The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 1 October 2004



(2004), "USA", The Electronic Library, Vol. 22 No. 5.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited



Offshore outsourcing

Despite the growing controversy over outsourcing IT jobs overseas, research from Forrester indicates that offshore outsourcing remains an imperative in North American companies because of the cost and quality benefits it makes possible. Although companies are careful about how they describe and discuss their offshore outsourcing initiatives in public - so as not to upset shareholders, customers, and employees - it is clear that during the first half of 2004, many companies have moved quietly ahead with offshore plans despite the uncertainty. As highlighted in Forrester’s prediction of the number of US jobs moving offshore during the second half of 2004, more customers than ever will employ offshore programming and business process resources to support their corporate goals. Due to the demand from our client base, and supported by various survey data, we believe that the Indian IT services market will continue to grow at least 30 per cent during 2004. To get the most business value from nearshore or offshore sourcing relationships, companies must understand the latest trends in global outsourcing.

Growth in usage of online banking and bill payment

According to research into online banking in the USA by comScore Networks, more than 22 million users logged into accounts at the nation’s top ten banks in the first quarter of 2004, representing growth of 29 percent versus Q1 2003. During this same period, usage of online bank bill payment services has grown by 37 percent.

“Online banking and bill payment continue to be among the fastest growing applications on the Internet,” said Jim Larrison, vice president of comScore Financial Services Solutions. “The continued proliferation of broadband access, coupled with heavy online and offline promotion, have helped the nation’s largest banks bring more than 5 million customers online in the past year.”

More than 4.6 million consumers, or about 20 percent of the online banking population, actively used online bill payment services offered by the top ten banks. These consumers paid an average of 14 bills online during the quarter, with an average value of approximately $250. The total value of bills paid by consumers though the top ten banks in Q1 alone was nearly $17 billion.

“Previous comScore research has shown that consumer use of online bill payment is correlated with greater loyalty to a bank and higher account balances,” continued Mr Larrison. “These benefits, along with the significant cost savings that come with processing transactions online instead of on paper, have led top banks to offer their customers compelling incentives to use such services.”

“Offering our customers free and innovative online bill payment services continues to be an important area of focus for Bank of America,” said Sanjay Gupta, e-Commerce executive for Bank of America. “The adoption rate among our customer base is a clear indication that consumers value the convenience and security of online bill payment.”

In addition to its assessment of online banking, bill payment and customer acquisition growth in the past year, comScore’s Q1 2004 Online Banking Report also includes an analysis of the competitive landscape. With the Q1 report, comScore launched the Online Banking Development IndexTM (BDI) to serve as a composite benchmark of a bank’s performance in engaging its customers online. The index is comprised of ten components across three major categories: adoption, engagement and loyalty.

In Q1 2004, Bank of America led the top ten banks with a BDI of 118, followed by Citibank (115) and Fleet (114). While Bank of America is strong across the board, its greatest strengths were in the adoption and engagement categories. Bank of America continues to grow its online customer base at impressive rates, despite an already large foundation of users. Moreover, Bank of America is second only to Citibank in the percentage of its online customers who use bill pay services.

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