Aug 2, 2016

BNP Paribas: Taking customer needs and wants to the bank



Milos Prokic

The times are changing BNP Paribas, the largest bank in the Eurozone by assets.

“[But] by definition, change requires adaptation [to new customer needs and wants],” said Jacques Levet, BNP Paribas’s head of transaction banking for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. “And to adapt, we must innovate.”

The need to adapt, especially in banking, comes as no surprise. The industry, like so many industries with even fleeting connections to the digital sector, is undergoing a period of intense evolution — perhaps even revolution.

Emerging technologies such as blockchain and an increasing dependence on mobile banking are subsequently creating customers with an ever-increasing amount of opportunities and new usage patterns.

BNP Paribas banks on product discovery to strengthen its position as a customer-first bank

“[And our] goal is to be customer-first,” said Vanessa Fraiberger, BNP Paribas’s head of transaction banking 2.0. “That translates into creating propositions that combine the latest technology trends, user habits, and value expectations of our customers.”

But BNP Paribas’s sheer size presented a hurdle in its quest for product innovation. The organization employs more than 180,000 people and maintains a presence in more than 70 countries.

So exactly where — and from whom — would product innovation-related propositions originate? And perhaps most importantly, how would these propositions be implemented?

“The challenge here is to embed product innovation at every single layer of the organization,” Levet said.

Hey NEXT — BNP Paribas teams up with NEXT to build better products, accelerate time to product market-fit, while spending less on development costs

In search of a solution, BNP Paribas partnered with NEXT. Soon, the BNP Paribas organization had its answer: product innovation would occur everywhere, with everyone. At once.

Using NEXT, teams at BNP Paribas began to collect, analyze and share internally customer needs and wants. The customer was put at the center of the process, both in terms of problem definition as well as proposed solution validation.

The result? Validated items in the backlog for delivery teams.

“Refining an idea, testing it, going back to the drawing board … that whole process has not been institutionalized,” said Rudi Collin, head of digital transformation.

NEXT aims to do just that.

And institutionalizing a discovery-first way of building products isn't just good for customers. It's also great for BNP Paribas bottom line. Research shows that for every dollar you spend researching functionality during the discovery phase, it costs $10 to redesign that functionality during development, and it costs $100 or more after release.


So, a discovery-first approach to product innovation results in better products for the customer, lower development costs for the bank, and quicker time to product market-fit.


"In an increasingly competitive landscape, bringing products to market fastest is a critical success factor,” said NEXT cofounder Moodi Mahmoudi. “With NEXT, BNP Paribas is able to leverage emerging trends to leapfrog competition and up its value propositions to customers.”

Let's not forget to have fun at work too.

“The application [NEXT] is fun; it’s easy to use. It allows people to collaborate and yet be innovative and creative at the same time,” said Fraiberger.

Together, BNP Paribas and Next are ensuring that innovation and collaboration within the bank’s organization are unceasing, linked processes.