Omni-channel - Overhyped Or Underexploited?

Omni-channel… the term is shrouded in mystery and has been touted as the solution to all manner of business problems. Recently industry commentators have taken to citing all manner of unlikely advantages such as enhanced productivity, reduced complexity, and much more. Often, these advantages are cloaked in marketing hype and cannot be attributed to an actual omni-channel strategy.

blog 17 May 2016

Traditionally, the term omni-channel has referred to retailers who offer multiple access points through which customers can interact with a brand. Lately, the term has come to refer to more than just retailing. Unfortunately, industry pundits have also turned it into an over-used industry buzzword.

This post attempts to describe the omni-channel phenomenon and separate fact from fiction. It also describes some of omni-channel’s actual benefits and weaknesses – yes, there are weaknesses to an omni-channel strategy.

In the financial services industry, omni-channel usually refers to a bank’s ability to offer services via multiple channels, including branch, Internet, and mobile. However, the term also refers to solutions that have a wide range of functionality, as well as service providers who offer a diverse range of services that encompass all of a customer’s possible needs.

100% of the banks in the survey results rate the creation of a seamless omni-channel experience ‘important’ to ‘extremely important’.
Efma and Backbase report, based on a survey completed by more than a hundred C-level bankers.

Holistic Service Provider Benefits

Encompassing the entire financial services spectrum, Sybrin understands the value that we can add by supporting our customers with our diverse array of products and services. The benefits that holistic service providers have over fragmented service providers can be quite appealing, and generally include:

End-to-end solutions
Tired of juggling multiple vendors to have a project delivered on time? Gone are the days of managing multiple service providers, with one delay causing a knock on effect that ends in projects exceeding their expected duration. Rest easy knowing that you can quickly get a detailed view of all work in progress, with realistic timelines. Holistic vendors manage the entire value chain, from system design to maintenance and support.

Deep relationships
Having a single vendor managing your projects provides the opportunity to build long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships. These can then be leveraged to negotiate special rates and often come with preferential support.

Custom solutions
Universal vendors usually have the scale and capacity to construct completely bespoke solutions. Instead of having to micromanage multiple smaller vendors, utilise the scale and skills of holistic vendors to implement a project in a much more efficient manner.

Single point of contact
A holistic service provider is able to provide a single point of contact for all enquiries and support. By monitoring and managing all systems, this operational centre can provide a holistic view of the entire project, and can quickly delve into the details for any in-depth queries. With wide-ranging in-house expertise, universal vendors can ensure quick turnaround times.

Pitfalls of Holistic Service Providers and Omni-Channel Strategies

Although commentators often gloss over the weaknesses of holistic vendors and omni-channel strategies, there are certain flaws that should not be overlooked.

Despite these pitfalls, universal and omni-channel providers offer an array of benefits that can be hard to beat. Do your homework before entering an agreement and it’s highly likely that you can unlock value that was previously hidden between multiple fragmented service providers.

Forming part of EOH, Sybrin has numerous sister companies and the backing of a multinational technology group. The sheer size of EOH, with companies spanning a vast variety of industries and a massive footprint across Africa, positions us perfectly as an omni-channel service provider.

With our expansive product suite, we have the ability to provide banks and corporations with an all-encompassing platform. Sybrin can wrap the back-end technologies driving a bank into a unified and comprehensive powerhouse solution.

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