An article by Darrell Wilkins on 18 Oct 2021
Summary: The majority of FinTech firms should replace their legacy server-based website with a modern tech stack. Why?: Technology choice is a reflection of your brand, developers seeking jobs will judge your tech, you need a high-performance site to differentiate your firm, and rapid growth demands adaptable tech.
Companies in the FinTech space use the latest technology to:
- Improve nearly every aspect of how individuals and businesses interact with the financial system (think app-based banks, banking APIs, and card issuing).
- Solve complex, difficult, and/or risky business problems (think credit card payment processing and chasing late payments).
- Give individuals access to products and services previously held by brokers or intermediaries (think insurance, stock market investing, and mortgages).
FinTech services are usually cloud based, API driven and sold as being modern and forward looking. It’s impressive. Yet when it comes to firms' own websites they choose traditional, monolithic server-based platforms, like WordPress or Sitecore.
Our advice is to eat your own dog food and choose equally innovative, cloud-based, developer friendly solution for your website. We’ve got four compelling reasons why.
1. The Technology You Choose is a Reflection of Your Brand
Do you tell the world your FinTech firm and its solutions are modern, disruptive, forward-thinking, cutting-edge, and so on? Then your company should be using technology internally that can be described with those same adjectives.
WordPress and other monolithic server-based platforms are perfectly fine solutions for many (small) businesses. But if your business model is built on convincing clients to move away from costly infrastructure and towards APIs in the cloud, it's hypocritical if you don’t do it yourself.
It comes back to eating your own dog food. Don’t be the company who tells your customers and prospects to do one thing, then does another. People see through this kind of hypocrisy and it reflects poorly on a brand’s image. Select cloud-based tech for your FinTech firm’s own needs as well as your customers’.
2. Job Candidates Will Judge Your Firm's Technology
It's not just your brand that is affected when you use legacy technology. Recruitment is, too. FinTechs hire a lot of developers. You can be sure the first thing these candidates do when they visit your website is view the source code. And they can tell a lot from their sleuthing. Source code reveals:
- The technology you use
- Your approach to web development
- How much (or little) effort you put into usability, accessibility, and SEO
Prospective developers care deeply about these details because they’re going to work with your site every day. And to put it bluntly, they’re often nosy and judgemental. That’s why companies like Apple, The Guardian, Airbnb, and Microsoft hide job adverts in their source codes. They know developers are looking, and even big-wig businesses like these want to impress potential hires.
To say the employment market for developers is competitive is a massive understatement. We’ve yet to come across a FinTech who is not hiring developers. Even mid-weight applicants with three years experience are asking for salaries of £60,000 per year.
Bearing this insane job market in mind, you have no choice but to use tech that developers want to work with. Otherwise, you’ll never attract top talent to your FinTech firm.
3. Modern Technology Differentiates Your Firm in a Competitive Sector
The job market for developers is extremely competitive, but so is the FinTech space in general. New startups are founded every year. The competition for eyeballs — and, more importantly, wages — is stronger all the time.
To attract new business, you need every advantage you can get.
Building a high-performance website gives your FinTech firm that advantage over your competition. A high-performance site is SEO-friendly and fast. This means prospects can find you in the first place, plus they’ll have a better user experience once they’re on your site. That’s no small thing in a market where every differentiator matters.
So how do you get a high-performance website for your FinTech company? It’s all about optimising on top of a solid foundation. You could manage this in legacy WordPress-type systems, but it’ll require you to bend the system to adapt it to your needs.
On the other hand, today’s website tooling, techniques, and technologies have high-performance baked in. You’ll never have to bend the system, fitting a square peg into a round hole. With today’s tech, you can spend less time building your foundation and more time optimising for even higher performance.
4. Fast Growth Requires Adaptable Technology
By nature, FinTech companies are fast-growing. In fact, if you’re not growing and changing at breakneck speed, your company is unlikely to last.
This fast growth is met with equally quick organisational change. As such, all of your company’s decisions and solutions must be made with adaptability and flexibility in mind. Your technology selection is no exception.
You will almost always have to make compromises to adjust legacy server-based systems efficiently. That’s because these older platforms were built to do lots of things fairly well but nothing exceptionally.
Managing the front and back end in one technology platform proves problematic when speed and adaptation are of the essence. Even small changes can have a butterfly effect across the site.
Conversely, modern CMS platforms like Sanity coupled with front-ends built in NextJS or Gatsby are designed with flexibility at the forefront. Fundamentally, having a modern platform means:
- Updates, changes, and maintenance are easier.
- You won't have to throw everything away and rebuild every couple of years.
More specifically in these 'headless' platforms the front and back end are decoupled. Sanity, for instance, devotes itself completely and expertly to content management.
They’re not monolithic generalists like WordPress. You get to choose a front-end that specifically meets your needs. And you have the freedom to make in-the-moment changes to your front end without disrupting the entire system.
We can’t stress enough how crucial this is for ever-evolving FinTech firms.
Your content will end up on varying screens — from mobile apps to websites to dynamic adverts to conference presentations. Using a modern tech stack means not having to babysit multiple systems to manage multiple platforms. All of your content will be in one place ready to use anywhere.
An Expert Can Choose the Right Modern Tech for Your Needs
Ultimately, you shouldn’t care about the name of the technology your FinTech firm selects. Too many companies get caught up thinking they want a WordPress or Umbraco or whatever site. Technology choice should never lead a web dev project anyway. End results are all that matter.
What you should care about is everything we discussed above:
- Your brand’s image and eating your own dog food
- Hiring developers worth their salt
- Standing out in the competitive FinTech sector
- The ability to adapt to your growing company's needs
These are the directives you should include in any brief you send to a potential web development partner. If that partner is worth their salt, they’ll diagnose your problems, assess your needs, and choose a best-fit, modern tech solution for you. One with all the benefits explained here.
We’d welcome the opportunity to be that developer partner for your FinTech company. Contact us.
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