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Friso Geerlings


KBC’s developer portal is a revolutionary way of offering banking services through partners. Whilst user experience is crucial to these types of platforms, the developer experience must not be overlooked as one of the keys to their success. Friso Geerlings, CTO at Isaac, talks to us about the changing face of the “buyer” of services such as those offered by KBC: the developers. To break it down, he gives us 3 reasons why the developer experience has become so important.


#1 Empowerment of the technical buyer

As CTO of digital agency Isaac, Friso Geerlings works with clients both on the integration strategy side (like APIs, developer experience and system integration) and on service architecture (such as making services available to third parties).

With this expertise, it follows that he makes a hugely valuable contribution to the Expert Board, a team of independent experts set up by KBC to guide and advise on the Developer Portal. “To me, it’s crucial to emphasize the importance of technical buyers”, he says. “This is a new target market that was previously unheard of in the corporate world. Banks never worked with software developers as partner representatives before, because there was no such thing as integration with the outside world, driven by a largely unknown army of third-party developers. But now that there are services that can be integrated, a new type of target market has emerged, the ‘technical buyer’. Such buyers include the Product Owner or Scrum Master”.

These are savvy clients who expect an impeccable service, and faultless technical integration. “In fact, it is precisely based on these criteria that they’ll decide whether or not to work with you”, Geerlings adds. “KBC is proving successful in bringing technical buyers on board. This is largely because they place as much importance on the developer experience as on the user experience; on the technical side as in the design of the services. Or to put it another way, they have realized that you have to pay as much attention to the hoodies as the suits”.

#2 Major players have set the bar high

Another reason why it has become more important to provide an excellent developer experience is that major players have set very high standards. “Look at Google or Amazon or a payment provider such as Stripe”, says Geerlings. “Their developer experience is flawless. But whilst it’s difficult for players such as KBC to compete with these tech giants, the benefit for the market is that these major players have set the bar high”.

Geerlings makes no bones about it: “With the KBC Developer Portal, someone can for example buy a house, plus the home insurance cover, in one go, straight from the real estate broker. However, it’s the real estate broker’s developer team—the technical buyers—that will have to be convinced. And techies expect a professional experience. You have to provide test and experimenting tools on your developer portal. You have to constantly obtain feedback from the developer users. You have to make sure the right information is available and transparent, rather than hidden somewhere on your website. And you have to connect on developer communities such as GitHub too”.

#3 The art of platform thinking


Geerlings has noticed that more and more businesses are willing to incorporate third-party services to their product mix. “The new ‘big thing’ now is ‘platform thinking’,” he says. “KBC has caught on to the fact that it is crucial to form part of a bigger whole: an ecosystem”. This works for anything from minor retail to major purchases, including real-estate.

Businesses that wish to follow in KBC’s footsteps can, according to Geerlings, do so by thinking about what services of theirs provide an added value to users. Then they have to make sure that they’re partnering up with the right players. “APIs offer myriad new ways to interact with clients, build loyalty and gather data that you can use to improve services”, he suggests. “Clients and their expectations are changing at lightning speed, and many companies are seeing that staying relevant is a priority. For me, platform thinking and APIs are a crucial part of the digital transformation process. It is refreshing to see how a bank like KBC is proving to be a pioneer in this revolution.”

Want to know more? Or would you like to become a partner yourself? Check the Developer Portal integration options here.





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