Challenger Banks Are Not Immune to Challenges of COVID-Related Consumer Changes

  • Tom Ainsworth, Account Executive UK/Ireland at Jitterbit

  • 19.10.2020 01:09 pm

Financial IT: Please introduce us to your company.

Tom Ainsworth: Jitterbit Harmony is an API integration platform provider. We help our customers quickly connect disparate apps and data sources within their business to solve data challenges and to make their processes more efficient..

We’ve been around for 17 years and started off working with software-as-a-service providers, such as Salesforce. Since then, we’ve matured and expanded into multiple ecosystems such as NetSuite, Epicor, Workday, ServiceNow, etc. to name a few. We also specialise in connecting apps specific to industries such as financial services, retail, manufacturing, higher education, non-profit and more.

Financial IT: What solutions/products do you offer?

Tom Ainsworth: We support customers across multiple industries and, regardless of the sector, many companies still rely on rigid, legacy IT infrastructure. Our integration platform can quickly connect SaaS, on-premises and cloud applications to simplify the process of creating integration workflows. A lot of companies have custom-built applications and they assume (wrongly) that they can’t use an integration platform like Jitterbit to connect to modern SaaS applications. On the contrary, we’ve yet to see an in-house system that we can’t connect to.

Financial IT: The financial services industry has experienced a great shake up by the COVID-19 crisis. In your opinion, how has pandemic affected the FS and what trends are currently driving them?

Tom Ainsworth: What became apparent during the height of the lockdown - when brick-and-mortar banks were closed or customers were hesitant to use them - is that, now more than ever, the financial services industry needs to be focusing on digital services. The pandemic has only accelerated the shift away from ATMs and cash-based transactions.

A recent survey of 2,000 consumers and 500 banks[1]  in the UK found that 58 percent of consumers have been unable to access online services at some point or another since lockdown was introduced. This is despite banks investing heavily in their digital infrastructure during the crisis. In order to meet customers’ rapidly changing needs, the industry needs to be innovating more quickly to prevent poor customer service and churn.

A specific example of how we’re seeing banks innovate right now is through the open banking model and the use of standardised APIs to centralise and share data. Consumers often have a credit card account with one bank, savings with a different bank and a mortgage with another provider. Open banking means consumers can access their financial data from multiple organisations through a single app or platform. That’s a transformation in terms of the customer experience.

Another trend is the shift to remote working within the financial services industry. It has underlined the need for customer service teams to have seamless access to a 360 degree view of the customer. Ageing IT systems, incomplete records, hidden technical debt, clunky ‘workarounds’ instead of seamless integrations - these things are just no longer tenable in a world where customer behaviour and working practices are shifting rapidly and banks need to respond quickly with new services and products.

Financial IT: Many challenger banks have failed the “Digital Stress” test. How can they adapt to the new circumstances and why is the focus on data integration and API management so essential?

Tom Ainsworth: While challenger banks don’t rely on the clunky, legacy technology that traditional banks often do, they’re not without their own challenges. The pandemic placed a lot of pressure on them as their customers are some of the most tech savvy, and therefore the most demanding from the perspective of receiving top notch customer service. Challenger banks have to innovate rapidly because that’s part of their brand promise, so they typically release more frequent product updates and look to adopt the latest cloud-based tools to improve their processes. What they tend to struggle with however is the technical integration side of things and during the lockdown, increased customer demand plus the need for more product innovation meant in some cases that cracks in their infrastructure began to appear.

It’s no longer enough for financial brands to promise their customers that they’re digital-first.  This is where Jitterbit can come in – we can help challenger banks to connect all the dots across their entire business. The less time a challenger bank spends fixing customer record errors and rekeying documents, the more time it has to innovate and deliver a higher quality product and service.

Financial IT: How does Jitterbit help banks and financial institutions to implement API?

Tom Ainsworth: The Jitterbit Harmony API integration platform knits together data and workflows to eliminate data silos within the business. We essentially help businesses to deploy pre-built integration use cases in a matter of days, rather than weeks or months. Businesses still need to do the business analysis leg work - and they need to figure out which systems need to be connected in order to maximise the impact to their business - but the lead time and resource requirements for that API integration are greatly reduced by using a platform rather than trying to code these integrations internally.

Financial IT: To conclude, what is upcoming news you have at Jitterbit that you can share with our readers?

Tom Ainsworth: In addition to providing a platform, we now also offer our customers our API360 solutions to accelerate the time to deploy and deliver a faster ROI. For example, our solutions are designed to give customer agents in the financial services industry, full visibility of customers’ data across a number of different systems such as CRM and ERP, custom databases and more.

Jitterbit’s API360 solutions provide pre-built templates to synchronise data and processes, eliminating inefficiencies and slashing the lead time to execute common tasks. By adopting this serviced approach, our clients can unlock the real business value of their data and focus on innovating rather than managing infrastructure, while delivering a seamless customer experience.


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