Digital Banking risks taking us backwards

Where is all the cash?

27 Nov, 2014
Colin Weir
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A recent report by RFI Consultants suggests that there is $60bn of cash in circulation. But where is it all? Apparently mostly under people’s beds and most of those beds are off shore.

Apparently there are eleven $100 denomination banknotes on issue for each man, woman and child in Australia, whereas the majority of the public do not use or hold this denomination, and very few ATMs dispense it.

The Reserve Bank seems to have to create 4 times as much cash as intended for primary usage to cover all the other usages that it attracts

 

cash

Mobile Apps – The Short Course

4 Nov, 2014
Colin Weir
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On Sunday afternoon I had a sundowner at our local micro-brewery. “Sundowner” is local speak for a couple of beers as the sun goes down. I was invited out to meet with some small business owners and talk to mobile app best practices. At the end of the Sundowner I was asked if there was a whitepaper or website to read that summarised much of the conversation and pointed to some of the best practices. I said I couldn’t think of one but that I would write it. So here we go.

Do what You do

There are plenty of stories around of successful apps and even more stories of unsuccessful ones. We don’t hear much about the later group, because the list is endless and uninteresting. Like apps, so it is for people’s careers; the things we choose to do, or perhaps are chosen for us. We walk through life with a set of skills and passions that draw us to people and others to us, to activities we enjoy and find rewarding and away from activities and subjects that bore us. These circumstances and events aren’t as random as we might think and provide us with the light to understand and follow. They illuminate the value we  provide others, the activities that fulfill us, the things we are good at and the things we should do more of.

Doing things for money’s sake will never deliver the results you are after, because you can never really determine what success is, how much money is enough, and you will chase your tail trying to figure out what to do, usually trying to copy other people’s ideas which you will never really emulate because you aren’t them.

Do what You do. Look at your life, the things you love, the places where you provide value and look for problems to solve and value to provide. Use this to illuminate the apps you should build.

Start with the end in mind

Stephen Covey coined this famous lesson and it applies to anything we’re attempting to build and particularly when it involves people. When it comes to apps take the time to write down the outcomes for both yourself and your customer. Being clear about the outcome for both of you along with all the things that need to occur in order for those outcomes to materialise will crystallise many of your design principles and keep you locked on the target.

One of the examples we discussed was an app for helping people learn music. There are lots of questions here?

  • Who is the customer? Is it the student or is it the music teacher? Is it both of them?
  • What does success look like? Are the students playing at the local microbrewery on a Sunday afternoon? Do they have a Master’s Degree in music?  Are the teacher’s classes full of engaged students having fun learning?
  • What are all the things that need to happen for that success to materialise? Do the students need good theory? Do they need good performance skills? Do they need courage to go get gigs?
  • What’s the plan for the app? Is it to make money? How much? What style of money? Passive income streams or to build a business that has massive value? How will you do that?

Very rarely do people have an unlimited amount of money to spend on app development. Often the very opposite is true. In order to sustain the app and take the journey with it you will need customer success and revenue. Spending time getting clear about the model is very important. If you don’t you will blow dough.

Make it compulsive

The apps that go viral are compulsive. There are lots of things that people could be better at in their lives and certainly, mobile apps have much to add in terms of being able to help people. But all apps have to compete for individual attention and if it’s not compelling and the hooks built in to keep it sticky, your app will join the millions of apps that are downloaded, used once and then deleted to make room for the next bouncy ball app.

Go through the mobile apps you have on your device and list the ones you love and use as well as the ones you don’t. Next, delete the ones you don’t. Then write down the things that keep you going back to the apps you love and think about how those attributes may apply to your app idea.

Fitness apps have been massively successful as the new gangbuster category, propelled by wearables and data collection (heart, speed, calories etc). But these apps haven’t been successful because they help people get fit. They have been successful because they trigger the brain’s learning centre, the hypothalamus, leveraging the dopamine release that occurs when we do things that are fun and compelling and motivate us to return to that activity. There are lots of resources on Dopamine and how it works including an introduction here on our website. Indeed we have spent a lot of time researching human motivation, game theory, behavioural economics and other cool things. At the heart of all of this, in our mind, is a very simple truth: “people rarely repeat things and become good at them unless they are fun”

So, you better find a way of making your app fun. This is the classic half art, half science challenge and depends amongst other things on knowing your customer. What’s fun for me, may be fun for you, but maybe more or less so. Going back to rule 1 and figuring out who you player is and what pushes their buttons is a great place to start.

Communities and Social

Now that Facebook has become gigantic and LinkedIn, Pinterest and others have become enormous we have stumbled on some old wisdom that was articulated very clearly by Maslow: We are massively gregarious. What’s happened over the last 16 years as us geeks have been building the internet is that we have increasingly dehumanised the joint. Jump on a bus, wait in a queue, go to a pub and you will see people in social situations ignoring each other as they are glued to their phones, tablet, phablets and wearables.

We all know it, so make it very much a part of your design thinking. There’s lots that can be done, such as

1/ Don’t create separate logins for your product – Use Social – Login as Facebook, Google Plus or LinkedIn – That should get you away for the large part unless you are deploying to China

2/ Build groups and teams within your app. Can people group together in any way?

