Orchestrating success - selling the vision of core banking transformation

Written by Keith Redding CRO, Universal Banking
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What does it take for a financial institution to successfully execute a transformation project? Envisioning the future state is vital but projects with such wide-ranging impacts demand a strategic approach to garner internal support and to make the case for change compelling. In short transformative projects of this nature require an internal sales campaign. Here are some insights and advice for banks embarking on this journey.

1. Articulating the Business Case: A Comprehensive Narrative

The cornerstone of selling a core banking transformation project internally lies in a robust business case. It's not merely about the features of a new system but a comprehensive narrative that juxtaposes short-term costs with long-term value. The business case needs to break down the financial implications and showcase how the initial investment paves the way for enhanced efficiency, reduced operational costs, and the ability to adapt to evolving market demands.

Quick Wins: Highlight quick wins that the new system can deliver. Whether it's streamlining a particular process, reducing manual efforts, or enhancing customer interactions, these quick wins serve as tangible evidence of the transformation's immediate impact. There’s nothing worse than long term projects that only deliver in the long term, so find ways to deliver benefits immediately.

2. Balancing Short-Term Costs with Long-Term Value: The Delicate Equilibrium

Strike a delicate balance between short-term costs and long-term value. While cost-effectiveness is crucial, emphasize the enduring benefits that the new core banking system will bring. Highlight the potential for increased revenue through enhanced services, improved customer experiences, and the agility to respond swiftly to market changes.

Recognize the potential commercial benefits of different deployment options – for example deploying in the cloud will generate a different cost profile when compared to cloud deployment. Consider the system in totality – does it come from a single partner or a vast ecosystem of suppliers?

3. Building a Coalition of Champions: Advocate for Success

A transformation project gains momentum when it has advocates within the organization. Identify key stakeholders and build a coalition of champions who understand and champion the cause. These advocates play a crucial role in disseminating information, addressing concerns, and garnering support from various departments.

As core system replacement projects touch many parts of the organization the coalition of champions should be broad based, representing as many perspectives as possible, including IT, operations, business, risk etc.

4. Emphasizing Customer-Centric Outcomes: Resonance through Positive Experiences

Connect the dots between the core banking transformation and improved customer experiences. Articulate how the new system enables personalized services, faster response times, and a seamless customer journey. Aligning the transformation with positive customer outcomes creates resonance and underscores its strategic importance.

Don’t seek to ignore or dismiss potential negative impacts, instead talk about how they will be addressed, for example by covering the customer-oriented communication program.

5. Bringing in Expert Partners: External Insights for Success

Transformative projects benefit immensely from external expertise. Bring in partners who specialize in core banking replacements. These experts not only contribute technical proficiency but also bring a fresh perspective, sharing experiences from working with other banks. Collaborating with seasoned partners ensures that the transformation isn't a mere replication of the old system but a leap into a more innovative and agile future.

Use partners who can help build the business case, by doing deep-dives into current operations, mapping out how processes and procedures can be optimized.

6. Framing the Future State: Beyond Replication

Avoid the pitfall of replicating the status quo in a new guise. The future state should be framed not as an upgrade but as a strategic shift that aligns with the institution's long-term goals. Envision the bank's role in the evolving financial landscape and ensure the transformation positions it as a proactive and adaptable player.

Throughout the project, to avoid falling into the “replication trap”, regularly refer to the future state. Ensure that all team members are encouraged to ask, “why do we do it this way?” and “is there a better way?”.

7. Continuous Communication and Transparency: Building Confidence Through Updates

Communication is key throughout the transformation journey. Maintain transparency, communicating progress, challenges, and milestones regularly. Address concerns promptly and foster an environment where feedback is valued. This approach instills confidence in stakeholders and demonstrates a commitment to a shared vision.

In conclusion, successfully selling the vision of a core banking transformation inside the bank requires a nuanced approach that goes beyond technical specifications. It is about weaving a narrative that aligns with the institution's goals, resonates with stakeholders, and emphasizes the transformative impact on both operations and customer experiences. Finastra, as a partner in innovation, understands the intricacies of this journey and stands ready to support banks in not just envisioning the future but realizing it through strategic core banking transformations.

Read our white paper on Replacing Your Core Banking System to see how you can orchestrate success.

Written by
Keith Redding

Keith Redding

CRO, Universal Banking

Keith leads the Go to Market organization for Universal Banking as the Chief Revenue Officer. Throughout his entire career, spanning more than 25 years Keith has been relentlessly focused on value creation for financial institutions through the innovative use of advanced technologies.

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