Future-proof your Operating Model / The benefits of Royal Bank of Canada’s unified engagement platform

The benefits of Royal Bank of Canada’s unified engagement platform

Digital transformations can be complex, but they can have a huge effect on your financial institution. If you can deliver a streamlined, frictionless engagement solution, you’ll save money, increase agility, and improve your journeys across the board.

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Is your financial institution sinking a huge amount of money into creating, maintaining, and eventually upgrading multiple disjointed tech stacks? It’s more common than you may think, but that doesn’t mean it’s a solid approach. These stacks work separately, reducing employee efficiency – both on the front and the back end – while also demanding constant time and attention from your maintenance staff. Attempting to optimize multiple tech stacks requires a huge commitment from in-house or external teams and will likely drive up your costs for years to come.

Dealing with discordant stacks can also result in slower releases due to a lack of agility. Innovation can become quite challenging since point solutions don’t exactly lend themselves to a fluid operating model. And don’t forget that customers can definitely notice the difference. Incohesive stacks create broken user experiences that your bank can’t afford when attempting to compete with hyper-personalized, customer-centric neobanks.

Let’s delve into the example of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). RBC made a bold choice. In order to streamline its operations and increase customer engagement, the bank re-platformed its retail and commercial solutions into a single, comprehensive engagement platform. The bank realized that 55% of its platforms had common elements, streamlining the process further. In the end, the bank greatly increased its agility and was well prepared when the pandemic struck. Now, RBC provides best-in-class customer journeys, all for a fraction of the cost of their former operating model. It didn’t happen overnight, but they built a strong platform – and they built it once.

“We decided to re-platform retail and commercial at the same time, which is normally too much to bite off, for most banks,” said Peter Tilton, Senior Vice President at RBC. “But we decided that we would reuse widgets all the way across where you use microservices; we reused everything we could.”

It’s essential for your bank to look beyond traditional solutions and start constructing a unified engagement platform. The primary benefits of this approach include a reduction in costs, improved agility, and enhanced customer experiences.

[Engagement platform leads to reduced costs – In this clip, Peter Tilton, Senior Vice President at RBC, discusses how moving to an engagement platform model has yielded real results for the bank.]

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Many banks are learning the hard way that, by investing in cheaper point solutions and siloed infrastructure, they’ve created a monster of hidden costs. RBC was laboring under the burden of multiple tech stacks, but they course-corrected and made incremental changes that are now yielding huge results.

By unifying its channels into a single engagement solution, like RBC did, you’ll potentially save your financial institutions tons of money down the road. The price point of these solutions may seem steep, but you have to weigh this against the staggering costs of maintenance and the eventual replacement of the entire system.

An engagement platform can lead to a drastic reduction in the amount of money your bank will spend on maintenance and allow you to re-allocate this into driving innovation. It’ll even save you money on updates, upgrades, and new releases. Simply put, it’s much cheaper to create something once – the right way – and then redeploy and reuse as needed.

“[Building a platform once] makes it very upgradable and much more easy to maintain,” said Tilton.

And by creating a single engagement platform, you’re future-proofing your operating model. It’s also a much faster and cheaper process to recycle the elements that are working while devoting time and energy only to the aspects that need improvement. That means creating new portals is much more efficient and cost effective. You’ll also have much more realistic expectations and a budget based on proven metrics.

Increased agility

Engagement platforms can take quite some time to construct. But, again, it’s important to think big-picture. These platforms will always be more agile than tech stacks, and that’s a huge selling point. Sure, the low costs and quick fixes of point solutions can seem alluring. But many banks are now realizing that their hands have been tied for years, their agility stifled, by the choices they made with the best intentions. But RBC has demonstrated that it’s never too late to start making positive changes to your operating model.

By creating one platform that works in harmony across all channels, you’ll be able to more easily address problems and regularly release incremental updates and upgrades. By reusing components that work and eliminating the ones that don’t, you’ll be able to move quickly and start delivering great customer experiences – at scale. And when something unexpected like COVID-19 comes along, agility can suddenly become more important than ever. That’s why constructing a unified engagement solution must become a priority for your bank – and soon.

“[An engagement platform] is a profoundly efficient model, and it’s proving to be very successful,” said Tilton. “This is why we could respond during COVID, because we had the underlying tech. If we hadn’t put in those years of working and finding ways of doing remote, agile delivery, it would have been a struggle.”

Superior experiences with an engagement platform approach

Most importantly, engagement platforms allow you to deliver superior experiences for both your customers and your employees. Tech stacks force customers to juggle multiple apps and also reduce employee efficiency on the back and front end. It’s hard to provide best-in-class service when your staff struggle to access basic financial data. This creates frustrating experiences across the board and puts a serious limit on your bank’s growth potential.

Here’s the good news – it’s entirely possible to simultaneously give your staff the tools they need to succeed while also providing top-notch customer journeys. In fact, the two go hand in hand.

“[It’s about] being as much worried about an advisor’s experience as a customer experience, and then thinking hard about how you knit those two together,” Tilton added.

If your bank can streamline its journeys to encompass both employees and customers, you’ll start taking great strides towards becoming a bank that people love.

Create real value for customers

Still, change is hard to enact, even with all of these competitive advantages. But that doesn’t mean that the challenge is insurmountable. Take it from RBC:

“I think we made the right decisions,” said Tilton. “But if anyone is thinking about starting this journey, the caution would be that it’s a long, hard road. You should never underestimate the importance of culture, building the right culture, and how challenging the old culture is, in terms of transforming the bank. It’s not an easy path.”

Don’t let the enormity of the changes dissuade you from an engagement platform model. It can be done – RBC did it, and you can, too. In doing so, you’ll save time and money while freeing yourself up to focus on the things that matter, like creating real value for your customers.

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