Branch Automation & Human Experience: Two Sides of the Same Coin

A techie and a banker walk into a branch …

I spend my days evangelizing Diebold’s breadth of products and services to FIs around the globe. My main goal is to encourage smart branch transformation initiatives – which can (and should) mean very different things to different financial institutions.

To the chagrin of a few of my counterparts, that sometimes means downplaying technology, as I did recently for The Financial Brand. In that article, I wrote about the need to consider a truly holistic approach, one that focuses not just on technology and software, but on the people and processes that will be most affected by the upgrades. Clients are often surprised when I tell them that it’s not all about “the technology.” We sell the industry’s best terminals, and we can facilitate tasks from deposit automation to cash recycling to biometric identification, but for a self-service channel to be truly successful, terminals can’t simply be installed and forgotten.

This leads to some interesting conversations with our Global VP of Software Research & Strategy, Devon Watson. In his view, banks should automate everything they possibly can, and technology should infuse virtually every aspect of the consumer experience.

He’s a tech guy. I’m a former banker. You might think we’d have different visions for the future, but they’re actually opposite sides of the same coin, and they converge at a crucial intersection: The place where technology enables a more human experience. The future of banking lies in achieving the right mix of people, processes and technology, with the end goal always focused on the consumer, and facilitating a more personal connection with each individual.

In that regard, we’re championing a similar branch transformation strategy to one outlined in a Forrester Research, Inc. report[1] on the future of the branch. “Instead of focusing on how to replace branch employees,” they wrote, “banks need to roll out digital tools and technology to help frontline staff engage with customers and drive sales.” Potential clients who sit down with our Advisory Services team will hear echoes of our recommendations in meetings with Watson’s software team. We encourage every financial institution we meet to embrace the innovations sweeping through our industry – as long as they do it in lockstep with thoroughly educating both employees and consumers about how those innovations can benefit us all.

Do you have questions about how to execute your FI’s transformation strategy? Let’s talk.