Product Management Meetup – Building state-of-the-art digital products in fintech and beyond

On February 11th, 2020, finleap connect, for the first time, hosted a Product Management Meetup with speakers from Omio and Daimler AG on building state-of-the art digital products in fintech in beyond. With over 70 product management enthusiasts in the audience, we are proud to say we had a full house! 

Product Management Meeting

For the first time, finleap connect proudly hosted a Product Management Meetup all about building state-of-the-art digital products both in fintech and beyond. Along with our Principal Product Manager, Stefan Schüßler, Rajat Hubli, Product Lead Booking & Payments at Omio, and Dajana Aleksic, Senior Product Manager at Daimler Mobility, also shared their unique perspectives on product management at their companies. 

Starting off the evening, Stefan shared some in-depth insights into product management in a B2B2X environment, and how we build products at finleap connect.

How do we build products at finleap connect? 

B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) have become standard terms in many industries. At finleap connect, however, many of our modular end-to-end financial products function in a B2B2X (business-to-business-to-business/consumer). 
B2B2X

What is B2Banks2X and what does it mean for a product manager at finleap connect?

In fintech, B2B2X often gains an additional layer, in that many companies build technology for banks, and this technology in turn can end up in the apps of any number of end users, both corporate and private. 

For a product manager at finleap connect, this means that we are building a product for our customer’s client, or someone who is not directly our customer. These users often know our customer’s brand, yet they usually are not familiar with ours. Feedback is often filtered by our customer (in the middle), and does not find its way directly to us. 

B2Banks2X

B2Banks2X is specifically challenging as banks (or insurance companies or other big corporations) have both a strong brand and strong relationships with their clients. However, they often seek support in innovative, agile software development. This is why they usually use third-party providers (TPP’s) to build the solutions for their clients. For us, we also have to keep in mind Germany and EU-wide regulations that need to be fulfilled in order to provide solutions for a bank. 

An additional challenge of product management in the fintech industry is that product development generally starts with one (or very few) customer(s) that can lead to a well-informed, but narrowed vision of the product and the problems that need solving. Before working with any customer, we always make sure to reflect upon how lean product development works, how to get from ideation to a minimum viable product (MVP), how to iterate, and how to create continuous deployment and development in short cycles (aka agile sprints). 

We strongly believe in building products that marry both customer and end users’ needs across our five product layers:

finleap connect product layers

Corporate Ventures and Solutions – Building a customized product together with a partner.

White Label Products (SaaS) – Building a product with a strong focus on the customer needs and a thorough understanding of the user.

Micro Products (API) – Providing a comprehensive set of API’s that build the foundation of any financial product.

Core Infrastructure – Providing state-of-the-art bank connectivity by being fully PSD2 compliant.

Data Services – the backbone of our products that delivers data-driven insights for our products and partners.

 

From Switch Kit to an API Platform

The idea

Our products always start with a problem that needs to be solved. In the case of our Switch Kit, the problem was the inability to move all bank transactions from one bank account to the other in a matter of minutes, without having to go to a bank branch. The idea was rather simple, all it needed was an online application that does the following: 

  1. Login to the old bank account. 
  2. Readout all transactions. 
  3. Find relevant transactions and match them to a creditor (company). 
  4. Create a notification letter for each creditor detected. 
  5. Send said letter via email, post, fax etc. 
  6. Move standing orders / remaining direct debit transactions to the new account. 
  7. Wire the remaining funds to the new bank account. 

Building the Switch Kit

Taking this idea, we started building our Switch Kit on the base of five building blocks: contract service, document service, notification service, account information service, and payment initiation service. Over the years, in expanding and evolving the product, it became hard to maintain. When we decided to redo the backend of the Switch Kit, we didn’t just follow the usual approach of simply rebuilding it in a proper microservice architecture, but we took the idea a step further to build it as an API. For the foundation of our API platform, we already had the basic functions, like the Account Information Service to read out bank account transactions, and the Payment Initiation Service to complete payments. On top of that, we needed a comprehensive set of APIs to process and enrich the data to provide further services. 

In addition to our PSD2-compliant connectivity, this platform provides the foundation for many financial applications, and is the foundation for our very own end-to-end consumer products. Once we had the basic platform, we then, together with some of our customers, build new, innovative financial applications on top. 

We do the heavy lifting to foster innovation

The main strategy of our API platform is to take the hassle of building financial applications away by providing APIs for application teams, so they do not have to repeatedly implement basic functions or worry about regulations, core banking systems, banking APIs, aggregation of transaction data or other highly specialized services. 

In the end, application teams should focus on what they do best – building innovative apps with intuitive user flows!

Main takeaways

Building a state-of-the-art Switch Kit and evolving it into an API platform was by no means a simple task. But we made it possible with the following things in mind: 

  • Building our product with the customer and for the user.
    • Although a customer might have a lot of knowledge about their clients, at the end of the day, we build our products for the user with the help and key insights of our customers.
  • Financial applications are not rocket science (anymore).
    • Especially with a strong partner like us, financial applications can become much more approachable and can now focus on innovation on top of commodities.
  • Build a platform with innovation in mind.
    • Our main takeaway from all of this is, that it is important to have a clear goal, and building a platform to foster innovation will help to define what functions are really having an impact on our users (of the platform). To do this, we have a deep understanding of the market and the level of demands for sophisticated functions, and grow our platform with our community.

 

Want to find out more about our product offering?

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Or are you a product manager, owner, and/or enthusiast looking for a new challenge?

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