Building a Digital Bank – The Lessons I Learned Part 4

Lifetime Value of The Client

This is the fourth blog post in my current series on the lessons learned in launching a digital bank. The previous three are available here;

Lesson One: Success is a Mindset

Lesson Two: The Extra Mile

Lesson Three: First Time Right

For those who don’t have time to catch up, I share the lessons learned from my experience in a challenging project to launch a digital bank in Australia (from London) within a year. In this post, I look at the lifetime value of a client and the Seven Ps approach.

My NeoBank customer was a start-up, so minimising costs was critical for their expansion and growth. The key to building and securing the relationship was recognising that we would partner with them for years to come. Instead of trying to make “big bucks” from the outset, we took the long view that as they grew, so would our business relationship and the value of the account to us.

Lesson Four: The Seven Ps

I chose the “Appian Guarantee” model to implement the first MVP, £120,000 on professional services at a fixed cost delivered within an 8-to-12-week window from planning to delivery. This did exclude user licenses fees but being a Fintech, the user license value was always going to be on the lower side as they would not have the high level of users required by the more traditional banks.

This did pose some obstacles, but Appian were great and invested time into the project to work with us closely and find a solution that worked for all.

I cannot stress enough how important effective planning was to make sure we delivered in budget and on time, it was the key to the success of the whole project. This is where the 7 p’s from the military came into play:

P – Proper

P – Prior

P – Planning

P – Prevents

P – Piss

P – Poor

P – Performance

This was used with a vengeance and was the route to making sure we delivered on time and in budget. Before issues became a serious problem, they were identified, and compartmentalisation allowed us to make sure the correct team or individual had enough information to handle and or deal with the issue to a positive outcome.

This was also how the other third-party providers were managed. When dealing with agile projects, it is the only way to go. There is nowhere to hide, which is important when you have people investing millions of AUD $ into a start-up because everyone has to be accountable for their actions.

Along with that, I was reminded very early on in the project of a quote by Helmuth van Moltke, a nineteenth-century Prussian military commander; “No plan survives first contact with the enemy”. Now there were no enemies but there were issues, so we had to adapt and overcome time and time again.

Lessons Learned

Don’t go chasing waterfalls, please stick to the agile methodology that you’re used to.

For IT projects to land within deadline and budget, planning is critical.

The Seven Ps is a mantra taught in the military. I used this approach on this project to drive success and it is now the backbone of the 90-day accelerators I have created for the finance industry to deliver measurable outcomes from IT projects within a quarter, using intelligent automation.

In my next blog, I consider the success of this project, despite the adversity.

Click here to read part 3 ‘First Time Right’

Click here to read part 5 ‘From Struggle Comes Success’


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