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Fintech Whiteboard Episode 4: Stuff You Should Know Before Agreeing to a Conversion Part 3

(This is part 3 of a 3-part series.  For Part 1, please click here and Part 2, please click here.)

Welcome everyone, to this week’s Fintech Whiteboard. This week’s episode is about conversions, specifically, all the stuff you should know before you agree to a conversion. 

Software Development Kit

All right, on to the next issue. Make sure that your new system has an SDK or some way that you can either extend it yourself or you can pay another company to extend it. An SDK is a Software Development Kit and what it means is that, let’s say that you have a home banking platform, we’ll just draw our little browser here, and in that it’s got the traditional menu down the side, for example and your logo at the top and all this data, and you go and you convert to a fancy new credit card provider, and this even goes for credit card providers who can have SDK’s as well, and this new credit card provider has some new feature that you want to make access of but the vendor that you’re working with and the timeline that they have is not in your favor. 

So, what would be nice would be to either use your own developers or hire somebody like us at Best Innovation Group (BIG).  (BIG does this sort of development on many different systems. We’ve had a lot of experience in the home banking platform.) So, that they can add a menu item here for this new feature that then you would have control of, and that you could go ahead and roll out in your system without affecting your platform, and the same would go for if you were going to do the same thing in mobile. 

So, let’s say you have a nice mobile system and you want to add that. Generally, the mobile platform is going to have the hamburger menu appear and through a process of something magical, like what we call responsive design, you could add that same feature that you added over here, moved to over here. A lot of vendors have this sort of ability. Sometimes you must pay a little more to get it, but it’s well worth your time, because then you will be able to control your own destiny. You’ll be able to understand when you want to put something in that you’re not just tied to the vendor, and the vendor built this for a reason, because they knew that no matter what they did, they were not going to be able to please everyone everywhere. 

Credit Unions Are Not Special

So, one final thought and this is really the thing I find that most people trip up over when they’re considering conversions.  I’m going to write it in big letters here, because it’s something, one of my many bosses, I believe it was Bucky Sebastian that told me. He said, “We, and he meant us as the Credit Union, are not special.”

 And what I think he meant by that, wasn’t that we weren’t a special fantastic group of employees and a special Credit Union that delivered amazing services. What he meant by that was that our problems were not so different from the credit unions down the street that were using the same platform. And what he wanted me to do was, make sure before we got all excited about moving off a platform or changing what we were doing, that we could for sure know that we checked with other Credit Unions that were on the same platform, and make sure that they hadn’t found a way to overcome the same issue because if we had the problem, it was darn sure other people were also having the same problem. So, just remember that you are not special!

What this leads to is whatever you do, wherever you go, however you decide you’re going to work on this, you need to make sure that you have influence with your new partner. I’m going to write partner because you don’t want a vendor. You want a partner

Quick Tip-Throw It Out

Here’s what you need to do with your RFP process, and this is important. For those of you that are deciding to go and build a 50-page, 600 question RFP that you’re going to send out to all these vendors, here’s what I think you should do with it. I think you should go ahead and toss it in the trash can because nobody’s really reading it and I find that everybody’s just sort of wasting their time with this big document. 

We’ll talk more about how I think you should go about an RFP, which is more about forming a team and trying to really lay out a strategy. The super long RFPs that you think are well thought-out, rarely work in reality, so I challenge you to think about this. How did you find the vendor you are on now? Through an RFP, right? And now it’s not working out and you’re looking to move? It’s probably not going to work this time either so maybe it’s time to think differently about how we approach partnerships in the core, in the digital, in the credit card space, and in our critical functions, so that we can get the results we’re looking for. 

If you’re interested in talking to BIG about any of this, we help people with these sorts of strategies. I know some of this might be a little controversial, but I really believe that people have to think really hard before they put themselves into a conversion. 

You can find me on LinkedIn if you just look up John Best. If you want to talk to me on Twitter, it’s @jbfintech. If you want to find me on email, it’s And if you’re an Instagram person, it’s johnbestofficial. I would love to hear from you.

Thanks for your time. This has been a Fintech Whiteboard.

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