Not only are the NCAA Basketball brackets set, but we have finalized our digital banking competition as well. While our criteria stood the test for a couple of hundred banks that commented on it or we had interviews with, we have had to expand our brackets from 18 to 24 contenders as it seems that we left several off.
Our (Semi) Final Criteria
While always subject to change as we learn more, our initial criteria that will go into our scorecard is outlined below.
Dozens of banks contacted us to let us know that we did not put a restraint that the digital provider had to have a significant US presence. This is true; more than half our universe of solution providers outlined below are from outside the US. While many community banks have that constraint, it turns out that many European and Asian firms need to be more flexible as they sell into various countries instead of one big homogenous market like the US. As such, these firms often have more flexibility designed into their products which aid in meeting several of our scorecard criteria.
In addition, in interviewing these firms, we are finding that they are often more evolved when it comes to security, data protection, and privacy. We are not sure if we will pick any of these firms, but from what we know so far, we have been very impressed.
Choosing A Strategy – Process Improvement or Transformation
The other lesson we learned when talking to banks about this process is that most banks fall into one of two categories and it is important to understand which one you are in as it will drive both the criteria mentioned above and the selection process below.
Either a bank wants to improve their current processes and is looking for a platform to digitize more of their product offerings, or, a bank wants the ability to come up with new products and to transform the way they currently do business. The later camp is more complicated and requires more flexibility. To prepare for real-time payments, to be able to handle the Internet of Things movement with its edge computing structure and to be able to create new products in-house all require the platform to come with a set of tools and have a more flexible architecture.
There is no right answer here. The goal, in our opinion, should be to find a current platform that best meets your current goals and a partner that has the culture and architecture to be able to meet your goals ten years in the future.
We are still open to thoughts and opinions so if any bank has seen demos in the last six months on any of the above and has an opinion, we would love to collect your feedback.
Until then, we plan to focus on our NCAA picks and then look to update the digital banking competition throughout the next month. Our goal is still to get down to the Final Four in the May/June time frame. This competition won’t be as fast or as fun as the NCAA, but it will be as interesting.
Submitted by Chris Nichols on March 18, 2019