3/ Post and Publish. If your app involves achieving anything, let people share that via social media in a way that gets both them and you kudos

Freemium and Making money

Here are a couple of home truths

  • People want everything for free
  • If you want people to pay for stuff they have to realise the value

If you price your app at $8.99 and expect to sell it by a few screen shots on iTunes you’re mad. Give the thing away and get people using it.  This is how all of the best grossing apps make their money.

This will generate the feedback you need to figure out if the app delivers any value or not and then you can think about making money.

You have bunch of options once you have customers and have very few, until you do:

  • Charge for in app purchases e.g. the Uzi to shoot down the monster
  • Charge for upgrades to the “Professional” version
  • Embed advertising e.g. Google Adwords

But be clear, you will have very limited monetisation opportunities until you first establish value and build your community

That’s it for now

Please do provide comments and I’ll keep the list alive and hopefully build it as a Go To

Have fun

 

TanaSun

 

What is Customer Centricity in Banking?

18 Oct, 2014
Colin Weir
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family

Dreamforce 2014 has finished. It is Salesforce’s event to bring partners, customers and staff together for a week of entertainment, motivation, networking and learning. It’s a massive event with a headline number of 145,000 people attending. With around half that number as full conference delegates the event is estimated to generate over $100m in revenues for the city of San Francisco.

Today Salesforce positions itself as the Customer Success Platform with much of the week dedicated to that story. Mostly this manifested itself through stories of how customers have been successful in rolling out the platform along with some new product announcements.

During the week I got to speak to some interesting folk around the subject of Customer Success/Centricty in Financial Services. We talked about the maturity model, what it is, how it can be measured and benchmarked. From those discussions some thoughts crystallised.

If we are to be regarded as customer centric then our customer’s success must truly be at the heart of our business, an integral part of the culture, our products and services and how our people are ultimately recognised. This is the difference between a customer centric business and a product centric business. A customer centric business puts the customers success at the centre. A product centric business puts the product’s success at the centre. We can readily define an organisation’s maturity along the continuum from product centric to customer centric, or indeed what an organisation’s compass is, by reviewing the goals people have,  what they get up to do every day and the lens they apply when making decisions. Salesforce seem to do this well. Mark Benioff the CEO often talked about “Whatever the customer wants, that’s what we should do”. Co founder Parker Harris and head of product was consistent with this message, applying the customer lens to decisions around what products should be built, how that should be done, when and with what features, applying this customer lens early and often throughout the product development lifecycle.

I was asked to compare the Salesforce culture around customer centricity to that at Microsoft, where I worked for 5 years before starting Moroku. I reflected that those at the interface with customers were generally very customer centric though there appeared to be an inverse correlation between customer centricity and how many customers an employee was serving, with customer success appearing to fall away as a focus the more customers an individual served. Once we stepped away from front line staff however, sales and service predominantly, customer centricity was rapidly replaced by company or product centricity forming the majority of peoples’ focus. So true was this in fact that I struggle to recall a customer success metric on any of the dashboard reviews.

Which brings us to the core of the matter. What is Customer Centricity and how do you measure it? How do you do this in Financial Services? Much focus is given in the industry to the Net Promoter Score, a popular scheme for measuring customer loyalty and therefore a way to measure customer centricity. But it’s not a way to measure customer centricity. And the reason NPS is not a way to measure customer centricity is that it doesn’t measure customer success and therefore it’s not actually about the customer. It is about trying to determine if or how much the customer likes you. So the lens is you, the company, or its product, not the customer. Net Promoter Score measures nothing inherent in the success of the customer. It’s purpose is to guide the business towards greater profitability by measuring how often customers are likely to recommend your products and services, i.e. your business success, not theirs.

Customer success and centricity in banking as with any industry boils down to measuring the fundamentals in the purpose of the relationship as far as the customer sees it. In this regard payments is largely simple: Customers want fast, secure transactions with competitive costs across fees and spreads. On top of that they are looking to the relationship for financial management leadership, assistance with navigating the complexities of managing ones finances and delivering successful outcomes in terms of wealth and profitability. In retail this may appear counter-productive. A product centric bank will see high interest revenue from credit cards as good. A customer centric bank may see this as bad as more and more customers rack up higher credit card debt and become less successful in managing their financial future. In response to higher credit card debt may choose to measure the how good it is at moving customers into structured debt programs once unstructured debt starts getting out of hand.

In America student loans exceed  $USD 1 Trillion. The majority of student loans are backed by the U.S. government. The creditor is the U.S. tax payer, who if students default on these loans will be subject to carry the burden of these loans. At 4% interest per annum, this $1T could generate $40bn in annual revenue. The problem is that there are more students who go to college and don’t complete their course than there are that do complete. i.e. more than half the students don’t acquire the skills they anticipated in order to pay off the debt. A customer centric bank would be measuring how well its student pay off their loans over time and how it assists its customers to build financial muscle, reduce debt and generate wealth over time. This success will generate customers for life.

