The rapid development of customer touchpoints and rising customer expectations turn up the pressure on eBusiness professionals at retail banks to continue investing in digital channels. Even with the rising pressure, few eBusiness executives report having the resources needed to execute a strategy that supports customers who use multiple channels. Forrester partnered with the Consumer Bankers Association for the second year to survey digital banking executives for the “The State Of North American Digital And Multichannel Banking 2013” report. The goal of the research was to better understand how digital banking teams are focusing their strategic energy, investing in digital channels, building multichannel capabilities, and measuring the digital business. We found that:

  • Consumers are increasingly using multiple channels. Almost one-third of eBusiness executives we surveyed believe that more than half of their customers regularly use more than one channel. Yet few banks have connected their multiple channels to create an integrated multichannel experience — allowing customers to seamlessly move between channels.
  • While most banks have a multichannel strategy, few have the resources to execute. Most eBusiness executives indicate they have a digital strategy, yet only a few report having the budget or dedicated multichannel teams to support executing a strategy. Without dedicated resources, multichannel will remain a pipe dream.
  • Digital banking investments are increasing. Online investments still get the lion's share of digital investments. eBusiness executives report spending on infrastructure upgrades to support online sales and service priorities. Online money movement continues to rank high on the list of investment priorities for eBusiness executives as well as website and mobile redesigns.

Despite the lack of funding, resources, or cross-channel analytics to build or manage multichannel capabilities, there is multichannel hope. Digital banking executives are optimistic about delivering a multichannel experience in the coming years; 48% report plans to build a multichannel application status tool, and 90% have plans to grow their full-time headcount dedicated to multichannel support and strategy in the next 12 months.

While optimism is high, even the best strategies can fall victim to poor execution. Many banks today still operate in channel silos and are burdened with legacy technology that hinders their ability to deliver compelling multichannel experiences. This problem will persist unless eBusiness executives secure the dedicated resources needed to deploy a multichannel strategy. For more insight, I encourage you to read the full report here. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts, questions, or comments.