Traditionally, technology companies have been focused on getting products to market. Get through the BETA test and get the new feature-set in to the hands of the sales folks so they can sell, sell, sell. The focus was on being able to tell the world that you had a new feature and how, once it hit the market, it was going to revolutionize the entire industry. Time to market was the mantra. Time to market was how product development staffs were measured. What is interesting is that this emphasis seemed to miss one important element. Revenue. Getting products to market did not always mean a product could be sold and installed or that it would work for customers once they had it. For enterprise-class software that is a very important distinction. If a product cannot be successfully sold, installed and put to use by the buyer, it is close to worthless.
Get it in the Hands of the Customers
A new metric has emerged and is being used by tech providers to emphasize something different. Revenue. I know that may be sacrosanct to actually stress making money vs. the pure goal of delivering awesome and perfect technology. Time to revenue means that success is achieved only if a product can be rolled out very quickly and can get in to the hands of customers and start generating benefits immediately. This is the life-blood of a young start-up or early stage tech company. Without a time to revenue focus, too much capital is burned before a company can become viable. And this has particular value to community financial institutions who are constantly under competitive pressures from the big money-center banks, and the tech providers to this sector, sometimes called Community FinTech. Community credit unions and banks need to get new features in to the hands of their customers/members and employees. Delays can have severe impact on their ability to compete and win in the marketplace. Technology that is purchased and not immediately usable, means not only a loss of competitive advantage, but delays the potential return on the investment being made by the local financial institution. This is bad business all the way around for all the parties involved.
Using a time to revenue focus everyone wins. This focus, coupled with rapid development methodologies such as agile and hybrid-agile, can create an environment where hundreds of community banks and credit unions can beat money-center banks to market with a whole host of capabilities. Community FinTech providers need to be linearly focused on time to revenue. We as an industry need to realize that if our technology is delayed, it is a loss ultimately for the consumers and businesses who work with local credit unions and banks. Time to revenue should be and will be the new mantra of successful FinTech companies and long live local financial providers.