A customer centric organisation will be thinking of customer’s success with its products and creating some way of measuring this performance and placing it on the dashboard. This could be done in real time or it could be calculated periodically. We all know the old adage: If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage or improve it. Chris Brown at MarketCulture has been building rigour and science into this process to allow organisations to measure and benchmark their centricity against others. This is a fabulous program with tier one organisations around the world committing to the program and it was a pleasure to catch up with Chris at Dreamforce.  As such metrics get defined they must be placed on everyone’s dashboard, measured, managed and improved upon.

At Moroku we believe that competing on purpose not price is a much more sustainable strategy. It’s why we focus on helping banks empower their customers to create financial futures. Social media has ended the days where it was possible to buy large volumes of customers through creative advertising. We all know that customers now speak the voice of the market through Social Media. Restaurants live and die by real time reviews. Customers go to Yelp, search for restaurants and read the top couple of reviews and make their decisions. This forces the owner to deliver great service one meal at a time, compete on purpose and sell the next meal based on the last customer’s success. There will come a time where Yelp for banking will yield results for customer centric banks and be brutal with those that aren’t.

Thanks to the team at Salesforce for a great conference. Motivated and Inspired.

Moroku Teams with AGSM

24 Sep, 2014
Colin Weir
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AGSM

The Australian Graduate School of Management MBA program includes an internship as one of the course modules. Under this program the MBA student works with a company, to work free and part-time over 12 weeks on an issue confronting the company. The students are high calibre, typically mid-career and rising rapidly.

This year 24 students have selected this module whilst numerous companies around Sydney presented a strategic project for them to work on. Moroku’s gamification platform is developing a very good beachhead in retail banking. The strategic project proposed involves a diversification plan to help the business grow and derive additional income streams from its platform investments.

This morning, UNSW announced their decisions and awarded Moroku the privilege of having one of its students join team Moroku through the end of this year to work on the project.

We are delighted and honoured to be chosen by UNSW to mentor one of the students and gain the insights and input not only from the student by t the MBA program and faculty.

Will keep the blog updated on the progress

Gaming explains everything

14 Sep, 2014
Colin Weir
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It was approaching 1pm on Friday and I was due in the city for some afternoon meetings. Having finished off a couple of emails, I checked my watch and had good time to catch the ferry across the harbour. I grabbed my bag and headed off on a 10 minute walk to the wharf. 3 minutes out the door I was about to cross a side street when a car came hurtling out of a car park, but 2 steps in front of me, took out a white van travelling along the street and then crashed into a café on the other side of the street. It was dramatic stuff, the van getting lifted into the air and spun around 180 degrees. The dust and explosion of the crash, the drama of movies and the adventure of games.

 

One might be tempted to think that we are all conscious beings, the world the result of our individual interests and co-ordinated outcomes, but there’s a critical catch even more profound than chaos and that creates outcomes that none of us necessarily desire.

Less dangerous and complex than walking around driving cars coming out of car parks is the simple act of walking on the foot path. If everyone were to stand still, I could easily manoeuvre my way through the crowd. But as soon as more and more people start moving things get a little more interesting, a little more risky and a little more unpredictable. The chances for collision mount and things move from the mere tactics of walking to the more strategic. Moves are planned ahead, we look for people 4 and five away to find our route. It becomes edgy and we begin to behave in new ways, modifying our intent, beliefs and tactics along the way .

Game theory is much more than the way we design games. Rather it is the study of strategic decision making, used in economics, political science, biology, psychology and increasingly computer science. The theory’s father is widely regarded as John von Neumann who published “Theory of Games and Economic Behaviour” in 1944. Whilst the ocean wants to be flat, seeking like everything else in the universe, equilibrium, there are more subtle forces working against this plan. Waves, wind, heat, themselves seeking their own equilibrium, conspire to disrupt the balance and the world unfolds. By understanding these points of disruption we begin to understand why things are the way they are and why people behave as they do. When it comes to explaining how everything works there are few theories as profound as game theory. It is so powerful that ten game-theorists have won the Nobel memorial prize in economics.  Applying a gaming filter to our enquiry into the behaviours of people and people based systems can help us understand the forces at play when people take decisions and act.

Game theory helps us structure our approach into behavioural analysis. It defines the players of the game, the information and actions available to each player at each decision point and the payoffs for each outcome. These are used along with a solution concept to deduce a set of equilibrium strategies for each player, such that no single player can profit by unilaterally deviating from their strategy.

Whether we think about our banking customers, their journeys of challenges and the development of financial muscle or the lady hurtling across the road there is much to be gleaned. “What was she doing?”, “Why did she do that?” These were the questions everyone began asking as the car lay crumpled into the wall , the emergency services arrived and my details taken down in the constable’s notebook for a statement. The game played out, more actions were taken, some lessons were learnt whilst others were left till next time.

Darwin had some insights into how we all got here and where we may go. Chaos theory can help explain some of what happened as I embarked on a simple mission to go to a meeting. But Game Theory provides us with a most useful framework for determining the playing out of life and is why we have built a business in its application.