MarTech Interview with Terry Duffy, SVP and GM of Digital First Software and Services at NCR

A digital-first customer experience that is well planned and suited to multiple platforms is essential in not just banking and finance but in every industry; Terry Duffy, SVP and GM of Digital First Software and Services at NCR shares some thoughts:


Terry, we’d love to hear about NCR…how has the platform evolved over the years…?

Traditionally, banking platforms evolved independently – 

So teller and platform systems were created, then ATM’s, then on-line channels, and now mobile banking. Each channel was created using its own technologies, standards, business rules and regulations.

But today’s consumer now wants to interact across channels – for example starting a loan application online, then interacting with the call center to ask questions, and finally shifting to the branch to complete the process.  Consumers want the flexibility and convenience of choosing the touchpoint based on their needs and preferences.

Modern technologies including cloud, APIs and microservices now create the opportunity to share services across channels – simplifying the process, reducing the required technologies, and allowing for consistent business rules that create a more seamless experience for both customers and bankers.

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Can you share a few thoughts on the emerging customer trends in banking and finance, you’ve been observing over the years?

I see two main trends; creating exceptional experiences for the customer and simplifying the bank to create efficiencies. We are seeing a three-pillar strategy from the financial institutions.  First, accelerating all things digital – if it’s digital, do it!  Mobile has become the preferred channel for transactions and is increasingly driving most sales and new relationships.  Secondly, increasing the use of what we call ‘self-directed’ banking – providing the customer the ability to control how they interact.   Consumers want the ability to interact using one mode – for example self-service – and easily shift to assisted service if needed. And thirdly using data and technology to create a connected experience – so interactions in any one channel can inform and guide that consumer’s interactions in other channels. 

NCR recently released their banking predictions for 2021; we’d love to dive into the key highlights…

Among the key highlights:

  • We know that the banking experience is about ‘de-channeling’, allowing the customer to easily shift between touchpoints as needed, which is why options like ITMs have gained popularity and delivered significant value providing greater access to banking services. This year we’ll see more financial institutions operate in a more dynamic, distributed model, causing de-channeling to occur at a rate much faster than initially expected, two to three years ahead.
  • Post-pandemic and beyond, institutions will emphasize expanded functionality at the ATM, including cash recyclers and enhanced multifunction ATMs that can complete up to 95% of traditional teller transactions. More institutions will consider transferring the burden of machine maintenance and updates to a trusted partner and make great adoption of the cloud. Such a hosting option makes the self-service channel simpler by offering a better, digital-first customer experience while reducing the total cost and onus of ownership
  • Last year, the number of apps consumers use to manage their money increased. Not only has digital banking adoption and usage gone up, but niche apps for areas such as investing, financial education, and credit score management have concurrently skyrocketed. This year, financial institutions must be able to offer more features and functionality, intelligently connecting to and partnering with providers of choice. This means that FIs need to update their technology infrastructure to be digitally minded – an outdated, siloed approach will hamper the ability for FIs to evolve to meet the needs of today’s consumer.

Can you share your thoughts on the biggest impact the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic had in terms of marketing and other customer lessons for the banking and finance industry? As providers focus on becoming digital-first today, what are some of the basic elements you feel they need to focus on more?

I think the biggest lesson the banking and finance industry has learned from COVID is the difference between preparation and action. Banks that invested in technologies and process to drive banking automation were best prepared to respond. The dramatic increase in use of digital channels was a ‘litmus test’ for an FI’s on-line and mobile investments.  Those with solid technologies and strong positive customer sentiment saw the positive benefits, and those that have under-invested or are delivering a sub-par experience saw the negative impact.

Meanwhile, FIs with alternatives to the traditional teller role – for example ITMs – were able to continue serving their customers in their time of need.  Our clients using ITMs experienced between 50% to over 100% increases in the use of their ITMs to serve customers – often with the tellers working from home.  FIs can provide live-teller support even at branch locations that are physically closed. Then there’s the use of more digital and self-directed banking – we’re seeing increased adoption of new ways of interacting across all industries.

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Can you share a few thoughts on emerging banking solutions you are seeing change the game in the global market?

The self-service channel is going to continue to evolve – more transactions plus a shift from self-service to self-directed, giving the customer the option to request assistance as needed. Then, there’ll be more integration, with cross-channel platforms enabling a greater range of services to be achieved through more channels – such as sales, account opening and on-boarding. As the ITM’s video assistance has proven its worth during the pandemic, we’ll see greater uptake in video assistance in banking – similar to what we’re seeing in other industries – for example one third of doctor visits in the US are now via tele-conference. 

A few thoughts on some of the most innovative digital banking initiatives of leading world banks?

Some of the most innovative digital banking initiatives includes faster P2P payments, which have taken center stage; expanded functionality at the ATM, including cash recyclers and enhanced multifunction ATMs that can complete up to 95% of traditional teller transactions.

Digital First isn’t just for the customer. Consider a Top-5 US FI using a cloud-based platform with APIs to power branch teller tablets using shared peripherals in over 2,500 branches. This eliminates the expensive and complex stack of teller/banker technologies that were in the branch. 

Then there’s another major FI building their Digital Banking platform providing online and mobile services with an eye to using same cloud-based services to also provide services to the branch staff. 

Focus of industry leaders is a digital first strategy that combines the best of their digital and physical assets to create exceptional experiences for their customers and staff, while driving higher efficiencies for the FI.

As global tech trends change and the market (and marketing and customer experience models) shift due to changing business environments (and also Covid-19), what are your comments on the state of fintech in 2021 and beyond?

FIs spend more on technology than any other industry – as much as 50% more than the #2 industry!  Nothing happens in the end-to-end banking process without some type of technology being required –for the experience, to apply business rules, manage compliance, or record the transaction.  But the technologies and business rules are often decades old.  We expect the innovators to continue helping FIs create more seamless experiences, increase security, and lower the cost-to-serve. 

We’d love to hear about some of NCR’s upcoming plans and innovations?

  • Helping FIs create shared services, optimized for the customer touchpoints (Channel Services Platform)
  • Simplify sales, account opening and onboarding
  • Position ATMs and ITMs as the digital zone for branch transformation
  • Deliver exceptional digital banking experiences that differentiate the FI brand, expand the relationship with existing customers, and attract new customers to drive growth and share.
  • ATM as a service – let the bank get the business value, while NCR runs the end to end – we do the work

Like FIs, we too are evolving our business to meet the needs of our customers.  We’re moving towards an As a Service model, enabling FIs easier access to our solutions through a subscription model. Our ATM as a Service model means that FIs can outsource their entire ATM channel to us – we’ll take the burden of running and maintaining it.  We are looking to help FIs create shared experiences, optimized for all customer touchpoints. ATMs and ITMs are the digital entry points as branches continue to transform. And we’re focused on delivering exceptional digital banking experiences that differentiate the FI’s brand, expands their relationships with their existing customers and puts them in the best place to attract new customers.

Before we wrap up, a few biggest learnings and tips you’d like to share?

Never stop listening but know when to act!

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MarTech Interview with Terry Duffy, SVP and GM of Digital First Software and Services at NCR

NCR is re-shaping how people everywhere bank, shop, eat and travel. 

Terry Duffy is the SVP and GM of Digital First Software and Services at NCR

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