3Pillar Paves Way For Financial Institution’s Digital Transformation While Keeping Operations Humming Smoothly

To stay competitive within the banking industry, financial institutions must distinguish their services and mobile applications to an increasingly savvy consumer. The institutions are all vying for increased usage from their customers that result in growing total assets.

As a result, digital transformation has been at the forefront of these organizations’ minds. They recognize the need to put technology first and differentiate their customer experiences. Due to legacy technologies, it has been slow for organizations to transform.

3Pillar Global is helping clients solve this challenge by partnering to build the foundation for a digital transformation. One client is the largest not-for-profit financial services organization in the Northwest and one of the top five financial cooperatives in the country. Through a longstanding partnership, 3Pillar has provided expertise to prepare the organization for platform modernization and then assisted in the execution of the modernization strategy.

In concert with the modernization work, 3Pillar is also enabling legacy applications to continue serving current customer needs. By fulfilling these concurrent missions, 3Pillar is helping the financial organization execute the multi-year strategic roadmap—which includes sequenced business and technology initiatives as well as documentation of the people, process, and technology required to support each initiative.

Challenge: Modernize Core Banking Services To Stay At The Forefront Of The Financial Industry

To stay at the forefront of the industry and expand market share, the financial organization needed to replace an outdated CRM solution reaching end-of-life status. Concurrently, senior leadership made the decision to begin an effort to digitally transform and modernize the core banking platform that delivers checking, savings, and loan services to its customers.

When the pandemic arrived, the client realized it needed to accelerate the digital transformation since servicing customers at branch offices would no longer be possible. Creating online engaging experiences that make it easy to process financial transactions became paramount.

Knowing this would be a multi-year process, the financial organization needed to consider the state of its current legacy applications. The balancing act required finding a way to meet customer needs today by maintaining legacy applications while also creating a foundation for transforming into a modernized application infrastructure. The difficulty in meeting the challenge grew more acute as the client went through multiple organizational changes, and team members were forced to split their focus among multiple projects.

Opportunity: Access To Key Skill Sets And Experience

By partnering with 3Pillar Global, the financial organization gained access to the required skill sets to maintain its legacy applications and set the stage for a digital transformation. While the organization continued to evolve, 3Pillar provided flexibility to react to changes in the scope of projects and provided a new perspective on how to tackle the development challenges.

Leveraging its knowledge of development best practices, 3Pillar suggested new process approaches, which have proven helpful to organizations that have operated legacy applications for many years. As a result, the client considers the collaborative effort with 3Pillar as a seamless single-team effort. For example, 3Pillar implemented Agile and Scrum software development processes that the client’s internal teams also adopted. These approaches accelerated code updates by 33% so the client could deploy application enhancements faster.

Solution: CRM and Core Banking Capabilities Enhanced

3Pillar provided cross-functional, senior-level resources across the software development lifecycle—architecture, design, development, testing, and project management. The client engaged 3Pillar to maintain the legacy applications used to service customers and then create the necessary application programming interfaces (APIs) to connect the applications to a modern infrastructure.

Leveraging the Microsoft technology stack—including C# and .NET development tools—the 3Pillar team focused on two primary objectives:

Back-End Processing Engine for Custom CRM: 3Pillar identified all the dependencies of the previous CRM solution, which connected to multiple data sources. The team then built the required back-end integrations so that data flows automatically to the CRM front-end application. The new solution enables the client to stay connected with customers and better manage customer relationships by identifying opportunities for providing additional banking services. The client can also launch automated customer surveys by phone, chat and email.

Core Banking Platform Enhancements: 3Pillar applied the necessary software patches and security updates to keep the platform’s legacy applications functioning correctly for checking, savings, loans, and debit card services. The team also created APIs to connect the legacy applications and transition to the modern software infrastructure. After programming the platform for internal employees using open banking standards, 3Pillar enabled customer self-service functions via REST endpoints using the modern APIs. The key function of core banking (from the modernization of the APIs) is to drive faster deployments and service innovations, such as enabling customers to order new or replacement debit cards online—rather than traveling to bank branches.

While implementing these projects, 3Pillar collaborated closely with internal client stakeholders as well as resources from other technology providers. As 3Pillar successfully completed project tasks, the team gained the client’s trust to take over the management of both internal and external resources.

Outcome: A Solid Investment In Enhancing Banking Services

By partnering with 3Pillar, the financial organization gained access to the required skill sets to maintain its legacy applications and create the framework for the digital transformation of the core banking services. The client also benefits from creating consistency across its IT infrastructure. And now that 3Pillar has prepared the framework to transform applications into customer-first experiences, the partnership will put the organization at the technology forefront of the financial services industry.

The modernization of its core banking services and the creation of APIs to connect legacy systems to modernized systems will also allow the client to deploy financial service enhancements so customers can engage more often and deposit more financial assets. The client will thus generate a high return on its major investment in enhancing the delivery of banking services to customers.

“3Pillar does a great job helping us understand the scope of our projects and the feasibility of the features we want to add to our applications. This approach facilitates the process to revisit project requirements so we can make sure we have a solid game plan in place to deliver value to our customers.”

— Senior Director of Engineering