Mobile Platforms for B2B Users Must Simplify Complex Workflows
Hubert JP Jolly
Global Head of Channel and Enterprise Services
Citi Treasury and Trade Solution
B2B organizations deal with a number of complex processes on a daily basis. Most transactions need multiple approvals and every monetary move must be thoroughly documented. When it comes to banking, platform providers are challenged with making these tedious tasks as seamless and streamlined as possible. Hubert JP Jolly, global head of channel and enterprise services for Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solutions business, spoke to eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about how Citi is making the B2B user experience easier and more mobile-friendly.
eMarketer: What factors have led B2Bs to shift certain processes to digital channels such as mobile? The B2B space often moves slower than consumer-facing organizations—what did it take for B2B organizations to also get on the mobile bandwagon?
Hubert JP Jolly: Treasurers and CFOs are individual consumers in their personal lives—outside of work, they use consumer applications but while at work, they use B2B platforms. There is an increasing expectation for immediate gratification while on the go, such as when treasurers find themselves waiting for a flight in an airport, but need to approve an urgent payroll payment. This is why we launched CitiDirect BE Mobile and CitiDirect BE Tablet to capture these inevitable mobile moments in today’s fast-paced economy. The mobile expectations of our B2B users are influenced by their personal lives.
eMarketer: What are some of the challenges associated with delivering an optimal experience for the B2B space?
“An optimal experience has to package complex processes into one that is simple, intuitive, seamless and engaging.”
Jolly: B2B processes are often more complex than analog features in the consumer space. For example, while a consumer can easily and quickly make a payment to their electric company, an institution may require multiple levels of authorization by correctly entitled users, they may be making payments to an overseas provider, they may need to monitor their global cash position across multiple legal entities and they may also need to ensure that they have accurate records of all actions taken. An optimal experience has to package complex processes into one that is simple, intuitive, seamless and engaging.
eMarketer: How does Citi’s B2B mobile platform integrate with existing platforms that your B2B customers rely on?
Jolly: Our mobile platforms CitiDirect BE Mobile and CitiDirect BE Tablet are seamlessly integrated into the existing desktop platform, CitiDirect BE. All are driven by the same entitlements, security, data and workflows. Our mobile solutions provide enhanced visibility and control via an optimized user experience.
eMarketer: Does the rise of mobile transactions mean a decline in more traditional methods of conducting business? How can these experiences coexist?
Jolly: Unlike the Citi Consumer Bank, Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions does not have branch presence where customers visit in order to conduct business. Given the institutional nature of our services, much of our offerings have already been digitized. However, recent trends indicate that more of our clients have been actively leveraging our omnichannel capabilities across desktop, mobile and tablet.
eMarketer: Broadly speaking, where is the B2B space in terms of maturity of mobile implementations? What are some shortcomings that other B2B mobile experiences have?
Jolly: For Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions, the uptake of mobile has varied widely by region, much of it driven by local consumer trends. However, in general, we still have some catching up to do with the consumer space in terms of speed to market with native device capabilities and user engagement. In the B2B space, we also have to consider companies’ bring-your-own-device policies, particularly in shared service centers, which may impact mobile adoption.