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The 10 most useful lessons from more than a 10 years of experience in building digital banking platforms. Part 1

24 August 2022

The first digital banking solutions delivered by Efigence came into existence over ten years ago, along with more and more growth online and mobile accessibility. Since then, digital banking has gone through several substantial revolutions and changesToday, digital banking platforms offer not just storing and transferring of money but also a whole range of value-added services and features.

To some extent, they’ve become centers of our everyday life and work. We at Efigence are much more advanced, too. What did we learn from these years of working for the greatest financial brands? And how can we use this knowledge to improve digital banking platforms that are now mushrooming?

 

Although the financial sector is, in general, quite developed and innovative, especially in Europe, still, for many customers, innovativeness is not the first term that comes to mind when thinking about financial institutions. However, our world is dynamically changing, and it’s being shaped by digital transformation. Today everything, including banking, has to be fully digitised, quick and convenient. It’s actually mandatory. That’s what modern banks strive to achieve – digitised, on-demand services. And the last ten years of the development of digital banking show that the market extraordinarily appreciates this approach.

At Efigence, we’ve been shaping the digital banking scene for already quite a long time. We work for the biggest banking groups as an advisor and a provider of innovative technologies and design. We’ve gathered a list of ten valuable lessons you can draw from modern digital banking platforms. We hope it will inspire you to look at your work in new ways.

Lesson 1: It’s all about the mindset

If you want to become fully digitised, you have to change the way of thinking about your product. Granted, it takes some out-of-the-box thinking, especially in a world governed by statistics, indicators, diagrams and laws.

A good example is mBank – the very first Polish fully-online bank. A dozen or so years ago, we helped them become a leader in innovative banking solutions. The management of mBank decided that they needed to move their employees to a new building to facilitate creative thinking. Through this, we had the opportunity to see how important it was to combine creativity with the bank’s business goals. Everything you do has to be purposeful and well-thought-out. This way, both sides inspired each other to think out of the box and align ideas with the business.

The results were more than satisfactory. Back in 2014, over 30% of all mobile banking app users in Poland were mBank customers[1]. Significantly, at that time, mBank didn’t have a 30% market share, and that shows the scale of its success. Together, we certainly gave Polish mobile banking a boost.

Lesson 2: UX is king!

Undoubtedly, user experience is what matters in everything you do digital-wise. UX should be a central part of your marketing, sales and business strategy. After all, it’s all about the user, right?

Today, banks have a limited possibility of competing with their core services; you can’t lower credit interest endlessly. You have to find a competitive advantage elsewhere – in the way you treat your customers. This revolves around customer service, communication and the use of additional channels and tools. Among them, mobile apps are likely the most important ones.

Here, we’d like to draw your attention to our recent project. Together with Credit Agricole Bank Polska, we’ve made a brand-new mobile app that takes mobile banking to a whole new level. This new app makes daily mobile banking a pleasant experience and presents the bank’s products and services in an innovative way. This is what our client has said about the project:

“The new Credit Agricole Bank Polska application focuses as much as possible on the customers’ needs, building a lasting relationship with them and supporting them in their daily tasks. On the way to achieving this effect, one of the key elements was the appropriate design of the tool.”

Read more about this project: A new, higher level of banking: an innovative application from Credit Agricole Bank Polska

Lesson 3: Start with the concept

For over 10 years, we’ve been starting each new project with a concept. That’s one of the keys to our success. Sometimes, conceptualisation takes one week, and sometimes it takes two months, but this stage is crucial.

The concept is the project’s foundation, a base for communication and work for the entire team. A well-prepared concept means you can finish working on the final interface and functionality of the platform faster.  However, in order to be successful, your idea must be a reflection of a solid and well-researched vision that’s backed up by a full understanding of the technology behind it.

With a refined concept, we can get the approval of everyone involved in the project without the risk that, at some point along the way, we’ll have to scrap our work and start all over again. That’s what makes this approach better than endless iterations, where things can go sideways at any given moment.

Additionally, there is a nice side benefit. Thanks to a concept, you can show all the stakeholders what the final product is going to be like. This way, it becomes tangible, even if you haven’t written even the first line of code yet.

Lesson 4: Opt for low-code and no-code

Every technology gradually becomes easier to master. Websites are the perfect example. Not that long ago, you couldn’t create a website without knowledge of HTML. Today, with WordPress and drag-and-drop builders, you can create an aesthetic and functional webpage without knowing the difference between <head> and <body>.

It’s the same story with digital platforms. Even Google has its own no-code platform: Google AppSheet. See how it works in this short video:

Embedded video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjAD81A9nYk&t=105s&ab_channel=GoogleCloudTech

Thanks to low-code and no-code solutions, you can streamline the process of creating, updating and improving apps, websites and other digital products. As a result, you can enhance your app every week (or even more often) without the need to code everything every single time. It’s a massive simplification of work and a source of measurable money savings.

Here, Alior Bank is a good example. In their 2020-2022 business strategy[2], we can read that they want to “provide business employees with the possibility to create new IT solutions on their own thanks to low-code and no-code tools.

Lesson 5: Implement secure payment options

Security is the essence of banking. Sometimes, we use the term “phygital” to describe banking services. They are present both in the digital and physical world. Every interaction with a money-related service has to be secure. And that security should be ensured not only by the payment operator but also by the bank.

That’s the first part of the two-part article. If you want to discover the next five lessons for the financial sector – read the second post [link].

[1] https://natemat.pl/125031,innowacje-w-dziedzinie-bankowosci-elektronicznej

[2] https://www.aliorbank.pl/dam/jcr:e7ee748a-7f94-481f-9bd3-75b2e2cb3847/ALR_STRATEGIA_vENfin.pdf

 

 

 

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