Wow – it was almost exactly a decade ago when GonzoBanker launched its first article about the then-toddlers of the bank tech world, the Internet banking (IB) vendors.
Remember 2001? AOL and Time Warner merged; W took one oath and inspired some others; and the USS Greeneville saved the world from a Japanese fishing boat. Way back when commissions from bank customers shopping via their Internet banking sites would solve bankers’ noninterest income worries!
Then in April 2004, I updated our loyal followers on how the core-provided Internet banking products were stomping terra over the Internet banking specialist vendors due to solid functionality, tight core integration and – maybe most importantly – low prices.
Fast forward to 2011, and my, how the mighty have fallen. The core-provided IB solutions for the most part have really blown the advantage they once had over their specialty vendor competition. The core vendors were in the position to price the snotnosed IB vendors out of the market, but instead they starved their products of life-sustaining R&D and leveled the playing field.
- CeB from FIS – CeB, now being touted as the go-forward retail Internet banking product at FIS, comes from the IBS (Metavante) product line. While functional, my IBS customers have historically complained about CeB’s aged look and feel and a general trailing of the market in navigation/usability. IBS, while enjoying substantial market momentum now, has never been accused of being pretty. Step-sister CeB ain’t winning any beauty contests either, though it has improved a bit. I recently saw FIS pitch the CeB product to a MISER core system prospect (a credit union). CeB is going to need a makeover for FIS to see any success selling it into the credit union market especially.
- Corillian from Fiserv – Depending on who you ask, Corillian is either just another option from Fiserv or the official go-forward IB product from Fiserv. The rule of thumb seems to be this: Core product reps will tell you that whichever Internet banking application is tightly paired with their core system will be the only IB product likely to survive at Fiserv along with Corillian – a “slightly downstream alternative to Corillian.” (Think Virtuoso and eCom.) Anyone else’s money at Fiserv will be on Corillian.
(For the record, my bet is on Corillian to eventually be the Anointed One, but not until it figures out how to productize the Corillian Beast and make it feasible to manage, operate and afford downstream. Though threatening to do this for years now, Fiserv hasn’t delivered.)
- Cavion from Harland – Despite some migration from its core-based UltraAccess product, Cavion has been quiet in Cornerstone’s market. Our ear on the industry plus Harland press releases suggest that most recent Cavion wins have been via Harland’s core customers and in the smaller CU and bank markets. The big news for Cavion is that it will house the newly acquired uMonitor product line. This should prove to be a great addition to Cavion’s offerings for online account opening. I have to admit that I haven’t seen Cavion in recent months.
- NetTeller from Jack Henry – Jack Henry has been singing about the dramatic new release of its oft-maligned Internet banking product, NetTeller. While the new NetTeller is an improvement, it doesn’t yet live up to the hype. Functionally, the changes have been minor, but kudos to the new widget-based landing page that gives end-users a say in how the page is presented. The new release features better iPay (bill pay) integration and JHA’s version of PFM called OFM (Online Financial Management) – a partnership with CashEdge and Omaha-based Lodo Software. That said, the iPay and OFM integration into NetTeller has a long way to go before further JHA chest thumping is warranted.
- e-Commerce Banker (eCB) from Open Solutions – Eeesh. Did OSI forget about e-Commerce Banker during its DNA retooling? Apparently so. I haven’t spoken to a single eCB customer who has any belief that the product has been touched in years, and even OSI doesn’t try to sell it to its own core prospects anymore. Coming from the vendor that pushes the modern technology angle the hardest, e-Commerce Banker is an Oracle-based geezer. The good news for OSI fans is that a rewrite is reported to be under way with a targeted release sometime this year.
Some of this pushback against the core-provided IB systems is cosmetic – dated look/feel, clumsy navigation, offbeat screen organization, etc. You might think for a semi-commodity like Internet banking that cheap and tight integration would trump stunning design any day. But banks DO have their limits. Credit unions DO have standards. When things get so ugly that customers complain and kids jeer you and your bank’s clunky online behemoth, you have to think about change. Banks told the core players’ IB products that they would tolerate a little clumsiness and homeliness as long as their looks didn’t outright embarrass the banks. And now the bankers are embarrassed.
