Memorable moments, highlights and key takeaways.
Each year, we count down the days, excited to connect with forward-thinking financial institutions (FIs), industry thought leaders, and the brightest fintech minds at our annual conference, Alkami Co:lab.
The day finally arrived (April 2nd, 2023) and we couldn’t help but shout from the rooftops about how much we enjoy welcoming you, face-to-face, for three days of learning, collaborating, networking, and discussing the future of digital banking.
The agenda was jam-packed with invigorating keynote addresses, eye-opening roundtable discussions, an innovation lab for exploring fintech solutions, informative product sessions, and lively evening entertainment.
Let’s get into it!
Alkami Co:Lab 2023: Monday, April 3 Recap
Day one of Alkami Co:Lab 2023 kicked off with a ton of excitement and lots of great learnings! Attendees checked in and were greeted by an assortment of collaborative breakout sessions to choose from.
What are some of the key takeaways we heard throughout the day? Here are some of the conversations you might have missed:
5 Facets of a Powerful Digital Sales and Service Platform
Alkami’s Melissa Henricks and Jules Meyer shared our strategic vision for elevating beyond digital banking. In today’s world, it’s imperative that FIs have a powerful digital sales and service platform that empowers them to meet the needs of your account holders—and can easily be adapted to meet their needs into the future.
Banking has changed so much in recent years. Even the words that we use to describe it have changed: “banking” isn’t what it used to be, and we have evolved as a company to help our clients meet the ever-changing modern expectations of end users. Loyalty to a universal bank model has gone by the wayside, and people have their money spread out across a wide range of providers.
The future is this ubiquitous type of banking that allows users to access their money anywhere, anytime.
You can expect to hear much more from Alkami around operating under a ‘Sales and Service Model’ during Alkami Co:lab and in the coming weeks.
Key Takeaways for Data-Driven Growth
FIs need access to unique insights not available to anyone else—and they have the data for it. Going beyond core and transactional data gives a more holistic view of account holders for more precise targeting.
The key to understanding account holders’ financial goals can be found in their everyday swipes and other transactions. This data tells the story of their lives and can help FIs identify ways to best support their account holders.
For example, Alkami’s CMS Content Builder allows FIs to easily create custom ads to deliver to account holders. The ads not only target a specific need, but also capture their interactions with the content, to influence future offers.
Best Practices to Stand Up Non-Interest Income
FIs can increase non-interest income by identifying businesses operating in a consumer account. Alkami has found, on average, a 12% business account growth potential for account holders that are already at that FI.
Co:Lab 2023: Tuesday, April 4 Recap
CEO Alex Shootman kicked off Alkami Co:Lab Day 2 with some truly insightful storytelling. He shared examples as to how consumer-facing innovation always goes through the same three stages; it starts as a twin of a current concept, spends time going through an improved user experience and is finally dominated by personalization of the innovation.
This holds true today for the digital banking experience. Customers don’t want a new digital bank. They want their bank digitized. As part of the planning horizon, user experience will begin to standardize and the future winners in digital banking will be those financial institutions (FIs) that use data to personalize their interactions in their digital channel.
Alkami’s Philosophy of Innovation
To help FIs achieve their goals, Alkami is investing in three key areas:
- Continue to be a great digital banking application with a focus on the user experience and reliability.
- Extend the notion of user experience to include making it easier for consumers to use innovation by extending Alkami’s platform capabilities.
- Unleash the power of FIs’ data so that you can become “the Spotify of financial services.”
How to Not Only Win, But Change the Digital Race
CTO Deep Varma took the stage to deliver insights on the ongoing acceleration of the digital banking ecosystem and striving not just to keep up—but to change the race entirely.
When it comes to ongoing technology and consumer changes, Alkami will not just adapt to the changes in order to stay in the game, but will transform and lead the race by thinking differently—going beyond digital banking to become the primary Sales and Service Platform for FIs.
To win, Alkami is committed to upholding 5 foundational technology pillars:
A Fireside Chat on Industry Mega Trends
Alkami CMO Allison Cerra and industry influencer Jim Marous of The Financial Brand sat down for a dynamic session discussing the current megatrends in digital banking and what ongoing developments are here to stay. Here are some of their most interesting quotes from the conversation:
Jim: “The opportunity we all have is to build better relationships on an individualized basis with every single customer and member in a way that can transform their life. And they expect you to. Our research shows that nearly six in 10 digital banking consumers, even higher among younger generations, expect their financial institution to know when they’re under financial stress and reach out with proactive tips and offers to make their lives easier.”
