RP Sanjiv Goenka Group

Lean startup methodologies – Building better products faster

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In a rapidly changing market, businesses can never be sure of what tomorrow will bring. Customer motivations and expectations are constantly evolving. This is all the more true in the post-pandemic world. Covid-19 has shown that consumers do not take a predictable path when confronted with disruption.

In this fast moving and unpredictable environment, how can organizations accelerate innovation and product launch to give customers what they want?

Lean startup is the answer

Lean startup, derived from the Lean discipline, is a methodology that is specifically designed to shorten the product development cycle and power rapid digital innovation. It is based on the idea that efficient innovation focuses on solving real user demand, in turn reducing the chances of creating a product or service that no one needs.

A cloud native platform is the de facto platform for powering lean startup methodologies. The term ‘cloud native’ refers to technologies used to develop applications – where services are packaged in containers, deployed as micro-services, and managed on elastic infrastructure through agile DevOps processes and continuous delivery workflows. With no procurement cycles or network installation requirements, a cloud native platform ensures faster time to market, at a much lower cost.

Cloud native architectures take advantage of features like on-demand delivery, global deployment, elasticity, and higher-level services to deliver a host of benefits.

1. Improved time-to-market: Uses file storage services, obviating the need to invest time and effort in setting up and configuring a file server. This helps your IT teams focus on building business logic by consuming off-the-shelf API services offered by native services.

2. Better customer experience: Faster time to market translates to improved customer experience.

3. Ease of management: Readily available control and monitoring of server performance via native services such as CloudWatch means you don’t have to build an entire gamut of monitoring infrastructure.

4. Reduced time and cost: Native services preclude long procurement cycles for hardware and upfront capital investments. The ‘Pay as you use’ model makes it cost effective.

5. Reliability: Native services also have high up-time, making them more reliable. For instance, AWS’ CloudFront and S3 can host static user interface (UI) applications, simplifying the task of maintaining a separate web server. This not only eases the management of servers, but also increases stability and saves time.

What’s more? Lean startup allows every team to operate as an agile and self-reliant startup, where developers handle systems administration for greater control and uninterrupted build. It also promotes shared learnings and best practices across teams to further accelerate product launch.

Lean startup methodology: An example

To better understand the methodology, let’s consider the example of how Firstsource puts lean startup to work. We utilize tested and proven use cases to build and accelerate the launch of new offerings that drive digital industry leadership and rapidly meet emerging requirements.

Our approach spans three distinct phases – Solution Viability, Early Scale Up, and Rapid Scale Up (see table below).

Phases Activities Deliverables
Phase 1 – Solution viability
Perform industry analysis, identify whitespace, conduct design workshops and business case reviews, evaluate partner vs inhouse build
Concept note, solution design, high level business case, beta product release
Phase 2 – Early scale up
Create larger feature sets, expand differentiation, update business case and corresponding investment case
Platform feature expansion, onboarding efficiencies, documentation, sales/marketing push
Phase 3 – Rapid scale up
Drive full scale growth, elevate the end user experience, deliver to the business case, ramp up across all areas

Launching mortgage post-close digital loan platform in 90 days: A real world case study

When it became clear to us that post-closing operations is a whitespace within the US mortgage ecosystem, we decided to quickly address the opportunity by leveraging lean startup and cloud native technologies. We launched our Post-Close DLX Beta Platform with a 90-day build cycle and recently concluded the second phase, onboarding five new clients in just 60 days.

The platform automates 40% of post-closing operations and comes with five different modules, providing component as well as end-to-end Post Closing support. This includes Closing and Collateral, Trailing Docs, Document Classification, and Data Extraction.

Outcomes delivered include -

We are currently in Phase 3 of the lean startup approach ‘Rapid Scale Up’ – adding features like SaaS, hyper automation, self-services, API capability expansion, and frictionless onboarding to the DLX platform.

Architecting for the future

Driven by the urgent need for agility, rapid scaling, and resiliency, organizations are increasingly moving from ‘trying out the cloud’ to a deeper, more sustained commitment to the cloud – including adopting cloud native infrastructure. In a survey conducted by O’Reilly, more than 70% of respondents said they have either adopted or begun to adopt cloud native infrastructure in the last three years.

This shift is an important part of the emerging trend termed the ‘Next Architecture’. Organizations embracing a combination of cloud, containers, orchestration, and micro-services will be better positioned to meet evolving customer expectations for availability, features, and performance – ultimately driving competitive advantage and growth

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Firstsource is a leading provider of business process management solutions to the US mortgage industry, helping lenders and servicers drive customer-centric transformation across the value chain. Our platform-based services deliver significant value to mortgage companies, helping them elevate the customer experience, gain operational efficiencies and drive growth.


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