At the heart of the omni-channel journey is the architecture that makes up the systems, which are often constrained by legacy systems, spaghetti code, and complexity. Leveraging omni-channel capabilities will be difficult if you do not break down the silos, enable straight-through processing, and integrate the various systems.
Many financial services organizations today have architecture systems that have high IT costs from maintaining different channels and struggle to keep up with the ability to offer new services. Outdated systems hinder banks from being able to offer APIs to startups and Fintechs; a factor that becomes increasingly important as more and more Fintechs emerge in the marketplace and cause disruption to banks.
By simplifying the architecture, organizations can drive their digital strategy forward, and more easily implement the new technologies and products that come along.
Like omni-channel, there are different approaches to go about changing architecture. There’s the big bang approach but that can be costly, risky, and timely.
Alternatively, organizations can make incremental changes to the system, whereby the architecture changes piece-by-piece, and allows you to focus on the biggest priorities, as well as quick wins. While an incremental approach is less risky and allows you to spread out costs, there still needs to be considerable planning before you begin to make changes.
Depending where your organization is at in the digital journey, the first decision should be whether to start with front-end or back-end changes. If you are already doing well on the customer satisfaction side, it might be more advantageous to focus on the back-end where you can simplify processes and reduce operating costs.
Regardless of where you start, the end goal should focus on having an open architecture with clean layers so that you do not have to rebuild it within a few years, and can keep pace with the changing technology.
In planning the architecture changes, there should be carefully detailed plans that focus on, among other things:
- The products that will be used, and if each product is compatible
- The roadmap and timeline for making the changes
- How existing application assets will be moved on to the new architecture
- How services will be built out
- How everything will be pulled together
When planning each of these items, it is important to keep in mind that today’s architecture systems must be scalable and flexible so that going forward changes can be made in a short time span and without causing disruption to the entire system.
As these incremental architecture changes happen, IT maintenance costs will decrease as a result of the simplified architecture and your organization will be further along in its omni-channel journey.
In the next post of this series, Axxiome will discuss how integration is a key factor in providing omni-channel capabilities.