Guest blog: All I want for Christmas is Time & Convenience

What’s really behind the push for “Open Banking”, “Open Data” and “Connected Ecosystems”? Is it regulation, competition or a desire for improved customer experiences? The regulation is there alright, and more competition will certainly come, but fundamentally the more effective and fairer use of that precious commodity of ours – the one it doesn’t yet feel like we really own, let alone get value from - is at its heart… personal data.

Consumers crave convenience and time saving benefits, and it’s certainly on my Christmas wish list. If as an industry we can harness the latent power that’s held in personal data, use the increasingly available technology power and adopt interoperable connection standards, then the future will be an exciting place to do business.

Of course, there are heavy considerations to be made regarding this “openness”, with highly sensitive data transferring through multiple locations and handlers. So, the technology safety nets, policies and regulatory landscape will need to keep pace with the speed of innovation and customer adoption as effectively as possible. These controls obviously need to balance protection against the risk of blocking user adoption with mis-placed friction, as we’ve seen to some extent with SCA (Secure Customer Authentication) journeys.

The ecosystem considerations need to be wide ranging too, as that “Open” and “Connected” future of customer experiences isn’t just in financial products, it’ll be much, much broader than that. Whilst it’s hard (if not impossible) to do, imagine what’s going to happen when government, retail and travel data about you is able to be seamlessly combined into a single customer experience that truly takes the pain away from some part of your life… finding a holiday, paying and checking in - all beautifully orchestrated to get you on to the ski-slopes or the sandy-beaches more easily.

It’s with that in mind that the narrative calling for a re-brand of “Open Banking” to “Open Data” – or further still to the underlying use cases - has been running for a while now. This is on the basis that nobody say’s “I want to use that open ecosystem app to get over there”, they say “Let’s Uber it!”.

Through FinTech and innovation from within the bigger financial institutions, either in isolation or in partnerships, new “Open” experiences are coming already - there are now 170+ Regulated Providers registered on the OB directory, many with multiple offerings. It’s going to be with rapidly growing speed that these organisations trial, test, iterate and dispel or establish their products, services and experiences into our lives.

As they do, and crucially as the resilience and performance increases to meet demand and expectation, the prospect of saving time and gaining convenience is getting ever closer… even if it’s more realistic to put it on my wish list for Christmas 2020.


(Disclaimer: this is a personal blog & views expressed are not necessarily those of my employer, Accenture)

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