The roadmap to digital customer onboarding

How banks can create an ideal customer experience in their onboarding processes while opening the door to innovation and success

Download white paper

Technical architecture to support digital onboarding

Our approach helps define the functional and non-functional points that the system will need as the MVP evolves from workshop Post-it® notes to a shippable product as well as the architecture from concept to solution. Most banks will have a conceptual architecture defined and legacy systems that they base their new concept on (a standard technology stack of operating systems, app servers, container technologies, development languages, etc., that projects will need to conform to). We use these parameters at the beginning of projects to create an architecture.

Our architects and engineers leverage industry trends and their own experience to help clients choose the ideal technology to solve client and customer needs. This section gives you a conceptual omnichannel architecture to employ a digital onboarding experience.

By utilizing the story map developed during the workshop, enterprise and solution architects can derive a conceptual architecture for opening an online account. This conceptual architecture as shown in figure 10, gives technology and business stakeholders the ability to understand the product’s foundational architectural layers.

Figure 10: Omnichannel conceptual architecture

omnichanell Onboarding

The omnichannel has multiple channels employed to deliver the customer experience. Each channel is connected to a shared enterprise services layer. The shared enterprise services layer is critical. It abstracts the functions from the channel user interface, which allows the behaviors and functions to be the same customer experience across all channels.

Most banks strive to create an omnichannel customer onboarding experience by allowing customers to choose multiple ways to interact. However, most fail to achieve a complete omnichannel experience due to time and cost constraints. For example, a complete omnichannel experience allows a customer to start the onboarding process on a mobile device in the morning, visit a branch during lunch, and then call into a contact center later that evening.

At each touchpoint, the systems and technology must be consistent and aware, allowing the customer to seamlessly continue where they last left off in the onboarding journey. A key to a seamless customer experience is the contextual session and data-sharing box in the center. The contextual session and data sharing among channels allows customers to switch between channels and ensures a fluid customer experience.

Session and data sharing need to be built into your channel architecture with a persistence layer to allow for resiliency and the ability for customers to start/resume. This is what customers expect. Banks that provide this will succeed in onboarding customers.

A reference architecture

As we begin to architect the solution for an onboarding business process with any business we need a reference architecture to follow. This gives everyone a map of business capabilities to technology components and helps stakeholders prioritize specific features.

Each section of the reference architecture corresponds to the overall architecture’s component. For example, each major component has a major number (e.g., 1.1 Web Experience). Within each major component there is a subcomponent with a minor number (e.g., 1.1.1 Web Client Run-Time), etc. The further decomposition of the conceptual architecture into smaller components that can be delivered in short deliverable sprints will enable you to get your product to market faster.

The delivery roadmap for each component will determine what pieces of the customer onboarding can be implemented as part of your MVP. To help, we ask our clients specific questions to narrow the scope and from there architect a build-to-fit solution. For example:

  • Do you want a web experience?

  • Do you want a native, device-specific experience?

  • Do you want a seamless omnichannel experience?

  • What regulatory obligations do you need to ensure the enterprise supports?

Figure 11 below illustrates a reference architecture to further dive into a target architecture and specific MVP solution architecture for a customer onboarding experience.

Architecting a frictionless experience

Once the architecture allows customers to move freely in their preferred channels, you need to have the right “smart friction” in the process. This friction comes in the form of government regulation, customer privacy, and auditability requirements. The friction points should be seamless and digital—which the customer expects—or you will have a large drop-off in conversion, as seen today. This invalidates your stakeholders’ business case that this would be a profitable endeavor.

Today, most banking onboarding experiences employ a print step where the potential customer either prints the forms to sign and mail or the bank prints and sends to the potential customer with a pre-paid mailing envelope. In some cases, the bank prints the forms in the back office and completes them on behalf of the customer. Any time these friction points occur, it is highly likely that the bank will lose a conversion opportunity.

Through technology automation, banks can build or leverage third-party services to facilitate data collection, data validation, creditworthiness, upsell/cross-sell/complementary service offerings, etc.

Figure 11: Reference architecture

Reference Architecture Onboarding

To accomplish a frictionless customer experience, all channels will need an enterprise Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) back-end. The SOA will allow legacy banking customer and product systems to obtain data and validate information from the omnichannel user interfaces in real-time. To optimize this process, many banks will employ third-party services as illustrated in the list to the left. An architecture guide to SOA/open API within banks is its own topic. However, know that to create a seamless digital onboarding experience your organization will need it.

These conceptual and reference architectures are a good start for those that want to build an omnichannel onboarding solution. The next step would be to create a target and solution architecture that goes into implementation detail for your design and engineering teams. Additionally, create a detailed roadmap to show delivery of said functionality in which sprint, epic, release, quarter, or other release plan.

Remember to leverage Dual-Track Scrum with architecture checkpoints along the way. Lastly, embrace DevOps from the start to increase your delivery velocity.

Steps to take

The following are common onboarding process steps and some solutions to employ:

Customer identification processing

• Existing customer lookup on systems of record and validation of information

• Scan driver’s license (2D barcodes, OCR/ICR)

• Card swipe (e.g., credit card, ATM/debit card)

• Blockchain: digital identity networks

Know your customer/anti-money laundering

• Office of Foreign Assets Control Checks and Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN)

• AML verification (e.g., Qualifile)

• Social Security administration lookup

• Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) business lookup


• Credit score (e.g., Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, D&B)

• Custom credit scoring engines (e.g., Fair Isaac, Mysis, Findur, Moody’s RiskCalc, etc.)

• Fraud detection (e.g., ChexSystems)

Terms and conditions

• eSignatures - signature cards/contracts (e.g., DocuSign, eSign )

• Blockchain smart contracts

Upsell/cross-sell/complementary product offerings

• Marketing opportunities (opt-out strategy)

• Lead generation (e.g., online appointment booking)

• Sense and response engines (e.g., cross-sell/up-sell based on analytics)

Let’s get started.

Creating a seamless digital customer onboarding experience is an area that will challenge banks for the foreseeable future, but one that presents tremendous opportunity. It is our hope that the tools we use will provide a solid foundation from which to get started.

By focusing on the customer experience first, not process alone, banks open the door to innovation and solidify their success in the digital age.