Article

Why to Integrate, Not Just Create an Interface

web of integrated colored ropes
Steve Comer Photo
Director of the Financial Services and Insurance Industries
CUESolutions provider Hyland Software

4 minutes

Well-linked core and content systems boost member experience and credit union efficiency.

Sponsored by CUESolutions provider Hyland Software

If you want to provide the best customer experience and run your credit union as efficiently as possible, system integration is paramount.

In the financial services industry, this often means integrating your core system with a solution that allows users to access critical data stored outside the core. Staff need this information to perform tasks and service the customer or, in the ever-increasing digital world, to provide the member a self-service option.  

Integration vs. Interface

In general, system integration is the process of connecting several systems together to work together seamlessly—to function as one. 

Organizations need to improve productivity and quality of their operations, and system integration helps achieve this goal. Having disparate systems “talk to each other” speeds up information flow and reduces operational costs.

Then there is the interface, which lacks the complexity of “true” system integration, but still connects one system to another, allowing the two to function together.  Typically, an interface does not involve any complex business logic. Often, to complete a task held together by an interface, manual steps are required. 

In true integration, multiple connected systems function as one. True integration is typically bi-directional, like a two-way highway, meaning both systems pass information and data back and forth. This creates a far more efficient process and allows the user to complete the task without additional manual steps. Importantly, true integration gives the user the best opportunity to provide the highest quality customer experience.

Integrating Core and Content

Integrating a core banking system with a content services platform is one of the most commonly requested integrations in the industry. What most credit unions hope to achieve is a content services solution implementation that excels at what core systems do not: the ability to store nearly unlimited amounts of information in many forms.  

Core systems have defined (and therefore, limited) fields and data formats available, as defined by the core. In contrast, a robust content services platform stores documents in many different formats, including TIFF, GIF, PDF, Word, Excel and many others. In addition, they can store almost unlimited amounts of data associated with those documents. Content services tools allow the creation of automated workflow processes to make common tasks much more efficient and compliant. 

A true integration between the core system and a content services platform also allows credit unions to expand the solution throughout the enterprise, delivering digital efficiency to every department that adopts the solution.

Why Integrate Rather Than Interface? 

With an interface, a user could be in a core system, on a particular screen, and then click on a field to view a document. More often than not, that document view is a pop-up over the core system screen.  This provides additional value by allowing the user to see the document, but they often need to do more than view the document to complete a task.  

With integration, the user’s ability to work with information goes far beyond simply viewing a pop-up. For example, when updating member information, users often follow a specific process if they want to change an address, email or phone number. That process can involve a number of steps, like producing a and tracking a letter. These are things that a content services platform does very well when well-integrated with the core.  

Without integration, the user has to perform part of the process in the content services system, and also update member information manually in the core. True integration allows the user to update the core from the content services platform workflow, eliminating manual steps.

More Benefits of Integration

Lending requires many documents to be present, correct and complete. Quite frequently, the core can track documents, but updating that document, verifying it is present, that the right person has reviewed it, and other similar tasks typically requires manual intervention. Automating these tasks via tools like data validation and workflow processes helps ensure information is up-to-date and present. If it is not, the system can notify the right person to resolve the issue.  

True integration allows the user to do all those things from the content services platform, without having to leave the core. Instead, viewing those documents works through an imbedded solution in the core application screen, making it appear the user is working in a single system.

For the user, a content services platform tightly integrated with the core creates a more efficient and effective business experience. And the speed with which users can retrieve information provides members with the type of customer experience they expect and, in many cases, demand.cues icon

Steve Comer is director of the financial services and insurance industries at CUESolutions provider Hyland Software, Westlake, Ohio. For more than 13 years, Steve has been dedicated to helping the financial services industry transform through using Hyland’s enterprise information platform, leveraging the industry-leading capabilities that OnBase provides in enterprise content management/content services, business process management, intelligent capture and case management capabilities. He is proud to lead one of the most dynamic teams at one of the most dynamic companies serving one of the most dynamic and transformative industries.

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