Technology in banking (Q&A part 3)

Q&A with industry specialist Tom Grottke

Ryan Plourde
| 12/15/2020
Banking challenges (part 1) – Q&A with industry specialist Tom Grottke

The Crowe CRM team is dedicated to helping businesses streamline operations and improve performance. In recent months, our blog posts have focused on CRM technology for the banking industry. For 35 years, Tom Grottke has been helping banks improve performance across a variety of areas. Now, as colleagues on the Crowe consulting team, Tom and I share the common goal of helping banks realize greater efficiencies.

In part one of this three-part interview, Tom, a managing director at Crowe, provided insights on banking industry challenges. Next, he shared success stories and discussed the value of change management.

In part three, Tom outlines the importance of advanced technology in modern banks, including how they can use technology to minimize errors, improve customer relations, and increase efficiency. He also explains how a solution created by the Crowe CRM team takes Microsoft Dynamics™ 365 to the next level in meeting the needs of our banking industry clients.

Ryan: What are the top two challenges you have seen technology solve for banks?

Tom: By deploying better technologies, banks can eliminate paper-based processes and make real-time information easily available across their entire enterprise.

Ryan: Why do banks need to modernize their operational systems so there can be less paper?

Tom: Before we address this question, it is important to provide context. A paper-based record has been the preferred method of banks to provide evidence of a secondary review or approval for auditors or regulators. However, a paper-based record is also an indication of a lack of employee empowerment. Generating a paper record to be completed by an employee who has to pass that document to a supervisor or another department to perform system input and/or provide some form of segregation of duties provides comfort to management that employee actions are monitored.

Yet these two drivers of paper have little to do with system capabilities. Sure, many operating practices requiring paper intervention were likely set up due to system limitations, but most banking systems can now process without paper generation. Relying on paper is an option selected by management for the reasons I mentioned.

The problem is, the cost of labor, the delay in processing, and the impact of data being outside the systems is proving to be a costly burden on banks. New competitors have deployed straight-through automated processing that drives costs down, provides real-time processing for customers, and keeps data associated with a business activity within the system. This allows for immediate, complete, and accurate data availability for reporting. That is why we need to get rid of paper!

Ryan: How can sharing information in real time help banks?

Tom: Most banks currently operate in silos – their branches, their lenders, their operations, their call center, etc. This departmental isolation is furthered by core banking systems being transactional and accounting-oriented rather than being designed for real-time information sharing. As a result, bankers end up relying on less efficient software to communicate and coordinate among and within these departments.

Banks need a real-time system that can enable all personnel to share and access customer notes and information as well as to see if customers are seeking service, in the process of expanding their relationship, in the midst of an issue, or in need of other assistance. The different units need to be on the same customer-centric platform that can provide information about the status, the condition of the account, and any customer issues and opportunities.

This platform must auto-advance actions to the right person/unit, allow for activity tracking and status reporting, and foster efficient, relevant, and timely organizational response to customer situations. (And please note that when I refer to customers, I mean potential customers as well as existing customers.) Most core banking systems and business applications do not support this functionality for noncustomers and contacts not yet in the sales pipeline.

Ryan: What technology systems do you recommend for banks?

Tom: We are generally vendor-agnostic with our clients. However, we are specialists in a wide variety of banking systems. We constantly investigate systems and meet with bank technology vendors so that we understand their solutions, ideas, and development road maps. To be effective consultants, we need to know what is available, who is using the platform and why, how effective these systems are, and how these systems are being used to meet bankers’ needs.

Ryan: When you talk with bankers about Dynamics 365, how does the new Crowe CRM for Banking solution fit into that discussion?

Tom: This new tool the Crowe CRM team created specifically for the banking industry takes CRM to the next level. Bankers quickly understand the software because it’s built on the Dynamics 365 platform, and they can see that it has the efficient adoption capabilities they need. Crowe CRM for Banking and Dynamics 365 make a powerful combination.

With Crowe CRM for Banking, banks can integrate sales, marketing, and service functions across retail, mortgage, commercial, and wealth management. This enables front-office relationship managers and back-office service staff to access and share complete customer information across departments, product lines, channels, or intermediaries. Providing the client service team with access to information – including complete customer profiles displaying relationships, interaction history, and service records – improves productivity and empowers the team to deliver a better customer experience. I am very excited about introducing this new technology option to current and future clients.

Ryan: I am also very excited to work together to bring this technology to the banking industry. Thank you for your insights, Tom.

Have a question or interested in evaluating the CRM functionality in Dynamics 365?

Proven experience and a versatile solution

Crowe works with more than 1,800 financial services organizations across the country, including about two-thirds of the top 100 U.S. banks.1 The Crowe CRM team is dedicated to helping banks improve efficiency and achieve greater success. With experienced team members like Tom Grottke, we are able to build upon the Dynamics 365 platform to help improve the performance of our banking industry clients.

Crowe CRM for Banking, powered by Dynamics 365, provides the tools and information that enable bank staff to deliver efficient, high-quality, personalized service across all channels. It empowers managers and team members to meet banking challenges, reach business goals, and thrive in a changing marketplace.

Visit for more information about Crowe CRM services for Microsoft Dynamics 365 software.

1 Source: Crowe analysis of banking client engagements, January 2018

Microsoft and Microsoft Dynamics are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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Ryan Plourde
Ryan Plourde
Principal, Microsoft CRM Leader