Rapid Customer Onboarding, Build vs. Buy

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April 29, 2013

If you are a BPM leader starting a new project to improve a customer onboarding business process, the first significant decision you will make is choosing between developing in-house and sourcing a 3rd party solution. Each option has its own advantages and drawbacks. If you are having a difficult time deciding which option is the best for your organization and your business processes, this article will help guide you in making an informed decision.

Is there an off-the-rack solution that covers all your needs?

Approach this problem as you would finding the perfect suit for your wedding. Should you opt for off-the-rack or have a tailor custom-make it for you? Most people would opt for a ready-made suit from a store rather than go through the complicated process of getting one made from scratch. With the volume of choice available though, finding a suit that looks great and fits you reasonably well requires thorough research. Likewise, when it comes to customer onboarding, there are many options available, and selection must be made carefully to ensure an optimal result. Always start by doing thorough research of the options available. Using a 3rd party solution or customization of an application or platform will almost always be the more cost-effective option than developing in-house, both in money and time. The key takeaway is Rule #1: Always start by researching what 3rd party solutions are available.

Get a suit tailored

Sometimes you just can’t find that perfect suit, but there is that almost-perfect match that fits well around the waist and suits your frame. In that case, getting the suit tailored is exactly what you need. Most rapid customer onboarding platforms can be customized to fit your organization’s exact needs. In these cases, using a 3rd party platform is a much better choice than building yourself.

There are many reasons why this makes more sense than developing your own project. Application developers, like us at Recombo, have a wealth of experience from implementing systems for companies. We know first-hand what works and what doesn’t. We have a professional software development team whose sole purpose is to iterate and improve the software that makes rapid customer onboarding possible.

Very few organizations have the right personnel or resources to tackle a project such as rapid customer onboarding software, which means getting an application tailored to suit your requirements can make sense in the majority of use-cases. The volume of work required to develop a rapid onboarding solution from the ground up, and then iterate on it to improve and enhance processes, reporting and ROI continuously makes leveraging an existing smart process application a wise decision in most cases. In most circumstances, integration with legacy systems does not prohibit using a 3rd party rapid onboarding solution, and for a market-leading platform like Recombo’s Agreement Express, integration into legacy systems is part of what makes the solution so effective. Rule #2: Customizing a 3rd party solution to your needs is often the best way to go.

Go bespoke, and build your own business process management software

The term “bespoke” means getting a hand-crafted, 100% customized solution made specifically for you. A proper bespoke suit may take many months and thousands of dollars to create. Very few can afford such luxury, and often the difference between a customized suit and one tailored off the rack is minimal. The perception that if your organization is a very large enterprise with a complex legacy system, then developing a system in-house might be the best solution for you could be a costly one.

Creating a great customer onboarding experience requires business process reengineering and the ability to implement and iterate using a truly agile approach. For many financial institutions, doing this in-house is a huge challenge. There are also related concerns in additional to the rapid customer onboarding application, such as data storage. Data storage is one of those processes that may need to be reengineered. Here at Recombo, we advocate for a central data storage system.

Using a central data storage system means that information needs to be entered only once, and can be shared across multiple departments and business units. For organizations that have customer data stored across different silos for different departments, start by reengineering this process. Make sure that if you decide to develop in-house, you are ready and able to do it right. Rule #3: If you decide to develop in-house, prepare to put in a large effort to develop the software to measure and report on your processes, along with reengineering fundamental business processes.