Create a Better Mobile Banking Experience with Low-Code

Create a Better Mobile Banking Experience with Low-Code by Richard Eastley

Financial services companies know their customers expect the same digital experiences from their banks as they receive from Google, Apple, Instagram, and Amazon. Fintech disruptors have the business model to pile resources into great UX, and now they are competing in the same space as traditional financial services enterprises.

New competition isn’t the only consideration. With new regulations and restrictions and new purchasing patterns, customers in the age of COVID-19 require efficient development and lightning-fast times to market.

The Mendix low-code platform allows your team to stand up to the competition and meet shifting demands. The Mendix platform makes it easy to build from one code base, reuse components, and deploy to the cloud in one click. In addition, the Mendix platform is secure, collaborative, and scales to meet the needs of your banking customers.

Going Multichannel with Mendix

Albaraka Bank South Africa had big digital ambitions: the pioneering financial institution knew it had to build a better digital offering for its customers, despite being small in size and budget.

“Six months ago, we were a brick and mortar, aged, and rigid organization,” said Mohammad Kaka, COO, Albaraka Bank South Africa. “Today, we have moved from onsite to cloud, from face-to-face and limited web to multichannel.”

Albaraka had minimal digital offerings for its customers. They had a desktop-only website that required branch-dependent onboarding. The user interface was outdated, siloed, and vendor-managed. After demoing and testing several solutions, the support, scalability, security, and easy integration capabilities of the Mendix all-in-one platform won over the Albaraka team.

“Mendix low-code has allowed us to build beautiful and satisfying customer user experiences within an environment that allows us to respond to rapid change and ensure that the pace of change within our organization is as quick, if not faster, than the change outside,” Kaka said.

The bank worked with a team of developers, designers, and integration specialists from Mendix, who steered the development project and trained and integrated the Albaraka staff of limited technologists. By project completion, the Albaraka team knew the Mendix platform well and felt confident building and governing applications.

“The Mendix UX designer, Brenda, allowed us to translate the hours of sketch diagrams into beautiful, high-fidelity mockups that incorporated the best practices in Mendix to allow for easy reuse,” said Hamzah Asmall, Development and Digitization Manager, Albaraka. “Icons, cards, widgets, were all painstakingly chosen to ensure the speed of delivery was to be maintained by defining in the early stages.”

The result went live in app stores in May 2021, after addressing and integrating over 650 feedback items and 300 user stories over eight sprints.

[See how Albaraka collaborated with Mendix to meet all of their digital transformation requirements while satisfying customers and clients. Watch the 2021 Mendix World Session: Building a mobile customer banking application with Albaraka.]

Next Stop: Safe, Agile Applications

Shortly after the start of the first lockdown of COVID-19, Dutch Railways realized it had to shift its business model. Train ridership dropped to 10 percent of pre-pandemic levels. In addition, the public-serving commercial train operators knew that passenger train safety was a heightened concern, and new government regulations would enforce capacity restrictions.

“One challenge was the bi-weekly changing government measures, which forced us to be very agile in the way we approached our project. We also wanted to go live as quickly as possible because of the urgency,” said Jitze de Groote, Senior Consultant, First Technologies. First Technologies helped drive the Dutch Railways project. “In addition, we needed to service the customers with our digital solution 24/7, and with a huge customer user base of a million users, we expected high traffic.”

Banks are facing unprecedented challenges to their business models, as well. The brick-and-mortar business segment has largely moved online. Creating, maintaining, and iterating on a public-facing application requires a lot of overhead in a traditional setting. In addition to new competition from technology-first enterprises looking to profit from digital financial services opportunities, heightened cyber security concerns and the shifting nature of business due to the pandemic are driving new government regulations.

Dutch Railways found an answer in the Mendix low-code platform, deploying a solution in just four weeks that reinvigorated ridership–with more than 260,000 monthly application users and 30,000 new users per day. Their approach highlights the agility with which a motivated team and the Mendix platform can move to accommodate unforeseen changes in the business.

The Dutch Railways application allowed passengers to plan their trip knowing that capacity management services were available and keeping them safe. Dutch Railways increased services for niche markets like bicycle-transporting passengers and ramped up their accessibility protocols for users with disabilities. Their focus on performance and well-designed UI with a clean UX delighted users upon launch and has allowed Dutch Railways to continue growing despite the adverse business conditions during the pandemic.

Quick time-to-market and the ability to iterate to meet new market challenges helped Dutch Railways and can also help financial services enterprises as technologies and business change.

Give Your Mobile Banking Strategy More Currency

When banks and financial services enterprises talk about customer-facing digital strategy, they’re really talking about mobile banking experience and the architectural choices and trade-offs that define that experience. Choosing the right mobile architecture can profoundly affect the customer experience on your B2C apps, your ratings in the app stores, and ultimately, your bottom line. So before picking the architectural strategy for your mobile applications, make sure you know the use cases for your app and make sure you have the right all-in-one platform for building, deploying, hosting, and governing your apps.

According to Gartner, “Historically in many organizations, application leaders have chosen a mobile architecture before they have determined the use case — this is the wrong way around.”

The most common mobile architecture options are:

  • Native Mobile: Native widgets, native controls to build screens, renders via native GUI toolkit. Offline capability, excellent performance, security, and API integration, but considered costly to make using traditional development.
  • Responsive Web: Run inside a mobile browser. No more pinch and zoom! Cheaper to make, portable code, presentation possibilities, but comparatively low ranking in almost every other metric, including user experience.
  • Hybrid Apps: Native container/special browser that renders javascript and CSS. This bridge between Native mobile and Responsive web apps solves many problems and has excellent security ratings; however, pulling from both means hybrid apps come with feature and functional trade-offs.
  • Progressive Web: Run inside a mobile browser. The look and feel of Native, growing device feature access, less costly than Native but also comes with performance and integration trade-offs.

If offline support is critical to your application, then Native Mobile is the clear winner. On the other hand, if informational presentation needs to be perfect, Gartner recommends responsive Web or PWA.

“Now here’s what Mendix brings to the table: being low-code, we’re able to eliminate the cost and the code portability from the equation,” said David Brault, Mendix Product Marketing Manager, in his review of Gartner’s findings. “It’s these two items that most often cause companies to settle on a subpar architecture and just relate back to something they are more familiar with or something that’s easier, faster, cheaper.”

With Mendix, deciding on an architecture becomes more manageable because you can remove all of the constrictions and limitations that force enterprises to compromise. The Mendix low-code platform allows enterprises to choose the architecture based on the use case: Native or browser-based, or a hybrid of the two, you can make the ideal choice for your application every time.

“At Mendix, we take a best-of-breed approach when it comes to mobile,” said Brault. “Our ability to reduce development time, along with the fact that we have a single code base, we enable you to focus on features and functions, rather than how hard is it going to be? How long will it take to build? How expensive is this app going to be?”

Building the best mobile architecture for your product will help you make the user experience choices that your financial services customers have come to expect from a banking app, from voice integration to biometric identification. When you build on the Mendix low-code platform, you can incorporate the best-practice security features your banking customers will appreciate.

[Are you building your financial service apps using the right mobile architecture? Watch David’s 2021 Mendix World Session: Determining your mobile strategy]

Build a Mobile Banking App Your Customers Can Count On

With Mendix, financial services enterprises can develop, deliver, and maintain great mobile banking applications that customers will enjoy. The Mendix all-in-one platform is flexible and scalable and can help banks respond to the changing demands of customers in less time with fewer resources.

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