I used to cringe at the term “white-label software”. For a long time, the “white-label” term was loosely bandied around to describe any generic software, without any branding, that could be sold on to other companies as a service, who could add some basic level of branding to repackage it as their own.
This type of software has pretty much dominated the financial services industry for as long as I can remember. For the most part, financial service providers were happy to implement these run-of-the-mill software solutions as there was no urgent need for customisation and personalisation.
The introduction of application programming interfaces (APIs) has been an absolute game changer for the software world, and has opened up massive opportunities to create highly scalable and flexible software solutions, à la Invsta. There seems to be this misconception that white-label solutions aren’t adaptable, however the more modern systems that utilise APIs are far more agile and adaptable than their early predecessors. APIs make it easier than ever before to integrate with other third party software providers, such as payment platforms or CRMs.
Increased competition from digital platforms and BigTech giants have forced incumbent providers to reevaluate their service offerings, and leverage technology to stay competitive and satisfy clients’ digital demands. Scalable and flexible technology solutions (that don’t threaten the bottom-line) are key to driving an adaptable financial services business.
The Invsta white-label solution
When Rachel Strevens (Invsta CEO) and I first got together in 2016, our sole purpose was to develop and bring to market innovative fintech products. We saw a real opportunity to provide engaging and intelligent fintech solutions to replace the archaic systems and processes that were being used in the New Zealand financial services industry.
We looked to leading fintech hubs for inspiration, such as America, the United Kingdom and Singapore. This is where we saw a huge gap to flip the traditional “white-label” software model on its head in the financial services world. We wanted to develop our solutions in a way that allowed companies to implement and access the latest fintech solutions as quickly and seamlessly as possible, while giving them the flexibility to customise the solution to suit their workflows, branding and unique value propositions.
Within the industry, we noticed that there were differences between what functionality a fund manager would need and what a wealth advisor would need, for example. Creating wealth technology that powers better financial experiences for both our customers and the end user was absolutely paramount to our success. Therefore we had to develop a range of tools to not only address the unique needs of different financial service providers, but different end users too.
Benefits of a white-label solution
We decided that a modular approach would be more beneficial to our customers. Instead of developing an entire system, we focused on developing separate modules using APIs. Not only did this laser-like focus allow us to develop high-quality and intelligent functionality, but it also gave us a platform to develop an interconnected ecosystem. This ecosystem of tools gives our customers the flexibility to layer these tools over time, making it easier for them to scale their technology offering to the end user in line with their unique roadmaps.
As we have spent the last 3 to 4 years developing our modules from the ground-up, the coding and structure has already been set up, making it much quicker to modify and customise for each client. As an example, a recent customer we have worked with wanted a solution that included digital onboarding and a client portal. This has taken 3 months to execute, and has been customised to suit their business workflow requirements and branding/design style. When you consider how dynamic the market is at the moment, getting caught up in a lengthy custom build project can become a barrier to your competitive advantage.
Custom build projects can also be extremely costly, as you not only cover the costs of the actual build, but also the initial research and development before the project gets underway. There’s also a huge amount of risk involved with a custom build, as there is no guarantee that the project will be a success. A white-label solution helps to mitigate most of this risk, as the solution is pre-built and tested. With the research and development costs having been incurred by the provider, a white-label approach is much more cost-effective.
What makes our solution different
To sum it up, the Invsta suite of modules are designed with the end-user in mind, while giving our customers more control and flexibility around customisation. I wanted to move as far away from the archaic notion of what a typical white-label solution looks like, and give our customers the tools to not only digitally empower themselves, but their clients too.
We work with you to understand who your clients are, what your value propositions are and what an ideal customer journey would look like, and the subsequent workflows to make that happen. Understanding these elements helps our user-experience (UX) design team to create beautiful, customer-centric digital experiences that echo your brand, purpose and vision.
We’ve chosen to go beyond the standard logo rebranding option, and offer customisation at every level. We already have the coding written up – it’s a simple matter of layering your unique design features and elements on top. From background images, button layouts and graph designs through to workflows, compliance processes and data capturing, we’re able to customise each module element in a fraction of the time that it would take to do a custom build.
My two cents worth
As a financial services provider, your technology solution should advance you towards achieving your strategic and growth goals. If technology is the driving force of your value proposition, then perhaps a custom build may be the best option for you if you’re happy to take on all the associated cost and resource risks.
For the others, stick to what you know and partner with a reputable supplier to help guide you on your digital journey. Focus on driving great returns for your customers, and let your technology partner handle your digital requirements. Companies that try to reinvent the wheel place a huge strain on their resources unnecessarily.
Lastly, always remember this: Your technology should help foster an agile and adaptive business model – not become the company’s Achilles heel. You need a solution that will help you to outperform competitors while helping you to remain relevant in a rapidly changing marketplace.