The compelling vision of Standard Chartered Bank’s chief executive officer Peter Sands and group chief information officer Jan Verplancke – to operate the financial institution as a “technology-enabled organisation” by essentially extending banking models to mobile platforms – has resulted in an award-winning project. In an effort to develop internal corporate applications, the bank established the FLEX initiative, which includes switching its corporate smartphones from Research in Motion’s Blackberry to Apple’s iPhone, and subsequently the Breeze initiative – developing external applications for its customers.
Standard Chartered’s joint FLEX and Breeze initiative is one of the five winning projects of CIO Asia magazine’s CIO 100 this year.
Much of the impetus for this project comes from boosting staff productivity and customer satisfaction by enabling bank access and functions from virtually anywhere and at any time.
Indeed, the advantages of the project extend to both the financial service provider and those who use its services. The FLEX internal suite of iPhone applications is designed to provide Standard Chartered staff a range of functions and access to bank data, allowing them to organise their work on the go, and ultimately enabling them to attend to customers in real-time.
The Breeze external iPhone and iPad applications serve as an additional step towards optimising the customer experience, by means of facilitating clients to conduct their financial affairs on the Apple mobile platforms. Furthermore, Breeze introduces unique features such as the ‘iPhone echeque’, where customers can write bank cheques on the smartphone.
Conceived by Verplancke, the iPhone adoption across the organisation was an initiative to move beyond mobile e-mail as a key business tool and provide more effective business functions. The concurrent development of internal applications was further spurred by the dearth of robust enterprise applications available.
The first Blackberry to iPhone migration was launched in March 2010, and within the year, 100 per cent of Standard Chartered’s smartphone users in Singapore had switched to the Apple device. Leveraging on the strength of the Apple device, Standard Chartered provides multiple mobile capabilities for its staff. Presently, the corporate iPhone houses some 15 applications practical for all departments.
Enterprise mobility, Verplancke believes, is becoming increasingly important particularly in financial services as gradually more employees are working outside of the office. “We believe giving people complete mobile access to the systems they need to do their job will dramatically increase productivity and employee satisfaction.
“Time is a commodity in our business. To remain responsive to our customers, we have to be able to connect to the office wherever we are,” he says. With that basic tenet, the bank continues to provide innovative applications. “We are developing apps that not only reduce the administrative burden on workers, but also allow them to perform more complicated tasks on the go,” says Verplancke.
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