Realize the Digital Banking Payoff

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify the five transformations in enterprise software that are a formula for becoming a digital bank.
  • Describe how banks can use Salesforce to drive digital transformation.
  • Define the underlying technologies that successful banks use to power digital transformation.

We’re in the midst of five transformations in enterprise software. Intelligence, speed, productivity, mobility, and connectivity are becoming a part of everything we do.

You can think of these five transformations as the formula for becoming a digital bank. Pick your use case—for example, offering the right package of services to help a customer afford a home—and create a technology solution that embodies those five elements.

Let’s take a look at why each of these transformations is so important for banks to connect with their customers and help employees be their best.


Consumers have intelligence-driven experiences daily without even realizing it. Google harnesses artificial intelligence (AI) to autocomplete search queries with great accuracy. The Facebook news feed and Amazon product recommendations learn customer preferences and predict what people are likely to engage with or purchase. So the new standard for every customer interaction is that it has to be smart and personalized.

AI is transforming industries: Image shows a smartphone, smartwatch, electric toothbrush, Amazon Echo, robot, and connected car, scale, and wind turbine

It’s also essential to empower employees with knowledge and context about customers. Smarter employees create happier customers. Banks have opportunity for growth in this regard. A Salesforce survey found that 53% of millennials and 56% of Gen Xers said that bank employees (in branches, online, or on the phone) quickly accessed their customer history and account summaries to provide more personalized service.

Artificial intelligence can help in a number of ways, from chatbots deflecting basic service inquiries to machine learning algorithms automatically recommending offers and actions that employees can use to address customer needs.


Speed is the new currency in banking. It’s especially important in the context of emerging fintechs, who rapidly move from idea to app until they zero in on experiences that customers want. Banks need technology and agility to deliver products and services at a similar pace, or they risk losing market share.

Many banks recognize the need for speed. In fact, 73% of banking IT leaders interviewed for a research report said that improving the speed of development cycles is a critical or high priority.

However, banking IT leaders interviewed in the report also ranked the speed at which they can complete projects as the top challenge they face in meeting their strategic objectives. This means banks want to quickly design, prototype, and deploy apps up to business requirements. But they also recognize how difficult it can be to move the needle in this area.


Just as banks need to be faster and more agile in an increasingly competitive financial services landscape, they also need to empower their people to make the most of their time and resources. Employee productivity is key for putting customers at the center of every interaction, since productivity gains enable employees to spend more time deepening relationships with customers and understanding their financial goals. This is especially meaningful in contexts such as premier banking, where customers expect informed advice that’s tailored to their specific needs.

Productivity is also critical in areas such as mortgage lending, where customers and employees navigate an intricate web of paperwork and a disconnected universe of loan officers, brokers, Realtors, and underwriters. Loan officers can work more quickly and focus on keeping customers up to date when manual tasks such as logging calls and "templatizing" emails are automated. And customers can minimize the strain of a complex and highly emotional process using tools such as collaborative digital documents, e-signatures, and prepopulated forms that streamline their applications.


Mobility has been a transformative force across industries. The number of smartphone sales worldwide increased from 172 million to 1.5 billion between 2009 and 2016. And perhaps nowhere is this trend more pronounced than in banking.

At Salesforce, we found that for activities consumers considered critical or very important to access on their mobile devices, banking tied with news for second place (54%), only after navigation (56%).

The significance of mobile banking is even more important when it comes to millennials. Another Salesforce study found that nearly a third of millennials with a checking or savings account use their bank’s mobile app for routine transactions such as deposits and transfers.

This helps explain the declining significance of banks’ branch networks, since fewer consumers are using those outposts for their day-to-day banking activities.

Mobility is key from the employee perspective as well. Banks need to unchain employees from their desks in order to provide service quickly and seamlessly to customers wherever they are inside or outside the branch. For example, Citi recently announced plans to eliminate more than 80,000 physical desktops by 2020 as it emphasizes mobility.

Integrating the same level of functionality and convenience into mobile banking that customers traditionally received from branch experiences is essential for a modern bank.


