Operationalising Consumer Duty: should you buy or build a digital product management platform?

Making a success of Consumer Duty means finding a way to centralise product design, management, and monitoring – and make better use of real-world data. The right technological approach is key. But how should you go about it? This second blog in a new three-part series looks at four key considerations when deciding whether to buy or build your own product management solution.

So, you have decided to rethink your approach to product management. 

Given thousands of events, data points, decisions, and documents are created during the lifecycle of the average product, there is no question that the industry needs to shake up the status quo. Not only to stay compliant with Consumer Duty in the medium-to-long-term, but to take advantage of a turning point in financial services that can help you better meet the needs of clients and strengthen the trust they have in your firm.

The question that remains, though, is how should you do it?

Buy vs Build illustration

Rethinking product management 

There are three ways to rethink the current approach to product management: 

  1. Significantly expand your team to try and plug the gaps in manual data collection and record centralisation. 
  2. Build your own in-house solution, adapting legacy and generic tooling. 
  3. Have the heavy lifting done for you with a dedicated, industry-specific SaaS solution. 

Realistically, as we covered in the first part of this blog series, manually processing data at the scale needed is not sustainable. Even by adding an army of staff you still risk data errors, inconsistencies, and missing information. And that will land you in hot water with regulators.

This leaves us with the age-old technology question: buy or build? Both have their merits. And the best approach usually comes down to how you prioritise speed, customisation, data access, and, crucially, cost – or a combination of all four.

Let us look at each of those factors in detail. 

Speed: getting to business value add as quickly as possible 

Tackling the problem in-house makes sense. Building your own solution means you get to control the development cycle. However, going out on your own requires a huge amount of IT resource straight out the gate. It also requires diverging employees from product and support functions away from their BAU activity. They will need to be involved in requirements gathering, feedback on design and functionality, UAT. The overall process may be quite long and intense, and brings with it an invisible cost and a strain on existing resources. 

Since digital projects rarely run to schedule, and typically unearth all manner of problems that need fixing when they crop up, it will be a long wait before you can get things up and running. 

SaaS solutions, on the other hand, are built for speed. Designed for today’s digital landscape, a SaaS-based product lifecycle management platform is:

Already available, offering an immediate solution. 

Quick to implement. You can be up and running in weeks, not years. 

Constantly being developed, evolving and improving to add new functionality. 

Customisation: creating a platform that meets your needs 

Creating a solution in-house gives you complete control over how it looks and feels. You can customise as needed, hopefully ensuring the UI meets the requirements of different teams and that every feature is purpose-built for the needs of your firm.

It is a practical way to tackle the problem at hand, but only if you have the resource for continued customisation. Without sufficient investment, you risk ending up with something that does not do half the things you need it to. Or even worse, full project abandonment. 

Ask yourself a few questions: 

Will you have an IT team dedicated to this project for the long run?

Will you get more of their time as needed to make future changes? 

Do they fully understand the pain points of the teams that will be using this platform daily? 

Naturally, we have conversations with customers all the time who started out wanting to build a product lifecycle management platform themselves. Usually, it is because they felt no other solution could meet their needs.

This might be true with generic enterprise workflow tools. But an industry-specific SaaS solution is different. As the first Product Management-as-a-Service platform for the financial sector, Kore has been deployed with blue-chip banks across Europe and been built on the experience of financial services veterans who truly understand the impact poor product governance can have on consumers. 

Data access: from information to actionable intelligence 

In many cases, because in-house systems are created by technical staff who may be unaware of the intricacy of the data and process exchange throughout the lifecycle of products, the data contained in them is tough to access. Other departments that are not directly involved with product management may struggle to get their hands on real-world product information they need. This often results in a flurry of support tickets into IT to have them grab the required data.

On the other hand, a SaaS-based digital product management solution stores all product lifecycle data in one easily accessible location, acting as a single source of truth.

Data can flow seamlessly, making collaboration easy in a controlled environment that ensures compliance and speeds up internal operations, delivering cost reduction and, ultimately, better consumer outcomes. 

Cost: factoring not just build costs, but ongoing maintenance 

Cost is the biggest and most complex consideration. Obviously, there is the up-front investment needed to build your own tool, which will typically be a multiple of the cost of implementing a SaaS solution. Getting the budget for a custom development project like this can understandably be difficult. But the up-front cost is just the tip of the iceberg.


You should also think about: 

How long it will take to see a return on investment. 

How you will define your project requirements and communicate those to the IT team to ensure the end result matches your vision. 

How you will go about rethinking your data structure and taxonomy, and how you will collate and clean up your data. 

How you will handle resourcing headaches as you scale your in-house solution.

Return on investment is the critical factor. If it takes a year to build the solution you need, then yet more time to get your existing data into the platform, that is a huge amount of missed opportunity – not to mention compliance risk in the wake of Consumer Duty.

Ongoing support is important to think about too. What is the plan for when regulations shift? If your in-house solution does not have a robust research and development budget behind it, you risk non-compliance when the platform cannot respond quickly enough to changes in the market. 

Investing in the right SaaS solution solves the problem. You can tap into a platform that is always up to date with product governance requirements, designed to integrate seamlessly with your internal system architecture and with a support team that can help you get the most out of your investment from the get-go.

When it comes to SaaS, the relative maintenance is cheap too, and these platforms are designed to scale. There is no need to worry about keeping things up and running. Instead, you can focus on what matters most: supporting your colleagues, keeping the organisation safe, and serving your customers. 

Making digital product management a reality 

When you consider the pros and cons of buying vs building a solution that can make your vision of digital product management a success, the best option becomes clear. In the next article in this series, we will explain how you can go about quickly implementing a solution like Kore – and the value of an integration partner for making that process pain-free.

Meanwhile, discover more by downloading our latest ‘Digital product management’ white paper here.

If you have a question for us in the meantime or want to learn more about how Kore can help you manage ever-changing product governance requirements, get in touch. 

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