RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Nine out of ten banks surveyed are strongly interested in customer-facing ecosystems
  • Banks can serve as marketplace orchestrators, third party ecosystem participants, open banking platforms or referral platforms
  • Key considerations include dealing with ecosystem partners, business architecture and technology
  • Banks that get these right will be well positioned to attract and retain customers in trust-based relationships


The ecosystem imperative

Banks facing slower growth are on the lookout for a new relationship model. The new imperatives for banks include rebuilding trust in the era of Open Banking and transforming customer interactions into hyper-relevant, personalized experiences. Our survey of 120 global banks shows that nine out of 10 banks are strongly interested in customer-facing ecosystems, with banks participating in a network of interlinked companies, working together to deliver value propositions to meet customers’ core needs.

Banking leaders (at the CDO, CMO and CSO level) have multiple options in developing and launching such ecosystems—as marketplace orchestrators, third party ecosystem participants, open banking platforms or referral platforms—with all paths leading to increasing revenues, reducing customer churn and/or expanding customer engagement.

Explore significant growth opportunities in a challenging new environment

Key to success

The key to success for banks considering customer-facing ecosystems is in finding the right operating model. Before launch, banks should look in depth at how value is to be delivered, as new capabilities are needed to support the ecosystem operating model. They should be aware of considerations related to the three core domains of ecosystem partners, business architecture and technology.

Banking ecosystems often operate across traditional industry boundaries, with different players working in the same space to deliver to banking customers services they need and value

Banks have multiple options in developing and launching ecosystems:

Life moments orchestrator

Banks can orchestrate their own ecosystem built around specific life moments, offering partners access to their own customer base in exchange for fees

Marketplace orchestrator

Banks can operate as marketplace orchestrators through white labelling or co-branding, selling non-financial products to their customers.

Third-party ecosystem participant

Banks can join third-party platforms to offer their own banking products to third-party customers.

Open banking platform

Banks allow partners to incorporate products and data in their value propositions, leveraging open application programming interfaces (APIs).

Referral platform

Banks do not originate on third party platforms but direct rejected customers to other providers.

Typically, there are three ways that banking ecosystems create value:

  1. Expanding primary relationships.
    By offering hyper-relevant experiences through ecosystems, banks can increase the value of an extended relationship with other financial products, increasing cross-selling (such as adding a consumer loan for home appliances to mortgage holders).
  2. Generating new revenue streams. Banks can offer ecosystem partners access to their customer base and data in exchange for fees, by orchestrating an ecosystem or by opening their infrastructure.
  3. Reducing customer churn. By orchestrating or joining third party ecosystems, banks can deliver more meaningful customer experiences and can follow customers beyond the boundaries of their traditional relationships.

When launching an ecosystem, banks should look in depth at how the value of hyper-relevant experiences is to be delivered, as new capabilities are needed to support the ecosystem operating model. Operating an ecosystem is different from running a bank; a banking ecosystem generates value by delivering hyper-relevant experiences — either from banking or from nonbanking services. This is quite different from the traditional model of managing the maturity mismatch between deposits and loans.

Banks should:

  • Develop separate partnership models with tactical and strategic partners
  • Effectively manage and monitor performance
  • Equip the ecosystem with intelligent marketing capabilities
  • Set up an agile ecosystem management organization
  • Move towards an API-enabled architecture
  • Take ownership of ecosystem security

Retail banks are looking for new sources of profitable growth. Broadening their proposition by leveraging ecosystems can be the way to stay hyper-relevant for their customers. Banks can orchestrate ecosystems to cross-sell financial services and generate new revenue streams. They can also become partners in third-party ecosystems extending their presence into the non-banking aspects of customers’ lives.

Taking on the challenges

Banks should be aware, however, of the many challenges related to creating and maintaining such ecosystems. These range from choosing and managing the right partners to resolving difficult issues related to organization, marketing, technology and security. The banks that get these matters right will be well-positioned to attract and retain customers based on value, immediacy and, above all, trust.

About the Authors

Piercarlo Gera

Global Managing Director


Alessandro Secchi​

Offering Development Lead – Accenture Financial Services


Luca Gagliardi

Senior Principal – Accenture Research


Nanna Svahn

Research Associate Manager – Accenture Research

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