A burger–like your banking software–can only be enjoyed if it’s effectively delivered.

One afternoon, following a lengthy morning at a technology conference, I found myself eagerly awaiting a ground lamb and feta cheeseburger. From my vantage point at the counter, I watched as the chef seared the burger, toasted the bun, assembled the sandwich and then plated the food; my excitement was palpable. By the time the chef called for a server to transport my burger from the service line to the counter where I waited, my hunger had reached an almost unmanageable level.

And yet, there my burger sat, cooling on the pass, unserved. All that work, all that handcrafted goodness I had watched him so carefully create just sitting there steaming away for lack of a second hand to carry out the routine task of actually delivering the food. It was then that our eyes met, and he must have seen something that spoke to him as a chef, as his next move was borderline miraculous: he walked around the pass and handed me the burger himself. I nearly sobbed with gratitude. He had stepped up to serve me himself, refusing to allow existing processes, traditions or culture to rob me of the optimal enjoyment of my meal, clearly communicating his concern for his customers and his passion for his work.

In banking, in software, in anything one does really, leaving the burger to grow cold on the pass is unforgivable. To an end user, software is one pixel deep – it begins and ends on the screen with which they’re interacting. Yet, that thin window into your brand, your people, and your business is critically important, and deserves more attention and more effort than we as an industry have given it. With our newest release of software, and the delivery of a Unified User Experience (UUX), Q2 has addressed this failure head-on.

Great experiences are continuous, and the result of their creators recognizing and respecting the intent and context of their audience. Q2 achieved our goal of unifying the way our software looks, feels and acts across the browser, tablet and smartphone, by recognizing and respecting the desires of our end users – FIs and account holders. Great experiences reward end users by providing the right features at the right time in a consistent fashion. By delivering retail, small business and commercial features across all three screens from a single platform, we had accomplished our objective. Great experiences should evolve as the tastes of their end users evolve. Our approach to design embraces the evolution and extension of the experience within the product platform, as well as further integration of downstream, back-end technologies. This may be our platform’s greatest attribute.

UUX isn’t perfect and we’re not done, but as an experience, it’s a tremendous step in the right direction. With the help of our customers, partners, and employees we’ll keep evolving and improving this new way of reaching the people our customers serve. Cheeseburgers shouldn’t be left to grow cold on the pass, and we don’t think software should either.

Virtual courting site for selecting vendors?

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a site like eHarmony© where financial institutions could find vendors who are compatible with them? For all I know it already exists, as these days there seems to be an app for every conceivable thing under the sun. (However, if someone steals this idea and makes millions, I want something for the thought.) This new wave of compatibility algorithms makes me wonder: how in the heck can a banker confidently decide which vendor to partner with, when they’re all slingin’ the same buzz words and promising the moon while clickin’ through fancy demos?

Even if there isn’t a solution similar to a dating website, there is something valuable about approaching the vendor-buyer relationship like, well, a relationship. That’s why the best way to determine compatibility is to actually pay the vendor a visit.

Maybe this seems like an obvious answer, but you’d be surprised at how easy it is get swept up in the ceremony of sales pitch.

In fact, several years ago I heard a salesman tell a banker something I don’t think I’ll ever forget. The banker repeatedly mentioned how slick one of the salesman’s competitor’s demo was. The salesman politely, yet confidently, replied, “With all due respect, these days two guys and a twelve pack in a college dorm room can create a pretty sweet demo.” You couldn’t argue his point— just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t, and shouldn’t, judge a software solution by its demo.

It’s an unfortunate truth in the sales industry that sometimes reps don’t always shoot straight. Believe it or not, I once lost a deal to a competitor who did not even have an interface to the core processor of the bank whose business we were competing for, yet told the bank they had nine referenceable clients for that particular core. Nine! I don’t know how they settled on nine as the magic number, but I guess if you’re going to lie, lie big! I always wondered why this bank never attempted to call any of the references to confirm whether they were happy with the vendor, or to see if they even existed. Sadly, sometimes the folks tasked with the due diligence have motives of their own, which is another powerful reason for why you should pay the companies you’re considering partnering with a visit.

I mean, why wouldn’t you? You’re about to invest a tidy sum of dollars and putting your personal reputation, the company’s brand, shareholders’ interests and, in many cases, the welfare of your account holders on the line. Heck, on multiple occasions I’ve had animal shelters visit my house to make sure the dog I wanted to adopt would be in good hands and they didn’t leave a single stone unturned. In my time at Q2, I’ve interviewed lots of our clients, and the last question I’ve asked them all is, “Why did you ultimately decide to partner with Q2?” Remarkably, nearly every one of them told me the same thing: “It was your people and your culture.” How else can you gain a sense of those things without paying the company a visit? Or know for sure that the company you’re considering isn’t in fact two guys and a twelve pack in a college dorm room?

Choose Your Partners Wisely

The tendency for humans to try and do everything themselves is as old as time. Whether it stems from a desire to reap all the glory, a lack of trust in others, or simply a failure to consider asking for help, it’s been the downfall of many. In the words of Inspector Harry Callahan, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

At Q2, we create great software – that’s our forte – in the form of a virtual banking platform that strengthens communities by strengthening the financial institutions that serve them. We do not build ATMs, design firewalls, provide core processing, erect data centers, or do a slew of other things around which entire companies are built. For these reasons, choosing the right partners is critical to our success – and yours. As Lou Senko, Q2’s Vice President of Information Technology says, “We like to think of our trusted partners as part of the magic that happens behind the scenes. Their technology is a key foundation to some of Q2’s future capabilities underneath our product offerings.”

