With online investment and e-trading increasingly carried out on the move, customers are beginning to expect an omni-channel system, where they can use all their devices – desktop, smartphone, tablet, wearables, … – as part of a seamless experience. With the proliferation of platforms and devices, or ‘platform explosion’, chasing technology and aiming to deliver all services on every single one is unfeasible. Consequently, businesses often miss the opportunity to create the genuine single experience that defines a true omni-channel system.

 

“Focus on the user and all else will follow” – Google

The complex idiosyncrasies of business logic in capital markets can compound the ‘platform explosion’ further, thus the first step is to stop providing ‘everything’ via every channel. After all, is it really necessary? At Scott Logic, we have found that a focus on user experience is more effective at both meeting and exceeding users’ expectations, thereby resulting in competitive advantage.

The first step in a user-centric mindset is to establish an understanding of your users. This is usually done by developing personas: fictional characters representing aspects of users that lead to an understanding of behaviours. By understanding users goals, personality characteristics and when and how your system may fit into their lives ensures that a system is built that truly reflects user needs.

 

It’s all about context

Once personas are created, understanding contexts is an important next step on your journey to omni-channel. The design of a system should centre on the situations that users are in and the tasks they carry out in those situations, rather than the channels where it is deployed.

Contexts provide a clear framework for identifying which channels are available to the user, what functionality should be available and what form that functionality should take. For example, does it make sense to include all administrative background tasks associated with order management or reporting on a smartphone?

Until these two important steps of creating personas and understanding contexts are undertaken, you will always be second-guessing how a user interacts with your system and potentially building tasks or services that are not needed for each and every device.

In our recent white paper, Making Technology Disappear: Building Omni-channel Systems for Capital Markets, we address each of these steps in more detail and provide a vision for capital market omni-channel systems, with the technological underpinning to achieve it.