RETAIL banks' IT investments this year will be focused on fuelling revenue growth, technology research and advisory firm Ovum said on Wednesday.
Forty-three per cent of senior IT executive respondents in Ovum's ICT Enterprise Insights survey have signalled "supporting revenue growth" as one of their top three priorities for this year.
"The need to grow topline revenue through sales and customer conversion rates is driving investment into digital channels," said Kieran Hines, Ovum's practice lead of financial services technology.
"Due to this, the areas that will see the greatest spending this year are mobile and online banking, with 52 per cent and 51 per cent of banks respectively seeing their budgets grow," he said.
Thirty-eight per cent of respondents have also highlighted improving the efficiency of internal business processes as a core focus.
"This streamlining offers cost reduction opportunities, as well as enhanced product conversion and cross-rate sales," Ovum said.
Globally, with 23 per cent of banks seeing budget reductions this year, IT will be the lowest investment priority, Ovum said. But 52 per cent of banks in North Asia and 48 per cent of banks in North America are still planning to increase spending on bank branch IT.
And the main focus of digital channel investment will be on providing greater functionality. Enhancing platform functionality is the leading objective. This includes the ability to offer statement searches or to set up payments and 53 per cent of banks have stated this as an investment priority.
Said Mr Hines: "There is a wide trend of consumerisation in the industry and retail banking is no exception. Users now expect and demand the same kind of rich, interactive experience they receive from the retail, media and entertainment industries in their banking platform."