Posted on February 24, 2020

GROW OR DIE. INTRODUCTION TO STARTING THE DIGITAL JOURNEY. PART 2 OF 2

Your firm has great products and decided that building a Digital Marketplace is the best strategy to scale, but have NO IDEA where to start? 

Scaling a business is more than just developing a marketplace to host your products, businesses will still want to focus on developing and maintaining products.  Hiring an in-house team of engineers is not the most effective way for most financial companies to build their custom software. Factoring in hiring cost, training time, and finding the right talent with the right expertise, going with a technology solution provider will accelerate the process of building out digital solutions.

Here are some points for considerations before partnering with a solution provider. 

Where do companies start in their transformation journey?

The first step is to understand what business processes are needed to build their digital platforms. They need to identify what internal processes need to adapt to scale and what external integrations are needed to achieve the shortest time to market.

When entering into a larger market,  the target audience can shift from traditional past clients to a more tech-savvy and demanding audience.  This particular audience will expect a quality user interface. The key to a good design is to follow the money through the business processes and through user workflow to ensure consistency and to anticipate the users needs.

What technologies can be used?

Apart from specific languages and frameworks, there are two large areas of design when implementing a Digital Marketplace: external integrations and internal systems.

External Integrations are communication points with vendors APIs that support the company operation. APIs integrations can represent a considerable portion of the company cost structure and are considered with care. Pricing is not the only factor.  Some APIs are managed by startups that have aggressive release timelines. This presents a competitive advantage if companies keep pace with product timing.

Internal Systems design is a complex decision that involves choosing the right architecture, not only for scaling the business but also for time to market, implementation cost, and maintenance cost. Platform and infrastructure represent a large chunk of the company cost structure. In modern architecture design, there are limited scenarios where companies may choose to maintain their own data centers.  Most companies design a system over IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) or PaaS (Platform as a Service).

PaaS Examples: AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Heroku, Windows Azure, Force.com

IaaS Examples: AWS EC2, Rackspace, Google Compute Engine (GCE), Digital Ocean

 How much time does it take?

Every business has its unique challenges. The best practice is to dedicate the first phase of the project to solidify the design and plan for the project execution. For a relatively large platform, it’s normal for companies to deploy their products in a six to nine-month period. A good strategy to consider is to shorten time to market and to include some existing customers in a limited beta in the first three months of the project. This will provide invaluable feedback to the rest of the project.

What’s the cost of choosing the wrong team for the job?

The wrong team without enough financial software experience may fall into some deadly traps, to name just three:

  1. Not understanding the transactional nature of financial assets
  2. Not emphasizing on security features
  3. Not familiar with industry standards and latest technology

How to choose the right software partner?

Choosing the right solution provider is crucial to your digital success.  It can be overwhelming to choose the right partner in a sea of thousands of software development companies.  You should look beyond the rudimentary capabilities, expect more out of a partner than their lavash technical stack and development methodology infographics, and ask the question:  Can they understand the WHY of your business?

Here’s a short guideline to help you identify the right solution partner:

  1. Look for a provider with industry experience
  2. Review the provider’s track record of projects working with reputable companies. 
  3. Provide the WHY and the What, and ask the provider on the HOW.
  4. Know your expectations in terms of the level of engagement, budget, and timeline.
  5. Look for a partner with proven experience in solving the kind of problems you need to solve.
  6. Ask the provider for references. 
  7. Ask the provider questions:
    1.  What’s their prior experience with financial companies?
    2.  Can they adapt to my particular needs?
    3. Do they have checklists in place to ensure development quality, communication, and processes? 

Ready to Scale? Or Still, have questions on how to get started?