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Essential resources for banking executives:Enter ‘Banking Reinvented’

Partners in success: 4 keys to winning together

Building a long-term partnership with your technology partner is crucial to achieve your banking transformation ambitions.

by Backbase


Banking technology started with hardware: ATMs, teller terminals, servers, etc. This meant banks bought technology like it was a consumable. There might be a service contract for repairs, but it was inherently a transaction rather than a partnership.

When banking technology and fintech moved to software, that started to change. You could still buy a point solution and get a service contract, just like purchasing hardware. But with software-as-a-service emerging in the banking industry, that approach no longer fit.

These days, CTOs need solutions for today's problems — but they also need a partner to help capture tomorrow’s opportunities before they become problems. Banks need a long-term innovation partner to walk alongside them on the transformation journey. Let’s explore four keys to creating a winning bank-technology partnership:

Focus on business outcomes

Citizens Bank's digital transformation goals were lofty, but they were poorly understood by the team. Specifically, leadership wasn’t clear on what the goal meant for the business, according to Lamont Young, Head of National Banking and Digital Channels at Citizens Bank, who shared his insights on stage at Backbase ENGAGE 2022. Young says his team was trying a lot of new things at once and realized they needed to hit reset to clarify their goals. The next step was to specifically define winning. And once people got it, they defined how they would determine if their plan was working.

Know your strengths and weaknesses

Citizens turned to Backbase and PwC for help because Young and his team were not just implementing a platform, but also an organization that could operate with it, including new strategies. Eventually these external supports were replaced by internal teams, but Young says they first needed someone to teach them how to be a savvy organization.

Invest your team’s time where it counts

Part of becoming such an organization is knowing where you and your team can make the most impact. For Don Westermann, Chief Information Officer at Eastern Bank, this meant choosing a partner that gave them the tools and support to customize their offering. At ENGAGE, Westermann shared that Eastern Bank wanted to push their custom UX further, introducing a higher level of personalization.

Backbase partnered with Eastern Bank to collaboratively develop an agile approach. For Eastern Bank to realize their goal of revolutionizing how new customers interact with their banking services, products, and teams, they needed to focus their internal resources on the issues that mattered. That meant building services based on their deep knowledge of their customers and communities. And rather than divide their internal teams among multiple projects, Westermann and Eastern Bank adopted out-of-the-box solutions for the rest of their needs.

Don’t reinvent the wheel

Once they each had clarity on their business goals, both Eastern Bank and Citizens Bank recognized they needed to be ruthless about what was the most efficient use of their internal resources. Where they didn’t see a competitive advantage to creating a differentiated offering, they didn’t reinvent the wheel.

In Citizens Bank’s case, Young says he and his team took this concept to heart. Young recognized unified money movement was their biggest opportunity to differentiate, so they built that capability on their own; the rest, they adopted from Backbase. In the case of Eastern Bank, Westermann turned to Backbase, as well as Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services, to industrialize the platform that powered their custom UX. Both these approaches saved their respective banks time and money — helping them take great strides towards achieving their digital transformation ambitions.

For more ideas on how to build an enduring technology partnership with Backbase, check out this customer case study with WSECU