Supply Chains vs Stacks
One of the key differences we are finding when helping firms put together their new era of ‘client centric’ propositions is that the design of the proposition and the components that form such are taking a very different form, in the form of ‘Stacks’ as opposed to ‘chains’. They are characterised by the fact that each layer of the ‘stack’ must add value to the overall client value proposition and work as part of it, rather than the value proposition be passed down a chain and just packaged up with layers of costs and overhead at each stage.
Whilst this may be obvious, it does have considerable impact on the design of systems and propositions from a technology perspective. What it generally means is that participants in the overall stack must work out ways to integrate into the last system that enables the investor proposition. It means that one needs to think about where in the stack a type of business sits, and what are the key integration points, authentication protocols and data related issues in order to nicely fit within the stack of your business partners.
At Financial Simplicity we have taken this now to a new level, where we recognise that as a ‘proposition enabler’ that our technology must neatly and flexibly fit inside other systems, often our client’s web sites and client interaction layers. To do this we have broken down the overall user interface into ‘containers’ and ‘components’ where the components can be easily embedded in our client’s and partner’s web sites that deal with advisers and investors. We now fit nicely into their ‘stacks’.
We generally see that the top level of the stack is the engagement layer, then there is the authentication layer, the user navigation layer, the componentry layer, and then for each component, the permissioning layer, the business logic layer and the data access layers… and sometimes a few more.
We have thought about this a lot recently and in my view the key to the better propositions moving forward will be how efficient and client centric and efficient their stacks become. Something to think about when choosing technology providers..