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Expert views

User experience and organisational culture: the key role of UX in a 3-layered digital platform strategy

When it comes to the digital economy, everybody has invariably in mind companies like Uber, Google, AirBnB, Amazon, Netflix, ...Apart from their unquestionable success, what these digital champions have in common?
All are platforms.

They have built a successful set of layers, with extracting high value from each one. In financial services, here’s what it should look like:

  • The user interface is just the tip of the iceberg. Equally powerful APIs must underpin powerful user experiences. These APIs can act like Lego bricks, being put together to build different solutions. Without this layer of APIs that sit on top of core banking systems, strong user interfaces could lead to short-term UX enhancements but are likely to end up with increasing the organisation’s technical debt.
  • Data management is an important element in developing user experiences. At Societe Generale, we are transforming the data around our legacy systems, moving progressively from traditional relational databases to a Data Lake, for each new project that requires big data capacities. Data is increasingly stored on cloud technology, both private and public , which delivers great flexibility. Our information system has been transformed into layers of services, accessible via APIs, which enable outside offers to be integrated and will give other market players access to our services in the future.

It should be remembered that B2B professionals are also individuals who have built up expectations of service based on the products and services they use in their personal lives. FinTech start-ups and challenger banks have recognised this and provide some great user experiences, but in very niche areas. By adopting a user experience (UX) First approach, incumbent banks can deliver superior, global UX. Societe Generale, for example, has a dedicated team that integrates UX into all product development. This team is working on our global platform, which is designed to help clients navigate a wide range of applications seamlessly, delivering a much more valuable experience than niche players who can deliver only product-based UX. In developing such a platform, banks should ensure that it is personal, secure and digital.

Personalisation, or the human touch, is very important in the development of user experiences and interfaces. Digital transformation must include a human element to be successful.

Alain Fischer
Chief Digital Officer

It is important to give clients a unified user experience, based on one platform that can be delivered across a variety of services such as cash management, securities[MB1]  services, financing and capital markets. This is a challenge for banks given the siloed nature of operations, which makes the development of unified services expensive and difficult. While superior user interfaces can be developed within silos, extending this across the enterprise can be a challenge.

APIs are at the heart of digital transformation strategies and superior user experience. They foster innovation and enable banks to more closely align with their clients’ needs.

Matthieu Brunhammer
Digital Transformation Manager

APIs are important because they can be fitted together, like Lego bricks, to form new solutions that deliver great UX across applications. Customers can be given a single sign-on to access a platform that delivers a huge range of services that offer a consistent user interface and experience. APIs act as connectors between the core banking system, where data resides and the application layer. APIs can process data to make it useable for clients, enabling customised UX, based on a client’s relationship with the bank. Clients can consume the data in the way they want and integrate it into their own information systems. Another key aspect of APIs is that they can deliver information to a variety of devices.

The development of UX must always start with a use case – banks must align their offerings with the requirements of users. A UX First approach is driven by clients; front office staff are in the best position to understand clients’ requirements.

Matthieu Brunhammer Digital Transformation Manager Societe Generale
Alain Fischer Chief Digital Officer Societe Generale