Originally Published in WealthManagement.com 2018 Midyear Outlook

Financial institutions are undergoing a digital transformation to deliver a seamless, unified client experience across channels.  With multiple back-end systems, client portals and various business interests involved, many firms are finding this “road to digital” overwhelming and have been slow to transform.

Traditionally, firms have had two options to achieve their digital goals:

  1. Buy from vendor (or multiple vendors): this takes the control of the UX and innovation away from the firm as they are dependent on the vendor’s timing and priorities.  It can also lead to a disjointed experience, trying to piece together multiple products to solve for the firm’s business goals.
  2. Build in-house: this gives firm control but there are usually time-to-market delays as technical staff have multiple priorities and don’t always have the expertise on the back-end systems and integrations needed to create the unique, unified experience the firm is aiming for. In addition, considerable expenses for on-going maintenance and enhancements are often overlooked.

Either option has its drawbacks.

What if there were a solution that offered the benefits of both buying and building while reducing the headaches and time to market? That’s the foundation for new digital development solutions designed to let you have your cake and eat it too.

Developer toolkits offer a library of configurable widgets and web services that provide you with the ability to develop and integrate standardized web and mobile components that can be embedded into your custom-designed digital experience.  These solutions give you complete control of the process while accelerating development time and containing cost. The widgets and web services are enwrapped with pre-integrated back-end data and rule sets so the “heavy lifting” is done and your digital product team can focus on creating their unique digital experience.

In other words, you spend more time developing winning ideas to serve clients and less time on software.

Implementing this type of toolkit brings “Agile” to “Digital” development.  Product Managers and Developers sit side-by-side and collaborate in real-time, shortening time-to-market with an iterative approach to software development. This technology also gives product teams control of the release cycle.  Gone are the days you throw requirements to a vendor, paying them to customize the solution only to be subject to their release timelines and process.

But buyer beware, while some vendors claim to have these solutions, it is important to partner with one that is dedicated to the financial services industry and has the experience and background that aligns best with your business.  Accelerating development and deployment for a client engagement portal rests on a foundation of domain expertise, process and powerful middleware solutions.  For example, mapping a firm’s back-office is an enormous undertaking because there are so many data and process driven functions that must work seamlessly: enriched data sets, business logic, symbology, after market close orders. The best middleware technologies wrap functions such as, Trading, ACH, Account Opening and Account Data, around raw back-office systems providing data augmentation, standardization and normalization along with workflow and decision support capabilities. Without a superior middleware, the benefits of the widgets and web services is minimized.

To learn more about this growing trend, contact Scivantage at info@scivantage.com.