In this installment of Geezeo One-To-One, Amy Hibbard spoke with Stephen Riley, Co-Founder of Procurity to discuss digital transformation and the need for foundational efficiencies. Founded in 2018, Procurity’s Testing as a Service provides financial institutions with an automated process to test Core Software upgrades and updates as well as ancillary software solutions.
Geezeo: What do you define as digital transformation?
Stephen: When I speak with FIs, I often hear executives talking about the “Digital Transformation (DX).” For those not familiar, DX previously involved the realms of IT, data, marketing information mining, and Collaboration software and processes.
More recently, a shift has occurred where the definition of DX has moved towards Cloud, Mobile, and Social Strategies, as well as the Internet of Things (IoT). For Banks and Credit Unions that are on the front lines of this transformation, I typically encounter exasperated IT staff, sheer confusion at the Executive Suite and terror at the front lines, that someone will have to manage a “new service” without additional resources.
New offerings have become a defacto state in banking. There are no winners or losers in a technology offering as there has been in the past (think VHS vs BetaMax). There is only a constant evolution of technology that serves an ever-evolving consumption of that technology.
Geezeo: How can FIs efficiently offer these solutions?
Stephen: Today, efficiency equates to automation. Just like the foundational system of most computer systems is DOS (and still is), advancements have taken us to a point where the interaction with DOS is automated. You can still access the DOS Prompt, but why would you? By creating automation at the Core level, these organizations will create the foundation to expand and capture market share when a disruptive technology crosses the threshold of “emerging” to “ubiquitous.”
More importantly, automation can also insulate the FI from short-term product disruptors that create layers of efficiencies within industry disruptors. An example of this would be the industry disrupting Online Banking beginning to offer Online Check reorder, or Online Check Deposit.
Many would say that these FIs should begin to look at Cloud-Based offerings, including Cloud Core systems. I suggest you take a step even further back.
The core banking system is one of the few systems that will touch everyone within a Financial Institution. Wholesale change creates huge disruptions. What’s more, even simple upgrades to the Core Systems often require 15, 20, 35 people to test those systems to ensure they continue to work. To begin down the pathway of automation on a foundational system such as core banking, removing the “testing” component is a great place to start.
Core and Ancillary product testing are custom built for automation. If you are a programmer, you recognize that few people work from DOS prompts, but it’s still the basis for many computer systems.
We’ve built layers of systems that interact with DOS that free up our talent to utilize more sophisticated and profitable programs to do ever more sophisticated and profitable things. Testing is the foundational process that we can nearly eliminate, allowing us to create better results through automation.
Geezeo: How do you suggest FIs become more efficient in deploying technology and also support the Digital Transformation that is necessary to continue to compete in this world?
Stephen: It starts with ensuring that your current systems can automatically test and identify issues without ever having a personal touch it. A foundational efficiency with testing can support and drive your organization forward while reducing overall costs and increasing the speed to market. It can direct your IT Staff to the problems that need to be fixed, rather than the systems that already work.
Geezeo: You had an interesting travel adventure with your family. Tell us a little about the experience and what you learned.
Stephen: I did have an interesting, life-altering adventure. In 2016, my wife, 3 kids and I decided we needed a break. I'd been working for the last 25 years and had been spending a lot of time on the road traveling. I was burned out and so was the family. We decided to go extreme! We sold our house, everything inside and bought a Motorhome. We toured the country for a year, traveling 30,000 miles through 24 states, 17 National Parks, 2 countries and completed over 800 hours of volunteer service. It was an exceptional trip which re-grounded me back in reality. I realized on this trip how important it was to step back from the industry I'd been involved in for two decades. It taught me to appreciate the value of perspective again. Because I was able to step out of my cocoon, I was able to see the industry with fresh eyes. Procurity grew out of that fresh perspective, seeing once again the value of the community banking system and how this company, in one small way, can make the entire industry better. If you'd like to learn more about how we came to the decision to creatively destroy our life, we've written a chapter in the book, "Living the RV Life - Your Ultimate Guide to Life on the Road" by Marc and Julie Bennett (Simon and Shuster/Adams Media) available for Pre-Order on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and at www.RVLove.com/book.
Stephen Riley is the Co-Founder of Procurity, a company dedicated to automated testing within the Financial Institution marketplace. He can be reached at 703-999-1656 or Steve@procurity.io. More information about the company can be found at www.procurity.io.