We have significantly improved our product over the past few years which has allowed us to venture into realms that were previously out of our reach - sectors that have a high degree of regulatory compliance and heightened security concerns. One of such sectors is banking. We recently sat down with Keit Adamson, Head of Architecture at Bigbank - an international bank with personalized products, operating in nine countries in Europe and offering consumer deposits and loans. Why did Bigbank opt for PDF Generator API and what were their pain points they were trying to solve - read further!
What was your main problem you went out to solve?
The problem became obvious while we were analyzing the efficiency of one of our product teams - looking specifically into how to improve the delivery of new document templates and changes to existing templates. We discovered that a significant amount of time of the product team’s development time was spent on tasks related to document templates management. In addition to high development costs, the time to market for the in-house solution was far from sufficient and such mundane changes as a change in wording often resulted in going through the entire product development cycle. If you add to this the pain of testing the results of code changes in real time, the process was far from efficient.
How did you go about choosing a potential partner - what were your criteria?
Given the problems we had with our existing in-house solution, we went out to look for an external service that would allow us to reduce our time spent on creating and modifying templates, time to market, shorten employee onboarding time and not require any technical knowledge from the employees involved. And in turn increase the iteration speed of the process itself.
Following this we set out to map requirements for the to-be-procured service, which we specified as the following:
- Support for generating PDF documents via the API
- A visual user interface for template management
- Support for conditional components, text formatting and data structures like arrays
- Possibility to easily test the template under development
- An acceptable document creation speed - given that the creation of various documents in real time is an important part of our business processes
Additionally we mapped the, in many ways nice-to-have, non-functional requirements such as the reusability of components between different templates.
As an example it was a requirement for us not to have the service process customer data outside of European Economic Area, which the PDF Generator API was able to meet by setting up a dedicated deployment for us.
How did you come across PDF Generator API - how many other solutions made the shortlist and how many did you end up testing?
Initially we filtered out close to ten service providers that seemed to match the criteria. We ended up ruling quite a few of them out as they did not meet our selection criteria after the initial verification. We entered the proof of concept phase with three candidates, including PDF Generator API.
How difficult was the selection process?
The main challenge was to choose and create a representative template for proof of concept to ensure that candidates would be evaluated from the perspective of the Bank’s needs as general functionality of different services was similar.
What were the main factors that made you choose us?
As best software candidates were similar in terms of core functionality provided for management of PDF templates, then user experience, onboarding time and cost of service became decisive criteria to favor PDF Generator API. Moreover with transparency provided by PDF Generator API’s demo environment, the Bank was able to verify the service with key stakeholders with low friction.
Moreover with transparency provided by PDF Generator API’s demo environment, the Bank was able to verify the service with key stakeholders with low friction.
Speaking of compliance - what kind of requirement does a solution like this need to meet at a bank and how did PDF Generator API fulfill those?
As a bank we operate in a highly regulated environment with especially high attention to customer data protection. As an example it was a requirement for us not to have the service process customer data outside of European Economic Area, which the PDF Generator API was able to meet by setting up a dedicated deployment for us.
Who are the relevant internal stakeholders for an implementation like this at a large bank?
As adoption of PDF Generator API included redesigning processes and areas of responsibilities in the Bank, quite many stakeholders were included in different phases of the service procurement including but not limited to stakeholders from Product Management, Design, Legal and compliance, Technology.
How easy was it to get all your stakeholders on the same page and agreeing that this is a suitable solution for BigBank?
As it was possible to demonstrate a working template and user experience in PDF Generator API before signing any contracts, it wasn’t difficult to convince different stakeholders that editor based template management is a more efficient solution in comparison to internal template management solution.
How long was the implementation period for you?
It took us two weeks to integrate our existing service responsibly for document generation to PDF Generator API and have readiness to generate documents that have been created as templates in PDF Generator API. As we had many document templates already implemented on our old system then migrating to PDF Generator with all templates will be an iterative process over a long period. The team responsible for template management became fluent with the new tool after creating a couple of templates.
Did the implementation of PDF Generator API cause any changes in your existing processes?
As mentioned earlier then areas of responsibilities were reviewed during implementation of PDF Generator API, which has enabled the Bank to decrease dependency from product teams and drastically reduce time to market especially for document layout and wording related changes.
As this case study shows, PDF Generator API is considered to be a suitable solution for companies that operate in highly regulated sectors, such as banking. Not meeting regulatory requirements in terms of security and operability is oftentimes the obstacle that renders many of the solutions on the market unfit for use. This is where PDF Generator API is able to stand out!