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Commerzbank enables truly customer centric services

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Customer centric service

Driving digital transformation with Axway

Commerzbank is a leading German bank with an international presence, serving private and small business customers as well as corporates, multinationals, financial service providers, and institutional clients.

Over the last decade, customer expectations around the speed, convenience and personalization of banking services have changed dramatically. Businesses and individual consumers alike are now increasingly seeking out providers that can deliver tailored services — available 24 hours a day — via digital channels.

Christoph Berentzen, Head of API & Open Banking/Cluster Lead API Banking at Commerzbank, elaborates: “For more than 150 years, banks operated a closed organisational structure, because being shut off from the outside world was seen as synonymous with security. Today, regulatory requirements such as PSD2 and open banking — and the booming popularity of online and mobile services — mean that the opposite is true. While security is as vital as ever, opening ourselves up to the wider financial services ecosystem is crucial to deliver the new, responsive services our customers expect.”

 

Building customer-centric services

To achieve its transformation goal, Commerzbank aimed to reimagine its banking workflows from the perspective of the end customer. First, the bank looked to build a robust, API-powered architecture that could support new, open services.

Volker Sulzbach, Subject Matter Expert API & EAI Technologies at Commerzbank, comments: “In the past, batch processes and file transfers were the most common way of sharing information with our internal and external stakeholders. While these B2B integration processes had served us well for decades, we knew they would stand in the way of delivering seamless customer experiences.”

 

Focusing on security

After a rigorous selection process, Commerzbank chose Amplify API Management Platform as the foundation for its new API-driven service architecture. By deploying secure gateways, the bank has gained a solid basis for digital innovation.

Katharina Berner, Product Owner API Strategy, Open Banking & Digital Ecosystems at Commerzbank, confirms: “While we’d experimented with APIs before our work with Axway, our efforts were mostly small-scale interfaces built for individual departments. One of the big outcomes of our transformation is the shift from a ‘build once, use once’ mentality to a ‘build once, reuse many times’ philosophy. By offering our developers a catalogue of APIs — all managed on one platform to ensure consistent governance and security — we can accelerate the delivery of new services significantly.”

Sulzbach adds: “When selecting an API management solution, security,
ease of integration and maintainability were our key criteria — and we are very impressed with the performance of the Amplify platform in these areas. When we embarked on our transformation, APIs were relatively new to us. However, Axway are experts in API management, and the support and guidance we’ve received from the Axway team along the way have been invaluable.”

 

Shaping seamless experiences

To help support the development of data-driven services for internal as well as external stakeholders, Commerzbank has so far developed 150 strategic APIs. These include core capabilities such as authentication and authorization,
as well as payments and account-level data sharing — supporting new applications for clients and laying the foundation for API monetization.

“Our APIs are growing explosively: from around 2 million requests per month in the first year of using the Amplify platform, to 11 million requests per month last year, and more than 130 million requests per month this year,” explains Berentzen. “With these APIs as a foundation, we can deliver high-quality online and mobile services to our customers, which helps us to foster their loyalty and reduce the risk of churn. Our transformation initiative has been so successful that we’re now aiming to build more than 300 strategic APIs by the end of 2024, and additional tactical APIs to support specific projects.”

 

Unlocking new revenue streams

In the past, financial institutions such as Commerzbank typically exchanged data with financial services partners via batch processes. At the end of each working day, an automated process would export the required data into a file and send it via a secure file transfer to the partner. On the other side, an employee at the partner organisation would then manually extract the data and load it into the relevant system.

“For a number of years, we relied on manual or batch processes to share data with our wealth management partners — but this way of working made it difficult for them to feed their business systems with timely data,” says Berentzen. “When we launched our first APIs, we saw an opportunity to transform this process and add value to our partners by offering near-real- time data as a service. Our monetized APIs make it faster and more efficient for partners to leverage our data, while also creating new revenue streams for Commerzbank.”

