Fintech and techfin: which way around was it again?

There’s a difference between ‘incumbent’ and ‘innovator’ financial organisations. Among those familiar with finance speak, the former thinks in terms of fintech: taking financial processes and applying technology. Innovators, on the other hand, think techfin: making technology work for financial processes. Or is it the other way around? The million-dollar question is: which are you? The answer is: it matters not a ha’penny.

AUTHOR
Nigel Garner
DATE PUBLISHED
3.9.16

At Answer Digital, we believe what’s really important is the digital change that companies undergo, how they drive this change and the outcome for customers and the organisation as a whole. How businesses label themselves is irrelevant by comparison. This isn’t the case for finance companies alone; it rings true for other industries, too.

In recent months, we’ve seen some businesses establish satellite digital offices – small, independent studios or ‘labs’, often in the trendier parts of town, where space is at a premium and competition for talent is high. These labs are populated with crack teams of developers and consultants and tasked with thinking digitally and transforming processes and products. Kept separate, these teams can work fast and unfettered by the firm as a whole. Or so the thinking goes.

One of our clients has taken a different approach. Its funky, fast-pace lab is located slap-bang in the middle of its open plan office. Everyone in the company, from mailroom staff to senior consultants, can’t help but walk past (or even through). The crack teams of developers and ‘agile’ workers are made up of seconded members of staff, not experienced hires or consultants. Very quickly, new ways of working have spread. ‘Rapid delivery’ and ‘fail faster’ are phrases on many people’s lips.

Our view is that when an organisation attempts to effect a digital transformation, it needs to do so from its core. The required change is cultural as much as anything else. Satellite labs will be attacked by the ‘immune system’ of an organisation’s existing culture. Bringing digital change into the heart of an organisation, on the other hand, will ensure that change spreads like a virus, to complete the medical metaphor.

Businesses that take the latter approach will empower their own people. We work with client teams from the inside to deliver transformation together. This way, everyone has a stake in the new way of working. They define a new culture, rather than have it imposed on them.

Recent outcomes we have delivered for our finance clients...

Our senior finance team

Read about Chris
Chris heads Answer Digital Finance where delivers innovative solutions for clients in the finance sector. Chris has a wealth of Financial Services design and delivery experience, from delivering some of the first mortgage trading platforms, to enabling digital integration with Wealth Management platforms.
Read about Nigel
Nigel sees his job as ranging the whole gamut of a project, from presenting some very pretty high level pictures at a conceptual stage, driving that through application design, development, testing, deployment and supporting the operations team. Nigel likes good design fused with a common sense approach.
Read about Imran
Imran is driving Answer Digital’s expansion in London, using his extensive network in the financial services and payments industry, to bring Answer Digital’s fintech expertise to The City.