Your online and mobile banking software is critical to your institution’s success, but adopting new software can be daunting. With so many choices and so much at stake, what’s the best strategy for making a wise decision?
Answering the following five critical questions (and 36 secondary questions) will help you make the best electronic banking choice for your financial institution:
- Does the software meet your specific needs?
- Is the software vendor reputable?
- What support does the vendor offer?
- Does the software have state-of-the-art security?
- What is the contract like?
Read on for details to help you answer each of these questions.
Does the software meet your specific needs?
Buying jeans and T-shirts off the rack might make sense, but when you’re buying an expensive business suit, you need one tailored to fit you. One size doesn’t fit all—in business clothing or in enterprise software. For example, if your financial institution faces direct global or national competition, you need different solutions than a local bank needs with mostly walk-in business and loyal customers. Because of these variations, consider choosing software that can be customized to meet your needs.
Can the vendor support your institution’s growth and strategic initiatives? What will they do to help you meet your goals as a company? Will they add features you need to meet those goals?
Besides flexibility, your software should also be up to date. Does the software vendor make your job easier by quickly responding to changing government regulations? Can you count on the vendor to fix bugs in the software quickly? Customers demand the latest online and mobile banking technology from their financial institutions. Can the vendor you’re considering help you keep up with the competition as customer demands evolve?
Along with fitting your needs, does the new system fit your budget? Take the time to shop around and see what other vendors are offering for your hard-earned money. Is the price fair and competitive? Are you paying for features you don’t need? As with most things you buy, the cheapest option isn’t always the best. Consider your return on investment as well as the price.
Is the software vendor reputable?
With many purchases, one merchant is as good as another, as long as they all sell the item you need at the right price. But when you sign a contract with an enterprise software vendor, you’re committing to a relationship that lasts years and can make or break your business.
With that long-term relationship in mind, you need to do due diligence to make sure the software vendor is reputable.
Here are some ways to determine whether or not the vendor deserves your trust:
- Is the vendor financially stable? How long has the vendor been in business? Will they be there for you throughout the duration of your contract? If a vendor sells the business, everything changes.
- Talk to existing customers. Are they satisfied?
- Look for online reviews of the vendor.
What support does the vendor offer?
No matter how good the software is, you’ll need support at some point after adopting it. Will your software vendor give you the support you need or abandon you once you’ve bought their product? Before you sign a contract that will lock you in for years, evaluate their support offerings using the following criteria.
- How much support will the vendor provide? Will you be charged for each support call?
- Can you easily reach client support when you need them?
- What kind of training does the vendor offer you during and after conversion to their software?
- Are support agents well trained?
- Can the vendor meet your unique needs for support? Are they client-centered in their approach to providing support?
- Can you visit the vendor onsite to meet the people you’ll be working with?
- Will your vendor visit you and make sure you’re happy? Do they listen to your concerns and make adjustments to accommodate you?
- Who are the people in charge of the company? Are they approachable? Can you express your concerns to them?
Does the software have state-of-the-art security?
Fraudsters keep finding new ways to steal information. Your software vendor must be able to keep your customers’ information safe with state-of-the-art security features.
- Does the vendor have good fraud-prevention strategic initiatives?
- Does the vendor keep up with the rapidly changing best practices in fraud prevention, such as two-factor authentication, account alerts, encrypted messages, automatic logout, and strong password management?
- Does the vendor have backup plans—and backup plans for the backup plans? Do they have a viable disaster-recovery strategy in place?
What is the contract like?
Some vendors will require you to sign a standard contract with steep penalties if you’re unhappy with their service and want to switch to another vendor before the contract term ends. As always, be sure you know what you’re signing up for.
- What does the contract look like? What’s the term? If you decide to leave, what are the penalties?
- Is your vendor willing to negotiate at all? Do they care enough about your business to be flexible, or do they have a one-size-fits-all approach to their contracts?
With so many digital offerings on the market, deciding on the best software solutions for your online and mobile banking can be risky and confusing. The vendor as well as their software must be worthy of your trust and the major investment of time and money required by adopting new technologies. With the five questions outlined above, you’ll have a good blueprint for due diligence and make a choice that will help you stay ahead of the ever-increasing competition.
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