Web vs Mobile in Digital Banking – What do we know?


Summary: The web will remain an organisation’s brand showcase for the foreseeable future, providing a single platform to serve up content across all screens. However, when it comes to doing stuff, the majority of banking transactions are going to be on mobile and the best mobile experience is native.

With ever present budget constraints building apps for web and mobile platforms is not always feasible or desirable. Sometimes we may have to choose which one we do first. So how do we navigate the challenge around web vs mobile?

First up let’s agree that you’ll always need a website: It’s your brand showcase. It’s where you share information about who you are and how you educate customers about the brand and its offerings. We have been living in a mobile world for 2 years. This means that regardless of the discussion round web vs mobile you have to have a web site and your web site must operate well across mobile as well as desktop for the foreseeable future. With so much traffic coming from mobile, your website has to be mobile or tablet enabled (responsive).
Where the debate arises around web versus mobile is around the applications; the things you want your customers to do, and whether those applications are best delivered via web apps or mobile apps.

The insights to guide our decision making here primarily evolve around customer behaviour.  First up is timing. News sites and their apps are a big category and are run by people obsessed with data. Let’s face it we all should be obsessed with data but due to the light touch nature of the relationship with their customers these folk have to be. At CNN mobile traffic remains pretty consistent throughout all seven days of the week, but desktop drops by half on weekends, reflecting industrywide trends. Desktop and the web is becoming a “niche platform” with massive numbers mainly between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m, when people are in front of the PCs at work, surfing as a distraction. Outside of these times its all mobile. It turns out banking is a little different because we don’t do our banking as  a distraction. We do it to take care of our bills and our finances. We’re increasingly busy and the customers that banks want are the very busy ones. This means that there’s a bit of banking done during the day times but most of it is outside work hours. The most common time for people to log on to their mobile banking app is on their morning commute.  Santander has pinned down its peak-use time to 6.55am. This means its’ customers are doing their banking just as their morning alarm goes off. The next most popular is 4pm on a Friday, as people weigh up their potential weekend spending.

Speed is critical. Time is money and customers don’t use slow sites. A one second delay in page time equals a 7% loss in conversions, 11% fewer page views and 16% decrease in customer satisfaction. Faster is better and your website and web-based applications need to be lightning quick or you will lose customers and revenue. This is important because with people dialling in at specific peak times you better make sure you’re up to the task. Having peak loads serve up lots of apps may not help you. Having them all pre-installed as apps just might.

Within three years, it is estimated 60 per cent of all transactions will be done on mobile – phones or tablets. This is because it’s the most convenient platform to use when we have time to do it. This is why Bill Gates has adopted a mobile first banking strategy. The Gates Foundation predicts that by 2030, the 2 billion people who currently don’t have a bank account will be making payments and purchases with their mobile phones, with our without banks. Mobile banking enables us to provide rich experiences to people outside the branch and with massive penetration, phones are a great acquisition platform: This is why Bill is getting after 2 billion new customers with his mobile banking play. With the majority of the transactions being done on mobile your mobile strategy better be first class.

Like Bill, banks around the world are adopting a mobile first strategy. Some, like St George are going Mobile Only. This is because as far as anyone can foresee mobile is the future. What wins mobile, wins the Internet. Right now, apps are winning and the web is losing because of how mobile apps engage customers according to the latest data from Flurry: Native apps beat mobile web apps hands down for engagement and stickiness.


This stickiness runs very real for Santander. Younger people are, unsurprisingly, leading the way. Tech-savvy and likely to have the latest gizmos, the typical user is around 27 and uses their native banking app about 20 times a month. Thats a lot! But the older generation are catching up. Over-55s now make up one in ten of Santander’s mobile banking customers, with most using their app between five and ten times a month. Mobile apps are changing the face of banking.


