Why It’s Crucial to Keep ATM Services Central To Financial Institutions’ Self-Service Strategy

By Soji Skariah | 12 January 2016

ATM innovation has become a key element of retail banks’ branch transformation strategy. As they look to optimise their resources, while delivering the in-branch experience consumers demand, they increasingly turn to ATM technology to support their objectives and state-of-the-art field services, professional services and managed services are key to support their business operations. Such services will play an increasingly important role not only in the Financial Institutions’ self-service channel strategy over the next few years but also as an engine of growth for those companies that supply them.

Perceived by consumers as hugely useful and valuable tools, ATMs have become a crucial link to their banks. Indeed, the relationship between consumers and ATMs has become stronger, with consumers increasingly using the machines for cashless transactions. But the core of this ‘relationship’ remains cash and, while some might challenge the future of cash, the truth is that, instead of moving towards a cashless society, ours is a ‘cash-more’ society. More than 85% of all global transactions are still cash transactions, according to MasterCard’s recent study on global payment trends.

As a result, consumers’ expectations are not negligible: ATMs need to be available at all times, easy to replenish, reliable and secure. For Financial Institutions (FIs), that’s a lot to ask, especially since ATMs are not their core business. Service providers are thus a vital component in these institutions’ long-term competitive strategy as they seek to differentiate themselves technologically and enhance customer value.

Since services ensure the smooth running of ATM networks, the benefits for FIs are huge. In fact, the services they can get access to help them focus on their core business in several meaningful ways:

• Driving efficiencies: the simple integration of advanced technology and outsourced services can make a significant impact, enabling FIs to realign internal resources and focus on their core business.
• Growing revenue: By using services that support Branch and Central office personnel, FIs are able to free their branch personnel for what they do best: Forge stronger relationships with their customers to better support their revenue-generation goals.
• Building loyalty, trust and relationship with powerful ATM consumer-centric software solutions which can also support the new • Branch processes and are designed both for Bank Customers and Bank personnel alike.
• Managing risk by avoiding external threats and being one step ahead of today’s high-tech criminals.

To summarise, as FIs’ self-service strategy assumes increasing importance in their overall strategy, field services, professional services and managed services enable them to exceed consumers’ expectations and experience exponential growth.

Why are such services so vital? For one thing, an ATM deployment can be a complex process. From ATM hardware and software customisations done by offsite engineers, to on-site installation, including the site preparation and civil works, a deployment includes many different aspects that require flawless execution to ensure that all systems work perfectly for consumers. This initial engagement and service relationship with the ATM site is so important for the ongoing use and Service experience. Training at the site will be a huge factor for the ongoing success of this service engagement.

Field services have been developed to provide FIs total implementation support, covering every aspect of the deployment. Also, the advantage for FIs is that they deal with a single party and get the assurance of smooth installation and operation. This approach is already popular in many EMEA markets, with customers in new-growth markets of Eastern Europe and Africa showing interest. I believe that adoption will gain momentum and continue to expand across the region.

Whether it is to integrate multivendor networks and bring new capabilities to market faster, connect FIs with their consumers, manage a self-service fleet or provide personalised transactions, software is at the core of ATMs, creating efficiencies, saving FIs time and money and boosting ATM performance. Software solutions are crucial to maximise self-service and security capabilities, accelerating retail branches’ transformation. However, all financial institutions work differently when it comes to their software stack, and ATMs must be certified on each for their back-end software. Professional services ensure that the software customisation and certification required for ATMs work in each FI’s unique environment. A proactive Professional Services engagement, growing with the Customer, builds a successful and ever lasting relationship.

Moreover, managed services – from ATM monitoring to providing complete outsourcing of availability management with remote resolution of several issues – enable financial institutions to run their self-service business more effectively and in a cost-effective way. Managed services guarantee FIs a double digit cost savings that they can reinvest in their core business, while focusing on their customers. To achieve this, it is necessary to work collaboratively with FIs to understand their current pain points, transition them over to industry-leading suppliers in a seamless manner and transform them to provide a Service-Level Agreement (SLA) that offers substantial savings for customers over multiple years.

Towards a ‘Cloud’ service solution?

In a world of growing complexity, industry compliance, proactive security, transaction acquiring, monitoring and shared-support models are an extension of FIs’ operations management. Managed services are already well established in North America and I see a shift happening rapidly in EMEA – and with good reason. After all, which CxO (CEO/CFO/CIO) wouldn’t like a 20% operational saving in the next five years that they can reinvest in their core banking business? FIs can really benefit from such an offering, which is why companies like mine continue to strengthen this part of our business.

Beyond a cloud solution from a dedicated data centre already available, a private cloud solution, specific to each country, for managed services across EMEA could be an interesting solution for FIs. This breakthrough innovation could provide FIs the flexibility they need to host their hardware and software environments, as well as monitor and manage their ATMs from within their country. Having all software and applications connected to the cloud would allow financial institutions to outsource the running of these applications, thereby reducing operating costs and maintaining quality.

Services are the future… I am convinced that they will play a key role in supporting retail banks’ branch transformation and in helping them meet their growth objectives. Better economics, an enhanced relationship with customers, innovation: all the ingredients are there. This is why Diebold, the leading provider of ATM solutions to the banking industry, has transformed into a services-led software-enabled organisation supported by innovative hardware. We have all the resources to deliver on our commitment to leading-edge products, services and software and can leverage our expertise region wide. This is an exciting market, an exciting time and we are pleased to be part of it.

By Soji Skariah, Vice President, Services – EMEA, Diebold.

Become a bobsguide member to access the following

1. Unrestricted access to bobsguide
2. Send a proposal request
3. Insights delivered daily to your inbox
4. Career development