I’ve been thinking about mobile banking apps a lot recently. A couple of weeks ago I saw articles from both Chase & Citi about the importance of their mobile banking app. Each time I was struck by the implication that The App was enough. That The App was the end-game.
I believe this sort of thinking results from a lack of insight about the true implications of mobile. It’s simple transference — we have a website so therefore we need a mobile app. Done. Let’s move on.
This thinking is flawed.
I Was At A Loss For Words
My challenge became finding the right metaphor to help people understand why this thinking is flawed (and what to do about it). Especially since I believe it’s urgent that banks understand this before they get disrupted even further.
I love Facebook as a mobile example. Post IPO Facebook’s stock price dropped. There was a lot of conversation around their relevance in mobile. They’ve since recovered and showed incredible mobile success, so they’re a company we can look to as an example.
As the world has gone mobile, though, Facebook has famously learned that one app to rule them all simply doesn’t work. Instead, complexity and interconnectedness needs to move under the surface, connecting individual apps like a digital Pando Tree.
(Ben Thompson, reporting from Facebook F8 Conference ’14)
As metaphors go, using Facebook, Foursquare, and Google made for a difficult leap of faith from the metaphor to banking. I mean, a bank is a very different company than a software/media company. Or so common thinking goes1.
- We may give lip service to ‘every company is a software company,’ but it’s a position that’s not yet embedded in our intuition or muscle memory when we approach banks to sell them software or solutions [↩]