Migrating from one commercial online banking platform to another is no small task. Some institutions make the move in one “big bang,” while others choose to migrate in phases. Whichever approach proves best for a particular financial institution, Xtensifi recommends being rigid about the process while staying flexible with delivery dates.
Readying the Data
The migration process should begin, of course, with choosing a vendor for the new platform. Once the vendor has been selected, the next step is data clean-up—removing stale, inactive, or “orphaned” data from the current database to prevent bad data from being loaded to the new platform. The data must then be validated and transformed into the proper formats and values required for the new platform. It is a best practice for the new platform vendor to perform this step.
Entitlements are a significant concern. Quite often they do not neatly map between the old and new systems, so careful planning, extensive testing and customer communication are required.
At this point, the financial institution must decide whether to migrate future dated and recurring payments. To leverage the new platform’s power and flexibility, we recommend setting up payments afresh on the new platform rather than migrating them over.
Another key decision is whether to allow customers to access both platforms for a period before and after migration. Allowing dual access requires careful planning and execution and involves several risks: certain deltas may not be applied to the new platform, payments may be generated from both platforms, and customers may balk at learning and using the new platform. For these reasons, Xtensifi recommends preventing customers from viewing or modifying their data on the old platform.
The choice to migrate in one fell swoop or in phases depends on the individual financial institution. In a “big bang” approach, the entire platform is converted at once, typically in one weekend. This approach minimizes downtime and saves costs, since it is both expensive and complicated to keep two systems running. But converting in phases is less risky, since organizations can test and work out glitches with each phase. Some institutions convert a small segment of users—“friends and family”—first. Regardless of the approach, a corporate banking migration should not be rushed.
A Tool to Ease the Process
Xtensifi has built a tool to help clients with their platform migrations, from big bangs to long-term, phased efforts. The tool helps our customers examine their current product functionality and platform customizations and then compare those to the target platform to identify the customizations that will be required. The tool then maps the data in the current platform to the new platform, making sure that all necessary entitlements and data elements are accounted for and transferred.
The migration tool facilitates testing as well. Using an iterative process, it performs timing exercises and conducts a test conversion to determine how long the actual conversion will take. This step helps to minimize the system downtime needed for the conversion.
With a predetermined process and the right tools, what seems like an overwhelming project can be made far less daunting. Migrating to a new commercial online-banking platform is never simple, but it can certainly be simplified.