Everyone and everything is connected: 3 billion Internet users, 6 billion mobile phone users, and 6 billion connected devices make up an unprecedented network of information and interaction. Those billions of connected people and things generate enormous volumes of data about everything from financial transactions to online interactions. Banks have the potential to use these huge data pools to help employees answer questions and—the real game changer—predict needs among current and potential customers.

Connected cars can signal when the car needs repairs or even replacement, which can trigger the need for an insurance claim or an auto loan.

Connected homes can offer insights about when a customer needs a home equity line of credit to replace drafty windows.

And then there’s the humble debit card. It’s the original connected device. Every time customers swipe, they’re creating signals about their interests, purchasing habits, and financial goals.

Today it’s possible to capture insights from these signals that bankers can act on immediately. For example, imagine if your bank is able to offer a travel rewards credit card to a customer whose purchase patterns suggest they’re planning a vacation. This is possible with today’s technology.

The Salesforce Advantage for Digital Transformation

At Salesforce, we’ve incorporated each of these transformations into our Intelligent Customer Success Platform for banking.

Graphic showing the data, intelligence, and application layers of the Salesforce Intelligent Customer Success Platform. The data layer includes IoT, social media, CRM, and core banking data. The intelligence layer includes analytics, machine and deep learning, and natural language processing. The applications layer includes Sales, Service, Marketing, Community, Analytics, Platform, Commerce, IoT, Quip, AppExchange.

The platform’s foundation is data—data from every source across those billions of connected people and things. The Salesforce Thunder data layer can unite customer data with transactional data from your core banking system, anonymous buying signals from consumers’ online behavior, and signals from connected devices such as cars, homes, and debit or credit cards.

All of this data powers intelligent banking apps on any device and delivers value for customers and employees across your bank’s lines of business.

On top of the data, we have the Einstein artificial intelligence (AI) layer. Einstein learns from all of the information in the platform’s data layer to provide insights to your employees that help them make decisions faster and smarter.

For example, one large European bank used the Salesforce Data Management Platform, an AI-driven marketing hub, to analyze millions of data points about its digital campaigns, including data on which ads were displayed to specific consumers. As a result, the bank discovered a unique combination of video and display ads that increased customer engagement.

The Einstein intelligence layer also powers smart, seamless experiences for your customers. Einstein uses machine and deep learning to identify your customers’ financial needs and preferred channels, so banking marketers can deliver the right offers to the right audiences at the right time. Einstein can also personalize customers’ experiences when they visit your website or branch by predicting what support content or products they’re likely to need.

Salesforce Einstein is like having your own data scientist—it infuses advanced AI capabilities into your bank so every financial experience is faster, smarter, and more personalized.

On top of Einstein, we have Lightning, which makes it faster and easier than ever for banks to build applications and drive business value.

Lightning empowers nontechnical users—such as business analysts—to build tools including recruitment apps, self-service support communities, and performance dashboards using clicks rather than code. It also provides employees with a contextualized experience that lets them quickly access information about customers’ spending habits, account usage, financial milestones, and personal interests.

At the top of the platform, we have our leading business applications, which ignite greater team productivity, even when employees are away from their desks.

Conversational documents in Quip let relationship managers and underwriters collaborate on documents for loans. Remote reporting and analytics in the Salesforce mobile app help bankers monitor customer account usage. And the 360-degree view of clients’ household profiles and financial accounts in Financial Services Cloud empowers personal bankers with insights they need to deepen customer relationships.

Finally, the platform’s open API architecture enables integrations with a rich partner ecosystem. So you can easily integrate data from your core banking or loan origination system with Salesforce.

Ultimately, the Salesforce platform drives smarter, faster, and more connected customer experiences while empowering employees to be their best by working together and focusing more time and energy on their customers.

Now you have some context about the five transformations occurring in enterprise software and how the Salesforce platform addresses each one in the context of banking. Let’s continue to the next unit, where we hear the story of a customer and her bank and how they connect in new ways using Salesforce.


Salesforce 2017 Connected Banking Customer Report

How long will it take to get your mortgage approved?

Number of smartphones sold to end users worldwide, 2007–2016

New technologies, wealthy customers: What to know about Citi’s investor day

IT Leaders Are Bullish on the Future of Banking


Rights of ALBERT EINSTEIN are used with permission of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Represented exclusively by Greenlight.

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