Guest ArticleNews

Observability is at the Heart of Fintech Success: Here’s Why


Fintechs need to prioritize how to attain a stable and secure digital banking experience, but they can gain a competitive edge by leveraging an all-in-one observability platform

By Pradeep Seshadri, Head of Solutions Consulting, India, New Relic

As Head of Solutions Consulting, India, New Relic, Pradeep leads the Solutions Consulting (Presales) and Customer Adoption (TAM) team at New Relic, overseeing India and South Asia. In his country-level leadership role, he holds direct accountability for ensuring customers’ success with the New Relic platform and for achieving consumption-based revenue goals. He also plays a pivotal role in recruiting, retaining, and mentoring top-tier talent. These professionals, in turn, guide New Relic’s customers in developing, adopting, and excelling in Observability.

Consumers in financial services have more choices than ever before with both fintechs and traditional institutions striving to meet the evolving expectations of customers in the digital space. Consider one of the world’s most significant fintech success stories—India’s rapid adoption towards a Unified Payments Interface (UPI). With rising internet penetration, and accessibility in tier-2 and tier-3 markets, UPI disrupted India’s BFSI landscape, paving the way for a thriving fintech industry across the country. In June 2023 alone, the country witnessed 2.9 billion UPI transactions.

The UPI boom in India is indicative of three major shifts in customer expectations—convenience of digital services, security, and seamless customer experiences. With the proliferation of UPI and easy credit apps, customers who were previously tied to one provider for all insurance and banking needs now rely on multiple apps and digital services such as net banking, UPI or online insurance services.

Today, if there’s one thing that financial institutions need to prioritise, it’s a stable and secure digital banking experience, but how can fintechs gain an advantage in such a highly competitive market? With an all-in-one observability platform.

Beyond monitoring: Prioritising customer insights

Customers demand exceptional digital experiences — 70% of them consider a consistent experience across channels to be extremely or very important in choosing their primary bank.

Apps need to keep up with user expectations. With the proliferation of many other digital alternatives, customers will simply stop using the app if there is frequent downtime, payments failures, excessive error messages, and timeouts.

To achieve this, fintechs need to transition from legacy monitoring methods to observability, as the traditional method merely evaluates the statistics of known metrics. For example, let’s consider a customer complaining about the failure of an online payment. The request travels across multiple steps (initiating, mid-processing, fraud check, and clearing) to complete the online payment. With traditional monitoring, organisations can only trigger an alert against the failure of pre-defined metrics in the payment flow, without the right context on what’s actually going wrong.

With an all-in-one observability platform, fintechs can get to the root cause of the failure. Such solutions aggregate all IT stacks like user actions, code execution records, resource utilisation, networks, service interfaces, APIs, browser response, security, and other important system behaviours, adding the right context for engineers to work with.

While monitoring lets businesses know that something has occurred, observability helps them understand why it took place. It identifies the hidden causes of disruptions by collecting the right system insights, achieving comprehensive, correlative, and collective instrumentation of monitoring, metrics, events, traces, and logs — the four pillars of observability.

Security and trust

The financial services sector has a high number of regulations that are constantly evolving, making compliance complex. The Reserve Bank of India issued detailed regulatory norms that involve digital payments in 2020 when UPI transactions skyrocketed. Since then, the RBI has issued many regulations that govern security for fintechs, making it more challenging to comply with the complexities of the regulations.

Trust and security are hallmarks of a successful financial institution, with data security being a major driver of trust. Another hallmark of trust is frictionless experiences with digital services available round the clock. What was followed in traditional institutions 50 years ago can’t apply to modern digital organisations. The user journey and customer touchpoints with the business are vastly different. Tech stacks in fintech companies are more complex, with bugs and outages becoming commonplace. This is where an all-in-one observability solution can help businesses take a more proactive approach to security, and at the same time maintain customer confidence.

If a business is getting most of its errors reported by customers via social channels or customer service teams, DevOps teams end up spending a lot more time looking for the root cause before they can even begin fixing it. Observability helps organisations identify errors before they reach customers. Simultaneously, engineering teams can identify the most critical vulnerabilities while writing the code, ensuring that cyber risks are mitigated before runtime.

With the visibility that observability brings, engineering teams are able to isolate and tackle performance issues within the IT stack fast, resulting in enhanced productivity and reduced operational costs. This allows teams to better collaborate in their efforts to optimise digital experiences for customers and employees, while giving businesses a competitive advantage.

By implementing an all-in-one observability platform, fintechs can continue to deliver exceptional customer experiences and successfully scale to meet the increasing demand on their services.

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