6 steps to make digital integration work for your bank 

Integrating new wealth management technology into today’s core banking systems is like trying to fuel your diesel car with natural gas. It takes adaptation, to say the least. During implementations in banks of various sizes, from local to Tier 1 institutions, we have identified aspects that we believe are key to the successful integration of a solution proposed by a financial technologies company.

Vastly differing corporate cultures and technologies from different generations require preparation, goodwill and a lot of communication to make the marriage work.

1. Make it or break it with your choice of leader.

Involving a capable architect from the get-go is key to successfully integrating new technology into your banking system. Throughout the implementation, you will need to open up a system which is closed by nature. Most banks use core banking systems designed in the 1990s, which are very comprehensive but generally not written to easily integrate external solutions.

For instance, as soon as you decide to open the system up, it becomes essential to repatriate your data from all systems to a centralized data warehouse to be able to use them correctly. A good architect will know how important it is to model your data flows in order to set up a coherent, scalable and maintainable system and will propose the necessary actions proactively. As today data is one of the most important assets, this type of decision will make or break your integration.

2. Challenge the perception of your needs.

The solution proposed by your provider might be the best in the world, but if it is not applicable for or poorly integrated into your processes, it will hit resistance and fail to bring value to your institution. Business process modeling and identification of the systems that underpin each step are essential to ensure that the solution you implement will bring efficiency gains, usability and quality for your users and clients. For example, asking your users to go back and forth between two applications to perform a frequent activity greatly detracts from their experience with the solution (not to mention inevitable data synchronisation problems).

Today still, many suppliers are selected without specifying the needs of each affected business line in advance resulting in projects being late and over budget - if not abandoned.

3. Get ready for a lot of novelty.

New generation technology vendors will come with technical requirements that you might not be used to, and may even propose solutions that seem to endanger the security of your system. A typical example are cloud-based solutions. It is still difficult for a bank to accept sending its data to the Cloud. But many of these solutions guarantee an equivalent if not better level of security. No serious collaboration should compromise your security procedures or your operational processes. But considering modern technology will allow you to discover excellent solutions your selected partner could offer.

4. Communicate often - and then more.

Setting up a very formal governance system risks overwhelming your wealth technology vendor with a flood of administrative burdens that their organization is not used to. One of the key advantages of a new generation technology company is its flexibility and ability to adapt quickly. By adopting frequent communication with your supplier, you build on this advantage. Setting up a weekly 30-minute telephone check-up with the project team to provide a progress report is much more effective for your integration project than having heavy steering committees every two months.

5. Transform your scoping habits.

You can expect your needs to change and your priorities to evolve rapidly throughout the project. Your WealthTech is efficient at adapting to your needs and proposing solutions quickly but not at planning each step of heavy and complex projects over several years in fine detail. The iterative process of delivery allows you to better mobilize your stakeholders and provide visibility to users and top management.

Identify a restricted but meaningful perimeter (your MVP - Minimum Viable Product). Once this is delivered, re-evaluate your needs constantly and improve the system in an iterative approach.

Our experience is that the planning done in heavy scoping phases quickly loses its relevance as the project progresses, often even before the solution is launched. In turn, create a real relationship of trust with your technology provider, based on frequent and tangible results.

6. Allow some degree of freedom.

The regulatory context, competition, and mobility needs of your users and customers are all changing constantly. So are your needs as a business, and as a bank specifically. The technologies and possible solutions to meet your needs are evolving accordingly.

It is only natural to want to impose a rigid framework on an IT project’s cost, scope and timeframe. But we have seen that in 100% of cases it leads to unsuitable solutions.

The success factor of any application is its usability. It is very often necessary to carry out part of the project and then adapt it. In order to avoid budget and deadline overruns, we suggest that you remain flexible on one or more functionalities you wish to cover.

Who are we? 

Evooq is a Swiss-based finance technology and services company offering wealth management solutions for banks and independent asset managers. Our tool is built on the latest technologies and is designed to raise value for the end client, empower wealth advisors and increase revenue for wealth institutions from independent asset managers to Tier 1 banks.

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