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Recap - AFT 2017 Spring Summit

Panel Promotes Partnerships and AFT Coopetition

Five financial technology decision-makers offered their views on partnering for success in a panel discussion moderated by Kevin Tweddle, Director, Novantas, at the 2017 Association for Financial Technology Spring Summit at Amelia Island, Fla.

Bob Ezell, Senior Vice President, Product Management at CSI; Mike Alles, Vice President, Partner Management, Commercial Sales, FIS; Paige Barry, Vice President, Partner Management, Fiserv; Kevin Han, Director of Sales, Strategic Alliances, Jack Henry & Associates; and Roger Amador, Vice President, Strategic Alliances, Q2; delivered on the benefits of forming strategic alliances.

The panel touched on a number of issues including the structure of the partnership, what vendors can do to streamline the process, building and managing ongoing partnerships, and AFT coopetition.

“For the vast majority, the arrangement varies on the particular product,” Ezell emphasized. Alles added, “A lot of times the initial partnership stems out of networking opportunities.”

When it comes to what can vendors do to streamline the process, Barry suggested anytime the relationship involves sharing client data, there is an extensive vetting process. Amador said, “Understand where that organization is from a marketing standpoint and from an operational standpoint.”

Han maintained getting the contract represents only half the battle. “You have to continually earn that partnership.” Ailes also mentioned managing enduring agreements requires different levels of ongoing partnerships.

Working with novice vendors brought some commentary as well. “We’ve done a lot of investment in incubators. It really is a speed-to-market issue. If we can find partners, it is a better use of our time,” Alles explained. He also suggested putting on an operational hat to shepherd new partnerships.

Ezell pointed out some of the regulatory problems such as compliance issues. “The most frustrating thing is the bureaucracy demanded by the examiners. It’s put a burden on us and the vendors.”

The pressure from integration with third-party vendor was also a topic tackled. “Were seeing an uptick in integration from third-parties.,” Amador said. “In today environments, there are ways not to use a single sign-on environment or an API. We are a security company. That is what we are becoming. When you partner those up-and-coming fintechs you have to make sure you are not creating a weakness in the chain,” Alles said.

They all spoke about the benefits of AFT:

  • Ezell: “You make AFT what you want it to. The Association is just wonderful. Some of the strong strategic partnerships and great friends I have in the industry are from AFT,”
  • Barry: “This is such a great networking event.”
  • Amador: It helps strengthen and mature relationships. “It’s an environment of transparency you don’t see anywhere else.”
  • Han: “I’m a big fan of this organization. You are so experienced, individually you are all tigers.
  • Alles: “I feel I am fed here.”

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