Zenmonics Lets Bankers Serve Customers on the Move
Using tablets will help banks reduce staff, but customers may not immediately warm up to the idea of associates using tablets in the branch more or less the way employees at an Apple Store service their customers. Zenmonics' goal is to provide a consistent experience to customers across channels while giving them seamless access to financial products and services where and when they are needed.
Zenmonics has announced mobileBanker, a tablet solution that lets bank staff interact with customers on the move by tapping into a bank's back end servers.
Among its benefits: customer identification and authentication; the ability to serve customers outside the teller line; paperless processing; and more personal service. It lets bank staff conduct transactions while attending events, visiting college campuses, or participating in enrollment launches in the community.
Relationship managers can "visit their business customers and high-net-worth customers with very personal service," Chris Siemasko, senior vice president of product solutions at Zenmonics, told CRM Buyer.
The solution is in line with the omnichannel vision of banking's future laid out by Cisco last year.
The mobileBanker solution has four modules: Lobby Leader, which is used to greet and track customers; Sales, which lets users assess customers' needs, open accounts for them and offer them new products; Servicing, which streamlines profile updates and speeds responses to customer service requests; and a Teller module that lets users complete transactions within the bank.
It is built on Zenmonics' mobileUnited middleware platform, which it touts as highly secure.
The mobileBanker solution currently works on iOS, and Zenmonics will unveil an HTML version for other tablets in the fourth quarter.
Secure WiFi is used for communication within the branch and virtual private networks outside, and these "have been proven to be reliant within the bank environment to date," Siemasko said. The application itself talks to a secure middle-tier component that then talks to the bank's back-end system.
Further, the solution uses various security mechanisms ranging from a secure token that travels with each transaction to the server, to mobile device management to monitor the tablets.
Zenmonics has run pilots with banks in the United States and Latin America.
The Security Bugbear
WiFi communication is safe because "there has been a lot of development around enterprise-grade WiFi, including EAP, WPA2 and VPN technology," Dan Shey, a practice director at ABI Research, told CRM Buyer.
WiFi is used in hospitals, and "healthcare usage validates, in my view, the security of WiFi for other verticals requiring high security," he said, because data transmitted over healthcare networks is covered by the provisions of HIPAA.
"WiFi is easy to crack, but if the underlying application has an effective encryption mechanism, it can remain secure," commented Ken Baylor, a research vice president at NSS Labs.
"Layered security is critical at the application, device and user level," Baylor told CRM Buyer.
NSS Labs has found that only 3 percent of 600 possible combinations of market-leading next-generation firewalls, intrusion prevention systems and endpoint security products could stop 1,400 known exploits targeting common software vulnerabilities. It will present its findings at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas later this month.
Looking to Tomorrow
Using tablets will help banks cut back on staff, but customers may not immediately warm up to the idea of bank associates using tablets in the branch more or less the way employees at an Apple Store service their customers.
The idea is to provide a consistent experience to customers across channels while giving them seamless access to financial products and services where and when they are needed, notes Cisco's omnichannel banking report. The customer is in control of the channels used and can, for example, begin an interaction using one channel, say mobile, and end it using another -- perhaps going to the branch.
Telephone companies, technology companies and startups are leveraging the omnichannel philosophy and challenging banks, but bank branches continue to be the preferred channel for personal attention, advice and getting new services, especially among the most tech-savvy customers, Cisco found.
"Banks want to service these customers efficiently at a lower cost than today," remarked Zenmonics' Siemasko, "and retain them."