Page 1

Infosys Finacle – operational excellence through digital disruption www.fintechmagazine.com

MARCH 2019

MLC LIFE INSURANCE:

The insurance giant’s Move to the Cloud

A DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Transforming finance across continents Leonardo Tantari discusses making foreign exchanges work across the evolving financial landscape A journey to operational efficiency

TOP 10

Mobile payment apps


FOREWORD

W

elcome to the March edition

airports in 27 countries. Tantari

of FinTech Magazine.

discusses the company’s next steps,

Following on from the success of our launch issue, we are delighted to

and why people and communication are key.

bring you the latest insights from

Don’t forget to also check out our

industry executives regarding the

company reports on global

digital disruption of finance.

insurance giant AXA (with more exclusive

“People are moving

video footage), MLC

from using cash and

Life Insurance,

banknotes to more digital solutions… customers nowadays are looking for a smooth

Leonardo Tantari, Global Director of IT, Travelex

and seamless journey when it comes to actually transacting

Progressive Leasing and PAY-O-MATIC. We also gained essential insight from Infosys Finacle,

Hyland, Seal Software and

with any company or organisation,”

Apigee to share how technology is

Leonardo Tantari, Global IT Director

continuing to transform insurance

of Travelex comments on the

and finance. Have a look at our list of

changing financial landscape.

the top 10 mobile payment apps, and

Travelex, our cover star this month complete with exclusive videos, has

of course a selection of must-attend industry events.

around 140 years of experience in

Enjoy the issue!

the finance sector, with 1,200 Bureau

Olivia Minnock

de Change outlets across over 100

olivia.minnock@bizclikmedia.com w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

03


Click the home icon (top right of page) to return to contents page at anytime EDITOR IN CHIEF

OLIVIA MINNOCK MANAGING EDITOR

ANDREW WOODS CREATIVE DIRECTOR

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GEORGIA ALLEN

Wherever you see these icons in the magazine click to be directly connected via social media

PRODUCTION EXECUTIVE

DANIELA KIANICKOVA DIGITAL VIDEO DIRECTOR

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05

SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER

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CONTENTS

12 TRAVELEX: PUTTING PEOPLE AT THE CENTRE OF DIGITAL DISRUPTION

30

DIGITAL DISRUPTION INFOSYS APLATFORM FOR FINACLE FINANCE GIANTS

MARCH 2019

38 Hyland digital transformation of the insurance industry


46

54 ADAPTING TO OPEN BANKING

SEAL:ethical automation in finance

62 Top 10 mobile payment apps

76 The biggest industry Events

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CONTENTS

80 AXA

104 MLC Life Insurance

MARCH 2019

112

Progressive Leasing


128

142

Payomatic

Singapore Life

162 Paidy

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Covering every angle in the digital age The Business Chief platforms offer insight on the trends influencing C and V-level executives, telling the stories that matter

CLICK TO SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE

w w w.bu si nessch ief.com


TRAVELEX 12

PUTTING PEOPLE AT THE CENTRE OF DIGITAL DISRUPTION WRIT TEN BY

OLIVIA MINNOCK PRODUCED BY

JA MES PEPPER

MARCH 2019


13

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T R AV E L E X

14

Travelex’s Global IT Director Leonardo Tantari discusses the foreign exchange business’ technology transformation journey across a vast, rapidly changing landscape rom tourists paying for meals

the world of foreign exchange and

to multinational corporations

money on the move. In order to do so,

completing significant cross–

the FX giant is placing customer experi-

border transactions, Travelex has been

ence front and centre of a significant

there every step of the way for over 140

ongoing transformation – both in terms

years when it comes to foreign currency

of technology and people, which Global

exchange. Having progressed from

IT Director Leonardo Tantari says go

travellers’ cheques to digital payment

hand in hand.

F

platforms, the company can now be

Tantari joined the organisation in late

found in 1,200 Bureau de Change

2017, and has been leading the charge

outlets across over 100 airports in 27

in its digital transformation ever since.

countries. Now employing over 9,500

Previously working at Boots, and prior

people, Travelex is keen to remain at

to that Experian, the IT Director is

the fore of the changes encompassing

keenly aware of the challenges and

MARCH 2019


15

opportunities facing any organisation

an internal communications drive which

when it comes to a technology trans-

Tantari says is vital to managing the

formation journey, and has applied

changes and culture shift involved in

this in the financial services sphere

the company’s journey.

to develop Travelex’s instore, online,

“We’ve had a successful year in

mobile and ATM channels and solutions.

terms of delivery, from a development

Citing 2018 as a “fantastic year”, Tantari

perspective but also from a support-

spoke to us from Travelex’s Head Office

ability perspective,” says Tantari. “It’s

in Kings Cross where the previous day

been fantastic. We introduced single

he’d been recording a “five minutes

points of contact globally, with two

with” Q and A video for the company’s

employees winning awards at their

intranet. This, alongside various blogs

regional Diamond Balls held in January.

and newsletters, will be shared with

These were given in recognition of the

Travelex employees globally as part of

support they provided to their respecw w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