Commonwealth Bank of Australia highlighted the growth of digital interactions in its submission to the financial system inquiry. CBA processed more than 400 million transactions via the internet in FY2013 with more than 60 per cent of NetBank logins via mobile devices. Its new CommBank smartphone application launched in December last year has been downloaded by a million people and the bank said for 40 per cent of people using the app, it is the only way they interface with the bank online

HTML5 and Responsive design techniques continue to present an opportunity for cross platform development and there are a lot of people who say everyone should be doing it now to save money and time.  If the toolsets and standards were truly cross platform and allowed you to build great experiences across iOS and Android they’d be right. Unfortunately native apps have the edge in some very critical areas for banking:

Interactivity/Gaming– The popular apps are all native because of a greater ability to build in interactivity – Think Angry Birds or Farmville.

Complex Calculations or Reporting– If you need something that will take data and allow you to manipulate it with complex calculations, charts or reports (think banking or investment) an app will help you do that very effectively. Web app performance is always dependent on network and browser connectivity whereas mobile apps with native plugins for performance management are always faster and operate better when those annoying network dropouts occur – Yes, even in 2015!

Experience Expectations. Building cross platform apps (web apps) means you need to build for the lowest common denominator and a design that deploys across iOS and Android. The problem here is that Android and iOS designs are very different and the users have come to expect that difference. There are a bunch of things that happen very differently across the two platforms. Each platform comes with a set of reusable components that can be built into the app to help the app “look and behave native” to the user.

Platform Specific: There are plenty of platform specific things you might want to take advantage of that are hard if not impossible on cross platform: Location services, fingerprint authentication, eliminating typing and integrating OCR and scanning capabilities. You can design around it but the outcome is not as clear as if you are to build natively for the platforms. Mobile apps are always faster and more efficient, as they work in tandem with the mobile device they are developed for. In February this year JP Morgan Chase announced that it will shut down around 150 of its 5,602 branches this year, and another 150 in 2016 as customers continue to shift to digital channels, particularly mobile, for basic transactions. The JPMorgan Chase app now has 19 million users, representing a 20% year-on-year rise. In 2014 the bank’s mobile cheque deposit feature that utilises the camera was used 45 million time, 25% up on the previous year, while the P2P payments service was used 30 million times, an 80% rise.

Banking customers expect more than an excellent mix of products: they are looking for superior customer experiences that fulfil basic expectations while providing added value. In 2014  EY discovered that customer experience is the most common reason for opening and closing accounts, more so than fees, rates, locations and convenience. If you agree that the majority of transactions are to be conducted on mobile and if native mobile apps give you greater execution and control over the mobile experience, we highly recommend a mobile app first strategy.

7_ guernica whole

Who’s your favourite genius? Goethe, da Vinci, Pascal, Wittgenstein, Gates, Bonaparte, Mandela, Hawking? All of these folk would certainly rise to the top of such a discussion, creating works that were both original and exemplary.

There’s a great article in this month’s Scientific American magazine by Dean Simonton that looks into the science of genius; how to measure it and some of the processes involved in creating fabulous, innovative breakthroughs.

Amongst the insights are the circumstances that must exist for geniuses to produce the great outcomes for which they are known. There is much discussion on nature versus nurture the outcome of which is that it’s a lot about both. There needs to be an inherent genius mind but it takes a lot of time to hone those skills, with 10 years of intensive work generally being regarded as the gate before imminence is likely to appear. There would appear no short cuts for acquiring knowledge and capability.

Another insight is that geniuses engage in a wide range of interests and hobbies. Anyone who has watched the “The Theory of Everything” the highly recommended movie of Stephen Hawking, will see how this played out for him. Sure he was born clever and worked hard but he also loves music and play time with his family. Einstein slept more than the norm but also took time to play Bach and Mozart on his violin with these activities often delivering the breakthrough while his mind rested. Whilst nurture has a huge role to play, an inherent interest in the arts and music are attributes many geniuses portray along with tolerance for ambiguity and change.



