Modern, cloud-based digital technology is a must-have for financial institutions seeking to enhance the customer experience, improve operational effectiveness, streamline internal communications and allow access to data across the enterprise.
For years, the only option was to develop these technologies in-house. While this “build” approach offers some benefits, such as greater control over implementation and customizations, there are a host of hidden costs and burdens.
The good news is that banks and credit unions now have a second option: the ability to buy technology and implement it quickly, cost effectively and more efficiently than they could on their own. By taking a “buy” approach, banks can go to market with new technology quickly, typically within 12 months.
While this strategy can save time, money and resources, it isn’t as simple as hitting a “buy now” button. How your bank implements its buy strategy is critical to ensuring you make the most of your investment and achieve your goals within the timeframes and budgets allotted to the project. This seven-step road map can help.
- Plan First, Act Second: Begin by establishing a strategic plan that clearly outlines exactly what you wish to achieve from your transformation project. This plan should include a clear set of goals, including a concrete vision of how your institution’s internal operations and customer experience will change in relation to the current state.
- Address Low-Hanging Fruit First: To create positive momentum and enthusiasm throughout the institution, begin your journey by implementing a micro-transformation strategy, in which you begin by addressing smaller projects that are low complexity and relatively easy to implement, but offer significant, immediate value to the institution.
- Don’t Stop There: Once you address the low-hanging fruit, make a commitment to a roadmap based on implementing iterative functionality over time. This so-called “rolling thunder” approach toward continuous evolution is the best way to keep your team engaged and enthusiastic, address your customers’ needs and stay competitive over the long term.
- Analyze Your Existing Processes: This step is crucial, but often overlooked during the pre-implementation stage. The deployment of new technology offers a rare opportunity to review all your existing processes and procedures and decide whether they are the most efficient way to get the job done.
- Select the Right Vendor: Next, it is time to address the market and consider which provider offers the best solution to meet your specific technology and operational needs. To begin, ask yourself which platform will achieve your institution’s desired outcomes most effectively, efficiently and quickly.
- Design, Build, Implement: Once you’ve selected your chosen vendor, they will work with you to design and configure the solution to best meet your unique needs. It’s advisable to avoid over-customizing the system and aim to stick with roughly 90% of the standard solution as offered out of the box. This is because well-designed systems are already pre-configured to meet the needs of most institutions in the most efficient way, based on experience gathered from hundreds of previous implementation projects.
- Train and Communicate: Lastly, make sure your team is fully prepared to work with the system prior to go-live. Ensure you have a comprehensive communication and training plan that is developed and runs concurrently to the implementation. Many FIs make the mistake of waiting to the last minute to address training needs, and slap together a training and development plan for employees as an afterthought. If you want to ensure a smooth rollout, and full buy-in from your front-end users, make sure everyone is onboard and raring to go before the big day.
Changes in financial services are accelerating, and institutions must pursue digital transformation to meet the evolving needs of the market while improving the efficiency of their internal processes for their employees. The choice has long been between building technology solutions in-house or outsourcing the development to third party partners. Today, in most cases, it’s no contest. When comparing critical factors like speed to market, ROI, the ability to hire specialized skillsets and ongoing software maintenance, the Buy side is overwhelmingly the ideal choice for most institutions.
By partnering with a best in breed strategic partner, you will benefit from their expertise and experience, allowing you to configure the solution to your unique needs and objectives, while leveraging leading practices developed over dozens of implementation projects.
The choice is clear, and the time is now to begin your digital transformation journey. To learn more, download our Buy vs. Build white paper.