Smart Banking Application




Leading South African bank

Project Overview

Smart Banking Application is a full mobile client banking solution that supports most popular mobile platforms for smartphones and tablets. The solution provides access to the functionality available in a typical internet banking application and many more.

From business and technical perspectives, the project scope included:

  • Transactional services, including access to the most popular enquiries and transactions through existing backend interfaces using mobile devices
  • Customer messaging, a possibility to monitor all operations against customer accounts and avoiding fraud
  • Lead generation and general information to current and potential customers
  • GEO services and maps integration.

The customer needed to develop the Smart Banking Application to meet customer expectations in terms of mobility of its services. The Smart Banking Application is aimed to reduce messaging costs, to support the ease of banking, and to fulfil the needs of smartphone users, as well as to align with the self–service migration strategy the bank is pursuing.

The application should improve user experience through interface with mobile device capabilities.

The following functionality needed to be delivered:

  • Banking Transactions:
    • Account balance
    • Transaction history
    • Inter account transfer
    • Beneficiary payments
    • Prepaid recharge
    • Send money
    • Quick payments (paid in advance)
  • Messaging
    • My Updates notifications via push messaging
  • Value Added Services
    • Marketing capability (“Coming Soon” banner)
    • Financial indicators
    • Calculators
    • Location–based services.

The following Smartphones and Tablets should be supported: Blackberry (RIM OS 6, 7), Google Android Mobile and Tablet, Apple IPhone and IPad, and Windows Mobile.

Project Execution

The project specificity:

  • Availability of only high–level requirements and therefore much depended on IBA ability to find fast and intelligent solutions
  • Extremely tough schedule (four months instead of typical six months for a team of this size).

To achieve the project's objectives, IBA had to review and modify the whole stack of application layers to accommodate the latest best practices and to provide a common backend solution. The solution is frontend–independent and functions using different technologies on mobile devices:

  • The existing internet banking mainframe functionality was modified and exposed on a generic interface application (Axis–based web service) without affecting Branch Accounting and SAP applications that are used to extract information and process transactions
  • Common gateways were created to provide a unified secure interaction interface to mobile clients (JSON–based requests to IBM WebSphere DataPower SOA)
  • Multiple native client applications were created to provide a natural and fast application on each mobile platform (RIM, Google, iOS, Windows).

After deployment to the respective application store, the bank's internet banking–registered clients can freely download the mobile application, register their devices and get access to the most vital internet banking application functionality, including banking transactions, messaging, and value added services.

The IBA's teamwork and communication skills, professionalism, willingness to help, wholehearted dedication of all team members, strict adherence to elaborated plans, and proper distribution of duties helped IBA to meet the following challenges when implementing the project:

  • Time pressure. Significant reduction of the initially estimated time for the project thanks to the use of the Agile methodology
  • Distribution of duties. A part of the team was working from Minsk, while a number of team members were present at the customer site for close cooperation with the customer.
  • Client operation security. All applications were rigorously tested for security and the IBA team signed and followed security regulations. The application offers additional security, enabling users to access their accounts only from their own devices.
  • Internet banking changes. All changes done to the internet banking solution could not impact the existing banking applications and customers.
  • Transaction volume. All layers were designed to handle heavy internet banking traffic through mobile channels.
  • Light and fast client applications. Native applications were optimized for each platform to provide the fastest solution.

While implementing the project, IBA Group trained users to apply the newly developed tools and online functions and provided the following support:

  • Participation in meetings to discuss project details
  • Assist users in problems investigation 
  • Help system to install project modifications.

The described approach enabled IBA to deliver the solution on time and without any impact on end users.

Project Results

The application is available at a number of application stores. The application is rated 4.2 based on a five–point scale and has received many positive reviews from end users.

Since the application's launch on June, 26, 2012, nearly 100,000 Android users and 40,000 iPhone users downloaded the application to their devices.

Customer view: “The IBA's responsibilities within the project included being involved in the architecture design, devising a detailed implementation plan, developing a technical solution, and communicating with other teams to roll out the solution to production. All operations were performed according to the schedule and the Smart Banking Application was successfully deployed. We appreciate IBA's contribution to the project and the energy the company has devoted to the modification of the bank's IT infrastructure.”

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