For the past several years, bank IT budgets generally remained flat. The financial crisis and ensuing fallout forced belt-tightening across the industry. In 2011, however, bank IT executives finally enjoyed some breathing room thanks to some revitalized spending power.
And in 2012, bank technology budgets should continue to increase, if ever so slightly. But with the economic recovery still on shaky legs, and with regulatory scrutiny more intense than ever, banks' IT investments are likely to be focused largely on driving efficiencies and complying with new requirements. Bank Systems & Technology identifies the IT trends and hot technologies that will change the game in the year ahead
1. Convergence Of Mobile And Online Technologies
Mobile banking started as a novelty, something only techies and first adopters felt comfortable using. But as smartphones have skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years, mobile banking adoption has increased along with it.
Initially, many banks' mobile offerings consisted of their online banking model ported to an iPhone or Android device. As mobile has grown into a maturing channel, however, banks and their vendor partners have produced richer mobile offerings that take advantage of its unique capabilities. And the rise of the tablet gives financial institutions another unique interface through which to interact with consumers (see No. 4).
"Mobile banking, when it first became a hot topic, was very much an offshoot of the online channel," says Jacob Jegher, senior analyst with Boston-based Celent. "Now mobile is maturing to the point where it is its own unique beast."
While banks are embracing the mobile channel--and continuing to support the old standby of online banking--they are not integrating the technologies used to build e-banking solutions, according to Jegher. But that will begin to change in 2012. "We'll see banks continue to develop solutions for these multiple channels but using a single set of technology to do so," he predicts. A cohesive set of technologies, Jegher adds, will make mobile app and online development easier for banks to manage.
According to our Outlook 2012 Survey, IT should expect soaring demand but cautious hiring as companies use technology to try to get closer to customers. Also in the new, all-digital issue of InformationWeek: Inside Windows Server 8. (Free registration required.)