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The Modern Mutual - Forging Successful Partnerships

"Partnerships are key. Where we have been in the past is a supplier relationship. What we are building now for the future is a partnership focused model." - Chris Hunter, Deputy CEO of Darlington Building Society 

What makes a good partner?

  • Shared vision and values: Identify potential technology providers that share your customercentric focus, can support and enhance the concept of Membership, and clearly buy-in to the overarching vision of the transformation.
  • Mutual benefits: A partnership must be built upon the delivery of mutual benefits for both parties. Work with your vendor partners to understand how working with a Building Society will ultimately benefit them, beyond the purely commercial benefit.
  • Innovation at the core: Select a partner that is committed to innovation and open to exploring new technologies, such as Open Banking, to enhance services and remain relevant.
  • Resilience and operability: The partner's technology infrastructure should be robust, adaptable, and dynamic, with the ability to respond to market changes effectively.
  • Relevance: The Building Society sector is characterised by numerous regional organisations. The partner of those Societies may need to differ from the partner to the Societies operating nationally.

"We want the human touch backed up by the technology. Our USP is all about the best customer service and that personalised customer experience, but we need the right technology to enhance and enable this." - Phillippa Cardno, CEO of Newbury Building Society

What are the common design principles for selecting new tech providers?

Each organisation must decide on their comfort level and priorities when selecting tech providers, as there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, key principles to consider include:

  • Proven track record: Evaluate the maturity and experience of technology providers. Understand who they have worked with across the market today. Seek credentials where you need to.
  • Partnership ecosystem: Consider your overarching technology ecosystem and determine what ‘good’ looks like for you: balancing simplicity, operability and flexibility.
  • Integration: Prioritise providers who offer seamless API-based integrated approaches to simplify implementation and prevent manual data input down the line.
  • Futureproofing: Understand the long-term roadmap of the vendor, and how they plan to utilise emerging technologies to stay relevant for years to come. 
  • POC, pilot and testing: It will be easier to assess the capabilities of those providers that offer the opportunity for experimentation early in the process – even through a sandbox POC with dummy data.
  • Resilience: Understand your operational nonfunctional requirements and make sure that your technology providers can offer robust, performant, and resilient services.
  • Security and compliance: Ensure that data security and regulatory compliance requirements are met by the provider.

"Competition across providers is essential for sector growth. It drives innovation and forces organisations to improve. Without competition, complacency can hinder progress. Embrace competition to foster an environment where the best ideas and practices thrive, benefiting customers and propelling the sector forward." - Neil Williams, Industry Expert 

It’s an exciting time for the sector with new entrants with strong credentials in similar sectors wanting to support Building Societies.


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Lydia Coyle

Lydia Coyle

Management Consultant


Member since

23 Sep 2021



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