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Strategy Before Structure: Partnership in the Banking Industry

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While banks are partnering with innovative and forward-thinking tech vendors to improve their business and services, not all of these partnerships are successful. Even with impressive products and glowing reviews, some tech vendors aren’t suitable matches for the banks they partner with.

Compatibility is extremely important when forming partnerships in the banking and tech industries.

Strategy Before Structure

Many banks work with tech vendors without first considering whether the products truly fit into the strategy of their bank first, and instead end up molding their strategy around the vendor and their products.

In these situations, the principle of strategy before structure is essential. When thinking about the actions you and your bank are taking, are they defined by your strategy, or is your strategy being driven by your vendors? It should be the former.

One example is banks who invest time and money into online lending or account opening applications, only to be disappointed when they are met with fraud and spam. Often this is because they haven’t built out an online marketing strategy for the software to support. Conversely, we have seen banks have tremendous results through the same channels, when it was part of a deliberate strategy to go online.

Building a Strategy

For banks considering partnering with tech vendors, there’s a few things to keep in mind:

1. Explore available technologies.

As a banking leader, it’s important to understand what is available when it comes to new technology. Speaking and engaging with multiple tech lenders will help you understand all the possibilities. Communicating with other banks is important as well, to discover what success they’ve had with tech stacks. From there, go back to your drawing board. Think about your strategy and be empowered to use what you now know is possible to advance it.

2. Work with transparency.

When working with vendors, it's common for banks to be secretive about their evaluation process and which vendors they are considering. However, it’s best to ensure complete transparency and get the clarity you need to make a decision. It also allows vendors to work together and balance off each other, rather than asking them to design a system without knowing all the pieces in play. In some situations, two seemingly competing vendors can come together to form an overall better solution. Working with transparency allows banks to see who really understands them and their strategy best.

3. Run a pilot program.

When you implement a new tech product in your bank, you should implement it first as a mini or pilot program when possible. You can find a division in your bank and let them try out the product first, or ask the vendor if they can set up a sample instance before going live. These kinds of tests allow you to agree on the success criteria before spending the time and resources to go live on a large scale.

When you work with nCino, we keep each of these tips in mind to help you make the right decision for your bank. Even outside of our own product, we assist banks with their technology strategy and strive to make sure they succeed. To learn more about what nCino has to offer, schedule a demo today.