Let’s not mince words. If a system is integrated, its products are one.
Now, how many software providers can really say they’ve achieved that? Many pay integration lip service, but few give it serious or sufficient consideration in their software’s design.
Integration is a powerful concept. Social integration promotes civic peace and stability. Economic integration is a key to efficient markets. In mathematics, integration is one of Isaac Newton’s great contributions to mankind. Its familiar sigma ∑ symbol (seen in almost all equations too complex for the average person) literally means the “sum of all parts”, and this concept is essential to science that drives the modern world. Integration brought us from Pong to PlayStation and from Earth to the Moon.
In software, the impact of integration is no less profound. Software integration weaves all parts of your operation into one, designing for optimal efficiency across the entire system.
So, it makes sense that all software would be integrated, right? Not so fast. Engineering integrated software solutions is like engineering social integration in the Middle East. It’s not a simple task. Just getting the parts to talk nicely to each other -- that is, to “interface” with each other -- is where most developers call it good enough. To achieve true integration, solution providers must pursue that objective by deliberate design, as they evolve the core, until the parts are indistinguishable from the whole.
Consider mobile banking and its various parts: Real-time balance inquiry, funds transfer, mobile lending, RDC, bill payment, check view, check order, access to credit cards and remote control debit cards, eStatements, eNotices, PFM, cross selling, etc. All of these parts render complexity and fragility that only integration can resolve. Merely interfacing these different parts can create pain points for your back-office staff and end users that never go away. Tier-one mobile apps directly integrate these parts into the core, reinforcing your service channels and reducing administrative and maintenance overhead.
Inexplicably, mobile banking providers in our industry are the greatest pretenders of integration. Like a neighbor watching cable TV through your bedroom window, many of these “providers” establish no formal relationship with the core, scraping data from systems they neither create nor control, building houses of cards for their customers on real estate they have not acquired.
Integration fraud is also a problem of core systems providers. Many paste together core offerings from solutions of partners and affiliated companies. These companies are experts at window dressing, but beneath the surface their technology is held together by bubble gum and mechanical wire.
Pull back the curtains and take a closer look at your own credit union core technology. There’s a good chance it’s not what you think, and it might just be the source of some pain. If you can’t take my word for it, trust Isaac Newton. There is power in integration. Be sure that the sum of your systems’ parts is one.
Learn more about FLEX and our truly integrated apps for credit union core technology by downloading our FLEX brochure (and share it with some friends in the industry)!