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The power of three: Digital innovations and the user experience

By Tim Spenny, Senior Vice President

In brief: The financial services industry is in a state of flux. With profit margins and market share under enormous pressure, increasingly demanding customers and intense competition, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s all doom and gloom. But there are huge opportunities to be harnessed by linking physical and digital worlds. The key to success is to ensure that digital innovations offer a superior user experience (UX) hardwired into their development process. Here’s our take.

A 2015 study by the McKinsey Global Institute on The Internet of Things suggested that the linking of physical and digital worlds could generate up to US$11.1 trillion a year in economic value by 2025. The financial services sector has already experienced the power of this new digitally enhanced environment. Many new concepts and products have been created from the capabilities offered by digital. And it’s not just tech start-ups forcing this change. Traditional players also recognize the importance of digital innovation to surviving and competing in this crowded market. But how can the industry ensure it carves out a significant share of this current and future opportunity?

Put the customer, not the technology, first

It’s essential to ensure that your business capitalizes on the infinite possibilities that digital offers. That means putting the customer at the heart of your innovations and being led by their needs, not by the technology. It might sound simplistic, but, once you’ve identified unfulfilled needs, you need to ensure you meet them.

The reality of course is that it isn’t simple. Specialist exploratory qualitative and quantitative research is needed to identify those unmet needs. We have found that consumers can’t imagine, invent or articulate a new product or service. However, once a compelling innovation that is superior to the current experience and solves a consumer need is presented, behavior can be changed and loyalty increased. There are many examples of innovated technologies that consumers couldn’t have imagined prior to their invention, yet have subsequently embraced. Smartphones, Uber, AirBnB, the Starbucks app, digital assistants etc. Had these not offered a seamless user experience and compelling benefits, they would have failed to engage consumers.

The power of three: Define, validate, optimize

The onus is on you to find those all-important opportunities. You then need to match them with your capabilities and expertise. When you’re ready to start designing the new product or service, you need to ensure a superior user experience is hardwired into it from the outset. That means speaking to consumers to understand their needs, attitudes and values. Finally, by rigorously testing and trialing new concepts, you can ensure your proposition delivers on its promise.

Our approach to ensuring digital innovation is designed with user experience at its core is three-fold:

  1. Cut through the noise to capture where consumers and markets will evolve. Use specialist research to develop a deep understanding of the evolving landscape. Keep testing and refining.
  2. Take winning propositions to market. Listen to consumers to craft meaningful and relevant propositions that will truly resonate with your customers.
  3. Create memorable human experiences. Bring those product and service propositions to life using experience design.

The financial services industry is in a state of flux, but this presents a significant opportunity. Now is the time to realize digital innovation in your business. Our three-step approach is one way to identify and deliver on new value propositions with user experience at their core.

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