By Jennifer Geis
With each passing day, it seems that there is a gizmo, gadget, or app
for virtually everything, from grocery shopping or finding the cheapest gas in
town, to organizing photos or finding a long lost relative.
The most recent consumer craze is the tablet device. Ownership of
this technology is growing exponentially with tablet users in the U.S.
estimated to grow 51 percent from 2010 to 2015. At last count, Apple has
sold more than 44 million iPads with several other vendors following
suit. Amazon has now introduced its own set of tablets, and Forrester
Research estimates that it could sell anywhere from three to five million
tablets in its first quarter on the market.
It's tough to keep up with all of these newly released gadgets, and
tougher still if you're a first-generation iPad or tablet user. With the
myriad of applications available on the market today, it can be difficult to
determine which apps you need, which ones are worth paying for, or perhaps more
importantly, which ones you will actually use.
Many iPad and tablet users are flocking to a new application called
Flipboard. Flipboard packages images, videos, articles, Facebook updates,
and tweets in a consolidated format. It organizes personal preferences
and offers them up in a one-page block format that is optimized for easy
browsing. Flipboard even collects information published by friends on
Facebook and Twitter, turning disparate links to photos, videos, and articles
into an accessible potpourri of your favorite things.
This is the new expectation of the online experience - a place for
everything and everything in its place. With all of the online options at
our fingertips, consumers are gravitating more and more to the online channel
to simplify and solve the challenge of organizing their lives.
This methodology not only applies to the way we interact online in
general, but it also applies to the way we bank online. Just as apps come
and go, our attitude toward banking is evolving. Consumers are expecting
easy and immediate access to organized and consolidated financial information.
So how can your bank meet this consumer demand and consolidate
transactions into a pretty package of financial services in the same way that
Flipboard does for the iPad? Three small initials - OFM (online financial
OFM (also known as PFM, or personal financial management) is growing in
popularity as more and more banking functions move online and consumer demand
grows for all-in-one financial control. OFM sites are marketed as
"dashboards" where users can view multiple accounts, categorize financial
transactions, manage alerts, create and manage budgets, accurately analyze
spending, and even establish savings goals and track net worth - all in one
According to a recent Celent report, online banking is no longer about
using personal computers and logging into an online banking website. It
is about an integrated, fully functional online banking and bill pay user
Celent reports that in the future of electronic banking, an ideal scenario
for banks would be to house all of its electronic banking components in one
place. Interchangeable modules such as bill pay, money movement, and PFM
widgets would be served up to the device, and modality would be selected by the
consumer, along with a properly skinned front end. This shift clearly has
implications for OFM and will contribute to it becoming the cornerstone of
Although OFM has come a long way in recent years, it still has a way to
go in some respects. Many OFM solutions on the market today are bolt-on
solutions that create a disconnected user experience; their solutions open up
in new browser windows, have different interfaces and menu structures, varied
navigation, and an inconsistent look and feel.
Progressive technology vendors, however, anticipated the demand for a
seamless consumer experience, and developed OFM services that encompass the
comprehensive and cohesive features that consumers crave. Smart OFM
solutions allow consumers to easily monitor account balances, transfer funds,
create attractive graph-like pictures of their overall financial status, and
even pay bills through one simple and secure connection to their online banking
website. They offer individualized homepages that integrate online banking,
OFM, and bill pay, along with bank-specific marketing to create a consistent,
comfortable, and targeted user experience. Progressive technology
providers are also introducing online banking iPad apps, which will allow users
to be even more mobile and flexible with their financial management.
So, while banking online and paying bills probably isn't on the top-10
list of fun things to do on the weekend for most consumers, seamless features
like OFM and mobile features like the iPad app certainly make financial
management much easier and possibly more entertaining for today's tech savvy,
convenience-driven consumer. And perhaps more importantly, OFM aligns
their online banking experience with the "everything in its place" methodology
that is so common among other new technologies available on the market today.
Your customers are gravitating toward the online channel to simplify
their financial management experience. If you aren't offering the
premiere technology, online features, and simplified user experience they
expect, there's likely a bank just down the street that can. Talk to your
technology vendor about these high-demand features today and develop a plan to
adopt them at your bank right away. Your convenience-driven customers,
and ultimately your bank's bottom line, will benefit from your progressive
thinking and organizational shift in app-ti-tude!
Jennifer Geis is a
Strategic Business Development Manager for Jack Henry & Associates,
Inc. She can be reached at 727-525-2107 or firstname.lastname@example.org.