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Digital transformation for banks: One institution's website remake

Financial services firms must respond to changing customer demands, cultivate personalized relationships and maintain those ties across multiple channels. Artificial intelligence is often among the technologies underpinning digital transformation. When it comes to digital transformation for banks, however, projects can also focus on the more basic, yet critical IT components: the core, customer-facing website, for example.

That was the case with Federal Bank Ltd., which replaced a custom-built website built on Microsoft’s .Net framework with a new corporate site based on open source technology from Liferay Inc., a software company based in Diamond Bar, Calif. The change, along with a UI overhaul, has led to a 5x improvement in daily site visits. The increased traffic translates into more customer leads for the Aluva, India-based bank that operates more than 1,000 branches and ATMs.

Federal Bank responded via email to several questions on the bank’s adoption of the Liferay Digital Experience Platform, which includes an enterprise portal, web content management and developer tools. Here are excerpts from the bank’s response:

On the open source decision:

We struggled to deliver the best possible experience to our customers because our previous website was custom-built using .Net technology and lacked flexibility. However, we were initially wary of using open source technology given the sensitivity of managing customers’ financial records. Yet using an open source solution like Liferay allowed for a great deal of customization on our site and the flexibility to integrate with an array of third-party systems.

On the limitations of the previous site:

The main issue with our old website was the difficulty in adding more features and capabilities. Our custom-built CMS [content management system] application was not great for managing the web content and we were dependent on the application vendor to modify web content and layout. As a result, our site was mainly informative, lacking the kind of basic actionable features needed by a bank such as the ability for customers to submit a query or open accounts online or even to request a call back. Finally, there was no support available for running dynamic campaigns to drive brand awareness and generate leads. Perhaps the biggest improvement Liferay enabled was to obviate the need for IT resources to implement basic website changes.

On the business benefits of the new site: 

Liferay Portal’s personalization capabilities and support for quick SEO and meta tag management enabled us to push the most relevant offers to various customer segments and resulted in a significant uptick in both the daily number of views and time visitors spent on the website. To illustrate, we received approximately 6,000 daily visits prior to the website migration, 15,000 visits after the migration and 30,000 visits after completing a UI revamp. This increased traffic helped us to generate nearly 20,000 leads per month through actionable items present on the site, as opposed to nearly no direct lead generation prior to the migration. In addition, integration with social media, digital platforms and Google AdWords helped us run effective multichannel campaigns that generated even more leads.

Three key takeaways:

  • It’s absolutely critical to get IT and business teams in a room together to decide on a business goal and determine a realistic implementation schedule and timeframe for completion.
  •  Ask a vendor questions not just about their current capabilities, but also their future roadmap so that you can determine whether their solution is truly “future-proof” and whether they will evolve with your requirements. 
  • As an end user of any particular system, it’s always a good idea to develop in-house knowledge of your chosen platform so that you can keep pushing your OEM/implementation partner to exploit the platform’s full potential.

Federal Bank’s focus on a website makeover helped the institution attract more visitors and fill its pipeline of prospective customers. It also showed that successful digital transformation for banks can involve a wide range of approaches, processes and technologies.

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