Your financial institution believes it needs a core conversion. And maybe you’re also thinking about implementing Salesforce so as to move toward a digital transformation. But which comes first? It would seem like a core conversion might be the foundation for any change. But having worked through both core conversions and Salesforce implementations and integrations, we can tell you you’re actually much better off starting with the Salesforce implementation. And we’ll give you 10 reasons why.
Reason #1: Core conversions are inefficient
Banks and credit unions today are urgently trying to achieve open banking and real-time connections with customers. Salesforce provides the engagement layer to do that, even with your current core. Core conversions, however, are time consuming and messy and will not get you there fast. Even when the vendor says they have an API, our experience is that connecting to-and-from the core in real time is very difficult. Buyer beware!
Reason #2: Production suffers when you convert your core
The core system is a transactional center and a way to keep you in compliance. It is powerful in a limited range of functions, but it is siloed. Core providers will sell multiple add on systems which are not really connected or have limited connectivity. The core can’t create a seamless, frictionless customer/member experience, no matter what you may hear from core processors. Implementing Salesforce can improve both efficiency and productivity; a core conversion can’t. And in the midst of a conversion, production will seriously suffer, but with a Salesforce implementation you will see quick wins and increases in production.
Reason #3: All the core products together don’t provide a 360-degree view
This is my favorite: As a banking executive I have walked through this scenario repeatedly. You sit through a week-long meeting, listening to your potential new core vendor pitch you all the different services and promising to solve your problems. They claim they can help you deepen customer/member relationships and provide relevant and engaging experiences via digital and traditional channels. How do you know you can’t trust this scenario? The first warning sign should be the fact that you have to sit in a week-long meeting in the first place. But the second is the outdated UI. If you look closely, you’ll notice that all they’re pitching you are different products that don’t really work together. Ask them how they will deploy technology that will allow you to connect someone that visits your website to someone who visited a teller in real-time. I bet they won’t be able to answer!
Reason #4: Getting data into and out of a core is challenging
Core processors often state that their API easily scales. If that were so, why does a core conversion take two years? And why does it take another year or two to get back to pre-core conversion state? The truth is that moving to another core is not going to provide you a modern, user-friendly API ecosystem. Even the most popular core processing vendors are still using SQL and legacy databases, so you won’t make many gains.
Reason #5: Core reporting lacks modern UI and robust drill-down capabilities
If the reason you are converting your core is for more robust reporting, please think again. Core systems lack robust reporting, plain and simple. Core processors may tell you that sophisticated forecasting or machine learning models are “on the roadmap” but the truth is they don’t have robust reporting capabilities. Your engagement layer must be able to run robust reporting and scale up with your organization. It should also have the ability to help you with predictions and forecasting.
Reason #6: AI / ML are not the core systems’ core competency
I don’t know of a core system out there that has the ability to provide forecasting and lead scoring that leverages machine learning. Digital banking requires connections—bringing in online behavior from your website, for example, and combining it with credit bureau and transactional data to provide next-best actions. It requires the ability to learn over time which customers/members are most likely to purchase. If you aren’t tracking that today, you’re losing valuable data collection, integration and analysis time. And the core won’t give it to you.
Reason #7: Limited or no ability to be mobile
Consumers are attached to mobile devices, and your employees also expect frictionless, 24/7 user experiences. Core systems only work on desktop computers, so providing your employees the ability to use a mobile device to check their production goals—or your managers the ability to drill into reports and dashboards from the palm of their hands—is not possible. Furthermore, they cannot connect the member/ customer experience by allowing your members to log a support case from their phone, or have intelligent chatbots fed by your internal knowledge center.
Reason #8: Customizing your core doesn’t help either
We’re not saying that customizing your core is impossible, but we are saying that it’s not an easy or pleasant process. Every institution is different, and although core systems allow for some customizations, it usually requires getting the vendor involved again along with additional costs.
Reason #9: Intelligent lead routing is nearly impossible using the core
Core systems aren’t built to help sales teams do their jobs. Your core can’t capture new leads, send them to the right queue for follow up, or track that lead all the way through the funding process. This is what the front-line team needs to capture potential new business, understand their results, and communicate effectively with the customer all the way through the process. Executives also need to be able to track the stages and pipelines to be able to determine results for month-end goals.
Reason #10: Connecting your advertising and marketing efforts from each source is difficult
Connecting your marketing efforts is challenging in financial services. The more we utilize third-party vendors on the website, the more we have to rely on tracking pixels (and getting approval from risk-averse IT teams). But this should not stop you from getting your advertising and marketing connected into your engagement layer. You need to be able to see your leads by advertising source, and whether that lead applied for a loan, funded the loan, or opened an account. Think beyond tracking web forms— what about customers who click the apply now button, call the contact center, or go to a branch? We have not encountered a core system that can do this for you, but Salesforce can connect your marketing efforts by providing your front line employees the ability to see which offers are being sent, how your members are engaging, and most importantly what funded loans or accounts are being opened by which channel.