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Evaluating Technology Partners: Why Support Should Top Your List

October 17, 2019

Banks and credit unions across the nation are running full speed to partner with tech vendors to satisfy increasing customer demands, from digital banking to better customer experiences to more intuitive website designs. In fact, according to a recent survey, 88 percent of bank and CU executives increased their spending on technology in 2019 – and we shouldn’t expect a slow down anytime soon.

But technology implementations cannot be a one-and-done process. As financial institutions continue their search for the very best technology partners, the support they receive from these companies must be a top priority.

Too often, banks and credit unions implement a solution only to find the vendor has gone MIA. Following implementation, some vendors may disengage or consider the job complete, rather than provide ongoing support to help the financial institution maximize their investment to garner greater productivity and efficiencies.

To better ensure the success of new technology systems, especially Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms, financial institutions need to consider the vendor’s ability to provide strong, ongoing support. A solid support team is just as important – if not more – than the product’s functionality.

When evaluating potential technology partners, there are several keys that should be considered:

Go Beyond Implementation

Most technology vendors put a heavy emphasis on providing support during the implementation of their products or services. And this makes sense – integrating systems can be a headache. But financial institutions should also be wary of vendors that are quick to abandon them once it’s completed.

Banks and credit unions must look for technology vendors that are committed to providing ongoing support throughout the life of the partnership. Software is unpredictable by nature, so vendors should be readily available to work through any snags the bank or credit union may hit during the use of a product or service. Moreover, the tech company must ensure the technology is being leveraged to its fullest. This requires ongoing support and interaction.

Create a True Partnership

But providing solid customer care and support means more than just helping a financial institution leverage a product or service. Banks and credit unions should feel like their relationship with a technology vendor is a true partnership – not just a buyer and a seller. 

Keeping communication lines open between the financial institution and its technology partner enables advancements to the platform itself. A technology vendor, while a third party, should feel more like an extension of the financial institution’s operations. Collaboration between the two and working together improves the system over time. A great technology partner should feel that they are only successful when their partners are successful.

Provide Proactive Recommendations

Rather than partnering with technology vendors that only make themselves available when there is a problem to solve, banks and credit unions should also prioritize those that offer continuous support. The ideal partner is one that provides recommendations regularly on how to leverage the technology more effectively.

Technology vendors should monitor and analyze the financial institution’s analytics, providing status reports on a consistent basis. It’s important to also have established meetings – perhaps quarterly – to evaluate what’s working and what’s not, and then discuss methods or provide strategic guidance to make better use of the technology. Continuous improvement should be the goal of both the vendor and the bank or credit union.

Banks and credit unions rely on technology vendors to offer specialized services and technology that improves the overall quality of their institution. Yet, most financial institutions are still focusing their technology efforts on the short-term, according to PwC. As the industry rapidly transforms, institutions need to be looking ahead. By targeting vendors that prioritize support, banks and credit unions can ensure a strong and lasting partnership for years to come.

Look for a technology partner that provides customer care and stakes their success on your success. That’s a true technology partner.

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