Small businesses will get Web 2.0 banking within three years

The next three years will see banks change online banking for small businesses through the use of Web 2.0 technologies, but technology, security and financial challenges will slow the transformation.

The next three years will see banks change online banking for small businesses through the use of Web 2.0 technologies, but technology, security and financial challenges will slow the transformation.

According to research from consultancy Celent, banks will be delayed in adopting Web 2.0 owing to uncertainty about what technology to build applications with, the need for detailed security testing of applications, and cuts to IT budgets.

Banks are looking for technology to support new business models that meet customer demand for web-based services, said Celent.

Web 2.0 technologies will enable banking portals to add cross-selling capabilities, and using Web 2.0 development techniques banks can offer a rich, customisable user experience. These portals of the future could be used to access multiple accounts at different banks.

Celent said, "Banks are careering in all directions to keep up with technology." And although change will not come easy for banks, the highly competitive market is forcing banks to re-focus on Web 2.0, said the analyst firm.

The report said it will be between 12 and 18 months before business banking sites featuring Web 2.0 elements are available.

It attributed this delay to banks having difficulty deciding on the underlying Ajax framework, the need for rigorous security evaluations of new technologies, IT budget constraints, and a lack of off-the-shelf software.

"Regardless of the delays, Web 2.0 will revolutionise the landscape. Solutions will finally begin to emphasise the customer experience, usability, and navigation while allowing customers to take care of their core banking requirements," said the report.

Jacob Jegher, senior analyst at Celent, said, "Although small business banking and corporate cash management applications provide a slew of features and functionality, they look and feel out of date, are not easy enough to use, and cannot stand up to what the customer would really like. Some banks will unfortunately keep things status quo, while others have already begun to recognise the need for significant change and innovation with the ultimate goal of enhancing the user experience and the customer relationship."




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