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What we learned from 80+ migrations across 400 deployments in 60 countries

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Over the last five years, there has been a steady wave of behavioural and regulatory changes which have altered how customers engage with banks. This has fundamentally modified customer expectations on what services banks should provide and how.

Covid-19 has further accelerated this shift, with 62% of European customers now expressing an interest in switching from physical to digital banking - up 13% over the last three years.

At the same time, competition in the traditional banking sphere is intensifying. The elephant in the room is that sluggish performance is mostly due to the overly complicated technology in use, which makes every iteration more expensive and more complex than their previous one.

Is it all over then?

How can incumbent banks overcome the limitations of their current core banking system?

We learned from our experience in over 80+ migrations that the future of core banking migration is incremental transformation and needs to be aligned with business strategy and customer outcomes. Traditionally migrations are viewed as a multi-year project: costly, risky and time-consuming. Incumbent banks face three major challenges to address when it comes to migrations:

  • Functionality (a versatile toolkit with open APIs and configured ecosystem connectivity);
  • Scalability (ability to scale across multiple products and geographies); and
  • Integration (flexibility to integrate into existing systems and tech stack).

In turn, any core banking migration needs to address speed (faster time-to-market for products and faster ecosystem set-up) and reduction (of costs and risks of failure).

So what constitutes a successful migration and what options do banks have?

There are six key principles to follow in order to ensure a successful migration:

  1. ROI: KPIs should drive the migration scope and should be phased in order to maximise on its benefits.
  2. Metrics and timelines: a clear business case for the migration with an estimated timeline.
  3. Product and data: a detailed plan that showcases accurate planning across product and data complexities.
  4. Risk: planning across products and customer segments needs to align with risk appetite and commercial objectives.
  5. Compliance: ensuring that any migration plan, target state infrastructure adheres to regulatory standards
  6. Flexibility: a successful migration should remain agile in order to react to changes and feedback loops.

In order to prepare and define the strategy for core migration it is important to take the approach that solves the most pressing business challenges. There are normally three routes companies can take: a dual core strategy with progressive customer migration, an on-the-edge approach with a new client experience layer and the ‘big bang’ where the whole legacy system is upgraded or replaced.

  • Legacy replaced: replacing (or upgrading) the monolithic legacy system every few years. Selected core components get replaced based on the architecture roadmap.
  • On the edge: launching a totally new customer proposition and customer experience, laser focused on customer acquisition via innovation, aggressively migrating existing customers, allowing for cancel & re-enroll or account recreation.
  • Shared legacy: progressive migration of customers based on key lifecycle events such as new products or product rollovers. This way it’s easy to leverage already existing digital capabilities such as CRM, financial and non financial risk management.

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Ben Goldin & Kunal Galav
Ben Goldin is Mambu's CTO and Kunal Galav is Regional Director of Mambu's dedicated Advisory Services.
Ben Goldin & Kunal Galav