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How we developed a methodology that steers financial institutions towards successful digital transformation

Stefanie Keymeulen
October 13, 2022

At Abbove, it’s not uncommon for employees to wear different hats. Adrien Blondel is the perfect example of that. With the necessary business experience and some technical coding knowledge, Adrien was the ideal fit to join our team as product manager in 2020. When we started offering and adapting our wealth planning platform to larger financial institutions in late 2021, Adrien proved to be the right person again. This time to develop with his colleagues a complete methodology allowing banks to perfectly integrate and adopt our wealth planning technology into their existing processes in a remarkably short period of time.

Those who have read our previous article on our Data Engineer Alexandre Pitsaer know that he developed his own technology to easily exchange data between our wealth planning platform and other (banking) systems. However, the attentive reader also knows that the fact that our platform can be so relatively quickly and easily incorporated into complex banking environments is also due to a unique methodology that goes along with it. A methodology that would not exist without Adrien. While Alexandre and Adrien are specialists in their own fields, integration technology and business processes, they share the same goal: to help financial institutions successfully digitise their wealth management services by making our platform easy and quick to integrate into their existing processes.

Delivery framework

It was only in late 2021 that we expanded our focus from smaller family offices, accountants and life insurance brokers to larger financial institutions. Those often already have a complex network of existing private banking systems and processes. Integrating our solution into these to develop innovative wealth planning services and ensuring that all stakeholders are on board is thus a long-term project. Or so we thought. Thanks to Adrien’s methodology, called the Delivery Framework, and Alexandre’s technology, we managed to complete the whole process in less than six months for some of our clients.

"When we made our platform available to larger financial institutions, it was clear that we needed a different approach than before. For companies the size of banks, you can't simply create an account on our platform and train their employees. Commissioning such a platform in a bank means that entire processes will be changed, systems will fit together differently and collaborations will take place in a new way. The service will be completely digitised, from the advisors' work to the client experience. For this to be successful, everything has to be anticipated. Change management, in other words, is crucial," states Adrien.

Analysis, implementation and roll-out: the three phases to success

To say that the methodology was developed entirely from scratch may not be 100% correct. Our team already had years of experience with smaller companies as well as a large financial institution, BNP Paribas Fortis. With the team’s collective knowledge, Alexandre's experience as an integration consultant and Adrien's business understanding, the Delivery Framework was developed. But what exactly does that framework consist of?

"In very general terms, the Delivery Framework is a global approach in which we work hand-in-hand with the client to successfully digitise their wealth management services. Specifically, that approach consists of three major phases: analysis, implementation and commercial launch," Adrien explains.
Analysis phase

As the name suggests, a thorough work of exploration and scoping takes place during the analysis phase. Experts from the bank and Abbove participate in strategic, operational, legal and IT workshops where they exchange knowledge and lay the groundwork for the concrete set-up of the project. 

Adrien adds: "Here, among other things, we discuss the bank's mission and vision and consider how our platform can help to realise them. We also map out the current user journey and sketch out the "to be" or desired user journey. This way, we already know exactly which aspect of our platform can serve which purpose of the bank and in what phase of the user journey it should intervene. Our platform consists of different features and our clients can use these according to their own vision and goals. In other words, all of our clients get offered the same bricks, but they deploy them in a different way." 

Besides those strategic workshops, our legal and technical teams also meet for more contract and product-oriented discussions. In addition, we don’t stick to talking only. Right from the start, everyone involved is given a comprehensive demo and receives access to the platform. This way, they can immediately visualize how discussions and decisions will translate into reality.

"At the end of the analysis phase, we arrive at a Blueprint, the reference document that will guide the rest of the project. That Blueprint is a real accelerator of the whole process because, before we move on to the second phase, all stakeholders must agree on the content of the document. That way, we can focus solely on development and implementation in the subsequent stages."
Implementation and roll-out phase

During the second phase, we implement the Blueprint into an actual solution and start the pilot project. It is at this time that the integration between the platform and the bank's other systems is developed, employees are trained and support documents are developed. Once the pilot project is approved, we arrive at the final phase: the commercial launch. The platform is now up and running within the bank and is officially part of its service offering.

"In addition, our involvement does not stop at the commercial launch. We stay in constant contact with the bank to help with the operational use of our tool and its further development based on their needs. This way, we ensure that they can continue to achieve their ever-evolving goals," Adrien concludes.
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