Is Your Chasm Really Gaping?

March 31, 2017

 

Last August, I wrote a blog post on my company’s website called Your Technology Provider Is NOT Your Opponent. Back then, I said, in part:

 

Know your opponent. That’s the advice that one industry pundit offered to financial institutions in a recent opinion piece about negotiating pricing with technology companies.Know your opponent.

 

I’m not going to lie. When I first read that, it made my stomach churn a little. Then it just made me angry. Why? Because that’s about the worst advice ever – and I mean ever.

 

Know your opponent.

 

That encourages financial institutions to create and maintain an adversarial relationship with their technology vendors. That’s so fricking stupid, it boggles my mind.

 

I was recently reminded of this blog post when I read another opinion piece that lamented the “gaping chasm of mistrust” that allegedly exists between all financial institutions and their technology providers.

 

I talk with a lot of fintech vendors. (In the interest of full disclosure, a number of them are my clients.) And I talk with a lot of financial institutions about their technology, too.

 

Have tech vendors ever fumbled the ball? Sure. They all do, in all sectors. Microsoft has. IBM has. Google has. Amazon has. They all have because – newsflash – we’re all human. I’m not making excuses for sloppy work, but it’s ridiculous to expect that any tech provider will ever have a perfect track record.

 

Have financial institutions ever been wronged by their vendors? Absolutely. I routinely hear from executives who are pissed off at this vendor or that vendor. But those instances are isolated. To characterize the sum total of all FI/vendor relations as a yuge, gaping chasm of mistrust strikes me as an overstatement of bigly proportions.

 

As I observed last August, financial institutions and tech vendors want the exact same thing. They want the FI to succeed using the vendor’s technology. That’s the only way they can both prosper. To speculate that either party wants anything less seems like brazen fearmongering to me. 

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