Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Back to the (account opening) future

The thing that really kicked off this blog (apart from the feeling that I was going nowhere in Vignette) was back in front of me yesterday.

A little over a year ago, a colleague, good friend and extremely smart finance guy, Rob Hill, brought a big business problem to my attention. This was perfect, as we were looking for compliance problems that were a better fit for Vignette document and records management technology than SOX. The new business / new account opening processes around annuities were being focused on by an industry association called NAVA, with unusually strong buy-in from its member financial services institutions.

Rob and I started working on NAVA standards task forces, while planning a Vignette solution to address the New Business for Annuities (NBfA) problem. And I started writing this blog a little later when I realized that we were going to get little attention from the (overloaded) Vignette marketing folks. About 9 months later, Vignette decided that the only solutions it was going to pursue were those that reflected it core web content management competencies, losing the stomach for back-office financial services business problems. I happily escaped Vignette back in October to Global 360, a company that’s bread and butter is exactly this type of problem.

Anyway, back to the future and NAVA STP for New Business for Annuities has come of age, approving a range of standards based on a legal framework for operations that support a set of technical requirements for straight through processing of new business applications. Yesterday, many interested software and services vendors met in a Dulles hotel to understand how they could play a role in helping the new standards become software and operational reality.

NAVA’s lead technology consultant, Tony Deakins, who has been central to much of the standards work, encouraged me to go along to the conference. Global 360 BPM and ECM products are a great fit for the current new business for annuities (NBfA) problem, and I was excited to be back in front of this smart group of people and interesting business problem.

Now the activity of the day has sunk in, it feels like all the requirements are being shuffled together with a bunch of technology, consultants and systems integrators and thrown up in the air. With a bit of seeding, clouds will form as pilot solutions around natural technology synergies and needy customers. And everyone hopes that these clouds are silver lined and will rain down something meaningful that actually meets the NAVA standards.

Over the last 15 months NAVA has achieved some magical results in building and approving its standards, getting regulatory approval from a good number of states, federal and self-regulating bodies. Who knows where this will go when the clouds of vendors and customers form around the pilot systems NAVA is promoting. But I have a hope that improving new account opening will be something this blog can focus on again, with real tangible solution experience to relate.

Technorati tags:

No comments: