ATM as a Service: From why to why not

Published September 13, 2021

Published by:
Richard Fortune
Klaus Giljohann
Jaroslaw Skoczylas
Kristina Kazlausky

Outsourcing part of your business services to a third party can feel like letting someone else take control of your operation.

It’s how many financial institutions felt about ATM as a Service before the pandemic. Banking leaders worried that outsourcing running of their ATM fleet amounted to relinquishing control over those services.

The pandemic emphasized the need for financial institutions to digitize and modernize the banking experience. Today, these same institutions realize ATM as a Service is a model that facilitates a swifter response to changing ATM technology and regulations. It also frees up time, money and manpower to drive the rapid digital transformation of their core services.

Traditional ATM management causes roadblocks for financial institutions

A customer doesn’t think twice about what it takes to provide an ATM, but financial leaders have traditionally spent far too much time managing those logistics.

In addition to the upfront capital required to purchase and maintain the ATMs, financial institutions must:

  • Ensure machines are stocked with appropriate levels of cash at all times and are in compliance with the latest regulations (example: January 2020 Microsoft upgrade)
  • Maintain security and basic operation of their fleet and fulfill the requirements of daily operations
  • Update and troubleshoot software (example: ADA updates in 2012; noncompliance resulted in lawsuits)
  • As budgets shrink and pressure to rapidly digitize the banking experience increases, financial leaders have found themselves reevaluating their approach to the ATM channel.

“At the onset of the pandemic, financial institutions really had to pour their energy and effort into digital transformation, but there’s simply not enough budget or personnel to properly address an ATM fleet along with everything else a financial institution is responsible for,” said Richard Fortune, a senior partner at NCR Professional Services. “So, where do they divide and conquer?”

This is where ATM as a Service comes in.

Why financial leaders are embracing ATM as a Service now:

ATM as a Service outsources the running of the ATM channel so financial institutions can focus on their core services. In the process, ATM as a Service reduces costs, simplifies maintenance and system upgrades, and provides customers with the experience they’re looking for.

It reduces costs:

  • Single supplier means simple, predictable billing
  • It can help you save 10-25%, according to NCR experts

It delivers a better customer experience

  • “We can deliver new features and function and changes to the network much faster than traditional ATM management, because with the old model financial institutions needed to coordinate so many suppliers,”  said Klaus Giljohann, an Executive Director at NCR Professional Services.
  • This means that offering video banking, services personalized to the customer, and integrated teller machine features is a far simpler prospect for financial institutions. They ask for the service, and NCR provides it.
  • In the wake of the pandemic, customers have sought less face-to-face interaction. That means ATMs increasingly became the "face" of a financial institution.
    • Ensuring that face is modern, updated, and properly serviced is essential to a financial institution’s brand.

It simplifies operations:

  • “Financial institutions are focused on the way they used to do it — how they depreciate an asset, how long they have to hold onto an asset — which is why you see such an aging fleet, because they have to squeeze every dollar out of that machinery that they put out at a location,” said Fortune.
  • With ATM as a Service, each ATM’s location, physical appearance, and functions are determined by parameters set by the client. Meeting the objectives becomes NCR’s job, and enforced with SLAs.

ATM as a Service ultimately provides financial institutions more control, not less

ATM as a Service lets financial institutions set a clear ATM fleet strategy and well-defined objectives with a single provider.

A dedicated service management office is responsible for delivering on those objectives and ensuring the client’s strategy is followed.

“With ATM as a Service, financial institutions ultimately inherit more control over what matters,” said Fortune. “They are less distracted by operational issues and can focus on the end-user experience.”

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