Here at Lendr, we are a fintech company dedicated to providing business financing solutions to more than 30,000 small businesses across the US. In order to accomplish that mission, software innovation is a must. However, with a relatively small development team, it was critical that we go above and beyond to create a software development strategy that could help us move faster and maximize opportunities.
Originally, we started out with a more traditional development approach that, while not waterfall, was only loosely defined as agile. However, it didn’t coincide with all of the efficiency gains we were realizing in our other departments, prompting us to explore our options for innovation in software development. One of our largest struggles was throughput; we weren’t able to deliver all the solutions to our users that we wanted to.
And that’s when we started exploring modern application development approaches.
6 Ways Modern App Development Supports Innovation
We started searching for modern application development platforms that would combine speed and agility of low-code with the power of traditional development as a way to better facilitate collaboration between the business side and the technology team.
This would help our small development team provide more value, more efficiently, and thus expand the capabilities of our partners on the sales team, the underwriting team, and the rest of the business.
With that culture of collaboration in mind, here are six ways we’ve been able to use a modern app development platform to drive software innovation at Lendr.
Before we adopted OutSystems, we had a traditional approach where a business analyst would meet with users, gather specs, and then hand off the story to developers without context. By using a modern app dev platform with low-code capabilities, developers are able to get out from behind their monitors and spend more time understanding how we can directly add value and why a seemingly small change can make a world of difference.
They can now wholly own a user story from start to finish, allowing them to take a holistic approach to solving a specific customer’s problem while creating more ownership in the solution.
2. Focus on the User Experience
The finance space is known for being a slow mover when it comes to adopting technology. However, keep in mind that your customers are used to a winning customer experience in other facets of their lives, so even if your industry prefers to take it slow, don’t expect your users to tolerate it for long.
A modern app dev approach allows us to stay laser focused on our user experience while giving us the flexibility to innovate quickly, helping our customers achieve their goals in as few steps as possible.
3. Simplify What You Can So You Can Focus on the Complex
Modern app development lets our developers work faster and with more context. By simplifying our development process, we’ve been able to invest more of our human capital resources in our credit decisioning process, which is traditionally manual and complex.
The more we’ve been able to use OutSystems to free our team from the day-to-day operational needs of development, the more they’ve been able to help us innovate the underwriting side of our business, allowing us to deliver credit decisions within minutes instead of days.
4. Think About Your Integrations
Nothing is built or operated 100% in-house anymore. Every application or solution has a lot of moving parts due to integrations with third-party partners. The OutSystems platform allows us to easily integrate all our third-party vendors for credit checks, analysis, and more into one location. Our decision engine can then take all that data and transform it into a credit decision faster.
Our modern app development platform provides the extensibility we require to build a credit decision model within OutSystems that completely accommodates our need for third-party data while maintaining data and architectural responsibility.
5. Offload Your Infrastructure
If we used a traditional approach, we would need at least 1 FTE just to manage our network infrastructure and deployment pipelines.
With OutSystems’s deep integration with AWS, we’re able to hand our network infrastructure requirements to others, allowing us to take that 1 FTE and have them focus on software innovation. Instead of being purely focused on the technical side of the business like a typical network admin, that person is able to be closer to the business.
6. Stay on Top of Technical Debt
In the OutSystems platform, we use the Architecture Dashboard to auto-detect various cyclical references and dependencies that may cause issues for the long-term maintainability of our solution.
We spend one day a month reviewing all of those potential future issues from a technical debt perspective to keep it from becoming an undue burden on our dev team throughput down the road.
One throughline in all of this is flexibility. With a modern app dev ideology permeating all aspects of our Technology team, our developers are able to use software innovation to spend more time on the business, while our business analysts can spend more time understanding the technical side of our solution.
As a result, our entire team can focus on how we can best provide value instead of working in silos or worrying about who is responsible for what. This keeps our small development team nimble and responsive, allowing us to take on our legacy financial industry competitors while providing our customers with the fast access to the credit they require.
This article is based on an interview with Nick Mates at the Cloud Innovation Summit. To watch the full session, visit How Lendr Overcame Development Bottlenecks.