Everywhere we turn, technology and human behaviour are reshaping essential services - including one of the most fundamental: how we manage our money.

For large financial services institutions burdened with complex legacy IT infrastructures and heavy regulation, adapting to the pace of change is a difficult task, with tech giants and hungry start-ups threatening to overturn the status quo.

The situation isn’t all one-sided, however - large, established organisations have a number of important advantages. These include international scale and infrastructure which, used correctly, can actively fuel -rather than stifle - innovation and disruption. With the right strategy in place, incumbents are well-placed to take advantage of change.

The App Business was approached by one of the world’s most recognisable financial services brands to identify and articulate a new mobile-led strategy that would allow them to seize the advantage.

The critical challenge they faced was two-fold: how best to help customers (banks and merchants) meet the pace of disruptive change, while at the same time, assessing how their own services fit within a post-plastic world.

To address this complex business challenge, The App Business kicked off the project with a series of lean, strategic investigations to reimagine the client’s existing services. This incorporated three distinct strategic pieces of work: the development of a full API strategy; a discovery phase to uncover new opportunities for innovation, and the creation of new value propositions based on geo-location. 

Fuelling innovation

Core to our joint vision was to position our client’s iconic brand as an innovation catalyst for third parties: empowering partners to better serve consumers in a world where mobile is an expectation, not a device.

Part of this strategy of enablement was make the company’s wealth of data and services mobile-first and readily accessible to partners - in the form of optimised APIs and SDKs. But with a wealth of data available, the key question was understanding where it could add most value - to our client, their partners, and to end users.

Following a strategic audit that examined API best practice across industries, our strategists ran a series of workshops to break down the value of open data and available APIs. The workshops provided the essential springboard to kickstart a full API strategy. This provided the technical principles and recommendations to enable our client to rapidly bring new services to market in the future.

Bringing strategy to life

For incumbents like our client, tackling disruption requires a radical rethink - and securing stakeholder buy-in is critical to success. To facilitate this, it was essential we establish a product mindset: validating the overall strategic direction with a lean delivery approach and rapid prototyping to quickly experiment, test and communicate new propositions.

One example examined a particular API focused on geo-locational data. We developed a series of consumer-facing test cases that addressed the needs of key customer segments. With experience mapping and working prototypes, we were able to surface previously untapped opportunities and clearly demonstrate how geo-locational data could transform the provision of banking and payment services to customers.

A blueprint for the future

Both the API strategy and the innovation project have formed an important cornerstone for future mobile projects within our client’s organisation.

The API strategy, in particular, has proved instrumental in helping the company understand the value and urgent necessity of building a future-ready, mobile-optimised platform that can empower banks and merchants to build on our client’s services.  

“We turned to The App Business to give us a fresh, expert perspective that would allow us to both broaden and deepen our understanding of how mobile will shape the future of our services. Their mobile native expertise and development-led mindset gave us invaluable insight and a practical view on the role of APIs, and both the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

Executive Director (Innovation and Partnerships)