Searching for an IT consultancy is nothing short of stressful. Multiple consultancies that promise the world, only to sign a master services agreement (MSA) and then… crickets. Aside from being consistent in communication, we share our five tips to finding the right IT consultancy to suit your needs in Banking and Finance.

For those who enjoy a light read, then below is a short summary of the five tips:

  • Know your budget
  • Define your current needs (and those proceeding into the near future)
  • Check the IT consultancy know your tech stack
  • Check knowledge and certifications
  • Sign a service level agreement (SLA) that aligns with your expectations 

1. Know Your Budget

Banking and Finance technology is some of the most pioneered in the world. Your internal team are not always capable of pulling off such software feats, hence why you’re seeking out someone who can. Providing consultancies with an understanding of your budget requirements assists with managing expectations on both ends.

It’s all good and well to provide a dollar value, but as a CFO, advisor, or project manager, you’re unlikely to know the cost of technology. To provide a starting point, ask yourself:

“How does the implementation of this solution impact the customer or business?”

What will be the perceived return?
Who internally will support the development and execution of the project?

Be sure to calculate internal resources into the budget and ask questions on technology subscription costs and partnership discounts the IT consultancy may be able to offer. Running costs are just as important as implementation costs.

2. Define Current and Future Needs

Whether you need help with a particular project or a complete overhaul of your infrastructure, a clear view of the expertise necessary will help to identify your requirements. We’ve compiled a few questions below to help you on your way:

  • What projects or functionality do you see a need for in the near future? 
  • What are the specific tools you need support with? 
  • Are you looking to migrate solutions or stick to what you have?
  • Do you need quick delivery, talent, or an affordable resource? (you can only pick two)
  • What type of expertise will generate outstanding results?
  • What is your approach and how does an IT consultancy suit this?

3. Does the Company offer Services that connect to your Requirements?

This one is particularly important for two reasons:

1. Do you want the IT consultancy to build on your current or existing technology? Or;
2. Are you looking to migrate to something a little more up-to-date?

If you’re a large enterprise, be sure to bring your technical team to the conversation, but make sure those invited are required. First meetings can go astray with the wrong people in the room. 

Make sure they’re experienced using your technology by requesting a list of tools they’re experts in using. Our service offerings pack can be found on our website.

4. Up-to-date knowledge and certifications

While sometimes it seems easier to seek a well-established enterprise IT consultancy to handle your requirements, it pays to review the smaller consultancies that specialise in banking and finance. They will understand your technical certification requirements and regulations. 

In Australia, one topic that regulators will continue to scrutinise closely is the question of data ownership. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) have identified the following priority areas to strategically focus on up until June 2021:

1. Protect Australians’ personal information wherever it flows Enforcement Privacy

2. Ensure Australia’s privacy and information access rights frameworks are fit for purpose in the digital age Laws and frameworks Privacy Freedom of Information

3. Be a leader in the global privacy community to strengthen protections of Australian’s personal information Policy development Privacy This international strategy is intended to guide our international activities until June 2021. However, it is dynamic and will be updated in response to changes in our environment, as new challenges and opportunities arise. We will regularly review and evaluate our actions to achieve the outlined commitments.

Working with an information technology consulting company that provides ongoing training and certification to employees is important as it shows they are committed to giving their customers the best service possible.

5. Understand their approach and Sign a Service Level Agreement

Whether it’s maintaining your core banking systems, building new mobile technology, or boosting your digital banking capabilities, aligning to an approach of delivery is vital. Request an SLA to review and be sure to sign if it suits your expectations. An SLA outlines what they intend to provide, and what you expect from the service. It’s not a contract, but an agreement that outlines metrics to measure performance, and penalties if the agreement is not met.

Uptime Guarantees

A disruption in your technology could lead to a disruption for your customers. These interruptions can have huge implications in banking and finance and no one wants to be on the receiving end of a customer that can’t access their online banking services.

Ongoing support

What kind of emergency support can the IT consultancy offer if provided services are disrupted? Ask what support and maintenance capabilities they offer. If they built it they’ll know how to fix it, so check ongoing maintenance and support is included in your SLA.

We hope you found this blog useful! Subscribe to our email newsletter to receive content updates as we post them. Crystal Delta is a global software engineering practice specialising in banking, finance, and education. Contact us today or download our services booklet for finance and banking.