Part 2 of the Open Banking Ecosystem blog series emphasizes the importance of a well-defined target picture. Platformization is changing business models in all industries. Be it retailers with no inventory, taxi companies with no cars or car manufacturers that become mobility providers. Open Banking is the new keyword in the banking industry, pushed forward by regulation like PSD2. It means the creation of not only a platform, but a whole digital ecosystem. Follow this blog series to find out what an open banking ecosystem is and how to get there.
Digital ecosystems are the benchmark for successful businesses in the digital age. Banks need to gain understanding for this new kind of value creation. It all comes with a shift in mindset, which is easier said than done. Almost every bank is not born digital. This is on one hand a curse, but on the other hand a blessing. The structural orientation of a bank is fundamentally contrary to what an ecosystem is supposed to look like, but inner potentials and still buried data treasures could put banks in a pole position.
Base the target picture on client centricity
One of the major mindset shifts in order to create a long-lasting, open banking ecosystem is unwavering client centricity. Everything should follow your target group’s needs without exception. This is especially true while building your platform and its service & support processes because a good user experience is the key to success. Clever and well thought through features create a surprise moment for your client – no matter how small it is. This experience – positive or negative – determines customer retention and revenues in the end.
It is vital to have a clear idea of your audience and potential target group for your services. The better your connection to the market segment, the easier it is to create useful customer journeys, which will solve actual client problems. For example, if you target growing SME clients as a bank it is clear that these clients do not need complex financial products. When thinking beyond banking, it would actually make sense to offer software for often underrated side topics in a start-up such as an accounting tool, or integration of different payment methods such as PayPal together with basic analytics inside a payment package. This type of offering would help many small online retailers sort out various payment streams and settle tax hassles.
But how can you make sure you are meeting client needs with your target picture? Integrating customers early into your process of building a platform based ecosystem is a proven method. The agile and iterative approach integrates real feedback and enables you to make adjustments along the way. Nobody can afford to spend millions on IT development, just to realise two years after, that client needs have changed.
Partnering is vital to reduce time-to-market
If you want to offer additional value to your customers you must connect features and let them interact with each other. The accounting software example would not make sense without proper integration as the interoperability between different solutions is one of the key success factors for platforms.
In order to quickly integrate beyond-banking solutions, partnering is a vital part of establishing an ecosystem. As new regulations are forcing banks to open up their infrastructure, you could as well use that as an opportunity to strengthen the client interface and create traction as well as traffic with a wide variety of solutions. Open infrastructures and new collaborations lead to a paradigm-shift in banking:
“Strategy has moved from controlling unique internal resources and erecting competitive barriers to orchestrating external resources and engaging vibrant communities.”
If done properly, fierce competition might develop into joint collaboration. Partnerships and an open infrastructure do not make you vulnerable, but rather stronger, as you can offer new services to your clients. The value creation shifts from pure product based offerings to the organization and moderation of new services. This approach should form a vital new element of your target picture.
Modularity and scalability are key to a growing platform
The third pillar of a successful open banking ecosystem strategy is modularity and scalability. In order to create long term positive network effects and stay relevant for your customers within your ecosystem, the infrastructure needs to be highly modular. It must be able to integrate new services and solutions without great effort. An ecosystem must always be able to deliver a solution for the client need. In the example of the small start-ups, the banking and beyond-banking needs might change based on their lifecycle. The company might currently do its accounting within an ERP system, but as the company grows the client might want to have a cash management solution. This change in the clients’ needs, forces your ecosystem to offer a modular approach generating further revenues and a long lasting client relationship.
Your organization needs to support the target picture
The key to the successful elaboration of an Open Banking Ecosystem target picture is the organizational orientation supporting it. Therefore, you need to tear down internal silos and start collaborating within your own organization before you can welcome others. This needs to happen across all product management and divisional boundaries.
The shift in value creation towards your customers’ needs is so immense that any silo within your organization is a serious threat to the success of your ecosystem. A clear target picture helps your organization develop a clear USP and reach a specific audience while integrating new partners into your ecosystem.
Geoffrey G. Parker, Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy--and How to Make Them Work for You