CEE21: 5 tips on how successfully integrate external tech solutions in the banks

During the latest CEE21 SME Banking Club Conference Michal Kurowski (Group IT Transformation Leader at RBI) shared their experience in Raiffeisen Bank International on the integration of the solutions from external partners.

Recent integrations in RBI cover the following solutions, but not limited by them: implementation of own digital solutions like Fairo – a digital banking app for micro customers, implemented in a network bank (Raiffeisen Bank Aval) in Ukraine; RaiPay – a digital wallet, implemented in network banks, and cooperation with external providers – Zentity and Pisano.

Here are 5 main lessons learned during that cooperation:

  1. Know what you’re exactly buying (for the banks), and know what you’re selling (for the providers). It is worth having in mind modern solution architecture and fitting into composable enterprise architecture.
  2. Think on the solution from a wider IT perspective, to take into account standardization and re-use of the solution in the bank for another segment or across the banks in the group. How can we in an easier and faster way to assemble a solution from already existing parts, and not create a completely new one?
  3. It always takes 2 to tango. Business and IT need to work together.
  4. Simplify and decouple. Try to break down the system into small services, which as a whole take all the functions as the big monolith. Modernization requires a switch from an old approach to a more modern (modular, scalable, or micro-serviceable). Why? For example, re-use mentioned earlier, is much simpler to achieve in microservice IT architecture, when we have components and can more easily substitute. Replacing a big monolith (like CBS) is a nightmare. But if we’re talking about a particular module, comprised of CBS, when it’s connected with APIs, etc, it’s becoming much easier. 
  5. Build new skills to manage new complexity. It’s about people, not IT. It’s hard to change IT infrastructure if you don’t have the right skills on board. You need constantly work on the upskilling. It requires a huge work and a program inside the organization on how to identify skill gap and how to address it going forward.

Interested to learn more details? Watch full presentation: 

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