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How Banks can Find Certainty in an Uncertain World

"In this world, nothing can be said to be certain – except death, and taxes."

— Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, 1789

Benjamin Franklin is one of the most frequently quoted of the U.S. Founding Fathers, and for good reason. While many of his quotes and quips were deeply rooted in the issues of his time – like a revolution and giving birth to a new nation – a multitude of his thoughts and sayings still resonate to this day – and can be aptly applied to the banking industry.

Statistics on failed core banking implementations are ubiquitous from solution providers and consulting agencies alike – and none are good. For example, Cognizant has estimated that 25% of core banking change projects fail, and 50% fail to meet the transformation objectives driving them.

Which raises the question – why do it, when so many core banking projects and transformations fail? What can be done to prevent a failed implementation? What can one do to be as "certain" about it as Ben was about death and taxes, when selecting a vendor and a solution? Perhaps the answers are in Benjamin Franklin's most famous quotations...

"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail"

What is solution certainty? Solution certainty stems from the provider's company history, its current market presence, the solution itself, and where the company is headed with the solution. Banks today seek certainty in solutions that are real time, event driven, digitally enabled, and fully componentized – a platform that can provide all the capabilities necessary to do business efficiently and effectively, using any and all channels, and adaptable to whatever directions the market takes over time.

"A place for everything, everything in its place"

What is capability certainty? This pertains to a capability model-based solution, one that spans across the IT ecosystem based on foundational components that are ever present – Customer, Product Management, Account Engine, Real-Time Data Hub and Compliance. These capabilities support retail, small business and commercial customers for products and services. Certainty is provided when these capabilities are available out of the box and do not require customization; they are configurable to meet the bank's unique needs and vision, and ideally are integrated via APIs into extended components such as Payments, Digital Channels, Onboarding, etc. Capability certainty enables banks to focus their initiatives on optimizing the customer experience, benefitting from easy-to-buy, easy-to-use products and services and rapid speed to market.

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest"

What is knowledge certainty? In order to find knowledge certainty look for solution providers with banking domain experience, years of successful solution deliveries, and a demonstrable commitment to innovation. These providers possess the knowledge and scope to leverage the latest modern technologies and development approaches – delivering high tech, agile-developed, cloud-native offerings that adhere to industry standards and meet stringent regulatory requirements. Seek out providers that incorporate their cumulative "tribal knowledge" into everything they do and are committed to investing and innovating to keep raising the bar on what their solutions offer.

"When you're finished changing, you're finished"

What is future-proof certainty? Future-proofing enables financial institutions to evolve and grow their solution holistically or by component, to constantly stay ahead of the technology curve, now and in the future, without any part of the overall solution becoming antiquated. This is achieved in part by having an extensive catalog of API-enabled services that span a large and complete set of solutions, enabling the bank to pick and choose capabilities as the solution and the market evolve over time.

"Well done is better than well said"

What is processing certainty? Processing certainty requires solutions to be fully tested and certified, built to be scalable, and inherently resilient. Internal and external audits must be performed regularly to ensure ongoing integrity and regimen. A proven virtual back office that leverages an open banking approach. A framework that easily accommodates partners and third parties, as well as adapts and assimilates into existing IT processing ecosystems.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"

What is compliance certainty? Compliance certainty is achieved with proven, vetted, regulatory compliant banking solutions that are live in production. The "Gold Standard" for compliance certainty pertains to companies that employ a global team of compliance professionals who monitor regulations and the company's solutions, and ensure their solutions comply with the letter and spirit of applicable laws. They go beyond merely enabling solutions for compliance and audit; rather they instill in mandated company processes the necessary vigilance and commitment to ensure their solutions are compliant and secure by design.

"I didn't fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong"

What is delivery certainty? Delivery certainty requires a track record of successful implementations and deliveries, proven processes, and experienced staff. Solutions that are delivered and implemented for a full spectrum of banking services and banks of all sizes and types (or at least for your bank's particular services, size, and type) – from innovative fintech vendors, to greenfield de novo digital banks, to the largest complex global financial institutions.

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me – and I learn"

Any vendor can start an implementation, but not all finish as promised. Banks need the right technology partner that can deliver and manage their banking solution through and beyond launch. Banks can select a provider and then hope they deliver – but that is risky. The better strategy is to evaluate each provider's ability and likelihood to provide the types of certainty described above, and side with wherever the abundance of certainty lies. The rewards can be great.

"If you have a choice between certainty and hope – choose certainty every time..."

– Source unknown, but Benjamin Franklin would most certainly agree. 


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