Acquiring another financial institution is an exciting part of your bank’s growth journey, but merging two entities also comes with a lot of challenges. You must decide how you’re going to deal with the physical branches of the acquired entity. You also need to merge your staff and management teams and ensure your corporate cultures mesh together.
Beyond that, you need to consider how you’re going to consolidate your data. Data conversion services can help you move the other company’s data from paper to digital files, but they can also help you consolidate your data. Trying to deal with data from an acquired company? Then, keep these tips in mind.
1. Make a plan for your data conversion.
Data conversion can be a long and messy process. To ensure that you don’t miss anything, you should create a detailed plan that outlines the steps in the process. Your plan should include target dates to complete certain milestones, and it should outline who is responsible for different tasks.
Nominate a point person to be in charge of the process. They can ensure that tasks are being completed as assigned. They can also adjust the overall schedule as needed when work is completed early or late.
If you have an existing project management app that you like to use, leverage it to organize this project. For even greater efficiency, consider working with a company that provides data conversion services. They’ll be able to help you create a plan and avoid common pitfalls.
2. Integrate your data.
In most cases, the acquisition target will have their information on their own Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system, and you can choose to integrate it with your existing ECM or you can use two standalone systems. In almost all cases, you should opt to integrate your data.
Keeping data on the acquisition target’s legacy hardware system can increase the risk of hardware failure and maintenance costs. Additionally, jumping between systems can become confusing, and it carries a high risk of error.
Integration, in contrast, allows your employees to access all of the information they need on a single system. This saves time which in turn saves money. It also boosts your customer satisfaction levels, which helps to increase customer retention rates and improves the rate of customer referrals.
3. Consider a separate repository for out-of-shape data.
Before consolidating the other company’s data with yours, you need to ensure that it is in the right shape. If you’re worried about the integrity of the data, you may not want to consolidate it directly with your existing system. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to use two databases.
Instead, you should set up your ECM so that the data from the acquired company sits in a separate repository that connects to your ECM. Then, when you do a search, you will be able to pull data from both sources, but you don’t have to worry about the other data’s issues compromising your data.
4. Think about how you want to use the data in the future
Data is an asset, but it needs to be organized correctly to have value. When converting your data, think about how you use it currently and make sure that it is structured in a way that supports your current needs.
Also, consider how you want to use the data in the future, and use your future goals to build flexibility into your data organization. This requires extra planning upfront, but it increases the long-term value that you will get from your efforts.
5. Keep metadata.
When identifying how you want to organize your data, don’t just think about your raw data points. Also, consider the metadata. By keeping as much metadata as possible, you improve the usability of your data in the future.
6. Vet your data conversion vendor carefully
Data breaches and exposures can create severe financial and reputational harm for your financial institution. They can also lead to fines or penalties for compliance issues. To protect your data as well as your financial institution, you need to choose the right vendor for your conversion services.
When choosing a data conversion company, you should ask the following questions:
- What do you do to minimize the risk of data losses or exposure?
- What security measures do you use the protect the data content?
- Where will the data live? Is it moving to a cloud-based or on-premise solution?
- Are there checkpoints to improve the security of the data?
- Do you provide item-for-item or index-for-index audits?
- Are you experienced with data conversions after acquisitions?
- Do you have a proven track record of success?
- Do you have customer testimonials about your services?
Ideally, you should select a company that has extensive experience with the banking industry in particular. Don’t work with a generalist. Although they may understand the ins and outs of data conversion, they simply don’t have the experience or knowledge to ensure compliance with banking regulations.
Keep in mind that if a vendor compromises your data, you can’t necessarily just push the liability for the losses on them. Banks are required to do due diligence when choosing vendors or partners, and you don’t want to end up being liable for another company’s mistakes.
7. Contact Us About Data Conversion Services
At SQN Banking Systems, we help financial institutions to streamline processes and reduce their risk of fraud. As part of this mission, we offer data conversion services We can help you move legacy paper-based data to digital formats, and we can also help you deal with data conversions after a merger or acquisition.
We specialize in the banking industry, and our extensive experience with fraud detection and prevention gives us unique insights on how to navigate data conversion safely and accurately for our clients. Want to learn more? Then, contact us directly. We’d love to help your financial institution through this transition.