Effectively managing third-party vendors is a must for a digital banking conversion

By Q2

29 Nov, 2016

The Q2 blog provides useful tips to assist those financial institutions considering a digital banking conversion. This blog post discusses the importance of managing third-party vendors.

Third-party solutions are attached to primary digital banking systems. These solutions include mobile banking, mobile remote deposit capture, bill pay, and personal financial management, just to name a few.

Most financial institutions, in fact, rely on multiple vendors to support the digital banking needs of their account holders. Identifying these key partners, making them aware of the impending digital banking conversion, and then communicating with them throughout the conversion process is an imperative for a successful digital banking conversion.

Your project manager, or whomever is selected to manage this aspect of the project, should be familiar with the vendors and be able to manage this challenging aspect of the conversion. The task of managing third parties that integrate with your primary digital banking platform must be a priority from the start, as there are many questions and concerns that must be addressed by all of them, most of which have significant and far-reaching implications.

Questions and concerns to address

  • Will the data continue to be provided in real-time, or will it now be a batch process?
  • Will a new SSO (single sign on) be required, or will the existing code port over?
  • Some of these relationships will no longer be necessary; does that mean early termination fees? What about deconversion fees?
  • Do any of your vendors have year-end shut downs, when they cease to do work for some period of time which happens to coincide with your desired go-live date?
  • Does an interface exist between the third party’s solution and your new system?

Ideally, these questions and concerns should have been addressed prior to signing contracts with your new digital banking provider. However, that’s not always the case.

This component of the conversion process is often the most challenging part of the project, due to the unwillingness of some vendors in the space to “play nice in the sandbox.” Some vendors may not move as swiftly as you’d like, some may hit you with exorbitant “deconversion fees,” and some may charge you for “custom dev work” that isn’t really custom at all. All of which are reasons why it’s best to engage third parties early in the project, as the issues discussed can challenge an efficient conversion project. Not to mention, lead to some uncomfortable conversations with the finance team. The earlier you get the issues on the table, the greater the likelihood you can resolve them in time to hit your project milestones.

This role is definitely not for the faint of heart, as it requires working through extremely important and complex issues. From mapping data to determining IT requirements, the person who owns this role should have a thorough understanding of your core processor, how interfaces work, what your current processes look like, and possess a working knowledge of general IT processes and terminology.

Our next blog post in this series will focus on training, and finding the right person to take on this responsibility.


Written by Q2