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COVID-19 Motivates Vendor Consolidation

Dennis Jones
May 4, 2020


As COVID-19 emerged in the US, financial institutions soon realized their response would be unchartered – every employee, every accountholder, every branch, and every community would be impacted. Business continuity quickly became priority-one and launching a complex, enterprise-wide pandemic response was a challenging reality for every financial institution.

Both the complexities and challenges were magnified by today’s technology platforms which have critical components provided by multiple technology partners. Each of these partners had a distinct business continuity plan and disparate resources available to support that plan. Inevitably, some partners are meeting expectations for service continuity while others are falling short.

The day will come when COVID-19 is a historic event and financial institutions begin assimilating the lessons learned and evaluating their technology partners’ performance. Many banks and credit unions will add an intensified focus on business continuity to the industry-wide goals of continually improving operating efficiencies while reducing operating costs. Vendor consolidation is an impactful business continuity improvement that should be considered in the post-COVID-19 era.

The payments channel, which typically leverages a technology platform dependent on multiple vendors and disparate solutions, would materially benefit from a consolidated approach. And, the tangible benefits of consolidating payments vendors extend well beyond streamlined business continuity. In fact, there are 10 important near- and long-term benefits you should consider.

  1. Less Business Continuity Worries – Your strategic partners must have comprehensive, tested, and audited business continuity plans that support their response to scenarios like a pandemic. They should regularly review those plans and proactively make the changes necessary to respond to evolving possibilities that could impede their ability to meet their client obligations.
  2. Less Money – Consolidating payments vendors with a true platform approach generates consistent fees and billing, improves budget management, reduces staff and operating expenses, and typically improves ROI.
  3. Less Time – A platform approach reduces the management and staff hours is takes to implement and maintain multiple, disparate payments solutions and to understand, use, and support the respective functionality near- and long-term.
  4. Less Training – Less solutions means less time-consuming and expensive initial training and continuing education, a common training process, consistent training resources, and fewer annual educational conference.
  5. Less Internal Marketing Resources – Most financial institutions don’t have the budget, time, or staff to aggressively market their payment solutions. Your payments partners should be ready to help you nurture adoption and introduce new payment solutions with free, professional, customizable campaigns and materials.
  6. Less Disparate Support – A single payments partner provides a consistent support process, standards, and infrastructure. If you receive inconsistent, inadequate support from multiple vendors, the support you provide will be equally as inconsistent and inadequate.
  7. Less Disparate Data – Disparate solutions generate disparate data, reporting, and analysis tools. Replacing multiple solutions with a single payments platform will materially reduce the time and effort required to access and compile the data you need to better understand your payments channel and identify the actionable insights that will improve it.
  8. Less Worries About Security and Risk – Different vendors have different approaches to mission-critical security, risk mitigation, and compliance. You should entrust your payments channel to a highly trusted technology partner with a multi-layered security approach and proven risk management solutions that will help you better protect your accountholders, your assets, and your reputation.
  9. Less Worries about Obsolescence – Different vendors have extremely different commitments to R&D, but it takes significant, ongoing R&D to ensure digital solutions remain relevant and offer the modern functionality you and your accountholders need. Your payments partners should have a documented commitment to R&D and a history of meaningful, client-driven enhancements.
  10. Less Operational Headaches – A consolidated vendor approach will eliminate the mix of payment solutions that waste the valuable time and limited resources required to manage different user interfaces and experiences, workflows, routine processes like settlement, and solution performance. Ongoing product releases have consistent schedules, implementation processes, and significance and there are consistent levels of integration between individual payment solutions and your core system and digital platform. Less vendors and solutions mean less operational issues and burdens.

The impact of COVID-19 is motivating many financial institutions to rethink how they ensure continuity of service and meet the expectations of consumers and businesses during extreme moments-of-need. With no silver bullet solution, carefully consider vendor consolidation as a component of a multi-layered approach and carefully consider the vendors that met your expectations with their pandemic response.  When it comes to multiple vendors and disparate payment solutions, less is more!

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