It’s been said for years: Every business is a software business. Whatever your product or service, whatever your industry, how your clients interact with what you provide will more often then not be through a user interface. That app will be your touchpoint, your brand impression, your differentiator, and often, it will become your product. It will be the experience that you are actually selling while selling other things. So everybody needs to get good at the branded software experience or hire somebody good to help them with it.
But a recent Bloomberg Business piece highlights a surprising-but-I-guess-not-surprising outcome of that shift.
The LeBron James Family Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to helping students succeed academically, needed an app to track how its students were doing. So, since they had a world-famous figurehead, they naturally went after a world-famous software developer…JP Morgan.
Seriously. They went to a bank to develop an app. And I don’t mean for a loan to fund the app, but to build the actual app.
And this isn’t an anomaly. The story cites Wells Fargo developing a Christmas app for a mall client and Goldman Sachs building an app store.
There’s a few reasons that the story lists for JP Morgan doing this, including as an add-on value for financial customers and a way to fight off those pesky financial start-ups that are software to the bone. But it really all comes down to the fact that the company realized it needed that software to be competitive for its financial clients, developed the capabilities for it, and can now sell those capabilities separate from their main business.
If there was only a financial services term for what that is.
They end the article conservatively but appropriately, that JP Morgan isn’t looking to be in the pure software business, but can see itself evolving into a consultant that brings in third-party developers. Then again, we’re third-party developers here, so of course we think that’s a good idea.
Making app development capabilities a priority, whether you build those expert capabilities in-house or partner to bring in those expert capabilities, is the only way a modern business will compete and innovate. And who knows what other doors those capabilities will open.