OP’s product and service development aims to create products and services which are innovative, user-friendly and relevant to customers and offer a smooth customer experience.
For private customers, OP’s development seeks to pay heed to the needs of customers of different ages living in different areas and to ensure that products are understandable, in particular. For corporate customers, the development of products and services aims at promoting a company’s success, for example, by improving operational flexibility and productivity. Despite the rapid digitisation of services, OP is also further developing face-to-face encounters to better meet future needs.
Intense and fast digital disruption in the financial sector is continuously attracting new market entrants and speeding up product and service development. Succeeding in the changing operating environment necessitates offering the best possible customer experience irrespective of time, place and service channel. In OP’s view, the winning customer experience will be increasingly founded on a collaboration effort between humans and technology – personalised service will be enriched through the introduction of data, analytics and artificial intelligence.
According to its strategy, OP will increase its annual development expenditure to around 300–400 million euros, i.e. development expenditure for the next five years will come to up to two billion euros. These development investments will be allocated to the modernisation of basic fi-nancial services and the creation of new product and service packages.
The greater role of development is also reflected in the recruitment of new talent. In 2016, OP’s product and service development hired over 100 new employees. At the end of the year, we informed that we would modernise our development organisation and operating model to speed up strategy implementation. The modernisation is aimed at improving the quality, speed and transparency of development, producing new product and service packages and safeguarding the performance reliability of our existing services. The new development organisation is in charge of the product development of all OP’s business segments and the multichannel development of service channels, as well as of ensuring that OP pioneers in leveraging digitisation.
OP engages in product and service development based on the agile development model. Agile development at OP means an iterative development model that gathers ongoing customer feedback. OP has stepwise switched to the agile development model, which has required the creation of new types of operating models and roles and employee training on a long-term basis. The new development organisation was built around the agile development model. The model is characterised by the launch of products and services with limited functionality (beta) and their improvement based on testing and customer feedback.
Customer needs form the bedrock of all development at OP and, thus, customer engagement is a natural and important part of product and service development. For several years now, OP has enhanced customer focus in product and service development by means of service design methods. Today OP can be counted among the pioneering service design companies in Finland, and its unit of over 30 service designers is comparable with a design agency in terms of expertise and size.
Service design means the innovation, development and design of services using design methodologies, in cooperation with customers. Service design starts from understanding user needs and troubles identified in user experience and finishes on the tangible implementation of user experience, with a view to creating products and services that are simpler, easier to use and better meet customer needs, thereby improving customer experience.
Our customers have the opportunity to participate in the development of OP's products and services by various different means. OP Helsinki's Vallila branch acts as OP's test laboratory for new operating models and tools. At the branch, customers can test and explore existing and prospective products and services by various means: touchscreens, videos, animation and demos. A development organisation representative is always present at the Vallila branch so that customers’ valuable observations and feedback can be utilised in the best possible way.
On the web, customers may openly participate in product development on the OP Lab website, where the digital services of the future are demonstrated, customer feedback is collected and services piloted jointly with customers. In addition to the OP Lab, customers can register for the Paja customer community on the web. On Paja, quick surveys are implemented, ideas assessed and feedback collected both online and at various events.
Service designers also annually hold a significant number of face-to-face interviews with customers across Finland and generate ideas with customers in various workshops.
Based on our strategy, we will speed up reinvention, supplement our range of products and services and reinforce innovation by, for example, partnering with startups.
In November 2016, we announced a new startup programme aimed at creating the best possible services for OP’s customers in cooperation with Finnish and international startups. We are looking for startup partners not only in the financial sector but also in the field of health technology, mobility and housing. OP’s startup programme differs from similar conventional programmes in terms of its needs-driven approach, because the programme is specifically looking for startups no longer in their embryonic stage which have the capacity to directly start building new business together with OP’s experts.
OPs online service and online bank op.fi that is being redesigned is one example of applying the method of agile development and customer engagement to product and service development. The beta version of the new service, uusi.op.fi, was made available to all customers for testing in autumn 2016. OP is collecting feedback on their user experiences that guides development further.
Beta testing for banking services is not yet very common, and OP is actually one of the few players in the financial sector that has opened its service in the beta stage. From the very beginning, customers of different ages have contributed to the planning and development of the new service through, for example, interviews, group discussions and usability tests as well as by testing the service.
Read more about other products and services launched in 2016: