The financial services (FS) industry has been an evolving sector as companies industry-wide add more digital applications to provide the best services and products to their customers. In today’s world of digital commerce, digital and mobile applications play a significant role in retaining customers and adding new ones.
Shaping the FS industry is to innovate with agility and reduce the time to market in offering new services and new functionality to customers. Lorenzo Villa, Head of Touchpoints Technology for Credito Emiliano S.p.A. (Credem) explained its importance to their business and that they strive to meet this goal, despite it not being easy.
To remediate the difficulty in reducing the time to deliver new services to customers, the prioritization process is key. Every day, Villa says, the FS industry is trying to deliver something new and better and defining priorities is important to determining which direction to head.
“We have adopted a strategy to decouple the system from the digital content,” said Villa. “The idea is that the core system has to improve the whole API reviews on the front end.” Prioritizing this way, Villa says, makes it potentially easier to use the API’s to continuously deliver the solution to the customer.
Innovation is fundamental to Credem’s mission and essential for the continuous development of solutions created to improve customers lives and banking experiences, all while maintaining competitiveness. Creating cohesive teams to continue development processes and adopting solutions remains foundational to Credem’s digital transformation.
Approach to the digital transformation journey
The approach Credem has taken to digital transformation centers on teamwork, both in-house and with third parties. Villa says the company recognizes that collaboration is important to digital transformation processes and that it is very difficult to make everything in-house.
“The approach is to try to set a team that is able to continue to develop new services,” said Villa. “We have adopted solutions to reduce the development time of solutions from third-party service providers because it’s important to be ready to collaborate with third parties to offer new services because it’s very difficult to make everything in-house.”
In addition to team work, it is important that the environment used to build Credem’s infrastructure is ready to scale and “never fade,” according to Villa, adding that it’s why they “have adopted the [Temenos] Infinity solution that runs in the cloud.”
Leveraging cloud to realize true potential
Cloud can be leveraged in different ways, Villa says, and one of the important things for cloud is their potential to speed up and provide an environment that is elastic. Further, it’s important to Credem and the FS industry to be able to say “never switch off the service,” which is an opportunity that cloud provides.
“A very important thing for us is having the capability to develop new features without any lack of service for the customer,” said Villa. “This is a very important feature because, especially in omnichannel, it’s important to be up and running 24/7.”
Credem worked with Temenos Infinity to accelerate its digital banking strategy by developing the Touchpoint app and delivering it to approximately 500,000 individual and private banking customers. The app features a simplified, frictionless design and interface that makes it easier for users to navigate and features multi-factor authentication to ensure security.
“The solutions enable us to develop and bring new services to market rapidly: we have already introduced smart credit card management and payments options, and recently we have added account aggregation,” Villa said.
Delivering continuous improvement across the organization
The methodology of Villa’s team for delivering continuous improvement enterprise-wide involves utilizing a visual toggle to switch on or switch off all the new components of software that are present in the application. This is important because it gives the team an opportunity to keep delivering new capabilities, without shutting off services first. The switch allows the team to produce a lot of small releases of features to help arrive at the end goal step-by-step and not waiting long stretches for the features to be fully completed.
“In the past year we have delivered 10 releases in a single year and the acceleration and increase in frequency produced a new version which is one of the most important things from my role as an IT member," Villa said.
The developments in mobile banking have helped long-standing financial institutions, like Credito Emiliano, maintain pace in a rapidly transforming sector. It has made financial operations simpler for companies and have allowed more and more customers access to their finances. According to Harvard University, there roughly two billion “unbanked” adults in the world that lack access to banking services, which creates unstable financial situations. By accelerating innovation and rapidly developing new product solutions through technology and in the cloud, financial institutions like Credem can contribute to improving financial inclusion and improve livelihoods at a large scale.