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Intelligent Products

Charting a course to building Intelligent Products

By Slalom Build

Looking to move into Intelligent Products? Let’s plot a course.

Note: this is part three in our series on Intelligent Products. For a refresher, read up on what intelligent products are here. Then dig deeper into what they can do for your business, here. For a more complete picture of what intelligent products can do for you, download the full whitepaper.

Earlier, we defined intelligent products as an ecosystem of integrated capabilities working together to continuously create more powerful, meaningful, and performant products over time and at scale.

Then in Building Your Future with Intelligent Products, we shared that many companies are taking steps to start building intelligent products.

Fortunately, the journey to building intelligent products, while daunting, is actually accessible to anyone willing to make the leap. Whether beginning with a singular intelligent feature or running an entire intelligent product-based business with the full ecosystem of technology, intelligence, experience, and operations, the key is to understand some important considerations businesses typically encounter.

We’ll walk through the most common points of entry, then go into some of the things to think about and plan for, in order to set yourself up for success.

Three points of entry

So how to get started? Well, rest assured, building intelligent products is doable, no matter what stage a business finds itself in. Here are the three most common stages, but understand this is not a regimented, prescribed order. Wherever you are, well, that’s a great place to start.

Early stage: Focus on features

Looking for an achievable way to begin developing the capability of intelligence while up leveling an existing experience? Many companies test the waters by adding intelligent technology to a small part of their product.

Often, updating existing product features to be more customized to users starts with a recognition that there’s much to do to wrangle the data, while mobilizing operations to support the effort. Truth is, if even part of the experience is smarter, that’s a big win.

This experience enhancement can take the form of user personalization or combining data to be more meaningful than just a series of data points.

Mid-Maturity: Primed for processes

Perhaps a business is simply able to move a little further, faster. Adding intelligence and automation beyond just product features with intelligent processes makes sense.

For instance, machine learning can automate workflows to perform data collection, reduce the steps involved, and free up employees to do more innovative work. It simply requires confidence in the data powering the process, the levers driving automation, and a deep understanding of the people involved.

Advanced Maturity: Understand the full ecosystem

Companies in advanced stages of maturity can benefit from the full culmination of technology, intelligence, experiences, and operations working as one across their suite of products.

At this point, a business’s focus is on intelligence enablement and innovation across their ecosystem, with analytics and data being fed into products.


Democratize investing

Widening the playing field

There’s a shift happening not only in management, but wealth itself. Investors seeking services are trending younger, with Millennials and Gen Z comprising a growing portion of the investment dollar. In fact, in addition to an earning power that is increasing exponentially, these generations are set to inherit an estimated $72.6 trillion over the coming two decades.

While white-glove service has long been the backbone of wealth management, new investors are also seeking speed, immediate accessibility, and convenience. Not just more personalized, data-driven investment advice, but also new platforms, new opportunities that only incorporating product intelligence can provide.

Financial institutions that invest in building product intelligence into every part of their business can better serve this new breed of wealth investors. For instance, this information can drive quicker iteration and constantly updated services, so organizations can roll out new products and product improvements at an accelerated rate. It can also help a business respond to changing market forces in a more seamless, continuous manner while providing actionable insights and deeper understanding of this new customer base.

And the inherent speed and security of the cloud platforms underpinning product intelligence also make more robust self-service options possible, like robo-advisors and automated customer service. Lately, the industry is seeing a wave of FinTechs rising to meet this new investor class, wealth management firms would be wise to dive in as well.

Operational efficiencies

Always top of mind

Human error costs the financial industry billions of dollars each year through changing financial regulations, outdated technologies, or simple negligence. In fact, a study by Bain & Company estimated that governance, risk, and compliance account for 15% to 20% of a financial institution’s operational costs.

Optimizing processes and systems is a smart way to both alleviate compliance concerns and drive operational efficiencies. And savvy organizations find value in incorporating product intelligence into their entire organizational structure.

Intelligent products can augment and automate compliance and risk management functions by standardizing data sources and integration, while advanced analytics draw actionable insights that are continuously refined and improved. This automated regulatory compliance management and reporting removes the onus from individuals and makes it an efficient, org-wide function.

And that, in turn, allows organizations to shift employee attention from manual analysis and its attendant administrative operations to more high-value activities. It’s both a cost saving and employee quality of life enhancement. What’s more, with the regulatory landscape in a constant state of change, intelligent products help systemize monitoring, decision-making, and reporting tasks to help you stay vigilantly compliant.

Ready to build intelligent products? We can help.

The future is intelligent. And building intelligent products that reach beyond feature improvements through every stage of maturity will require alignment across the business. One that will help guide downstream operational changes.

Slalom Build has the experience and expertise to help your business at any stage. We help companies identify capability gaps, then share the tools to upskill existing talent. It’s not easy bringing internal organizations together to align on transformative innovation. We know. We do it every single day.

Reach out when you’re ready to take the next step. We’d love to help!

(1) Robert Norris, Phillip Kerkel, and Nikhil Sharma, “How Wealth Management Firms Can Win in Turbulent Times,” Capco, November 9, 2021

(2) Cerulli, “U.S. High-Net-Worth and Ultra-High-Net-Worth Markets 2021,” January 2022

(3) Matthias Memminger, Mike Baxter and Edmund Lin, “Banking Regtechs to the Rescue?” September 18, 2016

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