The customers of Bulgaria’s DSK Bank had been able to use mobile electronic devices to access information such as exchange rates and information about their accounts for a year or so. However, in the middle
of 2012 DSK decided that it was time to give customers an application that would allow them to manage their bank accounts on mobile devices. It realised that younger customers use mobile devices to manage much of their lives.
As Bulgaria’s second-largest bank by capital assets, but with about 2.8 million customers, DSK Bank is used to responding to and anticipating the needs of its largely private customers.
||We see a lot of potential on Windows mobiles, especially tablets.
| Yuriy Genov
Head of Development and Implementation
IT Systems Directorate
The bank, established in 1951 as a state savings institution, had already developed internet banking in 2006 and in 2011 launched a mobile device application that allowed customers to find information such as details of branches, accounts and exchange rates.
However, despite the lack of any great demand from customers, DSK decided in mid-2012 to add applications to let customers manage their accounts on increasingly-sophisticated mobile devices. It wanted them to make payments, money transfers etc as easily as
if at home or in a bank branch.
Yuriy Genov, DSK’s Head of Development and Implementation in the IT Systems Directorate, says that young people in particular see mobile devices as essential to their lives. “Young people try to do everything through the mobile devices,” he says. “DSK tries
to be attractive to the young.”
Although DSK did not expect mobile banking to attract new customers, it puts its business success down partly to its long history of involvement with clients early in their lives, when they are still potential customers.
Vasil Dimitrov, DSK’s Head of Electronic Banking, says that remote banking is moving from device-independent services such as on internet browsers to device-dependent services such as on mobile phones and tablets. “The world is changing,” he says. “It’s not
very easy for us but the market is going in this direction.”
DSK was faced by a range of mobile device operating systems; including Apple’s iOS, Microsoft’s and Google’s Android. The latter was the most popular at the time in Bulgaria, followed by Microsoft’s.
DSK also had to face the fact that there was no common agreement among system vendors on standards for digital signing of documents by customers or on payment standards.
DSK had chosen local software developer OpenIntegra as the partner to develop a mobile banking application for the iOS and Android platforms, the most popular.
However, Microsoft in Bulgaria realised that DSK, a Microsoft Enterprise customer, was missing a trick by failing to develop a Microsoft mobile application. It persuaded DSK that a Windows 8 application would be ideal and persuaded OpenIntegra that the Microsoft
mobile application had a healthy future and justified investment, which took the form of an employee skilled in Microsoft’s .NET internet framework.
Choosing the project design platform took DSK three-four months from its start in mid-2012, followed by five months for the development of applications for the three main platforms, including testing. Implementation was completed in mid-2013.
The first version of the Windows application gave customers access to basic services on mobile phones.
Genov says that the subsequent development of mobile banking for tablets was “faster and simpler” than for mobile phones and faster than for iOS and Android, with the latter’s adaptation almost amounting to a new application. The Windows banking transaction
speed is also faster, adds Dimitrov.
Microsoft Account Manager Joanna Stoyanova says that OpenIntegra wrote the Microsoft mobile banking application for tablets quickly: “It was not so complex for the partner. They needed less than a month to write the Windows 8 application.”
The lack of any standard security tools meant that DSK had to develop its own versions. The bank’s security review committee approved the resulting controls.
For the first time in Bulgaria, Microsoft also arranged a couple of events at 10 branches to tell customers about the Windows 8 application and mobile devices.
In a world where people are increasingly using mobile device, Windows 8 allowed DSK Bank to give its customers an extra service in the form of access to banking services on Microsoft platform mobile phones and tablets. DSK can also respond to feedback from
customers, including on Facebook, for new services. DSK sees the possibility of selling bank products remotely by the digital signing of contracts. Such digital signing is more difficult using iOS and Android.
• Full market coverage
Windows 8 allowed DSK to provide a mobile banking service for the complete range of popular mobile device platforms. Such applications allow the bank to personalise and customise its services and to reach customers on their mobile devices more quickly.
• Windows familiarity
A big benefit of the Windows platform is that the desktop version, which many of the bank’s customers are familiar with, is the same as the tablet version, which is a clear and reassuring benefit for customers. The interface is also different from that of the
However, Dimitrov is not that optimistic that Windows 8 will be widely acceptable for desktops, but thinks that there is potential for XP migration. The bank currently used Windows 7 for its internal operations.
• Meeting needs of the young
The bank can now meet the growing interest, especially among its younger customers, for banking on the move, whether using mobile phones or tablets.
• Development potential
After using the mobile banking application, users have suggested developments, including through social media, which DSK sees as a possible basis for services.
The use of mobile banking has also given the bank new insights into services, says Dimitrov: “Some of the things we expected; some things are new every day.”
Genov says that Windows 8 makes developments possible: “We see a lot of potential on Windows mobiles, especially tablets.” For example, DSK expected to begin a project with Microsoft early in 2014 on the use of mobile devices by bank staff.
“Microsoft always provides new ideas,” says Genov.
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Document published December 2013