When Bravura Solutions recently opened the lid on the broad topic of ‘what factors do financial service providers consider when selecting technology solutions’, we quickly came to realise that the key issues across the industry are centred on implementation, integration, and strong client/vendor relationships.
Some of Bravura Solutions’ Wealth Management clients and other industry experts discussed the topic in detail, and a common theme arose: financial service providers are fundamentally seeking value through modern and flexible technology platforms that seamlessly integrate with the diverse existing corporate system framework. Our discussions also highlighted the fact that technology platforms must have true depth of business functionality to meet the pressures on providers to deliver a broader and diverse range of products, ultimately allowing them to win new business.
Prudential Life’s CIO, Sumit Puri, stated that a key concern when choosing new technology is whether the solution is able to effectively integrate with his business’ legacy systems. Before making a decision, Prudential Life ensures that the solution gels with its technology landscape in terms of overall platform and design.
An effective method of achieving truly integrated solutions is the concept of ‘surround technologies’, whereby software platforms are designed with service orientated architecture that allow organisations to ‘link up’ their existing systems and provide real-time data ‘handshakes’. This methodology puts the days of overnight batch processing well behind us; modern technology intrinsically provides efficiency through end user self-servicing and by presenting a real time client centric view of the data in a consumable format. In my opinion, the true strategic solution is to migrate to a modern technology platform which creates competitive advantage and cost efficiency through rationalisation and scalability.
Of course, before undertaking a truly strategic modernisation of technology, a rigorous assessment process should be completed. Dennis Brandt, Managing Director of First Treasury, said that that the integration of a new technology solution into an existing business environment needs to be properly planned from the outset. Dennis believes that this ensures a seamless process and avoids the potential for project drag and increased costs.
Sumit added that Prudential Life insists on a comprehensive demonstration session before reaching a decision on technology selection. For Prudential Life, ease of use is paramount; the solution must be simple and elegant in its design, with an intuitive interface.
Darrell Prins, Consultant at Russell Investments, said that when Russell chooses new technology, it wants to touch, feel and see, rather than listen to a presentation. The product must be tangible with a clear roadmap which shows that the company and the technology solution can grow together.
Naomi Ballantyne, Managing Director of New Zealand based life insurance company, Partners Life, added that the potential for a strong partnership is also key to the technology selection process, saying that Partners Life is an expert in life insurance, not technology. It outsources its needs to companies with deep technological expertise and chooses technology partners on the basis that they will work with the business as a team.
What is clear from our industry discussions is that there are a range of considerations in addition to underlying technology; it’s about integration, usability and functionality. I believe that in addition to offering the benefits that modern technology solutions can bring – greater reliability, reduced costs and tighter security – it’s important for a technology provider to be more than a vendor, they need to be business partner and offer solutions that contain the functional depth and ease of use that the end client needs, all while integrating into the labyrinth of an organisation’s existing technology stack.