Standardization, EMV migration, customer experience, mobile integration … with so many areas of critical importance to address through the IT department, how does an organization decide where to begin?
In a June 14 webinar hosted by ATM Marketplace and sponsored by Kal ATM Software, Steve Hensley, EVP of sales and marketing at Kal, offered global insight into the IT priorities of nearly 800 banks, manufacturers, distributors, ISOs, processors and others.
Hensley provided an in-depth interpretation of key findings from the 2012 Software Trends and Analysis Guide produced by KAL and ATM Marketplace. During the one-hour webinar, he provided background and commentary to give attendees a deeper understanding of what current software trends mean to the ATM fleet deployer crafting a plan for future IT upgrades.
Hensley pointed out a recurring theme throughout the guide of customer satisfaction and relationship-building. Items related to user satisfaction consistently ranked at or near the top of respondents' lists when they were asked about new features and future capabilities desired and critical changes they most needed to make to their to ATM software.
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The importance of user experience was underscored in a question about future capabilities that deployers were most interested in adding to their ATMs. The majority of items on their wish list focused on consumer needs and desires, including:
- customized user experience
- integrated mobile phone and ATM
- one-to-one marketing
- screen display of nearest working ATM on out-of-service machines
- contactless card support
- person-to-person payments
- biometric ID
- electronic ATM receipts
- touch screen interaction
"One very interesting thing that came out of this, if you look at the top four responses, all of them have to do with improving the user experience," Hensley said. "The user experience is key, it's a key competitive advantage that some people have and it's something that consumers expect."
Hensley said that consumers today want an experience akin to what they get with their iPads and smart phones — one that is "fresh, dynamic, intuitive" and personalized — and with a consistent interface among all of their banking channels.
Hensley also discussed the most important drivers in the decision to change software — often one of the most fraught questions an organization has to face. Industrywide, operators define the need to keep up with technology as the top impetus for a changeover. This, said Hensley, reflected the need for differentiation and advancement in highly competitive markets — a consideration that outweighs even security in prompting change.
During the Q&A portion of the seminar, Hensley was asked if, in light of mobile and Internet banking capabilities now available to consumers, the ATM was becoming less relevant in people's everyday lives.
"No," he replied. "There's no indication and there's no study that shows the use of cash, or the importance of cash, diminishing. In fact most of the research that we've seen — and we've sponsored some of it — shows just the opposite. So we're comfortable that the ATM as a delivery mechanism is becoming more important or much more important in the future because we don't see a change in people's desire to use cash for transactions."
Kal founder and CEO Aravinda Korala also addressed the cash question. "The war on cash has been strongest in Europe, where banks and governments have been trying to reduce the usage of cash. And the result of that, despite all of that pressure, is that the total amount of cash in circulation in Europe has doubled in the last ten years. And if you look at the United States and Asia, the increasing of cash in circulation is even more than that. So there's still a significant amount of cash in the economy. And globally, 85 percent of transactions — of all transactions — is cash."
Hensley said that though the 2012 Software Trends and Analysis guide did not find any sudden, major changes in deployer priorities, the guides that Kal has sponsored for the past five years have told a story of an industry whose software needs are continuing to advance and grow. "We see trends evolving; this industry is not a dramatic change type of industry, but we do see some of the focus starting to change over the last few years."
The free one-hour ATM Software Trends is available for online viewing.