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Online Discovery Conference: Mobile's Impact On Business Models
MADISON, Wis. (10/2/13)--To succeed in a competitive financial services marketplace, credit unions need to adopt a "mobile first" digital strategy, Kevin Miller, CUNA Mutual Group's vice president of information technology, urged Online Discovery credit union attendees Tuesday.
 
The dramatic rise in smartphone and tablet use is changing customer expectations, putting longstanding companies out of business while providing fertile growth opportunities for others, said Miller.
 
The explosion of digital devices has changed the landscape of many industries, negatively affecting stalwart companies such as Eastman Kodak, Borders Books and Blockbuster Video, among others, he added.
 
"These were big, respected companies with powerful brands and histories run by talented and smart individuals," Miller said. "Yet, new technology devices stressed their business models and overwhelmed them. Unfortunately, many ran out of time to fight back."
 
Miller offered attendees these tips:
  • Embrace digital disruption--The rules have changed. Whereas the big used to eat the small, the fast now eat the slow. Barriers to entry are smashed, the cost to compete is low and everyone can exploit the same economics. Anyone can win.
  • Expect and recognize evolving consumer expectations--Start with the customer and work backwards to solve their problems, recognizing their needs will change quickly.
  • Develop a "mobile first" digital strategy.
  • Enjoy winning AND failing--Ideas are often killed by concerns with viability or cost. Even if an idea doesn't work today, it could lead to new ideas in the future.
  • Recognize it's not "either/or" but "all." Maintain and modify existing business models while adding new ones.
Big technology trends--social media, big data, analytics and cloud--all converge with mobile. "The No. 1 mechanism for participating in social networks is via a smartphone," Miller explained. "Most cloud application designs have a 'mobile first' approach and an expectation that mobile devices are the primary user interface.  Likewise, people want big data insights delivered to their mobile phone."
 
To avoid the fate of some other companies, credit unions need to be aware of technology trends and the impact on their business models. "Banking is moving toward a contextual, customer-centric view as competitors better leverage proximity, preference, and proliferation of engaging experiences," Miller said. "We are moving away from banking relationships defined by the goal of being a customer's primary financial institution to one where we focus on becoming their primary financial application."
 
Online Discovery is an annual conference sponsored by CUNA Mutual Group that attracts a national and international credit union audience of more than 1,300.
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