Netcall’s Chief Technology Officer, Richard Billington, on how low-code is paving the way for a fresh approach to change in financial services.
High on the agenda in the finance sector is customer experience. So what’s stopping businesses in this competitive market meeting the increasing demands from its customers?
Like many industries, finance has legacy systems and complex IT structures to contend with. It’s a recipe for disconnected processes and data silos, not to mention poor customer experience. One technology that is pioneering a new and effective approach to modernising front and back-office processes is low-code. We caught up with Netcall’s chief technology officer, Richard Billington, to explore how its low-code solution, Liberty Create, is successfully supporting transformation journeys for banking, finance and beyond.
THE FINTECH MAGAZINE: Low-code is fast becoming a widely recognised technology, but for those who aren’t familiar with it, can you explain?
RICHARD BILLINGTON: Low-code enables citizen developers (aka business users) and IT to collaborate on application development to radically improve processes without the need for complex code. This makes the whole process of delivering change faster and more accessible, even for non-IT professionals.
By removing the requirement for developers, who have traditionally been needed to bring digital transformation to fruition, low-code is helping to overcome shortages in digital skills. We’re finding that the collaboration it facilitates between IT and business departments is very powerful, too.
TFM: A common challenge in financial services is legacy technology and the restrictions of broken processes. How does low-code help with that?
RB: Legacy is a big deal. Existing tech and core systems are mentioned in almost every customer conversation. Legacy tech is responsible for disconnected processes that have a big impact on operational efficiency. The good news is that low-code doesn’t disrupt your existing IT infrastructure. It’s designed to complement core solutions, so you don’t have to ‘rip and replace’.
Liberty Create integrates with a huge range of systems, from enterprise platforms to bespoke, internally-developed solutions. This, in turn, provides smoother processes, making them quicker, reducing costs and improving the experience for everyone involved, from start to finish. An example of this is Hampshire Trust Bank, which launched its low-code Property Finance solution four months ahead of schedule. This demonstrates the power of low-code in supporting even highly-regulated organisations to drive innovation and achieve transformation goals, one step at a time.
TFM: Change isn’t just about tech, though. It’s about people and culture, too. How does low-code lend itself to cultural adoption?
RB: With a low-code solution like Liberty Create, you don’t need to be a coder to build applications. This makes the tech accessible to a much broader range of users. It makes it a faster, more iterative process and project teams can introduce smaller step-changes and see results quicker, compared with traditional, large-scale transformation. So, low-code aligns nicely to an agile approach to project and change management. It empowers teams to quickly prototype specific features and functions to demonstrate how a new process or application could work, then test, learn and evolve.
We’ve seen among many of our clients that low-code fosters a collaborative approach between IT and line of business. This delivers change that is closely aligned to the needs of the organisation. It also helps to bring people on the journey, as they begin to imagine a better way of doing things.