In the fast-paced and constantly evolving fintech landscape, the role of an Engagement Lead is crucial, transcending traditional project management to embrace innovation, user experience, and strategic leadership. At Vikar, we approach this position with a unique blend of technological insight, customer-centric focus, and adaptability to rapid market changes. As a backbone in fintech companies, our Engagement Leads play a critical role in shaping user journeys and driving the delivery of Vikar’s innovative financial solutions. Their ability to navigate through competitive environments, while managing, inspiring, and innovating, is key to their success.
The following identifies focus points that are essential strategies for Engagement Leads for fintechs, aiming to guide them in creating impactful results and contributing significantly to their client's growth and market presence.
Focus on User Experience
At the core of fintech innovation is the importance of elevating the user experience. For Engagement Leads, this means putting a laser focus on user-centric design and functionality. It's essential to develop products and services that are not just effective but also intuitive, accessible, and responsive to user needs. By doing so, they not only secure the loyalty of existing customers but also appeal to new users. This user-first approach is a key driver of growth and loyalty in the fintech sector, as it directly impacts customer satisfaction and engagement. Engagement Leads must, therefore, place user experience at the forefront of their strategy, ensuring it permeates every aspect of product development and service delivery.
Embrace Best Practices and Future Trends
Staying familiar with the industry’s best practices is non-negotiable. An Engagement Lead should consistently integrate these practices into every project phase, from start to delivery. This ensures that the company remains at the forefront of fintech innovation, maintaining a competitive edge.
Engagement Leads must also anticipate future trends (e.g. AI and Cybersecurity) and prepare scalable solutions that can adapt to these changes. By doing so, the company can swiftly respond to market shifts, regulatory changes, and evolving customer needs.
Foster Collaboration & Relation-Building
A holistic approach to collaboration is essential. Engagement Leads should encourage a culture of cooperation across different departments and teams within the financial institution. This synergy ensures a seamless flow of ideas, enhances problem-solving capabilities and accelerates project timelines.
Building and maintaining robust relationships, both internally and with clients, is also essential. An Engagement Lead must be proficient at nurturing these relationships through effective communication, trust-building, and mutual respect. This approach translates into a better understanding of client needs and delivering tailored solutions.
Deploy Agile Methodologies
The adoption of Agile methodologies is vital for maintaining responsiveness to evolving client requirements in the fintech sector. Agile is not just a methodology; it's a dynamic approach that fosters adaptability, collaboration, and continuous improvement. This approach allows Engagement Leads to break down projects into smaller, manageable segments, known as sprints, facilitating regular reassessment and adjustments as needed.
Industry and Product Knowledge (Legacy Systems)
In the fintech sector, possessing a comprehensive knowledge of the industry, the company's products/services, and the intricacies of legacy systems is of great importance for an Engagement Lead. This deep understanding is not just about staying informed; it’s about leveraging this knowledge to create innovative, yet practical solutions that give the client a competitive edge.
Engagement Leads need to be well-versed in the landscape of competitor offerings, which allows them to identify gaps and opportunities for differentiation. They should also have a thorough grasp of their company's products and services, understanding how these offerings fit within the broader market context and meet specific customer needs.
Equally critical is the understanding of legacy systems. These older systems often form the backbone of many financial institutions, and while they can be robust, they may lack connectivity and the automation required in today’s fast-evolving fintech environment. Engagement Leads should be adept at evaluating these systems, identifying their limitations, and determining how to integrate new technologies without disrupting core operations. This might involve creating solutions that work in tandem with legacy systems, streamlining them for greater efficiency, or, where necessary, pivoting to newer, more agile technologies.
This expertise is crucial because it enables Engagement Leads to innovate within the realms of feasibility, respecting the constraints and capabilities of existing infrastructure, while also pushing the boundaries to improve efficiency, customer experience, and operational effectiveness. Such a balanced approach ensures that innovations are not only forward-thinking but also grounded in the practical realities of the company’s existing technological landscape. In summary, the ability to navigate this complex interplay between new and old systems is what sets apart a successful Engagement Lead in the fintech world.
Addressing End-User Challenges
An Engagement Lead's ability to keenly perceive and address end-users challenges, such as bank clients or employees, is critical. This requires a deep empathy and understanding of the end-users' experiences, pain points, and needs. By maintaining a user-focused lens, Engagement Leads can ensure the development of solutions that are not only technologically innovative but also genuinely meet the practical and nuanced needs of their users.
Engagement Leads must use this insight to guide the development and continuous refinement of products and services, ensuring they are user-friendly, accessible, and effectively solve real-world problems. This might involve simplifying complex processes, enhancing user interfaces for better clarity and navigation, or introducing new features that directly address user pain points.
Automation Over Manual Controls
The transition from manual controls to automation represents a crucial shift in the fintech industry, offering substantial value-adds. As Engagement Leads, it's essential to advocate for and implement automated processes that not only enhance operational efficiency but also significantly reduce the probability of errors and streamline overall operations.
A standout Engagement Lead is skilled at merging technical expertise with strategic vision. Their role goes beyond project management, focusing on enhancing user experience, adopting best practices, and facilitating collaboration. By anticipating market trends and understanding both modern and legacy systems, they position themselves as key innovators. Their client-centric approach in communication and operational transparency cements their role as vital connectors between the company's objectives and client needs. In essence, a standout Engagement Lead is characterized by their ability to align technology, business goals, and client satisfaction, while driving success in this dynamic industry.
About the Author. David Hudak is Engagement Lead for Vikar, Inc., a leading financial technology company offering a modern solution with built-in rules and automation supporting today’s demands from both bank clients and employees.
Dave formerly served as Senior Vice President, Director of Underwriting and Credit Operations for Santander Bank and has close to 20 years of experience leading sales and service teams through business and operational model changes. He is a results-oriented leader with deep experience creating operational efficiencies and improving customer service.