Allison: “The narrative I’ve started to see, truly shine, in the industry is how critical regional and community financial institutions are to small business development. That’s a form of innovation. I credit this audience with bolstering the heroic role that these regional and community FIs play every day in the communities they support and serve. We also can’t overcommunicate the community right now.”
Jim: “The branch is not dead. The branch is going to change. The reality is it’s a very costly channel—it’s a support channel now for digital, as opposed to digital being a support channel for humans. What we need to do is humanize the digital channel.”
Alkami’s Next-Generation Digital Sales and Service Platform
Stephen Bohanon, Alkami co-founder and chief strategy & product officer, kicked off an afternoon update on the company’s vision and products by recounting the evolution of cell phones from competing for sales on bundled minute pricing to the debut of the iPhone that upended the industry.
“It’s a little bit weird because what did the iPhone really do?” Bohanon reflected. “There was really nothing new” in terms of features. The ability to make calls, send text messages, take photos, listen to music and even browse the web already existed on other phones.
But the iPhone combined all those functions “in a way that created this really unique experience,” Bohanon said, adding, “The iPhone was an inspiration for what Alkami is going to be building on our digital banking platform.”
Alkami is focused on transforming digital banking from purely an online service platform to one that also harnesses transaction data to grow revenue by leveraging a wide array of sales and marketing opportunities. That mission is underscored by the company’s new strategic vision statement:
While the service aspect will always be important, “The digital banking channel is probably the most effective means of driving revenue and sales” for an FI, Bohanon said.
To support this vision, Alkami will focus on three primary goals: promoting product adoption and user engagement; leveraging data; and evolving and scaling the Alkami platform.
Even as the evolution ramps up, Alkami will continue to focus on helping FIs onboard, engage, grow, and guard the account holder relationship.
Women in Banking Get a Special Focus Today
One of the most engaging sessions of the day was the Women in Banking panel discussion and networking lunch, which brought together over 100 women Co:laborators to engage, network and grow. Guest panelists included Kristi Modi of St. Mary’s Bank, Mirella Reznic of Valley Strong Credit Union and Kelly Mobley of Vantage West Credit Union. Discussion focused around the topics of “The Importance of Women in Technology,” “Imposter Syndrome,” and “Building Your Personal and Professional Brand.”
The session rounded out with a lively Q&A session in which many were inspired to share their stories. One core piece of advice resurfacing in each topic area—always bring your authentic self to the table and good things will come. The session will become an annual event at Alkami Co:lab to continue building and supporting this community of women as they lead the next generation of digital banking.
Alkami Co:Lab 2023: Wednesday, April 5 Recap
Kicking off the last day of Alkami Co:lab, and appearing for the first time on our main stage, Alkami’s VP of Client Success, David Davenport. David brought warmth and promise to the audience, “I’m really privileged to lead our customer success organization here at Alkami and work with some of the most invested customers and employees I’ve seen in my career.”
David’s keynote address focused on the future of Client Success at Alkami, beginning with a pledge to help customers dig deeper into business strategy and find value in the platform. His entire team will be working with customers even more closely to level-up their product knowledge and maximize their ROI.
The Client Success group at Alkami also organized the most successful activation in Alkami Co:lab history: The Client Journey Wall. In order to seek visibility beyond standard NPS scores, the client success team spoke individually with hundreds of attendees at this year’s event to discuss their overall client journey. The wall was front and center in the event lobby, and all 400+ responses remained in place for the duration, showcasing a radical level of transparency that David plans to foster well into the future.
From the stage itself, Davenport immediately addressed how they plan to level up communication, empathy, speed, and onboarding handoffs before the very audience who had spent time giving their valuable feedback earlier in the week. “There’s many more and we take your feedback seriously, and want to be the most trusted and strategic partner you have.”
Alkami Client Panel
One of the greatest values that Alkami Co:lab brings attendees is the opportunity to hear from fellow financial institutions (FIs). These experts generously share their insights to help other FIs learn from their challenges and triumphs so they can successfully and confidently navigate digital transformation.
To glean these insights and ideas Jen Doyle, Alkami’s vice president of client sales, led a panel discussion to explore some hot topics that are on the minds and strategic plans of FIs across the country, including how to humanize the digital channel and hyper-personalization. The clients also shared a piece of advice they would give to FIs to get the most out of their digital banking experience. Here is what they had to say:
Theresa Hayes, Merrimack Valley Credit Union
“It’s really important to get the basics right. Those transactions, interactions and activities, make up 90% of how they work with us. Measure that, take that information to innovate and map out next steps.”
