When it comes to value added services, it seems to me we’re at a turning point. Technology has advanced far enough to make cloud services a trusted part of everyday life. And small business owners now understand just how these services can enhance their working lives.
The demand is there, and so is the support to deliver on it. No wonder more and more large institutions with small business customers are considering moving into this space. Then what happens, in my experience, is they ask themselves: ‘Should we build this service, or buy it?’ I’d argue that neither provides quite the right answer. Why? Let’s look at where we are right now.
Staying focused on innovation
Just ten years ago it would’ve been perfectly natural for a large corporate to build and manage a complex offering like cloud services.
Today they’re operating in a leaner, more regulated world where they must, first and foremost, focus their expertise and resources on their core services.
At the same time, other businesses have been working on software solutions that, in some cases, are on their 30th iteration and really can’t be beat. (Sage is just one example that springs to mind.)
Both are innovators. But in different areas. And both can get a great deal from the other. But how? Many of the big consultancies like PwC and Accenture* have already identified the next step for corporates: strategic partnerships.
Making strategic decisions
As with any decision to diversify, offering cloud services to small business customers must be done strategically. And that starts by saying not ‘We’ll do it’ but ‘Who will we do it with? ’.
Getting it right depends on matching your business objectives to the service you eventually offer. You’ll only achieve that by working with people who’ll take the time to get to know you, and bring all their knowledge, experience and expertise to bear in finding the right solutions for you and your customers.
Even more importantly, it helps to have those people working not for you but with you because:
- They already have established relationships with app providers and can negotiate better deals.
- Their set up keeps them nimble and free from the regulatory restrictions that can slow financial institutions down.
- They’re at the forefront of app development and know what’s best in class, and what’s coming.
- They know how to aggregate apps for different users and across different categories.
- They’re experienced in integrating new offerings with existing services.
- They’re skilled in converting interest to purchase and usage.
Not build, not buy, but partnership
What I’m talking about is, in essence, a partnership. It’s one where the institution knows what it stands for and what it’s objectives are, has the data to really know its customers and the people internally who can keep an external project on track. And the partner is in a position to take all of those things and deliver a service that’s on brief, on brand, on time and gets used, because it’s just what customers want and need.
*For example: Accenture, Banking 2020, 2013
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