3 Reasons Why Fintech's Product Release Cycle is faster than A Bank

Fintech 05-Oct, 2022

Nowadays, many comparisons are happening between traditional banks and FinTechs. The general view is that FinTechs or Challengers are better in various dimensions than their counterparts, especially regarding speed, efficiency and customer experience. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but it will be worth understanding some of these, but in particular, this article touches on the aspect of Product Release cycles.

Before getting any further, it is essential to recognise and acknowledge that the playing field is not yet the same for both. Hence there are some obvious reasons why most banks do not appear as efficient or fast as their counterparts.

 Regarding release cycles, still many banks are slower to get the features out to market. There may be many reasons for this, varying from bank to bank. But from a technology perspective, one big reason is the technology process across development, deployment / IT Operations and change management.

Three issues come to the surface:

  1. Banks typically follow fixed release cycles of monthly/quarterly or, in some cases, even half-yearly releases, which are wrapped layers of processes at each stage, making it very slow to push changes to production.
  2. Banks have a complex enterprise landscape. A change is never in isolation; in most cases, when a system in the enterprise changes, there will be associated changes in other systems to be deployed simultaneously, making the entire change process extremely complex. Hence any change needs to go through many reviews and approvals across different groups/forums before the release goes live.
  3. Lack of end-to-end automation; the ability to automate various processes required to take the software from development to production, including testing, build, deployment, infrastructure provisioning, setups and configurations, post-deployment checks and automatic rollback capabilities—such lack of automation results in inefficiencies in the product release cycles.

So these are three things organisations need to fix to improve their release cycles. They are easier said than done. Most organisations push these issues to the back burner. They either lack the engineering process maturity, or these technology issues do not come higher in their list, given other business priorities.

Given the current environment where time to market is crucial, technology teams must socialise technology process improvements with their business leadership and push for prioritisation, as these are building blocks for an excellent digital business.