Give us a quick overview on Armada Labs. When and how did you begin this journey, and what were your motives to be successful in software development in the financial services space?
We started our journey with our first product, Prime Debt Soft, which we still have. Back in 2001, a local company in Naples, Florida, came to us looking to build automation for their business processes. The company was working with consumers, helping them pay off their credit cards, pay off debts that they accumulated. And, that is when our first product, Prime Debt Soft, emerged. As we learned more about that market and the opportunities presented to us, we decided to move forward and create a commercial product that can run this kind of business for other companies in the industry. This was the beginning of our journey in the world of financial services software.
Today, Armada Labs is an expert Fintech software developer with 20+ years of experience in the industry. Our data-driven development model and customer-first approach allow us to deliver bespoke solutions tailored to individual business needs. Our portfolio includes AI-based cloud computing software for credit scoring and cutting-edge custom Fintech software acclaimed by BFS Capital, Rivo Holdings, West Creek Financial, and other Fortune 500 companies.
What is your role in the management and development of Armada Labs?
We started the company together with my partner and a long-time friend Eugene Pratasenia, Armada’s COO, back in 2002. As the CEO, my role focuses on defining the company’s vision along with the team and strategizing business activities to achieve that. Simply put, we are constantly searching, and when we see the void, the need in some specific niche, we try to build a product that can fill this need. Prime Debt Soft was an early example of such products. Then, came the other products. The latest success story is our product Paydit.
Think about it as a Priceline for consumer debt. In the same way, you can bid for a car or hotel on Priceline, consumers who owe some money on past-due bills can go online and make offers and workout payment plans for their past due balances. Given our experience and knowledge in the FinTech space, this is something that my team and I are constantly on the lookout for, trying to identify the opportunities and build products that can improve the financial wellness of consumers.
Tell us about your biggest achievement in the industry.
Becoming true experts in online lending technology and everything that revolves around it. And, I am not talking only about myself (or the rest of the company’s management). BAs, developers, PMs, every team member of Armada Labs is not just another employee; rather, we are the team of experts whose primary objective is to bring value and enhance our clients’ business. As they say, this is both a gift and a curse; when our customers ask us to develop some functionality, we often come back to them with a few options of how it can be done better and in due time.
In the end, the product that we build should outperform whatever the client initially imagined when they came to us. For us, there’s no limit to perfection in terms of developing the product. This is a great feeling, knowing that your knowledge and your expertise in the industry not only delivered what your client asked for but also took them to the next level.
How do you schedule the development phases of the software development projects to promise the timeline to your clients?
At Armada Labs we utilize Agile to allow our customers to have more control over development, steer the dev process in the right direction as their business needs change. On the other hand, it allows us to start delivering the product a lot sooner and, what is more important, start getting customer feedback a lot quicker, rather than waiting for the final version of the product only to hear that the business needs have changed since then.
Over many years of software development, Armada Labs has been creating and refining the process based on the best practices of Agile Unified Process (AUP). The AUP helps us comprehensively organize the application development processes, from the requirement gathering stage to the deployment and support stages. The AUP methodology is not rigid; rather, it can be flexibly adjusted to project-specific conditions.
Which framework, programming, or scripting languages do you prefer for web development? How do you convince your clients for the same?
We combined our multi-year .NET expertise in the Fintech domain to dive deep into each project’s specifics and achieve measurable results. We do not try to convince but rather explain to our clients which technology is the best fit for their requirements. Even though .Net is Armada’s first technology of choice, we don’t limit ourselves to it. We have a successful Java department, utilize Angular and React for front-end development.
We are very heavy in database dev work, having vast experience with Microsoft SQL and other databases such as MongoDB, PostgreSQL, Amazon’s DynamoDB, and others. Speaking of the cloud, we started working with cloud technologies early enough, almost as soon as AWS emerged. We were one of the early adopters, so to say. Now, we are the Amazon AWS Select Technology Partner, we also do a lot of work on Microsoft Azure. For me, it’s even hard to think about a recent project that was not done on the cloud.
What would you suggest for a successful and profitable business progression when it comes to software development? How do you define the factors that influenced you to make this choice?
● Be innovative and inclusive
Be inclusive in technological challenges, create realistic game plans that would include the MVPs, and be iterative. Making quick reactions to the market will bring you results faster and allow you to be adopted today in the ever-changing market conditions.
● Think and build modular
Independent modules will allow you to make modifications and changes as fast as the market demands. At this point, you are not risking the whole technology stack or putting the risk on the business but rather make changes to individual parts while staying more responsive in terms of delivering results to the company.
● Easy-to-maintain technology
Selection of the right technology would help you during continuous support and development. The moment you stop making changes to the system, your business dies. If you work with a particular vendor, stick with them, as this carries less risk and burden to go through these uncertain times.
How do you scheme your pricing model? How do you fix your budget?
We are flexible within reason. For “shorter-term“ projects, when the scope is clear and well-documented, we can work on per-project rates. If we see the potential in this cooperation, it may become long-term –sometimes, we provide individual discounts. The same for promising startups in the Fintech field and for large enterprises that have been our trusted customers for years. Overall, it is highly case-specific, and we always try to create a win-win situation. The better conditions we offer to our clients, the more chance they will bring us more business through their growth or become a referral.
How helpful is the software made by Armada Labs for your clients in enhancing their business?
They would not be coming back to us if we did not help them to improve their business. One of the greatest examples of that is our cooperation with West Creek Financial, currently the Top 5 POS lender in the US with almost $200 million of funding. We began with a smaller MVP project and ended up building almost the entire technology platform.
What, according to you, are the best practices to attain client satisfaction for web development?
Be your client advocate, never stop learning, continue educating yourself, continue growing professionally. Have an open mind and embrace new technologies and ideas that come both in the technology space and in the financial services space.
How do you update your business system to keep pace with technological advancements?
The core principle of our work is that we choose technologies that are less likely to get obsolete in the near future. People are our greatest asset. Not just the level of professionalism and understanding of the technology but, also the level of how they understand the financial services space influences our customers’ choice of us as a reliable software provider.
What are your thoughts about progressive web apps (PWA)?
From a modern UX design point of view, PWAs are a perfect option because this technology is primarily focused on end-users. PWAs act like native mobile applications, but they are actually websites. They are more interactive and responsive, minimize traffic consumption, and allow you to emulate the behavior of a mobile application. We advise this technology to our clients who want to reach maximum target audiences, increase conversions, and lower bounce rates. However, PWAs require thorough planning when building the application’s architecture.
What do you think will be the future of software development technology?
In my opinion, the bulk of applications (not counting highly specialized ones) will be moving to the web because both browsers and web development technologies develop very quickly. That is what we’ve seen over the last few years already. The need to write several different types of applications (desktop, mobile, web, etc.) will gradually disappear in the near future. All these functions will be available in the browser on any device.