 

Forging a partner ecosystem

Commerzbank is also using its APIs to forge new fintech partnerships. Sulzbach confirms: “We’re harnessing secure APIs to offer consumer loans via smava, a company that aggregates quotes from multiple providers to help customers find the best product for their needs. Just six weeks after smava reached out to ask if we’d like to be part of their platform, we stood up a minimum viable product in a test environment. Before we started our work with Axway, the same project would have taken us at least six months — so this was an incredible result.”

Looking ahead, Commerzbank plans to continue to develop its API capabilities to enhance customer services. “More and more of our customers are using Commerzbank banking apps, and many of our corporate clients are integrating our APIs into their own digital services,” comments Berentzen. “Today, very few people would choose to call a bank advisor to perform a transactional process they could complete for themselves online or on mobile. Through our work with Axway, we are empowering our customers to access powerful self-service capabilities — contributing to higher satisfaction.”

Berner adds: “In the last month, several new customers have cited the catalogue of APIs on our public portal as one of the main reasons they decided to engage with Commerzbank. Our digital transformation is having a very positive impact on the business: we’re attracting customers with help from our APIs, gaining market share because we’re integrated with fintech ecosystems, and growing our revenues through our own partner network.”

Berentzen concludes: “From the very beginning, Axway has been a true strategic partner to Commerzbank. We know we can count on Axway to help us build and refine a new generation of customer-centric services.”

Thanks to a single set of reusable APIs, Commerzbank is empowering its developers to cut development effort by up to 80 percent and build customer- facing services faster than ever.

 

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Rivery Raises $30M B Round of Venture Funding from Tiger Global

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With data needs growing and data talent scarcity, there is huge demand for Rivery’s 100% SaaS solution to create an efficient scalable data stack.

Rivery, the SaaS ELT today announced a new funding round of venture capital led by Tiger Global Management alongside existing investors State Of Mind Ventures and Entrée Capital. This financing follows from last year’s A round, bringing the total venture capital raised to date to $48 million. Rivery’s product-led growth has significantly accelerated since the launch of the Pay As You Go program in December 2021, which is growing at a rate of 50% month over month. This new pricing model complements the existing Self-Service experience plan, which opens the door to any type of company that would like to immediately get started with Rivery.

Rivery provides a single end-to-end ELT solution which covers key processes to create the optimal data stack: Ingestion, Transformation, Orchestration and Reverse ETL. Teams can choose from the different modules to build their ideal data infrastructure. Before Rivery, companies had to rely on legacy ETL platforms that were not built for cloud, and lacked the flexibility to scale. By streamlining and unifying how data stacks are built, maintained and automated, Rivery helps companies to unlock data value with a complete SaaS solution suitable for companies that need to scale fast. Besides helping data teams remain lean and agile to grow, it avoids the costly and complex issues that come with managing fragmented data stacks that rely on multiple disjointed tools.

Used by over 300 customers globally, Rivery’s approach to data management is a generational technology leap that incorporates automation and actionable logic into the traditional data ETL/ELT (extract, transform, and load) processes. Some of the world’s fastest-growing cloud-native companies including EMAAR, Bayer, Webedia, BuzzFeed, Papaya Global, American Cancer Society, NEXT, and WalkMe use Rivery as the core engine to power their data stack.

The new funds will help expedite the growth of the company across all teams in New York and Tel Aviv HQ including R&D, Product, and Sales, as well as expanding on EMEA where a London office has been launched to focus on the regional market. In addition, Thibaut Ceyrolle, who founded Snowflake EMEA Division, has joined Rivery’s Board of Executives to lead and define the company’s growth strategy across EMEA.

Itamar Ben Hemo, CEO of Rivery said: “Companies have to scale faster than ever before, which means data teams need to achieve more with less. By offering a fully SaaS end-to-end solution as the core to their data stack, Rivery plays a pivotal role to provide unlimited scalability. This funding is a great milestone that will help us grow our global presence, making Rivery a de-facto tool that empowers businesses to unlock the unlimited power of their data.”

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How to reignite your store with streamlined operations and a distinctive customer experience

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Colin Neil, MD, Adyen UK

 

Retailers know that prioritising customer experience is vital to success today. This, amongst the management of complex supply chains and the cost of living crisis is a lot to oversee.

