Integration is key to omni-channel



Continuing down the road to omni-channel, integration is a key point that must be considered from the very beginning. New systems, new processes, and new architecture will provide the capabilities and new opportunities for banks, but the integration of those new systems, new processes, and new architecture play a key role in the success of the overall omni-channel solution.

In the decision making process for a new application, banks should evaluate the solution against both the:

  • Business architecture; overall goals & business capabilities
  • Architecture principles & architecture major decisions; omni-channel principles and technical capabilities

If a proposed solution has all the capabilities that the bank needs, but does not align to the architecture plans and, ultimately adds more complexity and complicates processes rather than streamline them, then the bank should question whether the proposed solution is really the right fit for them.

As discussed previously, the omni-channel journey is often an incremental process, and won’t happen all at once, or in a short period of time. The new system must be able to integrate with legacy and third party systems, and at the same time provide new capabilities and improved processes that enable the bank to deliver an omni-channel experience to their customers. New services and products should be added in an efficient manner. This is a tall order to fill and not all solutions will be up for this challenge.

A solution that is up to the challenge will be integrated to the banks legacy environment and will act as single point of integration that provides business services to all UIs and channels.

A useful integration layer will not be another layer of complexity added to the system, it will be a simple integration to various core banking and legacy systems.

Integration layers enable mapping of logical to physical transactions, orchestration of logical (business) services to technical services and supports different interfaces (SOAP, REST, APIs). With the development of highly cohesive and reusable services, a flexible framework for workflow and process automation, support for cross channel topics and fast addition and modification of processes, banks are able to more competitively serve their new digital customers.

Most importantly, with an agile integration layer, banks can respond very quickly to any new circumstances (new core banking system, additional digital channel, etc.) without wasting time and wasting money.

Additionally, the solution will be able to integrate with new peripheral devices for both employee-driven channels (branch/teller, back office, contact center), and customer-driven channels (online banking, mobile banking). Internal users (employees) and external users (customers) will welcome automated and secured steps that make banking easier and more convenient, regardless of the channel that they are using.

As was the case with architecture, planning is a key part in integration. Before making any major decisions on new solutions, new processes, and new architecture, thought must be given on how it will all come together, and how it will work within the existing landscape. Planning upfront will provide a smoother integration journey, reduce complexity of systems, and improve the operations in the front-end and the back-end.

In the next post of this series, we fill focus on best practices in planning out the omni-channel journey.

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