ABA Banking Journal - November 2009 - (Page 28)
Tech topics Want to be a beta site? Here’s why you might say yes (or no), and what it takes im Lockwood is a CIO, who used to be a CFO, who’s attitude is always CID when it comes to beta testing software. If you’re not a text maven, CID is brief speak for “consider it done.” And it’s that can-do attitude that makes testing software a win-win for Grand Rapids, Mich.-based United Bank of Michigan and Fiserv, its primary vendor. “I’ve always liked technology,” says the chief information officer. As proof of this, Lockwood points out that he was a very early Mac user, back when the units were tiny, squat, off-white boxes that resembled a child’s toy. Meanwhile, at the office, even as “a numbers guy,” Lockwood kept a steady stream of new software coming into the fold during the rise of client server—and beyond. “When I was running the accounting department, I would often bring in new software early, so that we could automate some aspect of the account collection By Lauren Bielski, a freelance writer based in New York City, email@example.com. Lauren was technology editor of ABA Banking Journal for ten years. 28 NOVEMBER 2009/ABA BANKING JOURNAL T process,” he says. At a time when his peers may have been afraid to upset the mainframe apple cart, Lockwood tended to zero in on a new software’s upside potential. Bring the story to the present tense, and this same inquisitiveness has led the UBM technologist through several Fiserv beta tests (the term used for placing new or revised technology products with actual users in normal operating conditions prior to official release). Erik Wichita, senior vice-president and chief production officer for Fiserv’s Premier product line, agrees that Lockwood likes software. “He’s a conscientious, detailed-oriented guy.” Wichita says that in his numerous dealings with the CIO and the bank, which runs Fiserv wares in its own data center, beta testing is so organized that it is nearly down to, well, scientific method. In 2006, the $425 million-assets bank hosted a test (which included NCR) during the phase-in of then emerging, noenvelope ATM devices. In 2007, UBM tested Fiserv’s mobile banking capability, working through the refinement of the interface. In both cases, the bank took early adoption of ATM and mobile banking service throughout its network of 11 branches. In mid-October, UBM was hosting the test of a new ACH product, known during this phase as “ACH Manager for Premier.” This product is slated to meet new compliance requirements for International ACH Transactions (IAT), which address, among other things, the latest OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) rules and vetting of inbound international debits. Wichita, who is involved in the current ACH beta, says his banker beta testers are the kind of technophiles who see new systems and tools as a way to enhance their operations—that is, the software improves business process and yields strategic advantage. In the case of United Bank of Michigan, the drive is always there, as Lockwood puts it, to make sure that “a comparatively little community bank keeps up with the big guys.” “UBM is representative of about 20% of our clients—the ones who are motivatSubscribe at www.ababj.com
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