New Playbook: Five Steps To Modernize FI Tech Stacks Without Doing Rip And Replace

banking technology

We all know the build-or-buy conundrum. Closely related is the “rip and replace” dilemma, where frustrated financial institution (FI) executives throw the IT baby out with the bathwater, as it were, taking modernization as a great leap rather than a series of manageable steps.

The new PYMNTS playbook Hit Reset: Five Recommendations For FIs To Modernize Their Tech Stacks, a Fastly collaboration, steers decision-makers away from the risks of rip and replace thinking in tech stack modernization with insights into edge and cloud solutions that scale.

From the technical debt accrued in legacy systems to making the job of deploying code easier on developers, the new Hit Reset playbook takes stock of factors still hindering better online experiences. “Today’s consumers expect more from their FIs’ products and services — expanded functionality, personalization and an ‘always-on,’ seamless experience across devices,” per the Playbook.

“Security, product performance at scale and frictionless customer experiences have thus become table stakes for FIs working to innovate and remain relevant in the marketplace.”

Understanding The Issues

Before divulging basics of the five tech stack tips contained in the Hit Reset playbook, it delves into the various ways that banks and FIs are falling short on modernization goals.

The playbook calls out FIs that treat security as postscript, noting, “Bolting security onto projects after the fact can cause issues and vulnerabilities to be identified late in development, resulting in higher mitigation costs and increased risk exposure. Failing to bake security into the DevOps process or promote true collaboration between security and DevOps teams may result in a solution with strong security that negatively impacts customer experience.”

“Legacy” and “latency” are often found in the same sentence, as in, “your legacy systems are routing transactions in a way that’s adding latency.” In 2021, however, that won’t do.

Facing challenges like this, it’s understandable that some FIs have been paralyzed into inaction, not knowing the right choice to make. All the more reason not to make big choices in one go.

“FIs must remember that they do not need to start over; the right tools and partnerships can empower them to augment their existing infrastructures,” per the Playbook. “Digital acceleration does not — and should not — need to be an all-or-nothing effort. It should instead always evolve. The most important thing is for FIs to take the first step. FIs can recognize significant rewards simply by instituting a few changes at a time.”

5 Steps To Modernization, Abbreviated

Summarizing the proposals for tech stack modernization offers just a taste of the insights on tap in the complete Hit Reset: Five Recommendations For FIs To Modernize Their Tech Stacks. Contrasts between a stepped approach and total rip and replace do-over contrast sharply.

Simply put, “A technology stack that can bolster a long-term innovation strategy must provide visibility, leverage the edge cloud, integrate security, be easy to implement and be futureproof. The right technology infrastructure can allow FIs to achieve all of these goals simultaneously.”

Sound difficult? It’s actually designed not to be — a major selling point of this method.

As the Playbook notes, “Integrating advanced technologies with existing architectures is a great way to kickstart digital acceleration without the disruption and cost of ripping and replacing,” adding that, “a technology stack that offers real-time analytics and streaming logs provides actionable insights to empower developers. Developers that have visibility into customer behavior, security issues, and site health problems as they are happening can make configuration changes on the fly,” which is the responsiveness digital-first demands.

Edge computing plays a major role in tricking out one’s tech stack. “Edge cloud delivery allows apps and websites to serve responses closer to end-users by leveraging an adaptive cache and shifting the computing burden to the edge cloud, limiting performance bottlenecks and reducing egress costs,” per the Playbook.

Together with seamless integration of security tools that “examine the intent or behavior of the traffic, not just its signature, and run in both monitoring and blocking mode” while also seeking out “infrastructure-agnostic solution providers [that give] FIs the option to be on-premise, cloud, hybrid and/or multicloud,” the recommendations are more than the sum of their parts.