Why hasn't our industry figured out how to build a digital banking platform that is easier to implement, maintain and extend after all of these years? I continue to hear horror stories of financial institutions working with their vendor partners to implement their chosen solution and I have yet to hear of one that has met expectations. A very well-respected executive I know in the industry summed it up well- "it seems like the online/mobile banking market is still the wild west after all of these years."
The digital platform is clearly one of the most strategic platforms for a financial institution. It is a key area where FIs want to differentiate themselves from others and show their members/customers that it isn t just non-FIs that can deliver a good experience. Of course, this need for flexibility often takes an FI from configuration over to customization, which adds time, cost and risk (which is worth it if delivered properly on top of a platform with a solid architecture). From what we have seen and heard from many, it sounds like most of the digital banking platforms on the market have focused more on the UI and functionality v. the architecture, configurability, and systems integration capability (both to back end systems and exposing an API on the front end for FIs that want to create their own look and feel). Projects don't end well when you combine an 'unarchitected' and poorly documented platform with inexperienced professional services organizations that try to figure out how to quickly and cost-effectively implement an FIs semi-custom solution.
I know it is easy to sit back complain but the problem is real and has seemingly not been solved by either well-funded start ups or by public companies. Our team has told me for years that Finivaiton should build another online solution, but I have always been discouraged by the heavy investment required on the distribution (sales, marketing) and professional services (implementation) side of the business. The architecture and development side is much more straightforward and I know our team could deliver.
I don't think FIs in the community financial services market should build their own banking applications. Software development is typically is not their core competency in the short or long term (nor is running data centers). But they do need to develop strong strategies and invest appropriately in the strategic channels (back up the commentary with capital). I can see many FIs focusing on designing the UI and plugging into a platform with a great API and infrastructure to support their needs now and in the future. If an FI doesn't have front end resources then they can always work with a firm like Trabian to build the front end to their specification and hand off the code to the FI to manage and extend going forward.
Let me know if there are any happy credit unions or banks out there that have recently implemented a new digital banking platform. It would be great to hear the details.