It is no secret that since the dawn of the 21st Century, financial institutions have been going through an upheaval. From new FinTech startups and global players entering the market with innovative solutions to financial scandals and worldwide recessions from unethical practices… And when the finance sector struggles to change, the entire world feels its pains.
As a result, financial institutions attempt to stay modern, relevant and ethically sound in the services they provide for their customers. Additionally, the need for local and national financial institutions to adapt and provide more relevant services with their users in mind is greater than ever. These banks constantly have to compete with global institutions.
The Sparkasse has long since been a trusted leader for Germans in providing stable banking solutions all around the country. Yet, they identified the need to develop innovative new solutions to long existing problems early on. Customers aren’t impressed any more with just stability and availability… they want hassle-free, user-friendly and modernly built solutions for their financial needs.
The Sparkasse sought in Modulr a trusted partner to guide them on this journey. For several years now, we have worked intimately with the Sparkasse in a variety of contexts as an enabler. From exploring new product ideas to thinking through ways to holistically modernize and transform current services and ultimately to strengthen the bond between the Sparkasse and their users.
This aspiration to offer a personal, local relationship to their customers is an aspect that most hip, new FinnTech startups totally miss out on. It was therefore always our goal to carry this more personal touch into any design solutions we produced. Happy to have been able to work with this exciting partner, we’re excited to share some of the projects that we’re particularly proud to have played a role in shaping in.
If innovative change is a true value of your company, you need to be able to put your money where your mouth is. And that’s exactly what the Sparkasse has been willing to do. Over many months, we’ve been helping the Sparkasse develop an entirely new vision for their software and products where every interaction is optimized and centered around the user.
Most banks these days have some sort of dashboard for their customers which has become a central area of activity for users. But instead of just showing an overview of the customers information, how can a financial institution also anticipate a user’s needs and offer complimentary consultations on how to act wisely with their financial assets? And what tools do consultants need in order to understand these needs and gaps in the customer’s financial well-being and turn them into action steps?
Our goal is to help the Sparkasse’s clients with an intuitive dashboard that becomes more than just information — it helps them truly master their finances. The task is creating a holistic picture of each client’s financial health and then identifying gaps within their current financial services with the long-term vision of comprehensive orientation and extensive financial control.
Oftentimes, the Sparkasse consults us with an idea, asking for a realistic estimation on what it would take to realize the concept. But it’s not just the idea… This is also a challenge to find out the leading questions we need to anticipate and answer during our design process to make the project a successful one. A recent example is the “S-Payment” project, an idea make a loan application process usable on mobile phones. Here we had to ask questions like:
Through a four-week design sprint process, our team was able to develop a concept, designs and create prototypes to test the idea. Additionally, we invited potential customers to try out the product idea and give intense feedback on our prototypes. Eventually, we documented the entire process and helped translate the learnings from our workshop into hard facts for the Sparkasse to move forward.
Since the Sparkassen company has several distributed branches across germany, there was a strong need to standardize and consolidate the Sparkasse’s internal software. From information architecture to service design to visual consistency – across all kinds of devices and for all kinds of end users. Our goal was to create a design system which considers every user scenario and unites all platform features to feel like one homogeneous visual language.
This project has since been developed and launched across all Sparkasse locations and has led to incredible successes. For consultants, whose usage of the software has become streamlined and much more usable across various service touchpoints and for clients whose experience with the Sparkasse has become more personalized and easy to manage.
Although there are several long-term initiatives and projects we’ve helped the Sparkasse with over the years, as a partner, we are also often tasked with exploring concepts and strategic ideas with the company. This leads to a variety of interesting collaborations & opportunities (though, sometimes they never see the light of day).
Over the long run, we are so proud by the progress that we have been able to make with the Sparkasse over the years through our partnership. It’s incredible to see the openness and willingness to adapt and innovate in the organization in an industry where disruptive change is often met with skepticism or flat-out refusal. We’re convinced that only through such partnerships and openness for new ideas, larger companies are able to remain a competitive and preferred choice for users.