No-code platforms are opening the doors to innovation on operational efficiency for a financial institutions, says Rahul Murthi.
Over the past 18 months, the need for digitization of financial services has increased multi-fold. Technology investments have therefore focused on increasing customer-centricity in order to enhance digitally-interfaced customer touch points. The digital transformation journey, as a result, led to banks and financial institutions acquiring off-the-shelf technology products, outsourcing bespoke application development or making large investments to beef up the in-house digital transformation teams.
With these investments, a new problem emerged – the IT organization became overburdened on managing technology infrastructure and application maintenance activities due to the significant influx of the acquired/ developed B2C focused applications. As a result, the next round of technology investments were focused on technology-talent acquisition to scale up the IT organization – which now comprised development, program management, network and infrastructure management skillsets. As several financial institutions say today, their IT teams are as big if not bigger than core business teams.
While financial institutions largely achieved or significantly progressed on several of their customer-focused digital transformation objectives, the internal operations or ‘back-end’ activities ranging from processing customer-led transactional requests to recording such transactions in the core systems and monitoring business performance – continued to remain largely person driven activities.To the customer, it was pure digital – but to the internal workforce, it was a web of different manual activities and disparate technology applications – to achieve an end-to-end customer transaction lifecycle.
Financial institutions realized that technology investments were now to be focused inwards on their teams. However, given the significant technology investment made on B2C applications and scaling the IT organization, making such technology investments for operational efficiency and employee productivity now faced a big barrier – cost optimization.
With a large ecosystem of off-the-shelf technology applications and a bloated up IT organization, financial institutions today do not wish to enter into off-the-shelf technology investments for their internal operations but rather prefer to build their own technology applications – Why? Because it helps in optimizing costs, brings technology development and implementation activities under better control and makes use of the existing IT talent pool to deliver the objective. Has this worked?
Not at all – financial institutions continue to face the same issues as they faced when making off-the-shelf technology product investments – chief reason being the communication and wavelength issues between business and IT when trying to explain the requirements, end purpose and features required. In some cases, it has even led to temporarily halting quite a few transformation projects as it was heading to a point of no return. With this issue at hand, financial institutions are forced to go back to the marketplace to make off-the-shelf technology product investments.
However, business teams remain scarred after having bad experiences on digital transformation and therefore resist on involving themselves in any digital transformation project – leaving largely such projects comprising external consultants, internal digital transformation and IT teams – none that are directly involved in business. The end result of such project? We know…
This is where no-code platforms come in -they replace the programming interface between humans and machines with a more natural and visually intuitive interface. Any member from the business team can directly build their application on the platform while the platform takes care of the under-the-hood coding interface.
True pre-architected no-code platforms offer a plethora of features and components that empower any user to build, design, deploy and manage their application with ease – despite business or technology complexities. As a result, no time is required for explaining requirements to the IT team – the business can build as they go and the IT team can support them in addressing and managing any roadblocks faced in the build and design phase.
No-code platforms open the doors to innovation on operational efficiency for a financial institution and they are nimble enough to cater to various use cases across various departments/ businesses of the institution.This saves both – time and money, for the financial institution that was otherwise wasted in seeking, sourcing and evaluating technology products for every use case.
Most no-code platforms bring with them an open API architecture thereby being extremely friendly in connecting with different applications within the financial institution’s technology ecosystem. They also reduce the IT organization’s burden on application maintenance – given that the code base of any no-code application remains the same – there is no worry on acquiring additional coding skillset. Given the low cost of build, technology investments can now be optimized.
The no-code revolution has started – and financial institutions have already begun to explore this marketplace. However, to achieve true no-code experience requires a mindset change – where technology will now be led by business and supported by IT instead of the other way, as established today.
(The author Rahul Murthi is Global Head, Acies Ventures and the views expressed in this article are his own)