Workshop series “digital customer proximity”

The is currently organising a series of workshops on the topic of “digital customer proximity”. Around 40 participants from 30 companies from the financial sector and beyond are examining various target images and use cases on how banks can position themselves closer to their customers leveraging concepts such as open banking, embedded finance or federated systems (so-called decentralised trust networks). The aim is to support end customers with digital service development outside of banking and to assist them with banking data, products or services. Therefore, the goal is to create seamless customer journeys without media discontinuity, which represents a win-win situation for all parties involved – end customers, third-party companies, banks, and providers alike. On the other hand, third-party services can also be integrated into the bank’s customer journeys in order to offer bank customers a more comprehensive experience when it comes to satisfying their needs for financial independence.

The workshop series consists of a total of five workshop dates. The first four workshops have already taken place and provided key insights into the following topics:

Five different target scenarios for cross-company collaboration and data utilisation were introduced at the first workshop at the beginning of April. These were jointly developed in advance with various stakeholders (banks, providers, third-party companies). The target images are shown in the figure below. The role descriptions for the companies involved in the target images (individualist, integrator, producer, platform) are explained in more detail in this blog post on the ccecosystems blog. It is important to note that banks and non-bank companies can occupy each of the roles mentioned and can therefore act as both a producer and an integrator in the same target image.

The first target scenario describes a traditional, direct service access. The customer provides their data and gives their consent directly to the company that provides the service flow. One can think here, for example, of opening a bank account or taking out insurance. Depending on the situation, the bank can play a role in the background as a banking-as-a-service provider. Hypothekarbank Lenzburg, for example, provides the accounts for the FinTechs neon and Coop Finance.

The second target scenario, indirect service delivery, is a collaboration model in accordance with PSD2 (link). A bank customer can provide certain bank data (e.g. account information) to a third-party company (in this case the integrator), which then enables a better, simpler or faster customer experience, for example. The use cases for PostFinance’ s BankIdent product work in a similar way. For example, when taking out a car lease with AMAG, PostFinance customers have the option of skipping certain steps in the onboarding process if they identify themselves using BankIdent. This avoids the need for a new video or online identification.

Target scenario 3 works very similarly to target scenario 2, but in this constellation, an intermediary orchestrates the flow of data and consent from the producer to the integrator as commissioned by the customer. The intermediary thus simplifies the collaboration between producers and integrators, ensures efficient data exchange (adherence to API standards) and ensures uniform governance and compliance (including authorisation checks and contracts). By connecting to the intermediary, a potential producer can therefore access many different integrators with little effort. On the other hand, there is a certain dependency (“single point of failure”) and negotiating power through the intermediary and there is potentially a high coordination effort until standards are established. Use cases relating to SIX blink could be listed here as an example. To be more specific, the direct initiation of payments (payment submission) and viewing of account data (account information) in a third-party application (e.g. Bexio, Klara, Abaninja).

In target scenario 4, a platform orchestrates the entire customer journey and integrates data, products and services from various producers (e.g. banks, third-party companies). In this case as well, the platform has a certain degree of dependency and negotiating power. In addition, the producers lose the interface to the end customer, but can also gain many potential new customers and strengthen their market presence. An example of this could be a housing platform that provides end customers with personalised offers by requesting creditworthiness data from their bank (assets, income, payment behaviour) and thus also enables them to view “premium properties” that are in high demand. Another example from e-commerce would be the offer of various customised partial payment options through the verification of creditworthiness data at check-out.

The fifth and final target image focuses on the Self-Sovereign Identity architectural approach, which will be used for both the European digital identity and the Swiss E-ID. The issuing company (issuer) transfers information in the form of verifiable credentials (e.g. E-ID, proof of creditworthiness, employment contract, certificate) directly to the customer (holder). The customer can store this information in their wallet and share it with selected companies (verifiers) in the respective use cases so that they can verify the information by connecting to a decentralised trust network. The customer can determine who is authorised to verify which data at any time, giving them a high degree of self-determination and transparency in the handling of their own data.

At the second workshop, we heard various impulses on the technological and regulatory implementation of the five target images and discussed the opportunities and risks they offer for the companies involved. We also took a look behind the scenes at Finnish banks, which have been offering their customers an identification solution for some time to identify themselves for a wide range of use cases from various areas of life. These include, for example, registering for university, claiming unemployment benefits, completing the annual tax return or starting a business.

Workshop 3 took place on 30th of May 2024 at PostFinance in Oerlikon and focused entirely on the topic of use cases. Various impulses from PostFinance, Mesoneer, Partes and eMonitor set the mood for the subsequent group work for the more than 30 participants. Four groups analysed the current potential and pain points of various lifecycle events in the lives of private individuals – including house hunting, taxes, consumption and home ownership. The findings were then used to identify ways in which the bank can position itself with data, products or services for its customers in order to address the corresponding potential or pain points. This resulted in exciting ideas for use cases, which will now be further developed in the coming weeks.

Last week, Workshop 4 on the topic of “Swiss e-ID and SSI ecosystems” took place. This event focussed in detail on Target Scenario 5 and the implications and potential of Self-Sovereign Identity for the Swiss financial sector. The various keynote speeches provided exciting insights into what needs to be considered when setting up an SSI ecosystem in the financial sector and the extent to which the Swiss e-ID and emerging sectoral SSI ecosystems are relevant for the Swiss financial sector. The banks were also given an insight into the potential and implications for their business architecture and various positioning options and use cases were discussed.

The findings of the entire series of workshops will be presented at Workshop 5 on Thursday, 27 June 2024 from 2-5 p.m. at Ergon in Zurich. This also includes the prepared and sharpened use cases from Workshop 3, with the aim of validating and prioritising the use cases and constituting corresponding project teams for implementation. We are already looking forward to a trend-setting workshop!

Stefan Knaus

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