Go fast without breaking the bank

In today's fast-paced, technology-driven world, the financial sector stands at crossroads. Simplifying and scaling integration of digital solutions at financial institutions is no longer a futuristic goal but an immediate necessity.


This article is sponsored by Backbase

As presented at the recent BIAN meeting in South Africa, Backbase’s groundbreaking Integration-Platform-as-a-Service (IPaaS), called Grand Central, highlights the urgency and the vast potential of systems and tech integration in banking.

The challenge of integration

Traditional banks face a myriad of challenges when it comes to modernisation of their tech stack and rejuvenating customer experience. Integration with newer technologies (in-house and 3rd party) to their legacy and/or modern core banking systems remains a significant hurdle, with over 60% of IT budgets being allocated to this endeavour.  High costs, limited flexibility, and increased complexity of legacy tech stacks often deter banks from pursuing comprehensive and future-proof digital strategies. However, the alternative – maintaining outdated, siloed systems – leaves institutions vulnerable to agile fintech disruptors and increasingly demanding consumers.

Grand Central: A game-changer

Backbase’s Grand Central offers a revolutionary solution to these challenges. By centralising core banking systems, customer relationship management, and third-party fintech solutions into one user-focused platform, Grand Central dramatically simplifies and accelerates the integration process. The plug-and-play architecture enables instant integrations with a robust ecosystem of core banking systems and fintechs, at low development and maintenance costs, while enhancing operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. 

Roland Booijen, General Manager of Ecosystems at Backbase, emphasised that “integration should be a dance, not a fight.” This philosophy underpins Grand Central’s design, aiming to make the integration process seamless and intuitive. The platform’s out-of-the-box connectors and pre-integrated features allow banks to deploy digital services quickly and effectively, without the need for expensive and time-consuming custom software development.

The urgency of digital transformation

The digital age demands that banks not only keep pace with technological advancements but also anticipate and respond to changing consumer behaviours. Today’s banking customers prioritise convenience and expect seamless digital experiences, in-line with the advancements across other platforms such as Spotify, Netflix, Uber. Banks that fail to adapt to revolutionising customer experience risk obsolescence as more and more challenger digital-first banks grab market share. This phenomenon is highlighted by the rapid adoption of mobile money services across Africa. These services have democratised financial transactions, making banking accessible to millions who were previously underserved by traditional institutions.

Grand Central addresses this by enabling banks to offer fast and productised integrations to leading core banks and fintechs, enabling banks to shift their focus towards delivering innovative, customer-centric services. From digital onboarding and lending to wealth management and AI-driven insights, the platform supports a wide range of functionalities that cater to the modern consumer’s needs. 

Progressive adoption of BIAN across business lines

The financial sector’s digital transformation is not a solo journey but a collaborative effort. Backbase’s Grand Central fosters this by providing a unified integration layer that supports a vast ecosystem of fintech partners and third-party services. This interconnected approach allows banks to leverage the best-in-class solutions available in the market, further enhancing their service offerings and competitive edge, as explained by Deepak Pandey, Senior Technical Director at Backbase,

Moreover, Grand Central’s commitment to compliance with BIAN standards  ensures that banks can scale their digital services rapidly and securely. This standardisation simplifies regulatory compliance and future-proofs the integration process, enabling banks to adapt to evolving market conditions with agility and confidence. 

Conclusion: Act now  or be left behind

The message from industry veterans Roland Booijen and Deepak Pandey at the BIAN event is clear: the time for banks to embrace digital integration is now. The financial landscape is evolving rapidly, and only those institutions that adopt a forward-thinking, customer-centric approach will thrive. Grand Central provides the tools and framework necessary for banks to navigate this transformation successfully.

Banks must recognise that digital integration is not just an operational improvement but a strategic imperative. By leveraging platforms like Grand Central, they can enhance their service offerings, streamline operations, and ultimately deliver greater value to their customers. The future of banking is digital, and the journey begins with seamless, efficient integration.