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Tackling Tech Bloat: Slimming Down to Boost Efficiency, Security, and Innovation

How Major Banks and Large Financial Services Providers can Streamline their Tech Systems
Brendan Deakin
July 10, 2024
Today’s technology can be both a vital enabler to progress and growth, and also a potential hindrance to efficiency. With the accumulation of outdated, redundant, or overly complex tech systems, larger financial institutions, including major banks, are feeling the pressures of tech bloat. And just like any other bloating, tech bloat is uncomfortable – hampering efficiency, escalating costs, and stifling innovation – which makes it a critical issue to address. For larger banks in particular, the urgency to streamline tech infrastructure has never been greater. With an increasingly competitive (and much more highly regulated) environment for financial services providers, eliminating tech bloat is essential to enhancing your overall operational efficiency, improving your security, and enabling your ability to remain agile.

According to a 2023 survey by MuleSoft and Deloitte, large enterprises now use an average of more than a thousand applications across their organization.

So what exactly is tech bloat, and how can you slim down your stack? Read on to find out more.

The Silent Saboteur: Understanding Tech Bloat in Financial Services

Referring to the excessive accumulation of outdated, redundant, or highly complex tech systems that weigh down an organization, tech bloat in financial services is becoming increasingly common. This phenomenon stems from a variety of causes, but the biggest tends to be an abundance of legacy systems that have been patched and repurposed over the years. Of course many financial services providers require very specific needs to be addressed (including everything from core banking systems and risk assessment models, to cybersecurity software, workflow automation, customer relationship management, financial planning and forecasting, data sources, fraud prevention, loan origination systems, and payment processing). As the list of needs (and related tech) grows with your organization, so does the bloat.

But many of the software solutions you have will overlap in functionality, leading to inefficiencies in both operation and cost. A survey by Freshworks shared that “54% of IT professionals say their organization pays for software” that never gets used. And often these systems are not integrated with each other very well, creating numerous silos of information, complicating workflows, and making data access tricky. Not to mention the fact that extensive customizations and add-ons over the years, while useful at first, can quickly turn into burdens, limiting flexibility and making maintenance and updates difficult. And of course those updates are critical, because with constant regulatory shifts, financial institutions do regularly need to update their systems, which can result in a quickly tangled web of temporary fixes that, you guessed it, add more bloat (not to mention leave you more vulnerable to everything from data breaches to lapses in compliance).

Unveiling the Not-so-Hidden Consequences of Tech Bloat
Now that we’ve looked at what it is and how it starts… What impact does tech bloat really have on day-to-day operations? As it turns out, a lot – and those effects get compounded the longer your bloat hangs on.
  • Financial Implications: First and foremost, tech bloat significantly strains your financial resources. Maintaining and supporting any number of redundant systems is, well, redundant, leading to increasing operational and maintenance costs. And outdated systems tend to consume a disproportionate share of your budget, diverting necessary funds away from more strategic, growth-focused investments, and hampering your ability to invest in more innovative, efficient solutions.

According to Freshworks, “the cost of trying to use unhelpful technology amounts to more than $84B annually in wasted time in the US alone, or $10M every hour of every day.”

  • Operational Inefficiency: A bloated tech environment slows down business processes and complicates workflows, with legacy systems and overlapping solutions creating bottlenecks. This inefficiency affects day-to-day operations, but also has a compounding effect the longer it continues, leading to longer turnaround times and a lack of flexibility and agility in your operations, ultimately adding friction to customer experiences.
  • Risk and Compliance Challenges: The more outdated systems you have to manage, the more the risk of errors, data inconsistencies, and compliance misfires increases. All financial services providers must adhere to stringent regulatory requirements, and the more bloated your organization, the more challenging it is to ensure compliance, leading to potential fines and reputational damage.
  • Security Vulnerabilities: Along the lines of compliance struggles, outdated systems are often easier prey for cyber attackers. The complexity of a bloated tech environment makes it much more difficult to implement robust security measures effectively, leaving you open to targeting by cybercriminals. Any breach (data, compliance, ransomware) can have severe consequences, including financial losses and significant damage to customer trust.
  • Innovation Roadblocks: Want a surefire way to stifle innovation? Maintaining and integrating multiple tech systems makes it extremely challenging to adopt new technologies, even if those technologies are ones you really, really want to utilize. In an industry where agility, flexibility, and continuous innovation are required to stay competitive, this hindrance to tech advancement places larger, more complex financial services organizations at a distinct disadvantage – making it difficult to explore new opportunities and deliver cutting-edge solutions to your customers.

