When we think of technology innovators, fintech is probably not the first area that comes to mind. This has changed a little in recent times with blockchain technologies such as Bitcoin; however in the mainstream, banks and other established fintech businesses have sizeable silos or moats that prevent the open future we have all been promised with open banking.
At 1derful, we are a digital first fintech in Australia and New Zealand. This strategic position can't be overstated when we compare ourselves to our competitors. We are lucky in someways in that we are the challenger in our space; and we have the ability to start with a modern technology strategy without needing to migrate to it.
To us being digital first means allows us to lead the custom branded payments market by:
In the following sections, we will look into these in depth.
It is currently common place for most businesses to be heading towards the cloud (mainly for business agility reasons rather than costs as it defaulted comes at a higher cost that on premise IT assets). The cloud offers the ability to spin up resources immediately, without needing to wait for hardware to arrive. It also offers PaaS and SaaS models which can save labour (as compared with managing your own hardware; i.e. IaaS). Cloud vendors however often turn off your assets to roll through updates as part of managing your IT assets for you. This means to be cloud first, you want to carefully consider the cloud ways to ensure reliability such as Availability or Scale sets etc.
We use leading edge technologies to take this a step further where are across multiple cloud vendors. We do this so that we are protected against vendor specific outages. Despite cloud vendors having huge resiliency (if you design for it), they have had outages that bought down 95%+ of their data centres at one time as they rolled out software updates everywhere at once (which was a technical requirement of that kind of upgrade).
Other benefit received from being multi-cloud are:
We offer a broad range of tailored payments services, but what makes us unique in our market space is that we offer any individual piece of our services as a standalone offering. Perhaps you have a payments solution but want a different collections provider. Perhaps you have branded cards but want a loyalty offering.
This is facilitated by our use of micro services, enabling you to pick and mix what you want. This is market leading as you would normally need to purchase a minimum set of services which are generally very expensive. This is in part due to the monolithic nature of the technology stacks, but also is a reflection of the customisation requirements over their products. Our products don't make these assumptions.
Not all data needs to be real-time, but it is common in our experience that when IT systems are designed in a way where batch processing is used, it tends to disable use-cases over that data. Rather than taking an opinion on what data is valuable to you, we provide it using an architecture that supports both real-time and batch consumption. There are some caveats to this, in that cards may get processed in batch for settling; but we will pass this on as we get it in real-time so that you get information that is useful to you, as soon as possible.
To achieve real-time data processing, we use stream processing technology rather than polling databases (which are typically used in batch based processing). Batch processing is often done to offload analytical information processing from transactional systems (such as your banking application). Using stream processing techniques still allows our systems to scale as well as serve in real-time. Upgrading from batch to real-time can typically mean rewriting significant system areas; we are fortunate to not be in that position.
Many businesses are invested in lean or agile methodologies, but being nimble is more than just how we work. For us agility is measured by the time taken to deliver value to our clients and end users. If a system had a high severity issue; how fast would you expect that to be patched? How much damage could it cause if not patched for each hour?
We have fully automated our digital delivery (software, hardware etc) so that one developer can quickly push changes that will automatically deploy to the Google play and Apple app stores. Our APIs can also be pushed in that same way. To achieve this we:
We partner with our clients, and see ourselves not only as their payments provider, but also as company leading the way. Perhaps you are thinking towards whether you should accept bitcoin in your business etc. Instead of needing to innovate in that area, you can leverage our platforms in this area. This way you don't need to burn capital in an experiment that may not have the outcome you are desiring.
We also have parts of our offerings that use artificial intelligence to help automate customer onboarding. Digital first, means investing in digital automation such as AI to ensure we provide better experiences to our clients and users.