We're building a front-end-as-a-service for back-office providers - It's filehaven

Posted Jan 25, 2017 | ~4 minute read

There we have it, I think we've just created a new web term - Front-End-As-A-Service (FEaaS). Cool beans!

We've been working for a number of years now on several iterations of our own simplified client portal; Filehaven. The closest we've ever been to "launching" was back in 2014 with a version built in an early iteration of Laravel. Since parking the project to work on client projects, we've been sharpening our skills by developing systems for our clients and observing what works and what doesn't.

Since 2014, things have changed a lot in both the web and financial industry.

The web industry has moved from pretty static web-applications that used javascript for fancy effects to full blown applications being crafted using javascript itself. The benefits of this development approach are massive; "faster" to use by clients, beautifully segmented for developers. Arguably easier code to maintain, and a far cooler experience for users. It's like web 2.0 all over again!

The financial industry has pivoted too.

More and more tools are being launched to bring excitement into the industry and boy are they welcome! Back-office providers such as Intelliflo have launched developer access to their services to further drive innovation, something unheard of in the financial industry. Intelliflo have basically allowed anyone who believes they can do a nicer job of a client portal (for example) to go ahead and do it, but still be able to pull and push data back into it's system. It's smart. This is the web equivalent of the Berlin wall coming down (as long as others follow!). Okay, perhaps with less of the persecution, but it's still a big deal! Every day twitter is full of #finTech tweets; times are a changing!

This got me thinking.

It's no secret that generally speaking financial web "tools" (client portals, back office tools etc) generally lack wow-factor. You only have to start a conversation on client portals on Facebook or LinkedIn to get this kind of feedback. So why hasn't anything happened? Surely the back-office providers know users aren't necessarily happy?

It could be for many reasons; perhaps they don't have the internal resource or expertise to build modern-day interfaces, perhaps they're being held back by technology constraints agreed and set upon them by those in higher pay brackets and larger leather chairs? What ever the reason, we feel it's about time someone does something to help out. Whilst we're not trying to appear as the knight in shining armour, we have something that might help.

After all, does anyone actually enjoy hideously complex user interfaces?

We've been harping on for a while now about our Filehaven product. We are building a simplified client portal for advisers to communicate securely with their clients; sending files and messages in an encrypted non-bullshitty fashion. It's simple. Deliberately so. After all, does anyone actually enjoy hideously complex user interfaces? Didn't think so. We're all about getting the job done in the easiest most enjoyable way.

So whilst we're building our own product with it's own functionality, we're also planning on building an API behind the scenes so that others, such as back-office providers, can simply tap into the user interface we've created. If they don't have the expertise internally to build these kinds of tools, no problemo! Just push your data into Filehaven and boom, without much fuss you have a kick-ass client portal that your users actually enjoy using.

The plan is that if we're able to provide a simple enough platform for other parties to integrate with, that they (back-office providers) can focus on building the B2B functionality that they do best, without blindly stumbling into client portals and causing more feedback from advisers asking for this feature, or for this bug to be squished and so on.

Let's be clear, we're not suggesting that our solution is perfect, but we're happy to put the time in to make it as close as we can. We love user interfaces and have a passion for making things that wow.

Much like Intelliflo, we're dropping the barriers. We're embracing others with open arms, and skipping round trees chanting soothing peace songs.

Who's with us?