By Daniel Hunter

A study investigating the top business priorities for the financial services industry in the UK shows that mobile will be an increasingly important channel for British financial institutions over the next three years.

49% of organisations stated that mobile banking is important to customers today, while 71% predict it will be by 2015. The study, commission by Fujitsu and carried out by Coleman Parkes, was conducted with 50 CIOs from across the UK wholesale, investment and retail banking community.

Three quarters of respondents felt that the main benefit of investing in mobile banking was the ability to retain customers and also to enhance customer loyalty through better customer experience. This was second only to it being a new revenue stream for financial institutions.

However, IT leaders admitted that there are still significant barriers to deploying a successful mobile banking strategy. 64% feel that security is still a significant barrier, with 42% also deterred by the investment needed.

“The reputational crisis that the financial services industry has been through has tested customer loyalty”, said Anthony Duffy, director of retail banking, Fujitsu UK & Ireland.

“Mobile banking offers a growing route to customer acquisition and to enhance satisfaction. There is a need for financial institutions to reinvigorate their relationships with customers — and mobile provides a great opportunity for them to do this.”

The study also revealed:

- Cloud computing is now high on the CIO agenda, with 60% of banks believing that it will help them achieve their business strategies. Furthermore 64% believe that cloud computing is a key enabler of change within their organisation. A significant number of respondents plan on deploying cloud-based solutions to drive efficiency with core functions, particularly in retail banking functions such as loan processing (77%), credit card processing (70%) and mortgage processing (64%)

- Investment is critical, with 65% CIOs warning that in order to transition the IT department to truly meet changing business needs, extra budget will be required

- The right skills are also crucial. Financial Services companies are increasingly looking for help from third-parties, provided that the latter can demonstrate understanding of core processes. 67% of interviewees look for this strength, with a further third seeking enterprise/infrastructure skills.

“The financial services industry has faced some tough challenges recently and will continue to do so for a few years, at least”, confirmed Duffy. “Banks need to adapt, change and seek new revenue streams in order to thrive and succeed."

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