Mirella Reznic, Valley Strong Credit Union
“Have a clear vision. Don’t just say “I want AI”…instead, you need to find the problem such as we need to solve this one call center issue. For us it was account opening. We got it down to three minutes using a fintech partner. Now we move on to the next pain point and solve it.”
Varun Chandhok, Premier Bank @yourpremierbank
“I actually have two takeaways to share. One is culture, the belief that we can evolve the way we interact with our customers. Meet them where they want to be met and how they want to be served. Account opening is a great example of this. Two, is partnering. There is so much to get done to achieve the outcome we are aiming for. It’s not possible to do with the shop sizes we all may have, partnering is key.”
Thwarting the Most Popular Attack Method for Fraud
Business email compromise has become a more popular attack method for digital fraudsters than ransomware, according to FBI internet crime reports. And when criminals gain access to corporate email systems, they often do it via phishing attacks that rely on social engineering.
That’s why it’s critical for FIs to ensure all employees undergo anti-phishing training that helps them identify and avoid scams and other common attempts to fraudulently access systems, said Doug Linebarger, Alkami chief legal officer.
“The goal is: Let’s make them read every email and think, I’m not just going to click this link. I’m actually going to think about it first” and report suspicious emails to the security team, Linebarger said.
Linebarger’s presentation also included a conversation with three top data security executives on the importance of vetting potential vendors for security issues before signing on with them. They also noted that the fraud and data security teams at many FIs are converging and collaborating, because attackers are stealing the data to help their fraud schemes succeed. It’s a perfect opportunity for those teams to combine forces and stop a common threat.
Seeing the White Space
Of course, no Alkami Co:lab would be complete without a look to the future. Technology is increasingly integrated into the way FIs do business, requiring them to modernize faster and faster to keep up with what account holders want and what the market demands. Scott Klososky, of Future Point of View, known for accurately predicting the next digital trends, delivered a thought-provoking keynote address on technology, humankind, and the future of financial services.
With the rapid adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) engines, Klososky believes an updated definition for digital banking is in order. He offered up five concepts driving that definition:
- AI-driven sales & marketing platform with hyper-personalization
- A service platform highly embedded with AI automation
- CX Avatar self-serve platform with high impacts on CX & profitability
- An intelligent data activation system that we are only 20% finished with
- A frictionless integration of machine & human intelligence
No matter how you define it, one thing is clear, integrating humans and technology is the future of banking. Klososky emphasized that it is incumbent upon us to help our customers see what new technologies they can leverage around financial services.
“This takes vision and leadership,” Klososky said. “You need to see the white space. You need to be able to look into the future to see something that doesn’t exist today and what it can be.”
He went on to explore how AI will impact the banking space and what is probable, plausible, possible and even unimaginable—things like data activation, digital twinning, Web3, cognitive banking and more. “The largest opportunity for digital success with FIs is seeing the white space to unlock the vast potential. This takes innovative technology partners, high-beam vision, and the courage to act.”
A Salute to Regional and Community Banks
Alkami capped off the conference by debuting a heartfelt video salute to the community banks and credit unions that work hard to change the lives of their account holders and support their local communities every day. That video, “To My Jelly Bean,” features a letter from a mother to her teenage daughter, nicknamed Jelly Bean, on the eve of her departure for college. The letter references the most joyful and difficult moments of their life together. At each step on their journey, the video reveals how a local banking provider supported them, showcasing the natural progression of a family’s financial journey through a timeline of life’s moments.
“We hope ‘To My Jelly Bean’ serves as a reminder of all that regional and community financial institutions do to support the communities they serve—and the account holders who rely on their bank or credit union to help them ultimately realize their dreams,” said Allison Cerra, chief marketing officer for Alkami.
The video is the centerpiece of an outreach campaign in which Alkami encourages account holders to share stories of how their banks and credit unions have helped them reach their financial goals, using the hashtag #AllOfLifesMoments. Once you watch it, consider sharing it via your FI’s social channels to keep the positive stories rolling in.
That’s a Wrap!
Thank you to all our clients, partners and sponsors for being part of Alkami Co:lab this year. We can’t wait to see you again next year! Mark your calendars for April 8-10, 2024.