Fiduciary Financial Services (Fiduciary) are a FinTech start-up looking to redefine the delivery of financial advice at scale. Fiduciary are leveraging cutting edge technology to provide personalised financial advice at scale to a sector of the market currently underserved; the 85% of working Australians earning under $130K.
In late 2019, Fiduciary pitched and won business based on concepts and prototypes – and needed to get their innovative product to market as soon as possible.
The product, later named Abel, is a conversational interface (chatbot) based personal financial advisor. It needed to be accessible to both mobile and desktop users, secure, integrate with various 3rd party services, support large volumes of users, and have low operational costs and IT overhead to manage.
However, having no internal application development skills, Fiduciary needed a strategic partner to assist them define, develop, and bring their product to market.
Leveraging their experience and expertise, Fiduciary engaged Cevo to provide both delivery leadership and management, as well as solution design and development capability in order to meet their objectives and timeline.
The core features of Abel are its conversational interface, integration with 3rd party solutions, ability to perform complex financial calculations and modelling of a user’s financial situation and packaging all this sensitive data into an attractive document to be automatically sent to the customer.
To meet both the product brief and the business timelines, Cevo proposed a full-stack serverless application architecture leveraging the AWS platform. Using this solution architecture allowed the development team to quickly establish a solid developer toolchain and application scaffolding in days not weeks.
The Cevo development team leveraged AWS Amplify to build out the serverless stack and establish the continuous integration and deployment pipelines to repeatedly deploy product iterations into test and production environments.
A React.js frontend was developed and served out of S3 static website hosting fronted by a CloudFront CDN and Route53 to provide the best possible experience for users regardless of where they may be located. Route53 and AWS Certificate Manager were used to provide SSL protection to the frontend. Client-side analytics was provided using AWS Pinpoint with future plans to build client engagement campaigns leveraging the now available capability.
AWS Cognito was used as the consumer identity provider in Abel, quickly establishing authentication and password self-service functionality in the product. AWS IAM was used for application authentication with backend services ensuring only Abel was authorised to consume the exposed services and that management of that access was following security best practices of least-privileged and role based.
AWS App Sync was used to provide the backend GraphQL API exposing application data that met the user experience required without the need to design a full API interface definition up front.
Orchestrating the customer journey with-in Abel was an AWS Step Function that invoked several serverless functions at different stages of the application process. AWS Lambda functions were developed to implement the financial calculation engine (Python), document generation engine (Node.js), email services (SES) and 3rd party integration points (Fat Zebra payments provider, Mystro fact find SaaS platform).
DynamoDB and S3 were used for persistent data storage, configured with encryption at rest ensuring sensitive customer data is secure and only accessible via the back-end services.
The entire full-stack serverless application was defined and managed using the AWS Amplify framework in a single source code repository managed by the development team. When any AWS resources were not yet available out-of-the-box, Amplify was extended with custom resource definitions to support those use cases (e.g. Step Functions, SQS, Event Bridge) so that the development toolchain remained consistent and a single code repository used across the entire solution.
Observability and monitoring were provided by AWS CloudWatch Logs, Events and Dashboards with Alarms built into the solution to notify support staff when both service exceptions occur and when application process events or anomalies occur (e.g. duplicate customer applications, disqualifications, payment failure etc).
To provide business insights back to Fiduciary, a serverless data lake was established using S3, AWS Glue and AWS Athena. Fiduciary use Tableau for other reporting workloads wanted to integrate Abel application data into Tableau so Athena data sources were configured and published to their Tableau Online tenant.
Using an iterative delivery methodology and leveraging the AWS serverless platform, Cevo assisted Fiduciary bring their MVP to market in just three months. This has laid a solid, scalable, secure and low-cost application foundation for feature iteration as they look to meet changing market demands and expectations due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The business objective of getting a proof-of-concept digital financial product to market in such a short period of time meant that Fiduciary not only met commitments to referral partners, but also demonstrated ability to adapt and be agile with feature delivery.
Abel launched in April 2020 in partnership with one of Australia’s largest tax and financial services company’s online campaign (reaching approximately 640K customers). Off the back of that milestone, Fiduciary has secured several more referral partners and has a roadmap of features to incorporate into Abel in the coming months.
Cevo’s leadership also uplifted Fiduciary’s internal capability for ongoing product definition and operational readiness. Utilising operational insights surfaced from the AWS platform along with business insights fed into their Tableau platform, Fiduciary now has the essential capabilities required by modern FinTech companies.
Cevo was instrumental in helping Fiduciary achieve its MVP through three key areas:
Delivery management: providing delivery leadership and management to deliver an MVP build within constrained timelines
Product development / direction: Cevo leveraged AWS to produce a robust, secure and scalable solution.
Agile methodologies: Cevo introduced agile methodologies which has now been adopted by the broader business. It also helped to lay the foundation for feature iterations.
Fiduciary was able to launch the first stage of its advice capability with absolute confidence of its functionality and user experience. The entire exercise has cemented the relationship with Cevo and established the foundation to continue working together for the next stage of our digital advice proposition.