How Digital Helps Early Growth Financial Services Companies

How Digital Helps Early Growth Financial Services Companies Scale Up

Miles Hobart
  • Financial Services

An outstanding digital customer experience has become a prerequisite for the success of early growth start-ups. But unfortunately, few organizations hold all the knowledge, resources, or proficiencies necessary to execute a complete transition into digital. Skill gaps can exist within early growth financial services firms where implementing digital solutions may mean the difference between scaling at speed or succumbing to the competition.

Developing strategic partnerships with a digital product company has rapidly shifted from “nice-to-have” to becoming a necessity. Today, there isn’t an industry better represented by this change than financial services.

This blog aims to spotlight the benefits of working with a digital product partner for companies and projects in the early stages of deployment.

Two Paths to Digital

According to a global survey by McKinsey, executives and senior level managers were three times more likely to say at least 8 out of 10 customer interactions are digital in nature than before the pandemic. Service integrations and the API (application-programming interface) have changed the financial services landscape to such a degree that a digital native approach has now become the only approach. For start-ups and new product development, digital should now be the starting point, not an eventuality.

A company’s digital transformation journey can take two paths. The traditional approach, and the one traveled by many start-ups, is to build an in-house digital team. Bootstrapping is viewed as a cost-effective tactic and initially this may be the case. However, as development progresses, the lack of knowledge depth and digital insights eventually catches up to the team.

Partnering with digital product professionals is the second and more advantageous path to take. Three benefits emerge for early growth financial services companies that adopt this approach. They include valuable industry expertise, boosted speed of execution, and increased productivity. When brought in-house, such attributes could take months or years to develop.

Advantages of Digital Partnerships

The right digital partnership can open a new world for start-ups and project teams building the next great financial product. Examples abound where focused collaboration brought ideas to market faster and with higher customer adoption than otherwise would have been possible. Such success stories are a direct result of the value digital partnerships provide.

Industry Expertise

Very few business models can survive taking a trial-and-error approach to product development, especially within the financial services field. However, a digital partner can bring insights from a vast pool of research and experience to inject into your offering immediately. More importantly, they provide a best practices framework from which to build your digital experience.

According to Deloitte, most financial service companies face issues with their transformation to digital. While many challenges fall outside the control of digital project teams, those that do require industry expertise. Understanding regulations, the complexities related to data handling, and the habits of the consumer are the types of insights digital partners offer to accelerate the digitization process.  

Boosted Speed

Deploying a new product or service can only happen as fast as the technology behind it. And your technology can only be designed, tested, and supported by a robust digital team.

Every financial service offering has fundamental standards which must be adhered to. Digital partners, having built numerous projects in the past, bring foundational elements to the table, offering new projects a springboard from which to develop their products. As a result, the need for start-ups to start from scratch is eliminated.

With speed also comes agility and flexibility. These key attributes allow companies to pivot when and as often as necessary. Strong partnerships will avoid taking one step forward two steps back and instead will side-step or overcome challenges as they present themselves.

Increased Productivity

While more hands make less work, so too do fewer but more experienced hands. From the start, an organization’s digital transformation journey is fraught with difficulties. Learning to navigate a path filled with obstacles is not a task new ventures should want to undertake. Even in the earliest stages of digital development, the ability to anticipate and sidestep potential hurdles can keep projects from derailing.  

Valuable time and money are wasted when projects veer off course. The experience digital partners bring to early growth financial services start-ups allow them to develop and deliver their project faster, while remaining flexible to adapt and change. Their knowledge makes forming a digital partnership an efficient use of limited capital, maximizing every minute and dollar.

By partnering up with digital professionals, productivity gains are further accelerated by adding the capability to collect and analyze data in real-time. As customer insights accumulate and internal procedures are dissected, projects can be brought closer to their final form faster than following the antiquated build first and test later methodology.

Selecting Your Digital Partner

Choosing your digital partner is not a task to be taken lightly. After all, they very well may hold your future success in their hands. Fortunately, today’s business environment spans across oceans, allowing you to access talent across the globe to meet your exacting needs.

When considering whom to partner with, there are a few key characteristics to be on the lookout for:

Aligned vision – You will want to seek out a digital partner looking for more than just another project but wanting to become a part of a greater purpose.

Supportive team – Things can go south in a hurry. Seek partners who share your enthusiasm and are willing to stick it out through thick and thin.

Reliable and ready – Gain insight into a potential partner’s commitment to success by requesting referrals of clients having had similar project experiences. 

Agnostic perspective – Search for someone who seeks out the best solutions instead of trying to make a specific product or service fit into your project.

Confirmed experience – Ask potential suitors for specific experiences they’ve had in financial services, the challenges they have faced, and how they overcame them.

A delicate balance must be struck for early growth financial services companies seeking to go digital. The right partnership can provide a fierce competitive advantage, while the wrong alliance could be utterly disastrous.


New financial service offerings certainly benefit from taking a digital-first approach. Think about how the trajectory of your project would improve by coupling industry experience, enhanced development speed, and increased productivity to your grand vision. Bringing a digital product partner early into your digital transformation journey may be the most profitable decision you make.

Windmill Digital creates high-quality finance apps with our highly experienced team of experts. We provide customized solutions to meet all your UI/UX and security needs. Contact us today to learn more about how we can make digital a reality for you.

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