By Rick Hall, Managing Director, Banking and Financial Services, BKM Marketing
Vetting and validating new technology vendors often falls to bankers and marketers who may lack the technical expertise needed to thoroughly understand the presented technology, including whether it will provide the best solution for the bank’s specific needs. It’s easy to overlook red flags and grasp at what might seem like a simple solution.
These bankers and marketers must take a step back and consider the bank’s needs and goals across a variety of business lines and customer segments. They must learn to shrewdly and strategically select software vendors, especially as today’s bank marketing technology is littered with more products, solutions, and silver-bullet promises than ever before.
If you’re thinking, “Easier said than done,” you’re not alone. Most bankers and marketers are not technology experts or risk managers by training, so deciphering what’s said and written about software and how it translates to business needs isn’t exactly intuitive.
9 questions to ask software vendors
Asking these questions will instill confidence in investment choices and ensure no time is wasted on vendors that will ultimately yield a dead-end or failed project.
- How long has the company been in business and provided the offering you’re considering?
Banks want to deliver on their strategy, compete effectively, and grow. Investing in new tech tools is the way to go, but the speed of technology requires a due diligence process for new vendors. Unlike other vendor validation criteria, it’s not realistic to require tech vendors to have a years-long track record. Learn to think in months, not years. Vendors should be able to demonstrate a steady focus during that time versus impulsively following the whims of the market.
- Does the solution directly interface with your current core system in real time, or does it rely on APIs?
Viable marketing solutions should be real-time or close to it. You don’t want to market a mortgage offer to a potential customer 60 days after that customer hit the radar or create rate exposure from an offer term — you will never land these opportunities.
Effective technology integrates across the enterprise. A recent Bank Director “Technology Survey” found that 68% of banks rely on their core to introduce application programming interfaces (APIs, which basically allow two software applications to talk to each other). But only 21% are happy with their core provider.
There is plenty of other research that supports similar conclusions. The result is that many banks make do with a patchwork of technology solutions rather than an integrated, seamless whole. To avoid this, bank marketers must work with internal IT teams to understand how the promises of real time or APIs will actually work in the bank’s…