A flexible approach to white-labelling is essential for your business

whitelabel

Unless you’re a genius, you don’t always have the best ideas. And unless you work for an incredible all-rounder, your organisation won’t always have the best products and services.

That is why it sometimes makes sense to reach out and work with trusted partners. And the ever-complex world of IT – where technologies, processes and requirements change quicker than elsewhere in business – is likely to be where business executives look for the most external assistance.

Your firm wouldn’t trust someone else to manage its finances and it’s unlikely they’d externalise human resources, bar the odd use of a recruitment consultant or two. But IT provides tremendous options to outsource, offshore and externalise.

White-labelling, where a company takes a product and wraps a brand around it, allows a company to sell products they didn’t actually make/manufacture. This has been done for years with hard products and is now becoming much make popular online too. This approach allows a company to sell products as if they actually created the site – and while that sounds a bit deceptive, it’s actually becoming common practice.

In the case of financial services firms, white-labelling is a huge area of IT business growth. It has been for a while; allowing businesses to create systems without risks and that look good and work well.

In fact, white-labelling is so ingrained that analyst Gartner recognises that specialist providers often re-brand software as their own to help complete financial software suites. That extended approach is beginning to filter down to customers, too.

Finance firms have typically taken an application and changed small elements, such as fonts, colours, images and contact numbers (basic look and feel). However, the embedded nature of business technology, and the prevalence of social media, means that users are demanding a much more hands-on approach from white-labelled software.

Brand owners are determined to deal with such intuitive requirements and are asking for more control over the customer experience. This results in a request for systems that reflect the brand, rather than the product owners, and which allow control over pagination and layout to produce a unique look and feel.

Unfortunately the future is getting more complex for whitelabellers as their brands will demand support not only for their very own customer experience, but will demand it across a range of device types (mobile, TV, etc) too!

Organisations need technology from partners that will be able work the ever-increasing demands for flexibility. Without a supple approach to white-labelling, the IT organisation will be left with a huge amount of underlying bespoke code that will need to updated in-line with every product or service change.

While you might not be an all-round mastermind, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that a flexible approach to white-labelling is essential for your business.

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Dharmesh Mistry is the CTO/COO of Edge IPK, a leading provider of front-end Web solutions. Within his blog, “Facing up to IT”, Dharmesh considers a number of technology issues, ranging from Web 2.0, SOA and Mobile platforms, and how these impact upon business. Having launched some of the very first online financial services in 1997, and since then delivering online solutions to over 30 FS organisations and pioneering Single Customer View (Lloyds Bank, 1989) and Multi Channel FS (Demonstrated in Tomorrow’s World in 99), Dharmesh can be considered a true veteran of both the Financial Services and Technology industries.