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EA Radio - Episode 5 - The banking use case, User Experience and EA

In this episode we take a use case of banking user experience and see how enterprise architecture can bring in a transformation. 

Image by Pablo Arroyo

Welcome to the Episode 5 of the Enterprise Architecture Radio. Today let's take a use case. Today I called my bank, let's say Bank "A" to get my home loan interest certificate, to file my tax returns. After a brief authentication with my phone number and name, they asked me which financial year I wanted the interest certificate for and I told them it was 2021-22. and within about 30 seconds or so, I had my tax returns in my inbox.


Today I also called my other bank, let's say Bank "H" to get my car loan interest certificate to file my tax returns. I got on a call and they started with a brief IVR that said, "Thanks for calling H Bank. Please press '9' if you would like to talk to a customer service representative". So I press '9'. And he starts by saying, "Welcome to the super priority customer care", I happen to be a super priority customer with the top of the line account and the best of the best credit card, so... Super priority customer service. Anyways, he goes, "I hope you and your friends and family are doing well, how can I help you today?"


A very long welcome message and I think a "how can I help you today Mr. Das" would have sufficed.


So I tell him that I need the car loan interest certificate for 2021-22 and a very set of conversations ensue.


He says he is going to have to transfer me to the loan department. And after a few minutes of waiting, listening to long recordings and a convoluted IVR, my phone gets disconnected.


I decide to try again.


Same recording, same short IVR and the same guy picks up the phone again with the long welcome message. "Thanks for calling "H" Bank, and welcome to the super priority customer care. I hope you and your friends are doing well, how can I help you today?"


I explain everything again, he says he will transfer me to the loan department again. This time, miraculously I do get through the IVR and reach a customer support rep. She asks me all the standard questions for verification again, with my phone number, date of birth and address. And then she asked me how she can help me. I told her about the car loan interest certificate. She asked me for the loan account number, I didn't remember. She asked me for the car registration number. I asked her if she can pull it with my phone number but she insisted on the car registration number.


Well I give it to her and then she tells me that I will receive an SMS with a link, which is kind of suspicious and then I have to click on it. And then it takes me to a website where it confirms my identity with an OTP. I provide the OTP because the site looks valid. And then she makes me fill up a long form asking me details about what I need. It seems it is a request for the interest certificate. I reach the last field that asks me which year I want the certificate for. And the only options I have is 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21 (Provisional). When I asked her, she said she can't give me the certificate because 2022 is not over yet. I had to explain her, a bank official, what a financial year means. Literally telling her that I wanted a loan interest certificate from April 1st, 2021 to march 31st 2022. And considering this is July 2022, it is possible.


Yes, we have gotten to almost half of the podcast and we are still not getting anywhere. So long story short. She couldn't help me. She couldn't just trigger a statement to my email id. She had my account details, my phone number, my email address and she had verified my identity and still she couldn't send me the certificate. All she could do was "raise a complaint". Long story short, I called my relationship manager and he got it done. But there's a lesson here.


Let's look at how things can be changed here to improve the user experience. In our case there are only two stakeholders, there is the customer and the  support rep. And I am going to keep this SMART. Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound.


First of all the customer as a stakeholder should be treated as a single entity by the whole enterprise and all lines of businesses. Which means everyone within the enterprise should be able to pull all the relationships that the customer has with the enterprise. Everyone who is officially allowed to access this data. So for example, if I have a credit card, a home loan and a super priority banking account, any customer rep or relationship manager, should be able to help me with any help that I need with any of my products within seconds. The customer should be able to access all his products, (bank account, credit card information, loan account) from a single interface, using a single set of credentials.


Now let's come to the service rep. The Service rep should have access to all the information he needs to manage the customer's account and provide him with the help required. He should be empowered and have sufficient authority to take decisions so that he can resolve the issue within seconds.


Let's look at processes. All processes should be simple. I can get into the Personas of all different kind of customers and their preferences in the interest of time I am going to split them into two. Super priority customer and well regular customer. Super priority customers usually prefer talking to a relationship manager on the phone to get their things done. That should be made simple after the first authentication is done. Minimal IVR, minimal recorded messages and a short and succinct welcome message with the customer's name in it. The systems should give access to the customer's name based on the registered mobile number. When I call my relationship manager, he starts with a "Hi Das sir". And I love that. Short, succinct and personable. The idea is to save as much time as possible.


Regular customers should be provided self-service and the website / app should be simple. Again, single interface and credentials for all products and services and an easy to understand user interface design. For example, if I have to download a statement, it first asks me details such as which account, dates of the statement, etc. And then once I click generate, it tells me to come back to the website after a few minutes and download it once it is ready. Interestingly, if I wait a few minutes, the session will expire, which means I have to go through the login process again. Its either that, or I have to keep clicking and browsing and performing some activity on the website for a few minutes to keep the session active. It only takes a few seconds to generate the statement. Why not just allow the customer to download it there and then once its ready. Or just say, "This is going to take some time, would you want us to email you the statement to your registered email id instead?". There are always more intuitive and easier ways of doing things.


Let's look at organizations. I don't know the internal org structure of the bank but from outside I can already see that there are some silos between the loan department and the accounts department. The loans department has no clue about who I am, what kind of relationship I have with the accounts department. Even the login credentials are different. This means we will have to break the silos and get the departments to work with each other. Recognize the customer to be one entity and benefit from each other's data. Help in marketing and upselling efforts.


Let's look at applications and data and how they can support a unified view we just talked about. First of all websites will have to change and get unified. Today I have two set of credentials. And I only access my loan account once a year or so which means the credentials are either expired or I have forgotten them, which means I have to go through the process of reset password every time I log in. I understand it is required for my own security, but isn't there a better way?


How about sharing of data between all the departments and having a single data source from where all the departments pull their data. A single website, a single app and a single set of credentials that allow me access to all my products (loans, accounts, credit cards, etc.)


Once we have figured this much out, the technology is not so complex to figure out. How the applications will be hosted, public cloud, private cloud. Will there be automation, CI/CD, Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning, all that is implementation details that we can handle easily. The tough part is the bigger picture. The proverbial forest from the trees.


As you can see Enterprise Architecture is a very interesting subject. Once you understand it, you start seeing opportunities for improvement everywhere in every aspect of your life. Whether you are interacting with a bank, working with a government entity or buying groceries at the mall for that matter. Wherever you see processes and systems, you see enterprise architecture.


Now before I end the episode today, I would like to make an announcement. On popular demand from some of our listeners and followers, we are conducting a live webinar. On Sunday, September 11th, 2022. I know its a horrible date, September 11th, but hey its a date. We will be discussing why Enterprise Architecture, Why TOGAF is the best EA framework and how doing a TOGAF certification can be beneficial for you.


To register for the live webinar, visit You will see the registration form on the right hand side of the screen. Its very easy to remember.


See you in the webinar.

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