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What Are Zero-Downtime Upgrades, and Why Do They Matter for Your Financial Institution?

As a financial institution, your customers fully expect their online banking experience — whether via a Web browser or the mobile app — to be available and functioning every time they access it. They expect to be able to view their accounts, make a transfer, pay bills, even take a photo of a check for deposit. In essence, they expect the app to do virtually everything they can do in the branch.

However, sometimes that isn’t possible with your current product. Your financial institution’s homepage might deliver a message across the top of the screen warning users that the “system will be unavailable for a period of time and to come back later”. While there might be frustration, unfortunately some users have come to expect this. However, don’t be surprised when they transfer over their accounts to the big banks or newer fintech solutions – where that maintenance downtime “screen of death” is never an issue. What if you could have the same technology as the big banks or fintechs? You can – let’s find out how. 

The secret: so what’s really behind that message telling the user the system is down and to come back later? Typically, it’s because older “establishment” digital banking software platforms were not built to update the production site while the system is up and running. So each time you want to fix a bug, add a refinement or a new feature, the provider has to bring the whole system down to do it. Can you imagine if you wanted to replace a lightbulb but to do it you had to tear down your whole house, and then rebuild all of it? That’s what many software upgrades look like. 

Adding to the challenge, we all know today know that change is essential. Change is what captures your users attention, and gradual change is what keeps it! As consumers, all of us “users” expect the top applications that we use today to evolve, to improve, to reduce even more friction for us. 

Fortunately, “zero downtime upgrades” are available today. It is the ability for an FI to deploy new upgrades with no user impact. We believe that this ability should be the first standard for any digital banking product to achieve. 

Safeguard Against Revenue Loss

When a user cannot make a transaction because of a service interruption, the financial institution also faces revenue loss. While losing fees on a handful of transactions might not mean much, at scale, however, this can be considerable.

And according to the results of a Gartner survey, the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute. Due to variations in operations of different businesses and their dependence on IT, downtime at the low end can be as much as $140,000 per hour, $300,000 per hour on average, and as much as $540,000 per hour at the high end. 

The greater cost is more likely the internal staff friction and stress created during the common upgrade event. Because of outdated architecture and old technology, many FIs struggle with manual processes such as testing, and re-testing new releases. What would it be like for your institution if you never had to worry about that again? 

Protect Your Brand

Over time, if there are significant outages and downtime, users may simply close their accounts and depart for another financial institution with a more reliable app and user experience. This could result in even greater revenue loss to the institution.

Users know great design, speed, and extreme reliability when they see it. The top applications in the world speak to the end-user: “this organization cares about quality and excellent service”. All great apps appeal to us because clearly the organization is modern, and is investing in state of the art tools to advance the user experience. These improvements and iterations are essential to building a brand that is memorable, but only if delivering these great experiences are done without standing in the way of your users’ ability to use your application.

Would you like to learn more about how zero downtime upgrades can help you build and maintain stronger digital relationships?

About Lumin Digital

Lumin Digital is redefining digital banking through its proprietary user engagement platform. Through the utilization of user data and predictive analytics, banks and credit unions can create custom experiences for consumers, creating a truly personalized journey and connected relationship. Plus, Lumin’s cloud-native platform allows financial institutions to service their users with zero downtime — ensuring that users have a seamless experience accessing their accounts.