Podcast September 2, 2020

To partner or not to partner: That is the question

To partner or not to partner. That’s the question. 

As a fintech company, you’ve made the decision to expand your offering through a partnership. What does the partnership look like? How much control are you going to be giving up? What are the things you need to be thinking about when making decisions around partnerships? 

It can all be a bit (okay, a lot) confusion, which is why on this episode of the Payments Innovation podcast, we got to sit down with Marcel Klimo, Tech Evangelist at Vacuumlabs, for a conversation all about technology in fintech partnerships, the decisions you need to be making, the agile approach, and the monolith vs. microservices debate, among other things. 

So you’ve decided to partner?

The most crucial decision that every business has to make once you’ve made the decision to partner is where they’re going to allocate resources. 

Whether it’s their time, their key employees, or the key people they’ve brought into the business, you’ve got to know where your resources are going, and a huge part of this is the technology. 

And oftentimes, the CTO or product manager will need the right technology representative to bring their visions to life. 

Sure, you could hire in-house, but oftentimes tech moves so fast that you might not have the time to conduct interviews, train, and get someone up to speed. You want someone that can hit the ground running. 

Which is where Vacuumlabs comes in. They can play the role of CTO, and support them early on in the process  to build out the technology as opposed to having to hire an entire team internally. 

What Should I Be Focused On? 

Great question. 

When you’re making decisions around partnerships, your key focus is going to be on a couple of different points. 

First, how much control are you willing to give up when it comes to final decision making? How much say do you want in the process?

Second, are you buying an off-the-shelf solution, or are you custom building something? Because as we all know, the off-the-shelf products often work just fine, and are substantially cheaper than a custom build. Though you sometimes don’t have the option. 

Third, geography. 

Vacuum is located in Central Europe, which puts them right in the sweet spot when it comes to the United States, Europe, and Asia. They can be up early for the Asian regions, and stay up later for the US markets. 

All of these things are key things to be considering when looking at partnerships. 

The Agile Approach

If you’re not aware of Agile, it’s essentially breaking down big huge goals into smaller, more manageable two-week deliverables, or sprints. 

The idea being that it’s easier to work in these short bursts and deliver things small bits at a time than it is to focus on huge problems. 

“I think the biggest shift is that you start understanding that you really aren’t as smart as you thought you were at the very beginning. And you start realizing that and you become more humble in your endeavors.” Marcel Klimo

But in moving from the traditional waterfall approach, you begin to understand that you’re usually not as smart as you think you are in the beginning of the process. You become much more humble in your endeavors. 

The move to Agile allows you to shift the conversations that were had years ago when the project was kicked off, and make changes in real-time. To adapt to the current climate. 

Monolith Vs. Microservices

Which brings us to the big question. 

When it comes to development, are we better off building the monolithic app, or the numerous microservices? 

There are a plethora of different opinions out there, and it seems that the world is moving towards the microservices, but there are a lot of things to consider along the way. 

“When you’re starting to build an application, you don’t necessarily know what it is that you’re going to be building in the end.” Marcel Klimo

In most cases, trying to build a microservices feature from the beginning can be way too “in the weeds.” It’s usually too early to fully understand what you’re doing in a way that won’t’ cause you to over-engineer the product. 

The thing to think about is this: Are you designing your application for the customer, or for your organization? Because what’s great for your organization might not be what’s best for the customer. 

You start designing not around what’s good for the customer, but around what four departments are going to be working on this app, and what did they say they wanted when we all sat down at the table? 

It’s a big discussion, and one that should be had early on in the partnership process. But with the right tools and technology in place, your partnerships can deliver a dynamite product, and leave you feeling pretty good about your organization. 

And yourself. 

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Until next time!

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