Friday, April 22, 2011

Eight Tracks, The Dead, Banking, and Technology

As I sit here listening to a streaming audio of the soundboard recording of a Grateful Dead concert I attended in high school, it reminds me of how much technology has changed since then. I first heard the song "Mexicali Blues" on my Eight Track Player in my room. Remember those things? Eventually, if you played the tape enough (which I usually did), you'd start hearing other tracks bleeding into the song you were listening to. Pretty lousy technology, in retrospect.

Okay, so what does that have in common with banking? I've just spent twelve days over the last four weeks with a team of folks looking at bank technology vendors. So technology and the progress we've made as an industry is front and center. While we've made tremendous strides since our bank last looked at a new core provider over 11 years ago, we are still living with many systems that were built during the height of the Eight Track era. Now it isn't only the core data that's critical (just like the music), it's how it is delivered to the end customer (streaming on demand versus an Eight Track Cassette).

I think I like the current "on demand" era better, but it sure does make it a more difficult decision. Frankly, we have to evaluate our partners even more closely to see if they are thinking about the next, new thing that will replace the current channels. Because the technology today, like the Eight Track Cassette, may not be the long term solution tomorrow.

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