2021. What an interesting year. With the world turned upside down by a pandemic that seemingly had its sights set on...
Infrastructure Decision Making – Five Key Principles for Success
Many financial services companies today are operating on technology stacks that aren’t up to the challenge of today’s market. Some banks are even operationally dependent on technology that was installed in the 70s or 80s.
Global growth and opening up of economies will help the payments sector thrive again post-pandemic, but it’s only those with the right infrastructure in place who will be able to seize these opportunities. It’s become a cliché, but the pandemic has accelerated a decade’s worth of change into just a few short years.
While the core infrastructure helped banks keep on top of the day to day challenges in the pandemic, many senior teams will be left wondering what they could have done differently had there been better infrastructure in place.
Customers needed new and different types of products more than ever. They needed protection from increased online fraud. Businesses needed to change how they operated and collected payments. In general, banks were positioned to survive, not thrive going into the pandemic. That could cost them customer loyalty, and ultimately revenue if left unchanged.
Part of the challenge is that creating and buying payments infrastructure is a big decision – it’s the engine room of your bank’s operations. That can make it all too easy to stick your head in the sand and leave changing it as a decision for another day. But that only creates bigger and bigger problems down the road. Eventually your current infrastructure will meet a challenge it can’t handle – and you’ll end up with bad headlines and an appointment with the regulator.
What do my customers expect and what’s my business model?
When faced with social changes, a raft of digital-first competitors, and regulatory pressures, understanding your positioning in the market landscape is critical.
The financial institutions need to figure out how they can appeal to new consumer expectations and turn them into a sustainable revenue stream. The success of this generation of banks has been fueled by changing expectations of a new generation of end-users. With more trust placed in the internet, digital only offerings have been able to flourish.
Banks are facing pressures on their business models. Many are struggling to make money the way they used to, with pressure from falling interest rates, current account revenues, managing branch footprints and loan losses amongst others.
On top of that, new regulations like the European Payments Initiative means technology must be geared towards adapting to the new challenges and opportunities created.
Follow Five Key Principles for Decision Making
- Build for uncertainty – 12 months ago, no one would have predicted how the market would evolve. The complete shift of consumer attitudes and needs to electronic payments was unprecedented. Governments, even those with pandemic preparedness policies, were taken by surprise when the event actually happened. Banks can’t protect themselves from change, they know it is coming, but they can’t predict the specifics. You need to build for flexibility, not scenarios.
- Build for business priorities and technical realities – Understanding how aggressive you want to be in pursuing payments and supporting solutions will guide the infrastructure you put in place. There’s a significant difference between how a global bank and a local building society will define their strategy.
- Build for your business model – The cost of putting your infrastructure in place won’t be sustainable if it doesn’t reflect the business model that the world of finance operates under. Fully anticipating the cost of building, licensing, and running your payments infrastructure is an essential step.
- Build for changing regulatory requirements – Banking will always be a heavily regulated industry, but regulations are prone to change. Regulators also increasingly need to see more data and will often mandate a time frame for delivering it. A well-designed system should meet these requirements.
- Build for the future – The pandemic has dramatically exacerbated the problem of fraud. It’s now reached such a scale and level of sophistication that human teams alone will not be able to meet this challenge. of the type of challenge facing payment infrastructure in the next decade.
Find out more about how you can design a payments infrastructure that allows you to reduce risks and quickly bring new products and services to market, in our new whitepaper – Preparing your payments infrastructure for the next decade: a guide for financial services institutions.
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