Perhaps this is why Einstein famously said that imagination is more important than knowledge. Whilst domain expertise such as advanced problem solving strategies may be essential for delivering the outcome it does not generally lead to the generation of novel, useful or surprising ideas. There’s a fascinating review of Picasso’s “Guernica that reflects upon the process of trial and error that the creator must commit to get the breakthrough, increasingly known as “Blind Variation and Selective Retention” BVSR.  The blindness refers to the fact that the end outcome or usefulness of the endeavour is not necessarily known as the journey of discovery is embarked up. Trial and error is a necessary component of figuring out the worth of something. A variety of ideas musty be generated many of which will turn out to be useless. As part of this the creator may often find himself backtracking, returning to a previous idea, originally discounted then re-investigated.  The Bulls head within Guernica is a classic example of this where by a whole series of more realistic sketches were done before returning to a more simplified yet abstract bull form was finally created.

This process of trial and error and commitment to venturing blindly into the unknown and an openness to retracing ones steps was illuminated by the reflections of physicist Hermann von Helmholtz

An alpine climber, who not knowing the way, ascends slowly and with toil, is often compelled to retrace his steps because his progress is stopped; sometimes by reason, and sometimes by accident, he hits upon traces of a fresh path, which again leads him a little further; and finally, when he has reached his goal, he finds to his annoyance a royal road on which he might have ridden up if he had been clever enough to find the right starting pint at the outset.

The cyclical nature of idea generation and testing does not come naturally to the modern corporation where performance management systems reward success and penalise failure. We have been conditioned to be critically dependent on clarity and to fear ambiguity and the unknown in case the budget overruns and still delivers nothing. Yet hundreds of years of creative genius shows us that it is only commitment to blind variation, a preparedness to back track and explore that will provide ground breaking innovation and leadership.

Of course not everyone has to be a leader. There are plenty of successful businesses that are built on being a follower. The answer on what’s best for you depends on who you want to be and be known for.


ANZ has appointed Scott Collary as CIO. Previously Collary was responsible for consumer banking technology within Citi’s North American operation and where he introduced a ‘digital first’ technology strategy. Many banks are adopting a digital first strategy but this has substantial risk in turning the customer relationship in a backwards direction. More here from my post on the ABC today





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




Air New Zealand nail it again by making it fun


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




There’s a good flow chart here from some work by the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP)

The report looks into mobile money and other attempts to assist financial inclusion, primarily in the developed world. It concludes that without building an ecosystem around the needs of the customer, innovative concepts will fail.




There are also some great insights and reminders of how challenging it is to get people to focus on building financial muscle:

  • The near term controls peoples lives. We live fast paced lives, dictated by whats happening today, not years from now. We’re ok at managing daily cash flow, yet find long-term planning, goal setting and achievement difficult.
  • Knowing something is attainable gives people power to achieve and imagine more
  • Communities are powerful. Low-income people feel more comfortable investing in their communities because they provide built in support systems in their own time of need. These communities are more trusted than institutions, particularly banks.




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.

It’s Friday afternoon before a long weekend with fish and chips on the beach with the family calling me away.

We’ve had a fun week as we continued on our purpose “helping banks empower their customers through fun”

As we closed out the finishing touches on our new platform release I came across this from the US


  • 28 million people harvest their crops on farmville every day
  • 3 billion hours per week spent playing video and computer games
  • 1.2 million students in the US fail to graduate from high school every year (there are 15M in grades 9-12)

They are truly astonishing statistics: We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. At some point we’ll be able to harness the power of gaming and mobile gaming in particular to get people to pay attention to things that would appear to matter more – Their education, health and their finances.

Game players regularly exhibit persistence, risk taking, attention to detail and problem solving. These are fabulous traits for succeeding in life’s greatest challenges, skills that providers of banking and education must build in their customers if they are to be successful and be on their purpose.

This gaming thing will never take off this week, but I do get the sense its gonna soon

In the meantime I’m off to spend time with some people that matter


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

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