When seeking a core conversion, every bank must find the core platform that best fits its strategy and individual needs. It’s critical for banks to stand back and evaluate each solution based on its broad characteristics: Can you configure it to meet your needs? Does it have the basic business functions to support a customer-centric banking environment? Our experts agree—banks should first evaluate the broad system characteristics before moving on to specific applications.
The following are the eight considerations that are critical for competing in today’s financial environment:
1. Flexibility and Configurability
Banks need a core solution they can easily tailor to fit their own unique needs, without time-consuming, expensive, difficult to manage customizations. That means the platform must give your system administrator the capacity to tweak fields, screens and workflows to fit the way your institution works.
Questions to ask to ensure the flexibility you need in core technology include:
- Can the solution be configured easily or does that require engaging a professional services team?
- Does it use open architecture via accessible application programming interfaces (APIs)?
- What are the steps for adding a new deposit product and how quickly can that be completed?
- Can you give us some examples of how other banks have configured the solution or made it their own, without engaging outside services?
2. Component-Based Architecture
A component-based architecture gives banks the opportunity to add new applications as they become available, without changing out the entire solution. You can find out if this is available by asking:
- What functions are built into the solution?
- What ancillary products do you offer?
- What new applications are currently in development?
It’s also important to choose a provider that offers a wide range of fully integrated tools and applications, like mobile apps, CRM, business intelligence and other products that enable the bank to attract new customers and compete in a changing marketplace. Getting more products from a single technology provider also streamlines support and eliminates the complexity of managing multiple vendors.
3. Ease of Integration
System architecture should include the core provider’s products as well as the ability to seamlessly integrate those of third-party vendors. And such integration will likely be established by APIs, which simplify and enhance the two solutions’ ability to work with one another. So, the more integration the core provider offers, the more efficient the system will be for your institution.
There are two main questions you can ask to determine the ease of integration from a core provider:
- Can you give us some examples of other popular applications, beyond your own, that seamlessly integrate with your solutions?
- Why is your integration so tight, and what is it about the way the system is built that makes it superior in that way?
4. Business Intelligence and CRM
The core is a vehicle for collecting customer data. And built-in business intelligence and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions enable bankers to quickly turn that data into insight for creating a better customer experience. The key is implementing a system that lets you mine data and understand your customer well enough to tailor your offers, communications and products to their needs.
Ask these questions in regard to business intelligence and CRM:
- Does the CRM offer the ability to add relationship data?
- Can you view the information by household as well as individual account holder?
- Can you easily push out customer data and targeted offers to your front-line staff?
- Can you easily segment your customers for focused marketing?
- Does the solution provide the tools you need to create a customer-centric culture at your institution?
- Does the system provide a centralized customer view?
The core solution should be as simple to navigate as a mobile phone, so your employees can work more efficiently and spend more time focused on the customer.
The usability of a solution can be determined by asking:
- What makes the system easy-to-use?
- How fast can new employees typically be trained on the system?
- Is the system as intuitive from a system administrator perspective and, if so, why?
6. Modern Technology Platform
Banks need agile, open architecture to support mobile applications, like tablets inside and outside of the branch. Look for the most current architecture available to ensure it can support the applications of the future. If the system is lacking in the foundational technical platform, you’re already behind before you begin.
Have your IT expert do a deep dive by asking:
- Does your platform work on tablets and other mobile devices?
- How often do you implement platform upgrades?
- How many APIs do you already have built out?
7. Built-In Compliance Tools
The core system should aid in compliance, with alerts and automation to help you respond to changing regulatory requirements without eroding efficiency. The best solutions also are those that regulatory auditors embrace, because these tools give them the transparency they need to make sure institutions are strictly following compliance guidelines.
Ask questions like:
- How does your internal compliance team stay on top of new regulations?
- How far in advance do you drop releases before new measures go into effect?
- What sort of support/education/webinars do you offer to prepare customers for upcoming changes?
- What kind of alerts or workflow enhancements are built into the system to ensure compliance?
Hosted solutions should have an enterprise-wide security framework in place, not just safeguards around individual parts of the system. Having these standards in place are more important today than ever, as fraud and the sophistication of attacks continue to accelerate.
Protect your institution by asking these questions:
- What are your security protocols?
- What sort of backup and business continuity do you offer?
- How experienced is your security team and what are their credentials?
Get the Definitive Core Guide
Check out our Definitive Guide to a Successful Core Partnership white paper for even more information about developing a comprehensive approach to integrating a new core banking system