How to plan for a smooth payments platform migration

By : Zlatan Kovachevich

December 20, 2018 01:00 PM

Many financial institutions view migrating to a new payments platform as a big risk, but a carefully planned, structured approach can help to address these concerns and make the entire process less daunting.

 

There is a clear business case for financial institutions to move on from slow and inefficient legacy transaction processing systems, and adopt a modern platform equipped to meet the demands of today's payments business.

 

However, many companies are held back in their ambitions to make this transition by concerns about risk. Migrating to a new payments system has been compared to replacing the engine of a plane while it's in flight.

 

In a recent webinar, NCR experts provided insights into why this analogy is misleading. As long as you make your plans carefully, consider all the key factors and find the right strategy, migration is absolutely achievable.

 

View the webinar for an in-depth exploration of why the following are key steps on the journey to a successful migration...

 

Considering business drivers and environment

 

The key objective of any migration should be to transfer payments processing to a new platform with minimal disruption to the business and your customers.

 

To achieve this, it's important first to fully understand what's driving the project, and what you want to get out of it. You could be motivated by regulatory requirements, or a desire to improve functionality and service availability.

 

Having a clear idea of your drivers and goals will help guide the migration and inform your overall strategy.

 

Analyzing the specifics of your payments environment is another critical step. Understanding the nature of key elements such as your existing interfaces, transaction flows, spread of transaction volumes, and methods of authorization gives you more focused insights into how the migration can proceed with minimal risk of disruption.

 

Based on this knowledge and awareness, you can devise a specific migration strategy that makes sense for your business.

 

Developing a bespoke, detail-oriented strategy

 

One of the most important parts of a migration project is to come up with a bespoke strategy expressly designed to meet the needs and reflect the nature of your organization.

 

There are various approaches you can take, based on your unique requirements and preferences.

 

One decision to think about is whether your business would be better-served by implementing all new functionality first, before migrating traffic, or to start off by putting processing in place for certain channels, before bringing in the remaining transaction flows in parallel.

 

Another option that's applicable for some businesses is the 'soft launch'. This is essentially a final test that involves having the new platform in place and switching transactions from the old system for a short window of time. All aspects of performance can then be checked and any potential issues addressed before the full launch of the new platform.

 

Yet another alternative is to invest in platform modernization, which focuses on developing new and replacement functions within existing infrastructure, and gradually migrating this functionality to a new system over a period of time.

 

View the webinar for a detailed account of various migration scenarios and how they can work for different businesses.

 

Learning from the experiences of others

 

As daunting and potentially risky as it may seem, migrating from legacy payment processing technology to a new, more efficient platform is achievable. This has been demonstrated by the many businesses that have done it in the past.

 

NCR has witnessed first-hand how organizations of all types and sizes – from relatively small, region-specific providers to major international institutions – have completed successful migrations with minimal disruption, and realized the advantages of next-generation payment processing.

 

The industry has also seen cautionary tales of what can happen when a migration is carried out without sufficient planning and attention.

 

By looking at the experiences of firms that have been there and done it before, your business can gain an insight into how migration is not only possible, but advisable in the ever-changing modern payments business.

 

It's vital to assess and plan for the risks involved in migration, of course, but it's just as important to consider the risks of relying on old technologies in an industry that's moving faster than ever before.

 

Learn more about the key elements of a smooth and successful payments platform migration

 

Zlatan Kovachevich headshot

Zlatan Kovachevich

VP/General Manager, Data & Analytics

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Zlatan Kovachevich is the Authentic PS Lead for NCR. He has more than 25 years’ experience working with software vendors in the payments/transaction processing industry, in various roles, from customer and professional services to product management and company exec directorship. He has worked for the last 18 years with the Authentic product, managed Authentic product developments, PS deployments and support globally.