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Magali De Reu
Magali De Reu

Storyteller & interviewer

KBC recently renewed its Developer Portal, expanding the possibilities for partners. They can now integrate KBC’s financial services into their own offering, greatly enhancing the customer experience. So what are experts in the sector looking forward to with this innovation? We asked Valerie Taerwe, Business manager & innovation lead at AE - Architects for Business & ICT.

Seamless customer journey

According to Valerie Taerwe, KBC’s timing couldn’t have been better. “Open Banking is a hot topic at the moment, well…in fact anything to do with ecosystems and platforms as part of digital transformation” she says. “Nowadays, companies are increasingly realizing that it makes little business sense to try to do everything by themselves. They are beginning to see the importance of finding ways to spread their wings and create value from beyond the confines of their own company. And that includes plugging in to other ecosystems. It’s very smart of KBC to open up this ecosystem to create seamless customer journeys. Just look at the example of the social-accounting secretariat and the starting entrepreneur who can immediately get an account when registering their company. This is cross-industry collaboration, and that’s fantastic!”

To provide impeccable service, offering a seamless customer journey is crucial. Taerwe knows that only too well in her role at AE: “The point is to put customers first and take away as many steps and hurdles as possible in a process or transaction. Open banking can give a competitive edge in this respect. I think we will see many more jumping on this bandwagon”.

Inclusive thinking

KBC works in a range of specific domains, from energy to mobility, but Taerwe does not rule out that more areas of expertise will be added in the future. This is just another example of KBC’s inclusive thinking.

“What I think is extra clever about the developer portal is that you don’t have to integrate everything digitally through APIs”, explains Taerwe. “API is the technical route through which you can build your custom-made and tailored experience. But for that, you need your own IT department or IT partner. Not all companies have that, and certainly not the smaller retailers. What KBC does with the developer portal is to offer several options for integration. It offers widgets and even a QR code, for which you don’t need digital capability, meaning that you can hit the ground running and get started right away. If you are a food truck vendor for instance, you can simply have a QR code on your counter to allow customers to pay with their phone, so you don’t have to handle cash and change”.

Education for more adoption

The potential for business is there, in any case. Over the past period, digital interactions and transactions in B2B contexts were up by between 20% and 30% versus pre-Covid times, although Taerwe underlines that “there is slightly more reticence in moving towards ecosystem thinking and opening up data, as well as partnering with other companies to offer something outside a company’s core business. But that’s not because companies don’t want to start, it’s because many don’t know how to start. At AE we offer a webinar on ecosystems and platforms. If we can guide customers in a structured way, that inspires confidence. In the end, education will engender adoption”.

All the same, Taerwe believes that, just as with any innovation, smart collaborations are key. “The Expert Board and partners with which KBC collaborates for this project above all stand for entrepreneurship and co-creation” she says. “It is a sign of outside-in thinking, and in times of extreme customer centricity, that’s a must”.

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

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