How enterprise ATM software can transform your network—and future

Published November 16, 2020


With all the Fintech buzz words swirling right now—enterprise, ATMIA NextGen, dev-ops, webservices, HTML5—it can be hard to understand what they all mean, much less know what these technologies mean for your specific ATM network. As a financial institution, you need to know what benefits they bring and if you should care whether your network is enterprise enabled or next-gen at all.

In this article we’re going to focus on the values and advantages of a true enterprise platform and explore how it can help you accelerate your digital strategy in an often undervalued but critical touchpoint for customers: the ATM.

When we look at the trends of branch closures combined with the preference for digital and ever-demanding consumer expectations for intuitive, personalized service, you can start to understand the true importance of a modern self-service network. And it’s not just about cash.

Nor is it a battle between physical and digital—this is about clicks and bricks. It's about giving your customers the ability to choose how, when and where they want to engage, depending on their needs, preferences and lifestyle. And the branch is still fundamental.

Since the pandemic started in early 2020, financial institutions have significantly increased demand for lobby units – this demand is around four times what it was pre COVID 19. This means your financial institution must balance the need for a physical presence with automation and self-service.

The goal is creating one intuitive and unbroken journey for consumers wherever they start their transaction, whether it’s on their phone, at the ATM or in branch—and back again.

A truly connected experience is one where the concept of “channel” dissolves—and the smartest enterprise solutions not only do that for the consumer, but for your bank staff, too.

Where we are now

The banking industry was already undergoing a transformation phase, but the coronavirus has accelerated this shift. ATMs and branches are merging, cash is still vital and moving through banks, but there’s a significant rise in recycling ATMs and automation to reduce expense and cost, along with a dramatic increase in digital banking use.

The challenge in delivering all this digital technology and transformation is finding an enterprise platform that’s truly channel agnostic and that has the flexibility to enable transactions and services anytime, anywhere, whether that’s digital or physical.

FIs are using systems that are 30 years old. They came out at the same time that Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web—just think about how far the internet has advanced since then.

What makes it even tougher are the legacy systems used throughout the financial industry. It’s not uncommon to see FIs using systems that are 30 years old. They came out at the same time that Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web—just think about how far the internet has advanced since then.

Banks aren’t stuck with that technology, though. With enterprise platform architectures that lead with digital, financial institutions can move out of siloed business areas and systems into a cohesive platform that brings everything together, from the wider financial ecosystem to third parties. Enterprise applications are the way to provide consistency in experience, a modern user interface and a wider range of services at the ATM while making everything easier to manage.

5 things you should know about enterprise ATM applications

1. HMTL 5 – Enterprise software uses the latest HTML 5 to deliver a modern and engaging consumer experience by easily supporting the latest multimedia features. HTML 5 creates highly configurable user interface options that give banks the flexibility, freedom and choice to modernize their ATM user interfaces.

It also enables them to offer consumers the same experience that they get on their personal devices. That’s because HTML 5 enables dynamic options such as swipe, tiles, video, movement and branding. Most important, HTML 5 is designed to consume whatever new technologies emerge in the future, giving banks the agility to transform and easily offer new innovations at the consumer endpoint.

2. Segmentation – Moving away from “thick” client ATM software to more nimble enterprise consumer flows and transactions enables more sophisticated use of the ATM channel that financial institutions can use to their advantage. These FIs could offer different ATM services to different customer segments or location, for example. At peak time, they can constrain the type of transactions available so people just wanting to withdraw cash don’t have to wait in line for someone to check their balance or pay a bill. It’s all possible with enterprise technology.

3. Test and deploy – When you have a new innovation, it’s critical to roll it out as smoothly and quickly as possible. But enterprise software means just that: you can rapidly and remotely deploy an innovation instantly across your entire network with minimal or no switch changes required—this is dev-ops at the ATM.

This means it’s also much easier to test and learn, from different screens to different flows and more. You can choose to trial a new transaction with a sample group of consumers and gain feedback and lessons learned. “Test and deploy” dramatically speeds deployment; early enterprise adopters showed a 66 percent faster deployment of new services versus a non-enterprise application. This is true agile banking across physical and digital.

Early enterprise adopters showed a 66% faster deployment of new services versus a non-enterprise application. This is true agile banking across physical and digital.

4. Shared services and transactions – Enterprise platforms separate the UI/UX from the underlying operational services. And this is where the real value comes in. It's a complement to “test and deploy,” that makes it much more agile, since you can make changes to a consumer flow or experience without having to touch the underlying logic of the transaction. Now your designers and UI engineers can focus on what they do best and leave the transaction processing development to a different team, enabling the two to be much more independent and agile.

Equally important is the ability to share services across ALL channels – optimizing and reusing these services drastically cuts development and test time. Instead of separate balance services being developed for ATM, mobile, online and call center, for example, each with their own style, now a single balance transaction is created as a shared service and the UI/UX is developed as a layer above, depending on the channel’s needs. This means a much more cohesive, consistent customer journey across all channels.

5. Freedom from the switch – Liberating the ATM from the restricted transaction set of the switch really lets it join the digital party. The switch does a vital job and is still the main route for customer authentication and most cash and valuable media transactions. But with a digital-first enterprise ATM platform, you can expand the transaction set to include other core system-based transactions that are already consumed by branch and digital channels.

This can also include third-party transactions, making open banking a reality. Some examples we’ve seen include bill payment, gold purchases, charity donations, mortgage payments and family-linked accounts that enable parents and grandparents to see and contribute to their children’s accounts via the ATM.

Related: Are your ATMs next-gen ready? This white paper explores the architecture you need to transform your ATM channel into a digital channel that’s as agile as you want it to be.

And that’s just scratching the surface of what enterprise ATM software can do. For example, enterprise software gives you greater marketing and branding opportunities. You can go beyond your core cash operations using open APIs to expand the transaction set. Or use more sophisticated personalization tools or provide new services, such as integrating an appointment booking tool right at the ATM.

Imagine someone who’s not yet a customer walks up to use your ATM to get cash. In their user flow, they see a button encouraging them to book an appointment to talk to you or learn more about money management tools or other resources. That's a real competitive advantage. And you can link directly to third-party partners to offer more niche products without having to spend the time and money to develop your own, bespoke solutions.

What’s clear is that adding an enterprise layer to the ATM channel vastly expands the capabilities of your ATM network. Enterprise ATM applications can transform your self-service channel into a truly digital network with the power of physical fulfilment, giving your financial brand the agility to go even further to meet the needs of your customers while maximizing cross-selling and your customer experience.

Make your ATMs as agile as you want

It's simple with NCR’s NEW Activate Enterprise NextGen ATM software.­ 

Free your ATMs from the tyranny of the switch.

Offer more transactions and targeted experiences with added control, agility and efficiency.

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