The war isn’t won yet, but the specialty players for Internet banking are definitely making headway. They patiently waited as the core-based IB products collected dust. Now the most heated battles are among the fancy-boy Internet banking vendors.
- Corillian – See also: above. My clients have been impressed with the flexibility and customizability of Corillian, especially with the in-house solution, and they really like the product’s integration with CheckFree, its intuitiveness and its old-fashioned movie starlet good looks. On the other hand, Corillian’s PFM product routinely gets panned, and I’ll pay $100 to any Fiserv employee who can give me a clear story on Corillian’s integration strategy/performance with the various Fiserv bank and CU core products.
While Fiserv tries to posture Corillian as Everyman’s IB system, its client base still screams Big Bank and High End. In our Internet banking system selection practice, we’re not seeing any kind of significant Corillian market momentum downstream. This product isn’t likely to spark mass appeal until Fiserv can productify Corillian and rein in the price.
- Intuit/Digital Insight – As its pricing begins to descend from the stratosphere, DI is starting to reverse its loss of large client institutions over the past few years. DI has a reputation for having rock solid performance with almost no unplanned downtime, an undying work ethic in the R&D lab, and strong ties to the core vendor market. On the other hand, DI has also earned its reputation for being difficult to deal with when it comes to customer service. It’s a dependable, worry-free product that more than gets the job done, but don’t expect the boys at DI to bend over backwards for you when it comes to product modifications or customization. Wrong vendor for that model.
A Special Note to DI’s Inside Account Reps: Will you please knock it off already with the full throttle FinanceWorks (PFM) cross sale push?! Holy crap, your clients are mocking you behind your back. I have one client whose eBanking team each takes a shot of Jager every time you utter the word “FinanceWorks” on a conference call. Sadly, they’re all awaiting liver transplants.
- Online Resources – ORCC has seen renewed market momentum in the over $500 million bank and CU market. The company continues to successfully sell its integrated bill pay features and flexibility in its in-house product. Its ASP delivered product is noticeably less flexible and customizable. ORCC is trying out a hybrid approach to delivery so that the customer can enjoy the flexibility of the in-house product but get the worry- and hassle-free benefits of the vendor operating and delivering Internet banking for you. This is a pretty nice idea, but the company hasn’t implemented any hybrid deals yet. My clients are vicious in their reviews of ORCC’s lackluster PFM functionality.
- S1 – S1 is emphasizing personalization and flexibility with its “skins” approach, and its pricing has gotten much more rational recently. We see S1 successfully converting its clients on older product versions to the new 3.7 release, but market momentum has otherwise been tepid. S1 has a pretty cool widget-based approach to PFM, but the depth of functionality is a little light compared to some of its competition. One noticeable difference between S1 and the other specialty IB vendors is that S1 has almost no credit union presence at all. I’d be interested to know why it hasn’t sliced into that ripe fruit of opportunity yet.
- Q2 – This Austin, Texas-based startup is enjoying some impressive market momentum with banks and credit unions on the heels of its IB/Mobile/VRU All-On-One-Platform marketing angle. My clients dig the product’s look and feel, self-developed multi-factor authentication functionality and mobile banking product, particularly the iPhone app. That said, the Yodlee partnership for PFM and account aggregation feels a bit thrown together and Me-Too.
Q2’s To-Do list:
– Figure out how to make the PSCU reseller relationship for credit unions work.
– Build a list of successfully integrated core products as long as your arm.
– Most importantly, don’t let your breakneck sales pace break your customer service department’s neck.
Just a quick and dirty review of what I’m seeing in the trenches of the Internet banking vendor wars, GonzoBankers. More stunning takes like this to come on Twitter – check me out soon at @VendorDirt.
I’m so damn 2011! —Hodgins
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