The Value of Low Code Technology in a Constantly Changing Financial World
We are here with Paul Higgins, Industry Principal for Banking & Financial Services in EMEA at Mendix. Mendix is a leading enterprise low-code application development platform. They allow you to convert a spreadsheet into an app, create an organization-wide app portfolio, modernize an entire core system, and everything in between. That made us curious.
Hello Paul, can you please share how your organization contributes to the future of banking as one of our valued corporate partners?
Paul Higgins: Mendix is a low-code application development platform. And as such, it supports meeting the requirements for the future. Whether in digital transformation or other innovation initiatives, we help banks move forward into the future.
Also, in the delivery of specific technology requirements, we can help our clients achieve that efficiently. Our platform is the best compromise you can get, giving the business more flexibility while keeping IT in the lead. IT still sets the rails. They still put in guidelines and look after things like security and other things regarding the excellence part of how you build applications.
But the teams that own the products or services are cross-function fusion teams, ideally, where you have your business owner in there and various other roles.
You definitely want to avoid the shadow IT space from an IT risk perspective, but as a bank, you also want the best outcome you can get in the shortest amount of time.
All that links very nicely to the challenges that banks face today, of course. Just look at, for example, all the innovations in the payments space. There's so much going on. How can banks keep pace with all that?
Paul Higgins: That's a good one. In that question itself is the challenge, right? It's innovation. Banks aren't particularly well known for innovation, and they're not particularly well known for delivering technology solutions. But that's what's required in the future as we move into spaces around open banking, instant payments and real-time processing, DLT, digital currencies, but also biometric authentication and AML changes, for example.
The challenge to deliver that innovation is how do you do that when that's maybe not your strong point?
How do you support that at Mendix? We talk about very complex structures and services that need to be set up, and you have all these reusable components. But how do you ensure that an organization remains compliant on the one hand and easy to adapt to new change on the other hand, while ensuring that everything remains bulletproof and understandable by the entire organization, as you get a lot more distribution of ownership by using Mendix?
Paul Higgins: I think most of it centres around the enablement and setting up a centre of excellence. They establish the guidelines and the guardrails on how developments are done. Our platform allows companies to build an internal marketplace. And when they do that, the returns are astronomical.
You can look at it like widgets you can integrate, and they can be quite sophisticated. This means that you reduce your operational costs because you have a team working on one central IP functionality module that needs to be tailored instead of having maybe three or four different solutions.
On top of the improved efficiency, you can also focus more on quality. Because of that quality assurance, the coding itself isn't the question, making UAT testing much easier and sometimes even redundant.
Easy integrations is another of the USPs of Mendix. Do you work predominantly with your own partners? Or can banks cherry-pick their preferred partners because your solution is so easy to integrate with any possible FinTech solution?
Paul Higgins: It is a little bit of both. We work with partners and establish partnerships with all the major banking industry players. Companies like FIS, for example, already have a partnership with us. And we're exploring partnerships with most of the core banking providers because we recognize that the more out of the box that Mendix can work with these providers, the easier it is to accelerate and deliver on that value proposition of accelerating the transformation or accelerating the innovation.
On the other hand, it is quite easy to build these integrations. And I’ve seen it done, even using some of the not latest technologies. Let's say using a SOAP-based API, you can build those connectors within a matter of days instead of maybe needing weeks for that integration. Mendix is designed to fit into an IT landscape, and it must integrate with other applications and providers to deliver the solutions.
Also, beyond core banking, we have a couple of FinTech providers that are building connectors already. And again, a FinTech provider usually will provide an API that's quite easy to work with and integrate. And then we're talking literally a couple of hours to be up and running.
We also have some AI features that help look through the provided interface. It automatically maps and creates the integration.
So it's your software that is creating the integrations with your software in a way.
Paul Higgins: Yep. Exactly.
Mendix will also be speaking at The Banking Scene Conference 2023 Amsterdam, on March 21, and the theme is a New Ethos in Banking. Do you think our industry needs a new ethos in banking?
Paul Higgins: I do think that a New Ethos in Banking is needed. I think being a force for good in society is the main part of that ethos, kind of cleaning up that banking image that existed for quite a while. I think delivering what customers need at the right time is the best way to do that.
People are reconsidering their lifestyles. We've seen that over the last couple of years with COVID, etc. There's a lot of focus on more autonomy. Many people are starting up their own businesses or trying to work for themselves, etc. So I think there's a lot that can be done in the space of banking to support people who don't neatly fit in a box, those who don't receive a salary every month.
They need help with cash flow, they may need integrations with their ERP system or providing a lightweight ERP system to help them with cash flow, with sourcing, you know, maybe with how they pay the people that work for them. If you've got subcontractors, how do you get the payment to them in the fastest way possible?
So I think that there's a lot that banks can do to basically support the way that people want to live going forward, and beyond the basic bank services.