Since 2007, the mobile banking market has changed significantly in terms of predominant technologies, feature/functionality and consumer adoption. Correspondingly, there has been a considerable shift in Celent's evaluation of vendors in this market. Some vendors have kept up with market developments (or even led them); others have fallen behind.

    The shuffling of the vendor deck can also be attributed to the fact that they have matured in the last three years and begun to gain their stride. For example, whereas many vendors originally focused on one modality (SMS/text, mobile web or app), they now offer all three. While vendor focus was once more on consumer-facing user interfaces (UI), focus has since shifted to back end analytics. Having only a handful of financial institution (FI) implementations three years ago, many vendors now have experience with hundreds of FIs.

    Examples of vendor repositioning can be found in Celent's XCelent Technology Award recipients: mFoundry and ClairMail. In 2007, neither of these vendors obtained a top score among any of the criteria within Celent's ABCD framework. Originally focused on the app and SMS/text modalities respectively, these two vendors have since grown to offer robust reports, analytics and program administration on the back end. mFoundry is unique in having launched the US market's only live mobile contactless payment solution. ClairMail is showing leadership in the use of alerts, which Celent expects to enjoy a resurgence in importance. Right behind these two vendors, M-Com has extended its 2007 evaluation as being exceptionally strong in terms of advanced technology. M-Com's relative strengths are not limited to its advanced technology. In fact, it is the winner of Celent's XCelent Functionality Award. As part of the evaluation process, Celent looked for the live availability of over 100 features. Most vendors had a basic set of functionalities live in-market. However, M-Com had more live in areas of high criteria weight, and the sum of these additional functionalities was enough to push M- Com to the top position for breadth of functionality.

    Vendor repositioning brought about by maturity is also evident in customer base measurement. Vendors that were barely present in the mobile banking space three years ago now have the largest number of live FI clients. These include Jack Henry, which is the winner of Celent's XCelent Customer Base Award; since 2007, it has grown from no live clients to 246. However, mFoundry scored relatively highly due the recency of its implementations, and ClairMail fared well too as a result of having the highest number of active end users (i.e., consumers).

    FIS is the winner of Celent's XCelent Customer Service Award, largely due to the fact that it has been instrumental in the implementation of not only a very large number of mobile banking solutions (more than 200), but also because these solutions were essentially non-native technology from multiple vendors. The scope and complexity of these implementations were complemented by reference client feedback, which indicated FIS has a high degree of professionalism and enthusiasm for the mobile banking product.

    RED GILLEN is a senior analyst in Celent's Banking group, a research and consulting firm focused on the application of information technology in the global financial services industry. For the full study, please contact