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Digital Banking

Using Integration to Create a Unique Strategy

Rob Loethen
Jun 29, 2023

I love music – I always have. As a toddler, I claimed the record player delivered on Christmas as “mine.” I thoroughly enjoy nearly all the music genres. Heck, I even took a music appreciation class in college, thinking it would be an easy “A”. (Who else has made that mistake?)

I’m particularly amazed by the artists and composers who create music—the person who hears in their mind the possibilities afforded by different instruments and successfully assembles a myriad of instrumentation into a cohesive and beautiful work of art.

From a blank page, these individuals are able to create something unique that satisfies a particular need. A movie score, a single for a new release, a lullaby for a child. Whatever the composer’s goal may be, their imagination – combined with the right musical instruments – can create reality.

An Unexpected Parallel

It turns out that executing your financial institution’s technology and accountholder experience strategy is surprisingly similar to musical composition and performance. (Who would’ve guessed?)

Music utilizes visionary composers and talented musicians that deliver the performance, hardware in the form of instruments and software for recording and editing, third-party promoters and venues for live distribution, and in-person and digital marketplaces. All of these elements work in concert to maintain an ecosystem that provides entertainment to audiences worldwide.

In financial services, you’ll also find a tremendous amount of orchestration between different teams to deliver your unique strategy: visionaries and budget-watchers, software developers and hardware vendors, front-line and back-office teams, key technology providers, and third-party complementary solutions. Once again, all of these pieces work together to deliver an ecosystem of financial services that are consumed both in-person and digitally.

A Key Element: Communication

None of that could be possible without successful communication. Different entities require the ability to speak to each other and share data in a seamless manner to accomplish their goals.

Musically, that’s relatively easy. Though there are differences in quality and form, any piano could be used to play a particular composition. And an assembly of international musicians who’d struggle to say ‘hello’ in each others’ native tongues could successfully perform a complex piece of music together with relatively little trouble due to the common musical language used in sheet music.

It’s less straightforward in the world of software. Some software requires custom integrations to be built using proprietary languages, processes, or tools. In these cases, communication between systems is difficult. Integrations tend to be expensive, and time-consuming, and often create information silos between systems and departments.

Other software relies on open APIs – application programming interfaces that use a common language and set of tools to share data securely between applications – built by companies that champion public documentation and building in the open. These open APIs facilitate simple communication and an easy flow of information.

This focus on openness and collaboration creates opportunities for innovation at scale, agility, and decreased expense. It also happens to be the route that Jack Henry™ has chosen to take since 2006.

But Isn’t Everyone Open?

Admittedly, the concept of openness and easy integration is slung about the financial services industry in a pretty cavalier manner these days. And yet any seasoned industry professional likely can point to a few scars caused by integrations that didn’t go as planned, when data didn’t flow freely and claims of openness were nothing more than window dressing.

So how can you tell when a business partner is embracing an open philosophy rather than giving it lip service? Look for these signs:

  • Publicly available API documentation, on the open web. If you or your fintech vendors can’t access the information on-demand so developer teams can build “in the wild”, then it’s not really open.
  • A live, self-serve development environment that gives fintech and financial services teams the chance to build and test custom integrations. Self-service empowers anyone to get coding, whether they’re a multi-million dollar fintech company or the college student you hired as a summer intern. A live environment removes risk and time from the development process, since tests return actual code responses (and uncover potential errors) before you move to a live production environment.
  • Comprehensive documentation, that covers multiple lines of business such as digital banking, document imaging, card transactions, electronic payments, and everything else.

If you’re wondering what that can look like, check out where you can find our publicly available documentation, and videos, or place your self-service request for credentials to build integrations or plugins for the Banno Digital Platform™.

 Why Openness Matters

You may think, “I’m too small to have a development team. What good does openness do me?” or “It’s easier to just pay someone else to handle these details.”

The good news is that open APIs and public documentation benefit everyone, whether you’re handling the work in-house or contracting it to the outside. From your institution to third-party fintechs and right down to your accountholders, open access to integration benefits the entire financial services ecosystem.

Vendors and third-party fintechs appreciate the opportunity to build digital banking integrations once, and on their own timeline. Rather than bespoke integrations for each and every client and core configuration, one integration built for the Banno Digital Platform can be used and reused.

This saves the fintech engineering time and expense, while simultaneously growing their prospective market size to any Banno digital banking client out there. It also makes their product offerings even more attractive to banks and credit unions who aren’t paying extra for one-off development work and can know for sure that the integration will work as advertised.

Banks and credit unions can, of course, build their own custom functionality when armed with the right tools, but the greatest power lies in the opportunity for differentiation and executing on your own timeline. Whether you choose to handle customization yourself or integrate third parties, an open system gives you the chance to differentiate your service offerings from your competitors (and even from other local institutions also using Jack Henry solutions or the Banno Digital Platform).

Your accountholders will appreciate how digital banking built using an open architecture makes it easy to aggregate external accounts, access valued third-party fintech solutions, and get all of their banking activities done in one central app – yours. This convenience for your end-users will pay you back in spades, as the consumption of sticky services lead loyalty and greater share of wallet.

Create Your Own Vision

Just like composers start with a blank page and use a variety of instruments, notes, and artistic choices to create something unique and fulfill their vision, banks and credit unions can do the same by using open technology and strategic integrations.

“Imagination creates reality.”

- Richard Wagner

You may decide to offer third-party tools that provide credit score monitoring and alerts, budgeting or gamified savings, estate planning, or investments. You could find niche solutions that speak to your distinct base of accountholders or embed the largest, most popular financial management apps. Working within an open platform, you can offer any variety of functionality designed to keep your customers inside your digital platform, instead of jumping around into numerous other applications.

In the words of composer Richard Wagner, “Imagination creates reality.” So now that you have a metaphorical blank page in the form of the Banno Digital Toolkit™ and along with hundreds of third-party fintech solutions and virtually unlimited customization options, what reality will your imagination create?

Browse our integration resources at or speak to our Digital Experience team to learn more about the Banno Digital Platform and the Banno Digital Toolkit.

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