As the crazy roundtripping of fintech conference season concludes and we come up for air, Liesl Bebb-McKay, a BBD executive and head of business development in the Netherlands region, finds herself reflecting on what these tech conferences were all about. “Sure, there’s the significance of us coming together to celebrate all things tech, do deals, learn about new innovations — but this past season seemed less about cool new tech innovations, and more about regulatory changes and seemingly never-ending reflections on how best to collaborate.” It seems that the conclusion of the season echoed BBD’s mantra that ‘it’s not only about the (fin)tech!’.
Working for BBD in the global custom software development sector, the tech, engineering, and creative problem solving is often the fun part which comes most naturally to us in software. She explains that the more challenging aspect can often be releasing that tech into an ecosystem where ‘people’ come into play, where conversations around industry politics, regulations and collaboration become essential. There is no vacuum. Tech resides in a complex world.
It’s not only about the tech, it’s about trust
Bebb-McKay explains that in the fintech and new tech spaces, where corporate collaboration is essential, we need to focus ourselves on culture and not just engineering — we need to focus on trust. Once you have good trust in your team, you can do really good tech! She’s reminded of a quote by Sun Tzu “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Progression in the methodological space means that many teams have already moved away from a siloed approach and into a more consolidated approach where previously isolated specialties sit side-by-side, wholly focused on delivery. As the likes of Scrum, Agile and DevOps become mainstream, the industry is still calling for more collaboration. Bebb-McKay believes that what we need is an approach to collaboration aimed at forming trust-based relationships because in the business of software development, it ultimately all comes down to human beings and the psychology that drives us as creators and users. We must adopt clear strategies for collaboration to augment our existing growth and technology strategies. “Allowing collaboration efforts to only emerge tactically will surely lead to failure.”
It’s about what drives client behaviour
Like it or not, corporate decision making is often driven by internal incentive models. The fear of uncertainty, the risk of failure and reputational disrepute is often too high to allow decisions that seem to bring an obvious solution. “The heart of a company’s performance is hardwired to the hearts of its managers” says Stan Slap, a renowned business culture consultant. Bebb-McKay states that while large corporates focus on the challenges of transforming their corporate culture, we need their leaders to trust us to bring the obvious solution — without that there will be no collaboration and ultimately there no new tech.
It’s all about the bridges
It’s true that integration challenges with new technologies are often significant, especially when we’re dealing with core platforms that were built many years before. These challenges can, however, be solved with innovative engineering. In BBD we call it our engineering library — patterns and formulae for solving the merging of the new world with the existing ecosystem.
“The bigger challenge within the industry though is trust. We have a translation problem.” She clarifies that we need to get better at building trust AND technology bridges between the new solution and internal technology teams. BBD leadership needs to understand both the complexity of the internal environment and systems, as well as the intricacies of the new technology to be implemented — a team that can speak corporate as well as technical detail. “A team that our clients can trust.” This is at the heart of the solution to the collaboration conundrum the industry faces. Bebb-McKay concludes that “with our 35 years delivering custom software solutions into various industries, our honed style is to do this from within the client, rather than armlength consulting from outside the client’s business.”
If you’re looking for a team that you can trust to deliver innovation technology solutions and strategies that add true business value into your unique environment, visit www.bbdsoftware.com.