In the previous post, we saw the need for the right technology partner in the process of market validation for any product. We also saw how this could be achieved effectively. In this post, we will look at how the right technology partner can help a startup to scale effectively.
Once a startup validates the market with an MVP (minimum viable product), new challenges are bound to arise when they look at growth and scaling. After initial customers are onboarded, the startup does not just need to build trust with them; they also need to develop new features and enhance their technological offering to maintain and grow engagement with existing customers as well as attract new ones.
Since it establishes the roadmap for success, the growth phase is the most challenging and rewarding one. It needs investment in technology, operations, customer service, and sales & marketing. The founders and core team members need to listen to and understand feedback from their customers and look at ways to implement it. Once again, the right technology partner can help to scale the MVP into a fully-featured product with a viable product life cycle.
Here are some ways in which a strong technology partner can help the startup:
- Processes and practices to ensure product management and tracking
- Robust HR Processes to ensure a motivated and engaged team
- Physical Infrastructure readiness – huddle rooms, war rooms, brainstorming rooms, training rooms, and workstations along with security
- IT Infrastructure – network, bandwidth, DR (disaster recovery) plans, information security, collaboration tools, and product & project management tools
- Global Command Center (GCC) setup – ensuring a balance between new development and customer service support with defined SLAs (service-level agreements)
- Agility and Flexibility – PI (program increment) planning along with room for quick fixes and releases
- Brand Management – hiring and retention of resources
zCon was fortunate to be the technology partner of many startups from their initial MVP phase to their growth phase. Many of our customers have been with us for more than five years, where we have helped build an MVP, added features, migrated and updated from older technology, created GCCs to support customer onboarding, customer experience, and relationship management.
We are sharing a case study where we helped the customer build an MVP to reduce the GTM (go-to-market) strategy time and validate the market. After validation, we were part of the growth journey.
LOAN PROCESSING WEB-BASED APPLICATION – Growth Stage
The client is a public, non-profit organisation that plays an intermediary role between three players: the borrower of money (small businesses), the lenders (commercial banks), and the warranty provider (Small Business Administration) with efficiencies in loan production, from loan application through payoff.
Intermediary organisations require a web-based loan processing application for packaging, closing, and servicing small business loans. The Loan Processing Application has 45 client (intermediary organisation) implementations across the country, which are growing in number.
Small companies tend to encounter more difficulties in obtaining loans because of their higher risk profiles and lack of guarantors. SBA steps in to provide the guarantees and can bear a part of the loan. However, when this is done on a large scale, the warranty provider needs to standardise the process of data collection to facilitate data exchange between banks and borrowers and save time.
First, the borrower goes to the intermediary organisation, where the loan officer collects data. The warranty provider checks and approves the standardised documents generated. Once approved, the lender is provided with the necessary documents, and they add the lending information in the database to settle the loan arrangements. The intermediary organisation gathers all information in the web application database, after which the loan can be granted.
Key Business Features:
To apply for a loan, the borrower has to approach an office of the intermediary organisation. A loan officer collects and uploads data like information about the company and the owner, project eligibility, loan structure, and collateral in a web-based application. Some information is registered in predefined spaces on the web application while other documents such as the balance sheet, the income statement, and other required files are directly uploaded in the database. The lender also provides information to the intermediary organisation, such as the principal balance of the loan and the monthly payment amount.
Once the required data is collected in the web application, documents are generated by the system in standard forms. We have developed standard templates by using Aspose for documents that are required to be submitted. All documents merge from multiple screens based on the loan data. Data from multiple companies can be merged too in case of a joint venture or when companies belong to the same group. We have also provided the facility to create custom documents at a particular intermediary organisation.
The documents can be converted into different formats such as Word, PDF, and Excel, and they are stored securely in image format using BMI service. The documents can be accessible to all as per permission in the application and the integrated portal application. Uploaded Excel files can be modified online thanks to the flesh view. The borrowers only have access to borrowing information.
There is a possibility to create several management reports using SQL server reporting services. We provided predefined reports with some parameters (.rdl) as per requirements that we upload on the reporting server.
We also created a custom report generator where users can design their reports by selecting the required columns and export them in the form of an XLS file. This feature gives users the flexibility to create and modify reports according to their parameters. These reports can be shared further or saved for further use in the local repository.
Key Business Challenges:
- Achieving positive business outcomes such as improved profitability speed to market, enhanced productivity, and increased customer responsiveness.
- Migration to the SaaS model, which is necessary for business growth.
- Conversion of a competitive client database into a prospective client’s database without any data loss.
- Handling complex financial calculations in Adobe Flex over the web with the integration of interface and spread customisation as per the requirements of the intermediary organisation
The zCon Blend:
The loan processing web-based application that zCon has built makes it easier for everyone to takes part in the operation as multiple people are associated with a single loan.
The application that zCon developed will gather data from each player, generate standard documents (according to SBA standard), and share them with the concerned parties. The whole process is handled by the intermediary organisation and goes through the loan processing web application. It reduces paperwork and accelerates the process. Everything is centralised in the web application. We have used third-party tools in loan processing applications such as Aspose and BMI for document management.
The zCon Delivery:
zCon implemented the following essential components in the process:
- Upgradation of project
- Document development and modification for the latest updates from warranty provider (SBA) every year
- Reports development and modification for the latest updates from warranty provider (SBA)
- Compatibility changes for LMS conversion (Competitive Client) like adding new fields and tables in the database
- Adding third-party services (BMI Integration) for new clients
- Adding new features to Spread and applied validations
- Existing documents Speed up and Views Optimisation
- New Blank Conversion & application setup for new clients (Intermediary Organisations)
- Code cleanup, code stabilisation & Procedure Optimisation
- Adding Import features in the web application to save manual updating for large data sets
- Adding Export/Import feature for transferring loan data from one organisation to another organisation
|Database||MS SQL server 2014, Telerik Data Access, LINQ, SQL, SSRS Reports|
|Third Party Controls||BMI Service Integration (Document Management & Balance Sheet Management), Aspose7.0 (Document Management), QuikTrak service (Site Visit Management), EasyQuery (Custom Reports)|
|Other Tools||AxosoftOnTime Bug tracker, Git Hub, VS 2013 Professional, Team City (Build Server)|