BankNews | How to Course-Correct Your Tech Investment
By Mary Ellen Biery, Abrigo
September 16, 2019
When a community financial institution spends a lot of money on technology, the last thing management wants is to be disappointed. It’s actually the last thing the technology provider wants as well – if the vendor plans to stay in business.
The good news is that financial institutions can take several steps to ensure they avoid troublesome software integrations, says Steven Martin of Marcato Advisors, a bank consulting firm focused on achieving success with fintech.
Martin will describe those steps later this month during the ThinkBIG Conference, but in a recent interview, he said the key is to take the business case for the tech investment very seriously. “It’s writing down specific goals, such as ‘We want to increase cross-sales while taking costs out,’ and then using the business case throughout to see if you’re achieving what you set out to do,” he said.
Financial institutions aren’t always good at creating and sticking to a business case for their technology investments, noted Martin, a management consultant who specializes in digital transformations with banks. They might develop pages and pages of carefully constructed analysis for a $1 million business loan, but for a technology investment? “Some will write a business case on the back of an envelope,” he said.
“People are looking for a silver bullet,” Martin said. And while some vendors might oversell the “silver bullet” notion of software, sometimes, the challenges are on the financial institution side. “Sometimes, a financial institution will buy the solution over a first meeting … but they don’t have a business case and then they expect the software to be magical. You’ve really got be deliberate about what you’re doing.”
What to do with a project gone askew
Do you feel like your bank’s project is veering off course? Martin advises looking first to user adoption. “Get a sense of what’s going on – what are the failure points? I’d probably look toward what are those reasons that my staff or my customers aren’t using the software, and I’d prioritize those,” said Martin.
A common reason for poor user adoption of software is a lack of understanding of the technology’s capabilities. That can stem from a lack of training, either because the financial institution didn’t roll out enough or effective training to employees or perhaps didn’t tap into available resources, such as those of the vendor. “There are training videos, user groups – there’s a community out there for best practices,” Martin said. “The vendor has a stake in you being successful. How are we tapping into this great resource that is a vendor?”
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