Banking Platform Functionality Includes Support Of Regulatory Compliance

During the past decade, I have worked with many analyst relations (AR) people as well as specialist AR firms. I have never blogged about them in the past, and I have no intention to do so in the future. Earlier this week, however, I saw that an employee of one of the specialist AR firms authored and published a comment on my most recent report: “Global Banking Platform Deals 2011: Functionality”.

This comment gives the impression that my report only provides common wisdom in that it only suggests that “one of the key differentiators for system selection is a strong track record.” The author also explains that this “may be at odds with the current market landscape as new regulations are set to change the way that the capital markets work and vendors are all developing new functionality to cope” – just to mention a few examples.

My perception is that the author either did not read my entire report or preferred to focus on the six-and-a-half-line summary of an eleven-page report – with a comment that is longer than the summary. Why this perception? First of all, the report is about banking platforms, and Forrester’s definition of banking platforms does not even mention capital markets. More importantly, I do not disagree at all with the author’s statement as far as the relevance of supporting new regulation is concerned – just the opposite, albeit more from the perspective of retail/consumer, private, or corporate/commercial banking.

The key topic of the entire report is the analysis of functional requirements expressed by about a thousand off-the-shelf global banking platform deals in 2011. Functional requirements need to include support of regulatory compliance, and the report clearly identifies support of regulatory compliance as one of the top four functional requirements across all global banking platform deals.

An earlier report also showed that a few of the approximately 100 countries in which the deals originated drive the major share of the deal numbers. In these few global demand centers, a vendor’s track record is important because a long and hopefully good track record indicates a higher likelihood that that vendor’s banking platform can cope with all or at least many of the given country’s regulatory requirements.

At the same time, the “Global Banking Platform Deals 2011: Functionality” report clearly states that the “further away a country is from global demand centers, the greater the need for extensions and customizations to address issues like local requirements for languages, regulatory compliance, and supervisory reporting.” Please don’t get me wrong here: I used “further away” in a metaphoric way.

I am always glad to get feedback on my reports and to discuss them. I discuss banking topics with friends, for example, in the European, North and South American, and the larger Asia Pacific regions. However, when they provide feedback about my reports (as they tend to do from time to time), I always appreciate if they provide feedback on the entire report, not just its six-line summary – and they usually do.

As always, let me know what you think: JHoppermann@Forrester.com.