Any of these consequences should be enough to address your tech bloat problem, but put them all together and you can see it’s not just about security or reducing operational costs – it’s fundamental to unlocking your potential for sustained innovation and sustainable growth. Streamlining your tech infrastructure allows you to overcome these challenges and position yourself for future success and customer loyalty.

Case Study: Reducing Tech Bloat

Consider the case of Provenir customer NewDay. Some of their existing systems were proving costly in terms of release times and updates, and were due for decommissioning. By implementing a more holistic decisioning solution, they were able to significantly reduce processing time and improve quote response times.


second decisioning processing time


SLA for availability


improvement in speed of change


faster quote response

Winning the War on Tech Bloat: Strategies for Financial Institutions
So what can you do to streamline your operations and slim down for good? It sounds daunting, but what it really requires is a strategic, methodical approach (and the right technology partner).
1. Conduct a Technology Audit:
  • Identify Redundant and Outdated Systems: Thoroughly review all of your existing systems to pinpoint which ones are outdated, redundant, or no longer serve a critical function
  • Assess Integration and Interoperability: Evaluate how well your current systems integrate and communicate with each other, identifying gaps and inefficiencies
2. Streamline and Consolidate:
  • Prioritize Critical Systems: Determine which systems are essential for your core operations and focus on maintaining and enhancing those first
  • Phase Out or Replace Redundant Solutions: Gradually eliminate or replace systems that are no longer necessary or that duplicate functionality
3. Invest in Modern, Integrated Solutions:
  • Adopt Cloud-Based Platforms: Leverage cloud technology to improve scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency
  • Emphasize Integrations and Scalability: Invest in solutions that can easily integrate with your existing systems and scale as you grow (or can scale as you continue to eliminate other existing systems)
4. Enhance Data Management and Governance:
  • Centralize Data Repositories: Consolidate your data into centralized repositories to ensure consistency, accessibility, and security
  • Implement Robust Data Governance Frameworks: Establish strong data governance practices to manage your data quality, privacy, and compliance
5. Foster a Culture of Continuous Improvement:
  • Encourage Innovation and Flexibility: Promote a mindset that embraces new technologies and innovative solutions
  • Regularly Review and Update Technology Strategy: Continuously assess and update your technology strategy to align with evolving business needs and tech advancements in the industry
6. Partner with the Right Tech Providers:
  • Collaborate with Established Software Companies and Consultants: Engage with tech firms and consultants to leverage their expertise and innovative solutions (and be sure they have experience with legacy migrations, complex integrations, and reducing tech bloat)
  • Leverage Industry Expertise to Guide Transformation: Utilize the knowledge and experience of industry experts to navigate the complexities of technology transformation (i.e. does your new tech provider have an experienced Professional Services team that can help guide you?)
Fighting off Future Bloat
Now that you’ve slimmed your stack, how can you ensure that your tech bloat doesn’t return with a vengeance? Adopt a forward-thinking, agile approach. Agile methodologies are crucial, as they promote flexibility in technology development and deployment, allowing you to adapt quickly to changing consumer/industry needs and emerging industry trends. Agile methods encourage iterative improvements, which can help ensure that all of your systems remain both current and effective. Which is also why it’s critical to stay aware (and ahead) of tech advances in the industry. Keeping up with cutting-edge solutions and tech advancements allows you to proactively enhance efficiency and the customer experience. Look towards building a sustainable technology roadmap; with long-term planning that focuses on scalability and adaptability, you’ll ensure that your tech infrastructure can grow and evolve with the organization. Prioritizing this flexibility and continuous improvement and innovation will help you safeguard against tech bloat and maintain a streamlined, efficient, customer-centric tech environment.
Provenir’s AI-Powered Decisioning Platform

Part of fighting the bloat battle is selecting the right technology partner – one that can enable flexibility, scalability, and an end-to-end platform that you can build and grow your business on. Provenir’s AI-Powered Decisioning Platform brings together the key capabilities you need to turn decisioning into a differentiator, allowing you to deploy accurate, fully automated decisioning across the lifecycle, while also gaining actionable insights to optimize strategies and enhance performance across the entire organization. Featuring solutions for data, decisioning, case management, and decision intelligence, across onboarding, fraud & identity, customer management and collections, Provenir’s platform is a one-stop solution that eliminates silos, brings teams together, and enables sustainable, customer-centric growth.

Want more info on how Provenir’s dedicated team of Principal Consultants and Professional Services experts can help you reduce tech bloat in your organization?

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