Can low-code application development help banks build omnichannel customer experience solutions faster? The answer is yes. As our recent webinar with OutSystems customer Banco BPI uncovered, how low-code can play a major role in transitioning from a product-focused organization to a customer-centric one with omnichannel capabilities. Read on to learn more about the omnichannel experience and customer-centricity and discover how a key aspect of low-code, architecting for reuse, should be at the heart of your bank’s customer-centric digital transformation.
Customer-centricity is a banking business strategy that focuses on customer journeys and omnichannel user experience. Retail banks around the world need to get closer to their customers to stop them from falling into the arms of eager competitors. Those competitors are increasing in number, especially as consumers are entranced by the flawless user experience that FinTechs can provide and locality is no longer an advantage in an increasingly “mobile-first” market.
Why are these so important to retail banks? The answer lies in the fact that consumers are now open-minded about where they buy financial services products. According to McKinsey, Fintech and non-traditional providers are “depleting as much as half the revenue growth” of traditional retail banks that innovate more slowly.
But, do customer-centricity and its accompanying omnichannel customer experience concept demand a different approach to application development and delivery in retail banks?
Our recent webinar with Banco BPI brought this sharply into focus and will be of interest to any organization that needs to deliver a seamless experience to consumers via a mobile, web, contact center, and branch network.
In Search of Rapid Application Development
One of the key issues described by Sérgio Santos, Banco BPI’s Head of Digital Banking, during the webinar, was one echoed by other banks that have development resources fractured along multiple channel silos. A new product or even a minor regulatory change can cause vast quantities of seemingly duplicative development, as different systems that serve mobile, web, branch and contact centers each require updating. Getting new or updated products to market takes considerable effort; development, testing, and release have to be carefully synchronized.
Synchronizing development for omnichannel customer experience can be a herculean effort, especially when development teams are working at different speeds and on different platforms, some of which are new and others that might be ancient. Changes that are quick and easy for the web team can be much more challenging for the branch team if they’re fighting with a legacy system that is so much harder to adapt.
Because of these challenges, Banco BPI went in search of a faster and more agile approach to application development, which led them to OutSystems. Their main selection criteria were the speed of development and lowering the cost of ownership across their omnichannel application portfolio.
A Development Approach for Customer-Centricity
What Sérgio explained in the webinar was how Banco BPI has been able to transition from a product and channel-centric approach to development to a customer-centric, agile development approach that starts first and foremost by understanding the customer-journey across all channels. Interestingly, Sérgio shared that their initial scope for using a low-code platform excluded mobile app development. However, they soon realized that OutSystems was up to the task, and by using OutSystems for everything, including mobile, they have gone on to achieve significant development efficiency gains.
Sérgio is in charge of Banco BPI’s “Digital Transformation Factory,” so called to emphasize the industrial efficiency of their digital transformation approach.
The factory has seven scrum teams (typically comprising of a product owner, scrum master, analyst, and three developers), plus a “horizontal” user experience team that owns the UI assets that all scrum teams use.
Having a shared service for UX that all the scrum teams can use helps enforce design excellence, consistency, and reuse.
Reuse Comes to the Rescue
At this stage, readers may assume that this is just a story of faster, low-code development coming to the rescue. Simply by accelerating development, everything worked faster, and the bank was able to cope better with the paradigm of duplicative, omnichannel development.
Not so fast! This story is much more nuanced than that.
In the webinar, Sérgio went into great detail about the importance of application architecture design to maximize reuse of development. By establishing the necessary governance and architecture standards, Banco BPI was able to reuse virtually all OutSystems development assets. Sergio shared this example of how.
A single scrum team launched a new loan product. They started by describing the desired customer journey using design thinking to ensure they had captured all user requirements. Then they built out the mobile app.
When they came to the in-branch component and the internet banking experience, most of their development work was already done. They were able to reuse the data model, logic, process, APIs, and UI components that had all been created during the mobile app development phase because these had all been architected for reuse.
Such self-sufficiency in each scrum team has not just led to dramatically faster delivery but has also lessened the program management overhead that was not possible when delivery lived in multiple channel silos. This efficiency plays an integral part in the success that Banco BPI is enjoying, so it’s not just about the speed of development.
The Secret Sauce for Building Omnichannel Customer Experience
Sérgio’s advice for others with a similar challenge is to focus on an architectural approach that maximizes reuse. It was the secret sauce for Banco BPI’s transition to customer-centricity and omnichannel customer experience.
You can find out more about how OutSystems helps you architect for reuse by watching this perfectly-formed, insight-packed 30-minute on-demand webinar: How to Architect for Reuse in OutSystems.
Alternatively, if perfectly-formed, insight-packed webinars aren’t your scene, you can read all about why reuse is better with OutSystems in the OutSystems Evaluation Guide.