Platformification: a reality and strong value add
Arun Jain, chairman and managing director at Intellect Design Arena, explains how platformification benefits the financial institution and end customer alike and how the Intellect offering plays to that in key global markets like Europe.
Platformification, ecosystems, microservices – all are words bundled around to describe the trend towards a platform approach where multiple components or microservices sit on the platform using application programming interface (API) rails. It enables an ecosystem approach that is tailor-made to the financial institution’s needs. It marks a sharp contrast to a “one size fits all”, off-the-shelf approach and makes for the ability to have a flexible and future-proof toolset to meet the needs of today as well as tomorrow.
Service design has become more pervasive, thus leading technology and product managers to think about leveraging design thinking and contextual data-centric techniques to connect people and customers moving across disparate services and product pools. These contextual experiences encompassing multiple customer touch points have become the guiding star for the financial services and banking ecosystem.
The banking and financial ecosystem has seen a steady emergence of a broader ecosystem focused design thinking mindset that has replaced individual product-centric approaches to management.
Intellect has had an exciting journey that has been leading up to its shift from being a product provider to a platform provider. Now, it provides the means for institutions to successfully adopt a platform approach and transform their businesses. As one of the leading products companies, with possibly the world’s only next-gen, composable, contextual fintech platform, it caters to the entire spectrum of banking and insurance covering retail banking, transaction banking and wealth management. The footprint of Intellect covers over 97 countries, with an enviable roster of clients.
“We provide a broad range of solutions. Our decision to focus on a platformification approach reflects what we saw happening in the market. Banks were missing the ability to use a platform to build out their own bespoke ecosystem that responds to their exact needs,” Jain explains.
But how does it benefit banks in practice?
“The pandemic has pushed the customers to realise the value of building a strong and thoughtful customer experience. As a result of this, banks looking to effectively segment and then personalise their customer offerings have significantly gone up. You can only really do this if you are able to build a personalised and tailored product suite or toolkit – this is componentisation,” says Jain.
The Intellect Open Finance Platform has over 250+ packaged business components and over 900 APIs providing 600 user journeys across core banking, lending, credit cards, central banking, payments, liquidity, collections, trade, supply chain finance, treasury, underwriting and wealth. “It can cut the total technology cost down by three to five times,” Jain says.
He continues: “This allows for vertical and integrated offerings – thus, enabling banks to become the principal service provider to their customers, thanks to their ability to provide any mix of functionality and process. We serve ten million transactions each day and have over 10,000 users.”
The idea is to provide a comprehensive repertoire of packaged business components; contextual, curated solutions that address specific market needs of a customer, rather than generic product offerings. Gone are the days of monolithic systems that rely on legacy, Intellect enables the bank to critically understand, evaluate and cater to their individual needs.
Through Intellect’s solutions, the banks can pick and choose what they need according to their unique needs as we extensively focus on not building a huge behemoth “one size fits all” solution.
“You are building something that is agile and whose parts can communicate with each other so that data and information can seamlessly travel between component parts. You have integrated flows and processes set up in the exact way you want them to. In this way we are providing solutions that are unique to the organisation in question,” Jain says.
Treasury is a good example of how this approach helps with operational excellence. The treasury function relies on managing high data volumes and securing fast decision-making, and risk management. With the help of Intellect’s solution, the clients have both security and efficiency integrated into treasury management. By focusing on creating integrated flows and processes according to the client’s unique needs, we ensure that we are able to build and sustain a strong notion of customer loyalty.
Banks and their customers also want real-time access to data, strong analytics capability and the ability to bring in new technologies and functions to better support the business. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) to support this, where relevant, is also an expectation.
Any platform can offer the capability to do these at a basic level and in isolation. But the clever use of joined-up processes and thinking makes for straight-through processing (STP) for rapid execution backed up with strong risk management. By combining critical elements like this, we ensure that banks can access rich information and analytics in real-time, thus helping them make better decisions and improve time after time.
“The ecosystem approach relies on the platform to tie it all together and make sure that things really are seamless, well and speedy. This is where we come in,” Jain says.
The second area that is really important is the user experience (UX) or design. In layman’s terms, this means that a platform should be easy and intuitive to use as well as be visually attractive. Jain cites design as being the company’s key differentiator in enabling digital transformation.
“The design elements are very important – by this we mean not just having the right functionality but being easy to use, tweak and customise as well. Banks and banks’ customers alike need to have their lives made easier and their UX needs to match their personas and make most of the visual customisation at the front end,” he says.
Wealth management and retail are good examples of how decent design adds value to the system. Let’s consider that the front end is a dashboard and that it is responsible for linking many underlying systems or elements. It is undeniable that by configuring the dashboard to their exact requirements, an adviser will have the ability to easily present their clients with up-to-date and relevant information. By having all that at the touch of a button, the adviser is able to add more value to ask and spend more time with the client, thus focusing on building customer engagement and loyalty.
“If you have the very best systems and tools, you can automate and free up the adviser to spend time with the client – thus enhancing service levels. The same principle applies elsewhere – no matter if you are trying to get a volumes-based automation approach or something that is tailored and personalised. The aim is to max out the technology so that the service level is upped and the humans within the process have more time to spend with their clients,” Jain says.
A cloud-based SaaS approach is the magic that makes all this possible
Jain thinks that banks understand that this is not their core area. “Having a cloud-based approach where data storage and analytical capability are massively increased and improved takes the worry of in-house management away. They end up with something that is far more agile and beneficial than a huge off-the-shelf product that they then spend time tweaking,” he says.
Intellect invests in the dynamic process of changing today’s digital era with its solutions that hinge on authenticity, context and efficiency. With regulatory and competitive pressures putting pressure on revenues and incomes, the company sees that the banks and financial institutions are constantly looking for innovation to drive revenues and income.
Being able to drive sustainable value in the banking sector requires understanding and managing the three-dimensional complexity of the ecosystem.
Intellect is ready to enable organisations that deal with selling knowledge and solutions to problems or entire customer experiences that are built on the principles of excellent customer service, innovation and future-ready aspirations.
Watch Arun Jain’s latest video to learn all that you can on design thinking and how it can change your life.