As we head towards the end of Q1, our sector can look back on it with a lot of pride.

High transaction volumes in terms of applications and completions underlie strong house prices, and thankfully the cliff hanger that was the Stamp Duty holiday deadline of 31st March was alleviated by the Chancellor in the Spring Budget.

From a supplier perspective, there has been a significant upturn in the market. We have had a record number of enquiries for mortgage and savings solutions in Q1, and for solutions across other product types that we handle such as commercial lending, development finance and unsecured lending.

What is becoming a consistent theme from enquiries is that organisations of all sizes are acceptant of the fact that to really achieve the customer experience and efficiencies required through a transformation programme, plus reducing risk through working with experienced partners in specialist fields, a one supplier fits all approach is not always the right solution. In recent months both EY and McKinsey have published papers on this multi-supplier approach, both of which make interesting and positive reads.

This “ecosystem” approach has been de-risked by the advancement of API technologies allowing multiple systems to interface seamlessly to create a best of breed architecture. Suppliers like ourselves that specialise in areas such as account servicing are now able to put forward a far more compelling proposition offering integration with specialist originations software partners and other specialist 3rd party solutions to create a really compelling proposition.

Prior to engaging with potential suppliers, this approach may feel like a more expensive option than working with a single supplier for a whole programme. But when you actually weigh up the costs against increased customer satisfaction and operational efficiencies, together with the de-risking of projects by working with suppliers experienced in areas such as large-scale migrations rather than inexperienced providers, then longer-term cost benefits can usually be realised and presented to stakeholders.

In summary, the ecosystem approach really can provide a mix of innovation and experience as part of a transformation programme. But clearly, it will not fit every organisation’s strategic requirements.

The reality is, any legacy concerns over integrating multiple suppliers to create differentiation in the market whilst still delivering a seamless customer experience have mostly been countered by the continued advances in API development. API development will only continue to get more efficient and therefore ecosystems will become the norm for many.