The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the thought leader as an individual, and are not attributed to CeFPro or any particular organization.
Curt Queyrouze, President, Coastal Bank, Coastal Financial Corporation
What are some challenges with setting up microservices and integrating them across platforms?
Microservices are a key component of more modern approaches to delivery. One major challenge is having the correct organizational structure and skills to maximize utility. In this framework, the “citizen builders” who are closer to the point of use for the solution are more empowered but need to be able to rely on reusability and reliability. Most institutions are a complex web of source systems, core systems, external data and many-to-many connections. If the enterprise architecture is not carefully designed for composability and re-use, the microservice components will lose their utility. Personnel must be more adept at both the technical and practical aspects of implementation.
Just as governance is a key component of a proper data infrastructure build, it is also a key of microservice deployment. Documentation and discipline to maintain standards for scope, security and durability are key factors.
How can institutions manage microservices as technology enablers of function?
Microservices management requires a disciplined approach to enterprise architecture. The infrastructure build calls for a skillset that blends a keen sense of the business use-cases, regulatory considerations and customer experience objectives. Except for the largest institutions, the best options for build usually reside in third-party providers. As such, the EA roles and oversight will be the bridge to the successful execution. Institutions should embrace the agile frameworks available today to treat the management of microservices under the same principals that allow for composability as feature-enhancements of your managed products. Product owners will be the SMEs that will catalogue, manage and deploy the microservices as components and features to enhance product and delivery. Again, governance considerations should also be at the forefront with clear taxonomies, rules and testing protocols.
How can microservices be leveraged to enhance personalization?
The new disciplines of modern best practices call for minimization of data flows. The Financial Data Exchange (FDX) is leading the way in establishing core principles for the safe exchange of data between parties. One of the core tenants is minimization of the scope of data flows. If a provider needs account number and last ten transactions from a third party, then the data connection and flow should be minimized to that data only. Likewise, the deployment of microservices allows for the rapid build and flexibility to meet these standards as well as respond to new use-cases.
Following this train of thought, as consumers and businesses gain more control of the use and permissioning of data flow and uses, institutions can quickly deploy solutions that can leverage the composability of microservices.
As personalization becomes a differentiator in the industry, the ability to cut through the noise of large data will be a competitive advantage. In the case of Web 3.0 the user will be in much more control of their journey. Personalization is heightened as the consumer directs their path to a solution custom-purposed for them. Take the example of customer service solutions. In a 3-D virtual representation, the consumer can avoid the back and forth of either an IVR, or even AI enabled chatbot by being able to visually consume all of the options available and “walk” in this world toward their ideal solution. Customer-led journeys require the flexibility in architecture and design with the type of responsiveness previously the domain of the gaming industry.
What are some of the challenges you have experienced when managing acquisition and partnership deals?
As more and more of the new customer-driven solutions rely on partnerships and enhanced capabilities, the need for transparent and reliable standards for build and execution come to the forefront. Once again, I find that governance protocols across all aspects of operations increases in importance. This calls for better documentation, process-flow mapping, libraries and change-management. Too often, we find that partnerships fail when deployment or implementation are stymied by lack of understanding of the design and capabilities of each partner.
Additionally, we always find that culture is a key factor. Those partners that are disciplined in their execution actually pick up speed to delivery due to the reliability of the aspects such as microservices. While this discipline may slow initial build of solutions, it adds reliability and increased functionality as solutions are composed.
MVPs (minimal viable products) and demos are important, but not good when you cannot rely on what’s under the hood for reliability and durability.
In your opinion how important are the roles of fintechs and microservices to provide better customer experience?
Fintechs excel at purpose-built solutions with focus on customer experience, particularly in regard to things such as personalization. Microservices and fintech partnerships allow for speed.
“We are building a forest, not a palace. Rather than establish everything by ourselves, we create an ecosystem that nurtures things to grow within it”
Xiaolong Zhang, founder, WeChat
I firmly believe that the future of financial services will be imbedded in other solutions and ecosystems. Fintechs are building a large solution-set that are delivering solutions at a speed and scale not seen before. Deploying a microservice approach to build allows for rapid implementations with partners as well as the ability to be responsive to the rapidly-changing environment. Many of the most popular solutions available weren’t even available a few short years ago. Context is changing rapidly and constantly. Microservices are a key tool in being nimble and differentiated.
Curt Queyrouze, will be speaking at our upcoming Customer Experience and Digital Banking, taking place on November 1-2 in NYC at Etc Venues Lexington
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