EMC is one such trusted partners for us. Who do you consider your key partners? Tweet them some appreciation and include #Q2partners.

One Pixel Deep

One afternoon, following a lengthy morning at a technology conference, I found myself eagerly awaiting a ground lamb and feta cheeseburger. From my vantage point at the counter, I watched as the chef seared the burger, toasted the bun, assembled the sandwich and then plated the food; my excitement was palpable. By the time the chef called for a server to transport my burger from the service line to the counter where I waited, my hunger had reached an almost unmanageable level.

And yet, there my burger sat, cooling on the pass, unserved. All that work, all that handcrafted goodness I had watched him so carefully create just sitting there steaming away for lack of a second hand to carry out the routine task of actually delivering the food. It was then that our eyes met, and he must have seen something that spoke to him as a chef, as his next move was borderline miraculous: he walked around the pass and handed me the burger himself. I nearly sobbed with gratitude. He had stepped up to serve me himself, refusing to allow existing processes, traditions or culture to rob me of the optimal enjoyment of my meal, clearly communicating his concern for his customers and his passion for his work.

In banking, in software, in anything one does really, leaving the burger to grow cold on the pass is unforgivable. To an end user, software is one pixel deep – it begins and ends on the screen with which they’re interacting. Yet, that thin window into your brand, your people, and your business is critically important, and deserves more attention and more effort than we as an industry have given it. With our newest release of software, and the delivery of a Unified User Experience (UUX), Q2 has addressed this failure head-on.

Great experiences are continuous, and the result of their creators recognizing and respecting the intent and context of their audience. Q2 achieved our goal of unifying the way our software looks, feels and acts across the browser, tablet and smartphone, by recognizing and respecting the desires of our end users – FIs and account holders. Great experiences reward end users by providing the right features at the right time in a consistent fashion. By delivering retail, small business and commercial features across all three screens from a single platform, we had accomplished our objective. Great experiences should evolve as the tastes of their end users evolve. Our approach to design embraces the evolution and extension of the experience within the product platform, as well as further integration of downstream, back-end technologies. This may be our platform’s greatest attribute.

UUX isn’t perfect and we’re not done, but as an experience, it’s a tremendous step in the right direction. With the help of our customers, partners, and employees we’ll keep evolving and improving this new way of reaching the people our customers serve. Cheeseburgers shouldn’t be left to grow cold on the pass, and we don’t think software should either.

A Quick Glance at 2012

This past year was a great one for Q2ebanking. All the wonderful employees, partners and clients that we work with made 2012 a rousing success. We truly value all of these relationships and want to thank you! With that, we wanted to share a few key events from the past year.

This was the first year for the Q2 webinar series, and it was a great success! We had 18 webinars with 25 webinar sessions offered, which more than 180 different financial institutions attended. During the coming year, we will offer even more webinar topics. For more information on webinars offered, email q2webinars@q2ebanking.com.

You may have also noticed our updated website. We were excited to roll out a new website that is continually updated with new products and services, events we will be attending in 2013, and more!

Throughout the year, we really enjoyed taking our message on the road all over the country to about 45 conferences and tradeshows including BAI Retail Delivery, CUNA GAC, ABA, ICBA, NACHA Payments and more. Look for us at conferences and tradeshows this year. You can find where we will be on our website here.

In April we had our Q2ebanking Annual Client Conference, which saw record attendance including over 30 newly joined financial institutions. If you are a Q2ebanking client interested in attending the 2013 Q2ebanking Annual Client Conference, you can find more information here.

Not to brag, but we had another award-winning year. For the third year running, Inc. included Q2ebanking in its list of the top 500|5000 companies. In 2012 we were ranked number 790 in fastest-growing private companies in America. We also received a Top Workplaces award for the second year in a row — Austin American Statesman ranked Q2ebanking as the Number 2 Top Workplace among midsize companies in our hometown of Austin, Texas.

If you haven’t had the chance to experience the culture of Q2ebanking, we’d like to share a couple of things about what makes us unique and a great company to work with. The Q2 Cares committee and the Green committee were a new addition this year. The Q2 Cares committee encourages Q2ebanking employees to get involved in the community, by helping with events such as our Annual Employee Charity Golf Tournament. Over the past 3 years the golf tournament has raised $16,500 in donations to different charities such as MDA Austin and Breast Cancer Resource Center of Texas.

To support our growth in the ebanking industry, in July we expanded into Atlanta, GA. Check out the blog post by Q2ebanking’s VP of People and Places to learn more about our expansion in Atlanta.The Green committee has played a key role in recycling at the office. No more feeling bad about printing that extra piece of paper! With recycling bins all over the building we are able to recycle paper, glass, plastic and even batteries.

In October, we introduced a new product, Q2clarity. It’s a customizable dashboard that provides reports about all your ebanking channels. If you’re an executive, it’s the perfect solution to getting the data you want on your FI’s ebanking key performance indicators.

Last but not least, we started the Q2 Blog about mid-year. We hope that you have found it informational and useful. Please subscribe to get the latest updates! Also, make sure to connect with us through Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and evenGoogle + for updates when new blogs are posted and more.

As you can tell, 2012 was a busy year for us. We are looking forward to what 2013 has in store.