Are IT services for the financial sector mainly about writing code, implementation, and integration?
Maciej Kasprzak, General Manager Financial Technology Services: The IT services offered by Ailleron involve whole teams implementing specific business functionalities for the client. We provide the competence and resources to run projects from conception, i.e., design sprint workshops and UX/UI work, solution architecture, through complex front-end and back-end implementation or integrations, ending with manual and automated testing. The project team working for the client must understand the business case. For example, data platform projects require the involvement of a project manager, business analysts, architects, data science analysts, and developers… It is a cross-section of the competencies needed to deliver the solution expected by the client.
Moreover, most of our clients in the financial industry require every member of the team – scrum master, developer, analyst, security engineer, data engineer – to have experience in the financial sector and preferably to have co-created solutions specifically for banks. So it’s not just about knowing the technology but about understanding the business processes and the common goal we want to achieve.
Does the financial industry prefer flexible software development services or ready-to-use solutions? What do customers in this area pay the most attention to?
Looking at the needs of our clients in Europe and Asia, I can tell that the market for finished products and platforms is small. Usually, banks prefer solutions tailored to their requirements. The best example is front-end solutions that allow you to distinguish yourself from the competition – other banks or innovative fintech startups. However, when banks want to supplement or expand their ecosystem with ready-to-implement solutions or specific functionalities, they can also use our products and components. Tools for remote onboarding of customers, making appointments at branches, or managing campaigns in mobile banking are just a few examples.
Most times, however, banks choose service providers that possess domain-specific knowledge and experience within the analysts and development teams.
Ailleron’s understanding of specific technology stacks, the key to the client’s IT architecture, is also crucial to our clients. For example, when offering a data platform, we provide both the service of building it and the implementation of a technology stack based, for instance, on the ArangoDB graph database or a different solution chosen by the customer.
Do the technologies behind Ailleron’s services influence customers’ choice of specific solutions?
Yes, the technologies and architecture of the solutions that we develop are crucial for our customers.
The technical aspects are evaluated from many angles, mainly by employees of IT departments and bank architects. They consider the comprehensiveness of the offered solution, technological adaptation to the existing IT ecosystem, the number of integrations necessary to start, the cost and time of implementation, and, above all, the perspective for a given technology. Customers can benefit from our experience and guidance, do they pick a solution that closely fits their needs.
Ailleron’s pre-built components, including elastic, independent modules for use in the financial industry, complete existing systems that are missing certain functionalities. We help customers with this need, pick the most appropriate replacement components and swiftly integrate them with existing systems.
Market reports from companies such as Deloitte and our direct contacts indicate that clients need the support of AI and ML specialists. Experts with experience in the financial industry are rare, and each bank is different and uniquely builds a competitive advantage. We have these experts among #AilleronExperts, and we understand the needs of our customers very well. We have the specialist resources and know-how to develop the most optimal solution.
Finally, tell us about a comprehensive, implemented custom software development project that comes to your mind.
A good example was creating and implementing a mobile application for SGB, a Polish cooperative banking group. In this project, we faced significant organisational and implementation challenges. The level of complication was high. One factor is that clients of almost 200 cooperative banks would use the application, each with different core and electronic banking systems. Moreover, halfway through the project, with a very tight schedule, there was a pandemic, and the government implemented the lockdown. Nevertheless, the basic version of the application (Minimum Viable Product) was created in just six months, enabling the operation of specific modules to help SGB customers.
It was a significant “mobile acceleration” for our client. Within the project, we have also developed unique functions for the Polish market, such as subscription management and the Active module integrated with Garmin devices, which supports the physical activity of customers of banks associated with SGB.
In the project for SGB Bank, we knew the requirements, but we started with the design sprint workshops to deeply understand the client’s goals and design a top-notch application. It is an excellent method of initiating any project, and our UX team participated in implementing each functional module. While creating an application for mobile banking can be treated as a technological project, creating a friendly application that customers will use daily is a big challenge. The final success in the area of financial software development very much depends on the high quality of cooperation between the financial company and its vendor.