.

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What will be 2010's hottest technologies and application areas, and how will banks use them? According to predictions from a cross section of bank technology executives, this could be the year that somewhat unproven solutions -- such as mobile payments, cloud computing and social networking -- pass the proverbial tipping points in banking and become essential components of efforts to improve customer experience, address risk management and fraud detection shortfalls, and maximize scarce resources.

Patrick Moore
Mobile for Business Banking
Patrick Moore, SVP, Director of Treasury Management, Fifth Third Bank
Although the current demand for mobile financial applications is limited to niche market segments, we anticipate greater interest from the commercial marketplace in conjunction with the growth of virtual, more-mobile work teams in 2010. As treasury clients seek a wider range of access when it comes to conducting transactions and obtaining account information, mobile technologies will become more prevalent. Large financial institutions have already expanded their mobile offerings to include payment initiation, transaction verification and access to balance information. Improved security will create a higher comfort level for customers around mobile banking, paving the way for more-widespread commercial adoption of sophisticated applications. Treasury professionals will increasingly leverage the expanding capabilities of mobile devices, taking advantage of a powerful electronic wallet that will deliver a complete range of bank services.

The Appeal of Variable-Cost Models
Jim Eckenrode, Research Executive for Banking, TowerGroup
The hot "technologies" are in the areas of sourcing and analytics. Banks will continue to be pressured to reduce expenses, and any opportunity to shift to a variable-cost model in either technology or business process outsourcing will receive great attention. At the same time a select minority of banks are looking to press their advantage, and will turn to business partners to help them develop industry-leading products and services using that same variable-cost model. Many business applications within banking are candidates for alternative hosting models -- namely, software as a service (SaaS). This is particularly important in areas that have complexity in process or compliance requirements, such as payments processing or mortgage lending. Transforming outdated infrastructures in these areas is a necessity, and SaaS-based solutions can be part of a larger migration path.

In terms of analytics, banks are groaning under the weight of ever-increasing data volumes. Combined with increased demand from regulators and customers for greater transparency, control and relevance, banks must increase their investments in analytics in 2010. Analytics will be used in many ways: to improve risk management and compliance and in the lending area -- both for more-data-intensive originations processes and in default management and collections, as well as in the product development and servicing parts of the business. The need for greater ability to develop new products and offer those products to prospects at the right time and place is increasing as regulation threatens to reduce banks' traditional sources of income.

Falk Rieker
Data Integration Is the Key
Falk Rieker, VP of Banking Solutions, SAP America
Banks are reconciling the sources and the scope of their data in an effort to deliver a single trusted enterprise view of their business. The lack of an enterprise scope in previous systems helped create the crisis of confidence that occurred when portfolios could not be priced across siloed systems. With the crisis came the realization that point solutions that do not speak to each other create data integrity issues. The key for banks in 2010 is data integration. Future systems must be based on SOA-compliant modules with common data aggregation and integration capabilities. Every number must be auditable to the source, and every calculation must be arrived at transparently. Customers and regulators will demand it. As such, in 2010 we'll see a demand increase for systems that deliver finance transformation, analysis and a common modular infrastructure.

Christine Barry
All About Interactivity
Christine Barry, Research Director, Aite Group
Banks will continue to focus on the customer experience in order to strengthen relationships. Aite Group expects to see a greater incorporation of Web 2.0 and interactive technologies for customer portals and online banking. This not only will lead to a more customer-driven experience but will also enable banks to add customer forums and educational tools to position themselves as more than transaction providers. Banks will test the waters with social networking in an effort to appeal to younger consumers and remain top of mind with existing customers. For example, Twitter will be used to alert customers to the length of lines at branches.

Technologies for the small business will continue to be added. As remote deposit is increasingly adopted, mobile capture will enable the small business user (and individual consumer) to take pictures of checks with mobile devices and send them electronically to their banks for deposit. Enhanced online banking tools to help manage cash more effectively also will be important additions.

Finally, in the wake of a disastrous year and a half, banks realize the need to enhance fraud prevention, risk management and credit tools. This will allow them to evaluate the creditworthiness of new borrowers and, more important, measure existing portfolio risk and better forecast future defaults through predictive analytics.

Forecast: Increasing Clouds
Sherrie Littlejohn, EVP - Enterprise Technology Architecture and Planning, Wells Fargo
Realizing the value of virtualization and Web 2.0 is a journey that will continue for some time. Mobility applications will be an area of continued interest, building on the desire for easy, quick and accessible solutions. And cloud computing will continue to generate a buzz, though large companies are likely to continue to be challenged by data protection concerns. That said, private clouds may well be of great interest. Private clouds also support greener data centers and bring potential cost efficiencies.

Ongoing feature development and maturity of systems management tools also are of key interest to increase adoption rates of virtualization and usage of private clouds. Virtualization is one way to get closer to green data centers while promoting increased computing utilization and operational efficiencies. However, different and possibly more-complex management structures and security will need to be integral complementary efforts. A key enabler to lowering the barrier to entry for cloud usage will be advances in identity and access management technologies that support role-based access control and entitlements.

In addition business intelligence, data semantic technologies, and search and e-discovery capabilities are likely to be of great value as banks seek to learn more about customers' behavior, business trends and risk management. Business intelligence helps us better understand our customers' objectives and can create opportunities for banks to cross-sell products and services. Data semantic (DS) capabilities also provide common views of the customer while reducing the time to integrate and the associated costs. Search and e-discovery capabilities will enable users to locate pertinent data and content quickly.

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