Further, the pandemic has accelerated technology’s role in building a relationship between store and customer. Consumer adoption of digital, cashless payments has accelerated. PwC’s ‘Payments 2025 and Beyond’ report predicted that cashless transactions could triple in volume by 2030. This trend aligns with our own experience of 2021, in which we’ve witnessed a 70% jump in transaction volumes. It demonstrates the rapid digital transformation of retail as pandemic trends amplified the role of ecommerce in online and offline sales.

Operationally, there’s a lot for retailers to think about. The question is: Which are the technologies that will allow them to truly transform the customer experience?

Consider Android mPOS

Traditional mobile POS (mPOS) terminals are a great way to unshackle sales from a static cash-desk, helping to reduce queues and improve the overall shopping experience. However, they’ve also presented some operational challenges. These devices only take payments; they’re unable to scan barcodes or check stock, meaning that sales teams become burdened with a utility-belt’s worth of additional devices to fulfil these needs.

But recently, the entrance of the new Android mPOS terminal has caused a stir since it’s an all-in-one solution that can manage a multitude of functions, via installed apps. This includes: checking a customer’s previous orders and eliminating the need for separate cash registers, barcode scanners, and even customer facing displays.

These devices represent a fundamental change in the role of the payment terminal. Thanks to its app management system, retailers can manage the functions they use every day in a single hand-held device, from inventory management, to loyalty programmes, returns and more.

Palisis, a provider of sales and operations solutions for tourism and transportation businesses, and Immfly, an in-flight digital services provider, are among the first of our customers to roll out the terminals. In doing so, they’re simplifying the management of their business and freeing up staff to focus on the customer experience. Here’s how:

  1. Streamlining operations

Android mPOS terminals let you consolidate your store’s business functions into one device. This is a big benefit for your bottom line, since managing multiple systems and hardware can lead to high costs, from set up to ongoing maintenance. Furthermore, customisation from a centralised location gives an overview of all a retailer’s terminals. Adyen’s Terminal Fleet Manager, for example, is capable of multiple configurations – including terminal location, logo, refunds, receipts etc – remotely.

Consolidating these systems reduces cost of ownership, helping you free up budget for other investments and innovations. It’s also simpler for staff to use the one system, making their jobs much easier, especially during busy periods.

  1. Flexibility to grow

When systems are consolidated on a single device, it’s easier to update and scale technology as your business evolves. For example, if you process payments on a centralised platform, like Adyen, the same software and end-to-end encryption can be quickly rolled out across all your stores, anywhere in the world. You can also cater to customers’ preferred local payment methods, as well as the major global ones, without needing additional terminals or worrying about local acquiring headaches.

On top of that, if all customer-facing channels and backend systems are connected via one platform, you can monitor online and in-person payments in one place. You can recognise and reward loyal customers in real-time, future-proofing the customer experience with invaluable data insights. 

  1. Convenience for customers

Mobile devices allow customers to make purchases from anywhere. This has led some retailers to consider doing away with the till area completely. Tesco’s entered this space last year, and Sainsbury’s partnered with Amazon to introduce the experience too. With no cash desks, the store is given over completely to product and service.

Getting your roll out right

Take a look at what our customers Immfly and Palisis have been able to achieve with their roll out. Immfly needed to be able to create and process drinks and snack orders during flights, without involving any extra hardware for air stewards to handle and manage. Its Android S1F2 devices integrate cash register systems directly onto WiFi-enabled terminals via an app, which sync stock levels throughout the flight. Payments can also be taken while offline on both long and short haul flights. These capabilities also mean leading ticketing and reservation tech provider Palisis can use them in many different weather conditions, from ski slopes to tour buses in the world’s biggest cities.

The best customer experiences are convenient and modern payment terminals can help retailers deliver this. Just remember, when you’re looking to roll out any new in-store tech, it’s important to research and pilot the scheme thoroughly. In that way, you’ll be sure to have the best possible impact on your customer experience and ultimately your revenue.

 

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