Despite some predictions, cash shows no signs of going away anytime soon, and this means ATMs will continue to play an essential role in any bank’s strategy. Indeed, recent figures from UK network LINK revealed that the end of last year saw record ATM usage, with December 23rd 2016 being the busiest day in history, when a total of £730 million ($947 million) was withdrawn in the space of 24 hours.
With consumers still relying heavily on ATMs in order to gain access to their finances, it’s clearly vital that providers are able to offer a high level of service, ensuring that their machines are able to deliver what users want, whenever they want it. This means having strong visibility into an entire ATM fleet.
Understanding what your network looks like
But this involves much more than simply keeping an eye on inventory levels to avoid scenarios where consumers are faced with out-of-stock messages when they try to make a withdrawal. In order for ATM networks to work efficiently, banks need to know exactly what they’re dealing with at any given time.
This is particularly true for banks with larger fleets, but the same principles apply regardless of now extensive a network is. The chances are that not every ATM within the fleet will be homogenous, even for a more limited deployment. Banks are likely to have a significant range of technologies and capabilities throughout their network – and if they’ve expanded their fleet through mergers or acquisitions, they could have an even more diverse set of technologies to deal with.
This can make managing and maintaining a fleet a real challenge. Individual ATMs may well have different requirements when it comes to cash management or security, so being able to quickly identify when needs to be done at each is essential in ensuring the network continues to operate effectively.
Why visibility matters
For example, having an effective inventory management solution can tell you at a glance how many ATMs you have running a certain operating system and where they are located. So if you have a certain section of your business running Windows NT or XP machines that are in need of upgrading, it can tell you where you need to prioritize your efforts.
This is basic information about an ATM, but often, it’s not something banks are able to easily gain insight into because they don’t have the right tools. And if ATM operators don’t know what’s going on throughout their fleet, they may be left exposed to a range of issues.
The danger of running outdated technology was illustrated clearly recently by the global WannaCry ransomware attack, which took advantage of unpatched vulnerabilities in obsolete Windows XP software. While there have only been a few unconfirmed media reports of some ATMs in India being affected, there’s no guarantee that the next threat won’t be more damaging to ATM software, so knowing which machines are in need of security patches is vital.
Maintaining and upgrading an ATM is a task that’s never complete, which is why having full visibility into the status of a network at any given time is so important. Without it, banks may fail to spot any potential issues, or end up ignoring parts of the network that are badly in need of updating.