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Behind the Idea: Netcall

Netcall is a leading provider of low-code and customer engagement solutions. It has recently announced its work with Croydon Council to help the borough step up its digital presence for residents, in order to deliver on its growth plan and promise of more convenient, modern living.

By investing in Netcall’s Liberty Create solution for a 12-month trial, the council aims to develop a digital platform that will put users at the heart of every transaction process. This will free up valuable resources that can be re-allocated to support the most vulnerable members of the borough’s community, such as children in care, or adults who are not able to live independently.

Richard Billington

In his role as Chief Technical Officer at Netcall, Richard Billington draws upon over 20 years’ experience in web development to drive the product vision for the company’s solutions and set the technical and strategic milestones for the business. More specifically, he oversees the development of the Liberty Create platform and ensures the solution maintains its recognised position as an industry-leading low-code development platform.

What has been the traditional company response to financial technology innovation nationally?

The financial services industry has seen drastic, technology-led changes over the past few years. Technology is redefining how financial services customers want to be served, and organisations such as Nationwide Building Society are at the forefront and investing to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive market, whilst keeping up with innovative new entrants, i.e. challenger banks.

Businesses must turn to technology that complements – rather than rips-and-replaces – legacy systems, to improve operational efficiency and accelerate growth.

How has this changed over the past few years?

Just as we’ve seen in other industries, disruptor companies have appeared – including Starling Bank, Revolut and Monzo – which are trying to turn the traditional business model on its head. With a growing demand for enhanced services and the pace of technological change advancing, financial companies need to continually reassess the services they are providing to their customers.

Given the increasing pace and expectations of consumer demand, the need for Financial Services companies to adopt more innovative technologies is becoming increasingly essential. Being able to change, test and iterate processes has also helped businesses, such as Hampshire Trust Bank, implement successful change at a much faster pace.

Is there anything that has created a culture of change inside the company?

A noticeable change is that there is far more of a focus, not only on customer experience but on employee experience. Not only that, but a great employee experience is in fact critical to creating great customer experience: in essence, the two are intertwined. And they correlate to better business results: it’s been observed that companies delivering a great high employee experience will achieve higher 12-month retention, productivity and revenue growth.

So, not only do consumers now expect more, but staff are also expecting to use systems and technology that are intuitive, easy to use, and require a low amount of training to operate. This is down to the high accessibility of easy-to-use devices, such as Apple iPads and iPhones. In the highly competitive talent pool, it will be the companies that deploy innovative and advanced technologies within the business that will attract sought-after, talented and skilled workers.

What Fintech ideas have been implemented?

To meet the increasing customer expectations – in a growing digital-first era – a greater number of companies have been adopting FinTech ideas, including low-code technologies. For example, as explored above, Nationwide Building Society has implemented its own Notify Me application (developed through Liberty Create).

By utilising low-code technology, Nationwide has been able to provide a notification platform that alerts their members when a service is available again such as when maintenance ends. By providing the option to subscribe to such alerts, their members do not have to keep checking to see if the service is available, and instead can receive timely updates straight to their phone.

What benefits have these brought?

“These adaptable platforms allow for quick responses, i.e. when operating during coronavirus, and seen in Croydon’s 48-hour turnaround on business grant applications. These businesses can now be far more agile in their processes.

By allowing its members to register for the service and get updates during planned and unplanned maintenance, Nationwide has been able to reduce the number of unnecessary calls into their contact centre and has seen a reduction in complaints relating to some outages.

Do you see any other industry challenges on the horizon?

In a frequently changing landscape, businesses are likely to face a number of challenges on their digital transformation journey. This includes adapting to the ‘next normal’ to overcoming the inevitable strain from Brexit – including the regulatory changes that might arise from it – and the need to automate and streamline to avoid business failures, in a cost-effective and efficient way.

The concept of business agility usually raises questions and concerns around change management and associated cost. The assumption that business transformation to achieve greater agility is an expensive and time-intensive endeavour can be understandably off-putting, but this is a myth – and organisations run the risk of missing out on a key ingredient to long-term resilience and strategic success. Major and rapid changes to operational process used to be the domain of large corporations with budgets to match; now, smaller organisations across all sectors can build agility into business as usual by making the right platform choices. This is where low-code technology can really help.

Can these challenges be aided by Fintech?

A concept that has recently surfaced is the ‘buy vs. build’ message. There seems to have been a shift towards building technology – in an extendable and easier to maintain way, encompassing the full development lifecycle – rather than continuing to buy ‘off the shelf’. This is down to two reasons: there is less architecture to maintain in the long-term, and it delivers more value – the more you build, the more value it delivers.

In the coming years, as customer needs evolve and grow, companies will be using more than one low-code platform to enable them to meet these needs. In fact, it’s been predicted that by 2024, 75% of large enterprises will be using at least four low-code development tools – showing the huge potential for low-code technology, not only now but in the future too.

Final thoughts?

Having access to tools that are easy to use whilst enabling innovation will be key for businesses to build better digital customer experience. Analytics tools that help track performance, and offer insights for process improvements and adaptations, are of equal importance. Together, these tools will help empower businesses to remain competitive in today’s rapidly changing fintech industry.

Author

  • Gina is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

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