24. July 2020

To get digitalization right, you need the right products


Products // What is it that sets groundbreaking digitalization products apart? There are three key aspects: openness, modularity, and innovation. These three elements need to work together in harmony to create powerful products that can withstand the challenges of the accelerating speed of igitalization and changes in the market.

In the 1990s and 2000s, the world of IT looked quite different. It was dominated by big companies, who for the most part developed and marketed their products independently of one another. These proprietary solutions gave the customer little in the way of choice.  The manufacturer determined what the solution could do and how it had to be implemented. Adaptations were either impossible or required significant effort. In addition, users often found themselves dangerously dependent on one supplier, a condition known as “vendor lock-in.”  

A lot has happened over the last 10 years, and the scenario outlined above is increasingly a thing of the past. Today, IT products are designed to be future-proof through openness, modularity, and a love of innovation. These characteristics ensure that prod­ucts are tailored to the actual needs of the customer. 


Openness promotes innovation 

Designing IT systems and products to be open has increasingly become the norm in recent years. Even firms that were once very secretive, such as Microsoft, are fully embracing this trend. There are a number of reasons for this. First and foremost, it has been shown that digital transformation is getting increasingly complex, so much so that companies can hardly manage it by themselves. This is making it more important for them to band to­gether into ecosystems. Partners can bring their strengths to these open communities and work together to make the product better for the customer. The fundamental requirements here include a modern architecture with state-of-the-art technologies and open interfaces (APIs) at all levels. Many companies are still somewhat reluctant when it comes to opening up interfaces, but the EU Payment Services Directive (PSD2) has led to interfaces in the financial sector now being open as standard. Although Switzerland is not directly affected by this, banks and businesses that develop banking solutions cannot ignore the trend towards openness. Other areas are likely to follow suit without this be­coming a legal requirement.  


Modularity promotes individuality 

Every customer is different. Factors such as the age of the IT infrastructure, the customer base, a desire for innovation, or even the composition of the workforce are key criteria when it comes to the acquisition of new IT products. That’s why every product needs to be matched to the needs of the customer. If a product is monolithic, the process is more complex and error-prone. 

It is therefore preferable for products to be of modular construction where possible. This means that the individual components can be adapted to existing systems independently of one an­other, and integrated into processes. A further advantage is that the customer can select the modules that they actually need – there is no need for them to buy a great pile of products that they won’t use. Customers can then decide on the best available products or modules to meet their needs.  

A further advantage of the modular structure is a significant reduction in time-to-market. The customer can get started with individual modules, and add in new functions or services at a later time. This also gives them the option of making relatively small innovations initially so they can test the waters, greatly reducing the amount of work required and the margin for error. Taking all of this into consideration, modularity is a crucial 
feature that puts the focus on the customer and their needs.  


At the cutting edge of technology development 

When selecting a product provider, companies often assign a high level of importance to the provider’s size and the widespread use of their products, but these aspects give no indication of how modern or future-focused a product actually is. Instead, cus­tomers should consider the extent to which the provider is also an innovator. It is often small and medium-sized software pro­viders that are at the forefront in this respect.  
Technology cycles in IT are getting shorter and shorter. Many large providers find it difficult to respond to these cycles with the necessary speed, even if they have plenty of resources. This is where providers like ti&m come into their own, being able to react more quickly to new trends thanks to an agile approach and less complex solutions. It is also important to consider the fact that large providers are rarely early adopters, preferring to wait until a technology has become established. However, it also requires courage to respond quickly to new developments. There may sometimes be setbacks in this process; technology may not always meet our expectations, or the cost/benefit calculation may not pay off. These uncertainties are unavoidable if your goal is to be permanently at the cutting edge of technology. That’s why it is important for providers of modern software products to be not only innovative, but also quick to learn from their mistakes. 

Finally, a software provider needs to have a long-term vision for their products. In general, this takes the form of a clear roadmap, setting out renewal cycles and stages of innovation. However, this roadmap should not be seen as a rigid framework, but rather as a signpost for the next few years of the journey. Such roadmaps offer planning security and create trust, but they must also be able to respond flexibly to market trends at any time. 


ti&m’s range of products 

ti&m’s products are grouped together to form the ti&m channel suite and the ti&m security suite. They have always been devel­oped with a focus on openness, modularity, and a love of innovation, values which are embedded in the DNA of ti&m. Long-term technology partnerships are also very important to us. This includes partnerships with core banking providers such as Finnova, or with the three major cloud hyperscalers – AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure. By having broad-based partner­ships, we are always able to provide our customers with the right digitalization solutions for them. One example is the revised e-banking solution from ti&m; Bank CIC was the first bank to go live with this in 2019.  

We take a holistic approach to looking after our customers. From identifying the problem, to developing an initial MVP in the ti&m garage, design and UX, all the way to operation and hosting of the finished product – all our solutions come from a single source. At the same time, we have a local team and clear contacts, allowing us to achieve an incomparable time-to-market. 

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Samuel Scheidegger
Samuel Scheidegger

In seiner beruflichen Laufbahn war Samuel Scheidegger in verschiedenen IT-Management-Positionen tätig, u.a. bei der Bank Julius Bär und der Credit Suisse. Er studierte Informatik an der Berner Fachhochschule und hält einen Dual Degree der University of Rochester (MBA) und der Universität Bern (Executive MBA).

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