Selecting a technology partner can be demanding, particularly in the highly regulated world of financial services. The relationship between software and client truly is a partnership: a long-term collaboration requiring open two-way communication and complementary growth.
And, of course, the implications of software reach beyond the screen. A recent Gartner survey shows that technology is the top growing budget area for firms seeking to improve operational excellence.
For financial services firms, onboarding is the initial key step and an opportunity to set the tone for a developing relationship with new clients. First impressions take only seconds to form, so firms must put their best foot forward during the onboarding process or risk souring the client relationship from the start.
Because choosing the right onboarding technology partner is so important for both internal and client relationships, the process warrants care and consideration. In this post, we’re sharing our top five tips for making the selection.
#1: Consider the needs of tomorrow
When firms engage in discovery sessions with software providers, they usually work from an internal “shopping list” of requirements to ensure the supplier can deliver a minimum viable solution to meet their needs.
When creating your shopping list, make sure to think past the needs of today. Consider your firm’s needs for the coming years, and leverage the steer found in regulatory announcements.
If rapid changes occur (sanctions, for instance), will your technology partner be able to keep up with the speed of change? Interrogate suppliers about their market intelligence strategy and jurisdiction- or firm-specific best practices.
A successful partner should easily demonstrate robust and well thought-through new features and enhancements to existing functionality.
#2: Hire people, not just software
Spot the firms that invest in talented people with a genuine desire to learn and improve at every stage. Hire high-quality teams that are happy, educated, expert and engaging.
Select a technology partner that has created a team with intention and care. After all, those individuals become a natural extension of your team, too.
Seek out teams that offer the following:
- Reputation for professionalism
- Clear, honest and prompt communication
- Commitment to reaching your goals
- Relatable knowledge and industry understanding
- Flexibility and adaptability
- Senior managers assigned to your relationship
#3: Don’t hold back on due diligence
Almost all financial services software claims to have fortress-level technology. But how many genuinely have it—and more importantly, can they prove it?
For that matter, what does “secure technology” mean, anyway?
While it’s encouraging to hear that your partner takes steps to keep data secure, don’t take their word for it. Remaining compliant with global laws on data protection is no easy feat, and is not up for debate. Push to ensure the supplier can evidence a satisfactory stance now to gain your cyber security team’s approval. Refresh this evidence often.
Both buyers and sellers have an obligation to carry out due diligence to varying degrees. If you have doubts, keep shopping until you find a vendor that can give you peace of mind. You must be confident that your data manager is safe and sound.
#4: Understand reporting lines
You should have a clear picture of how authority, accountability, and responsibility are allocated in any firm you partner with. Better still, get to know the people you find on the organisational chart.
Take early steps to identify your main points of contact and where they fit within your partner firm. Understand how accountability and influence fall, both socially and in business settings.
With so many options to connect made possible by LinkedIn and other social media, you’re very likely to encounter mutual friends or past colleagues during your software search. Of course, contracts provide legal recourse if things go pear-shaped—but it’s far easier (not to mention less expensive) to drop a note to a trusted counterpart in an effort to repair or galvanise a relationship.
#5: Ask the right questions
Jaw-dropping testimonials from over-the-moon clients can be crafted from thin air, and sometimes hide a long list of several party dependencies. Far better to do your own research, particularly because the responsibility for assessing the commitment of your potential partner firm is ultimately yours.
To that end, make sure you’re mindful of the below:
- What is the firm’s history?
- What is their long-term commitment to the product you’re investigating?
- What are their short-, medium-, and long-term strategic goals? How well do they align with yours?
- Are they well-staffed relative to the promises being made?
- Are there individuals with specific job functions and titles that are linked to the service?
- Is there a physical footprint or IT infrastructure in any other location? (This is a telltale sign of a heavy business and financial investment)
High quality, well-managed onboarding software is just a click away. Click here or contact me to find out more about IQ-EQ’s MaxComplyTM and learn how our technology can streamline your onboarding processes.