Product Managers are often the unsung heroes of any product at any company. Not only does it take tremendous industry and product expertise, but a problem-solving skillset that can identify a customer need, find a solution, and make it real.
I sat down with Nomis Product Manager Vratika Agrawal for a conversation on why she does what she does, and what she sees going on in the industry from her perspective.
CA: So what specifically about the banking industry caught your interest when searching for PM roles?
VA: Having started my career working on technology platforms at Bank Of America in 2011, I quickly realized that banking as an industry was in a transformation phase. Technology and fintechs were just starting to change the banking world as we knew it through innovations that were actually starting to make a difference for consumers.
In 2019, banking is again at a crossroad of “digital incrementalism”, where banks are now starting to roll out products and services which significantly leverage “Big Data” and advanced analytics – and are beginning to deliver more streamlined customer experiences through the investments they’ve been making in process automation and digital transformation. It’s this phase and the future of Digital Product Management for banking that really excites me.
CA: What was it about Nomis Price Manager that caught your attention? I guess first off, could you tell us what NPM does?
VA: NPM, as the price management and execution component of the Nomis Platform, solves tangible workflow and connectivity issues which all banks have. I like how simple the problems it solves are – given how complex the way you have to solve them turns out to be in order for the product to check all the boxes for a bank.
It’s designed to enable banks and lenders to rapidly implement customer-centric pricing strategies, allowing them to deliver customized pricing at any level of granularity they wish. A main design principle of the application is to allow banks the flexibility to rapidly change and evolve pricing strategies without the effort, complexity, and risk of having to modify existing banking systems each time they wish to do so.
Strategic pricing is one of the most complex segments of banking. Look at all that’s involved: legacy technology systems, strong governance standards, and financial regulations - all contribute to making it significantly difficult for a bank to manage, implement, and execute customer-targeted pricing in real-time. NPM aims to make this all a bit easier for banks, using a mix of flexible design, intuitive workflows, and robust APIs that make data transfer among systems seamless.
CA: What drives you in your role? Are there any specific experiences with the team or customers that have influenced why you do what you do?
VA: Delivering value to our customers is something that drives me here in my role at Nomis. The work culture at Nomis is very collaborative and discussion-driven, which drives us to implement the best versions of our products.
An example that comes to my mind is when I pitched an idea for user experience design improvements as an opportunity to take our product to the next level. My suggestions were well-received and supported by Nomis management and the technology team that would have to do all the work to make it happen. This, considering that I was only a month into my new role here. Three months later, we are releasing a new version that has a lot of my ideas baked in!
CA: So NPM, is a fairly new product. What kind of feedback or wins have you seen so far? What kind of value is it delivering?
VA: While NPM is the newest kid on the block, we have seen very strong customer adoption and market interest since launch. It is now live with one of the largest banks in Canada, with deployment and integration underway with multiple major North American customers. Since the rollout, NPM has enabled clients to execute targeted, customer-specific pricing and offers in an efficient, robust manner – something that was previously not possible with their legacy systems. Most importantly, as the bank’s pricing strategy has evolved, NPM hasn’t skipped a beat, enabling the business team to move fast and flexibly.
CA: What are your aspirations for the product based on that feedback?
VA: As we move towards the world of artificial intelligence, NPM will move towards more insightful and adaptive methods of pricing management. I envision a product that will help a bank design and deliver dynamic pricing solutions based on real-time data, predictive analytics, and continuous machine learning. It’s all about giving the right offer to the right customer at the right time at the right price. NPM is a significant asset in the journey of getting banks to that place.
CA: Do you have any tips or learnings from your time with the product and customers that might be beneficial to someone who may already have pricing optimization, but are looking for that next step on their pricing journey? To find ways to make investment in pricing technology beneficial to their organization, and more importantly, their customers?
VA: Pricing has been undergoing a tectonic shift in the past decade from product-based and siloed, to client-centric and real-time. This trend will certainly continue.
Part of this has been driven by the desire to leverage data science. Mathematical price optimization and campaign targeting have been decisive factors in giving banks more control over winning business and managing profitability vs. volume tradeoffs. This will continue to be important as the general sophistication of customer behavior modeling in the industry matures.
The other piece of the puzzle is leveraging technology. The benefits of streamlining error-prone and frustrating processes, improving reporting of customer behavior, and helping streamline the basic day-to-day back-office operations (both for employees and the components customers experience) cannot be understated.My advice is to identify the processes that cause the most headaches, and/or are preventing you from implementing your bright ideas to win business, and figure out if there is a better path forward by partnering with those offering technology that drives the needle forward. If you’re having trouble managing or rolling out your pricing strategy to your front line while keeping it in sync with all your other systems, the Nomis Price Manager has been designed to help organizations like yours.
Looking for more on how to centralize, manage and execute optimized pricing?