It is hard to find a bank or credit union whose IT systems are homogeneous, i.e. belonging to a single vendor. More often we come across a wide plethora of brands, models and versions or various eras.
Therefore, interoperability is the keyword that system implementers and users (such as financial institutions) are taking a serious look at, especially when choosing a management system.
So if you wish to adopt a new marketing/sales platform for your bank, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to handle interoperability in a nimble way?
The history of interoperability –the ability of connecting a system with another even if they come from different ‘worlds’ (Unix, Linux, Windows, MacOS, etc.)– is the history of computing itself. Two of the main instruments to achieve this task are protocols and standards.
Networking computers and especially apps, as well as connecting them to other equipment, prompted the creation of several mechanisms: conduits and bridges, data-exchange languages such as XML, architectures such as SOA, data converters – a litany of elements whose main aim was to share data between systems. The protocols slowly began to unify and standards… well, they standardized. The goal was not just interconnecting the new systems installed by firms but also connecting them to their so-called legacy systems, or the ones they had already installed.
One of the most beneficial mechanisms is APIs, short for Application Programming Interface. They offer ways for a system to ‘question’ another, get an ‘answer’ and then process it and return it to the original system or to a third one. In other words, an API stands for the communication capabilities between software components.
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While APIs are not a novelty, we have undoubtedly entered a new era – the API era. APIs are by far the best proven communication method (interoperability, remember?) between systems. If, for example, the ERP needs to collect data from a CRM and a Business Intelligence system requires data from both the ERP and the CRM, APIs become indispensable.
What’s more, we are talking about the era of open APIs. This means software manufacturers release their APIs to the public so any developer in need of communicating their systems may manage to do so with relatively little effort.
Today, APIs are championed by banking systems. The adoption of open APIs and architectures in banking core systems has helped home-banking pages to become more operational and digital developers to connect to financial structures – the so-called fintech, new businesses based on tech and finance. Also, with e-commerce booming, they have fostered a proliferation of electronic payment systems.
Digital marketing also has a space of its own. Plataforms such as HubSpot open their own APIs for integration with hundreds of systems. Each of them has a specific capability, allowing, for example, connections to analytics, e-commerce or online-sales systems, CRMs, client technical support tickets, ERPs, etc.
Marketing departments usually work with platforms and analytical tools provided by major players, from Facebook and Google to more specialized operators such as Sprout or Snaplytics. They often lack integration to the institution’s management systems, thus limiting possibilities that would otherwise be open.
If you’re thinking about choosing a digital marketing agency, and especially if that agency uses or proposes a specialized platform, you can’t ignore your financial institution’s existing systems and which among them interact (either directly or indirectly) with the marketing department.
A respectable and trustworthy consultancy firm should be able to provide specialized human resources capable of connecting the various existing systems to your chosen digital marketing platform in the most secure manner possible.
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