What’s the one thing you need to become a hyper-agile lender and how do you get it?

Posted on: May 21, 2018 by Kuldip Chiheru

In my previous blogs on the subject of the Digital Business Continuum and continual transformation, I asked why lending businesses weren’t embracing a hyper-agile business model. I then set out to explain some of the key characteristics of such a model and how lenders can overcome any roadblocks to achieving it.

In my final post in this series, I thought it would useful to address the one aspect of hyper-agility that every lender will need—regardless of strategic goals. And that is a superior technology platform.

In my view, such a platform must not only be state-of-the-art right now but—in line with the tenets of the Digital Business Continuum—continue to be a benchmark for future market leadership.

To create and maintain any form of hyper-agile business model will require the ability to assemble all dimensions. A bit like building an amazing figure out of lots of standard Lego bricks. These microservice functional components (the Lego bricks) can then be brought together to produce the products, processes, channels, and customer data management required (the first Lego figure). This approach allows you to add more components to continually adapt your business model as ideas change (i.e. creating the next Lego figure and then the next).

Knowing what to look for when creating your technology platform is vital. So here are five key considerations for ensuring you get the bricks you need to become a hyper-agile lender:

1) Real-time business configuration

To implement the kind of business changes advocated by the Digital Business Continuum—i.e. in minutes rather than weeks or months—is all about speed. With time to market ahead of the competition a critical success factor, 80% of the value for 20% of the effort is good enough. Real-time business configuration does not have to be perfect first time around. For example, ‘no code’ or DevOps principles allow you to quickly create the software you need for new products and then iterate refinements based on market feedback.

2) Limit impact on internal legacy IT or resources

Legacy IT and processes often prove to be obstacles too high to overcome when you want to act quickly ahead of your rivals. So consider progressive replacement and, in the meantime, use your business partners and their technologies to avoid bottlenecks. This digital ecosystem support can be invaluable as you make the shift—allowing you to learn the impact of new technologies and select the right ones for you without missing out on the advantages in the interim. Changing the focus from legacy IT to platform modularity with selective use of functional modules will help you deliver a best-in-class solution—whether for payments, digital signatures, or any other part of the lending process.

3) Integration through standard APIs

Open standards based APIs are a pre-requisite for speed to market. Especially when assembling a digital ecosystem of partners, channels, and specialist platforms. Creating the right connections between what you do and what other businesses can bring to support the lending process (e.g. credit bureaus, payments gateways, etc.) will quickly add value.

4) Leverage live services

Learning the lessons from the old days, in many cases you won’t even need to reinvent the wheel. You can still differentiate your processes by leveraging SaaS and BPaaS on an industrial scale from third parties. Again, looking outside your own organization to the major live services providers who can deliver the technologies you need will save plenty of internal effort and avoid bottlenecks in getting your new lending products to market.

5) Aim for near-zero on-going modification costs

If the past has taught us anything, it’s that adding new layers of technology can be expensive. Not just in acquiring the new systems and skills to implement them, but also integrating and managing them over time. To avoid the exponential cost of IT developments, why not look to retain a single, upgradable core applications code base? Through business rules configurations you can adapt to the kind of on-going transformation you read about in the Digital Business Continuum as new, disruptive technology emerges.

Assembling a hyper-agile business model is a strategic business initiative in which the organization’s leadership sponsors and drives change. Superior market performance requires continuous competitive realignment of all aspects of the target operating model. That includes a transformational technology platform. The moment to make this journey is now. Has your organization started yet?

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About Kuldip Chiheru
Global FS S&BD Head
Kuldip Singh Chiheru is Head of strategy in Global Financial Services at Atos. Kuldip has been with Atos since 2008 and his particular area of focus is in the lending and loans division looking at how technology can improve this function for our commercial banking customers and for the sector more generally. Prior to this he worked in the Financial Sector advisory team at KPMG and has also worked for ICAP and HSBC Midland International Banking.