SA bank gets Web 2.0 portal

Read time 2min 40sec

Pure play systems integrator, Logikal has successfully implemented a Web 2.0 portal solution for one of SA's biggest banks, a move that has sparked interest among other financial institutions looking to improve the online banking experience.

The bank, which could not be named, used the technology to create a Web 2.0 experience on its online banking site in order to improve services, drive efficiency and retain customers.

Gerald Naidoo, Logikal Consulting CEO, explains that Backbase is a niche portal software, layered on top of existing infrastructure that's used by financial institutions to convert Internet banking portals into customer experience portals.

Backbase enables banks to create widgets and gives them a retailer-like experience online, according to Naidoo, by providing user-generated content such as chat and customer ratings.

Naidoo says the South African financial services sector, in particular, has been lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of providing a customised online experience. He warns that online banking and financial organisations have to provide this experience, or risk losing customers to competitors who do.

However, he adds that implementation of the technology has been challenging for Backbase clients in SA due to the lack of front-end specialists locally. He explains that Logikal is providing implementation and consulting services, as well as support, maintenance and training.

“One of the biggest challenges for financial service organisations is the fact that their existing applications and IT systems are extremely fragmented and complex to change, but when Backbase is implemented correctly, it provides a single point of access to applications across the enterprise.”

According to Naidoo, this is the first time Backbase has been implemented in SA.

“We're increasingly seeing that banks want to engage with their customers. This portal uses multiple channels to help a company manage efficiency, cost savings and legacy application migration.”

He adds: “Financial institutions should be critically assessing their online platforms right now because this is where the wars are going to be fought to retain clients. Customers are increasingly looking at the convenience of banking on their iPads, and SA has comparatively high banking fees. The war is going to be on cost and customer retention using online platforms, which will be an important piece of the puzzle.”

Logikal CTO Mahesh Chavan says the Bank of America and JP Morgan are two international organisations that have successfully implemented Backbase. “While we don't represent Backbase or sell their products, we have the knowledge to integrate their products and provide support and training.”

Chavan adds: “With bandwidth becoming cheaper, we are seeing a lot more financial transactions taking place through mobile devices, and financial service companies would do well to optimise their customers' Web experience.”

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