WE GET SCALE. Since your business takes you everywhere, we’re everywhere too. With international hubs in key regions, CDW now offers operations across the globe. Partnering with us for your international needs can help you reach your goals and reduce the risk, complexity and cost that come with procuring, deploying and integrating technology. By combining local knowledge with years of experience in multinational logistics, CDW can deliver consistent, service-driven solutions across the globe while making international IT management simple. “Travelex is a truly global company and we need partners who can operate in the same geographies and deliver our solutions alongside us. Partners who have an extensive global reach, like CDW, help minimise the volume of suppliers we have to deal with – which in turn makes vendor management more efficient and also helps drive maximum value from any global deals.” Leonardo Tantari, Global IT Director, Travelex

uk.cdw.com | 020 7791 6000


T R AV E L E X

tive regions in 2018. We have brought

to automation, always with operation-

a tremendous amount of transparency

al efficiency and the ideal customer

so we are now in a fantastic position

experience front of mind. “One of the

where we can provide the right informa-

key activities we embarked on is cloud

tion to stakeholders.” Following on from

transformation – it brings us tremendous

this success, Travelex looks to the future

agility in the way we can respond to our

with excitement, and technology plays

customers and partners, as well as

a key role in its vision. “We have to

bringing significant savings.” This agility

ensure we have the right tech and the

has been instrumental in Travelex’s

right people to support the running

recent partnership with digital gifting

of the business,” Tantari explains.

platform, Swych, to introduce Travelex Pay, a unique service within leading

18

DRIVEN BY TECHNOLOGY

global mobile messaging app WeChat.

In terms of technology, Travelex is

The service is available to travelers

making strides utilising the latest

from mainland China who are visiting

advancements from cloud technology

the US – allowing them to purchase

“We are now in a fantastic position where we can provide the right information to stakeholders” — Leonardo Tantari, Global Director of IT, Travelex

MARCH 2019


CLICK TO WATCH : LEONARDO TANTARI DISCUSSES A SUCCESSFUL YEAR DRIVEN BY COMMUNICATION

goods and services from a large network of retailers using their native currency. “This has been fantastic because it enables the Chinese community in the US to use a consumer offering from Swych, and it demonstrates that technology at Travelex can really integrate with a global technology partner. It shows tremendous effort in terms of how we collaborate, and how technology can transform the Travelex business.” Travelex’s data science function is also instrumental in transforming the business, as it’s vital to be able to provide w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

19


Powered By

THINK. DO. BECOME.

Whatever your vision, Ultima can help you make it a reality. By utilising emerging technologies to do everything from improving customer experience to increasing operational efficiency, we’ll ensure your business becomes smarter and faster than ever.

www.ultima.com


FINTECH

CLICK TO WATCH : LEONARDO TANTARI ON THE IMPORTANCE OF TRAVELEX’S PARTNERS 21 insights to all stakeholders in order to

time for partners whilst providing

make informed decisions. “We use Big

enhanced security in the process.

Data in particular – but also AI,” says

“Automation removes some of the

Tantari. “One example is the building

human activities,” Tantari comments,

of our retail stock engine, which allows

“but it should be focused on removing

us to better distribute our retail stock

the more administrative types of tasks.

across our stores. That has been

Ultimately, we still need engineers to

a combination of using both Big Data

help us work and inform effective

and AI.”

automation – with that, the focus then

In addition, Travelex has made

moves to actually being part of activities

significant progress with automation,

which hone in on the real outcomes of

both in terms of improving time to

automation. This in itself is a change:

delivery as well as quality of output to

some people of course need to under-

customers and partners. Automation

stand their job has to change, but it’s

is also used to migrate data, saving

changing from being more task-oriw w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


T R AV E L E X

CLICK TO WATCH : LEONARDO TANTARI TELLS US HOW CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR IS CHANGING 22 ented to more outcome-focused, which

in terms of how we are set up, which

is critical.”

sometimes means changes. I firmly

Throughout these new developments

believe the key to any successful

which are driving increasing efficiency

change is communication: explaining,

at Travelex, the importance of people

embedding the change, and motivating

can’t be underestimated. Recently,

along that journey.”

Travelex went through a successful

With a presence across six continents,

restructure of its technology team.

a regular dialogue between the technol-

Tantari says this was necessary to

ogy team and the wider business is vital

ensure the right people were covering

in ensuring everyone in the organisation

the necessary disciplines Travelex had

understands the technology journey

identified as those that would help drive

they are on – and it’s clear Tantari is

its future strategic ambitions, both in

passionate about the team he has built.

technology, and as a business. “As any

“Travelex is a really exciting environment

organisation, we look at how to improve

with a lot of opportunities, but with

MARCH 2019


change comes the corporate responsibility to bring along our employees,” he explains. “Communication is something we constantly review from both a people perspective and a technology perspective. We’ll continue to do that with the introduction of more collaborative, innovative tools like improved telepresence, chatbots and video conferencing.”

CONSUMER DEMAND ACROSS A CHANGING LANDSCAPE The main driver of Travelex’s transformation has of course been the customer experience, as consumer behaviour

23

changes rapidly. “We are seeing a big shift,” Tantari comments. “People are moving from using cash and banknotes to more digital solutions. Ultimately, E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Leonardo Tantari Leonardo Tantari has a depth of experience in leading business transformation (including Agile and Digital B2C & B2B transformation), and joined Travelex from Walgreens Boots Alliance. As Global IT Director he oversaw their holistic IT portfolio, driving delivery for all areas from retail and supply chain through to the commercial, whilst spearheading the creation and delivery of a new digital strategy.

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T R AV E L E X

24

“I firmly believe the key to any successful change is communication: explaining, embedding the change, and motivating along that journey” — Leonardo Tantari, Global Director of IT, Travelex

MARCH 2019


25

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T R AV E L E X

there’s a shift toward self-service – that’s where we’re really focusing from a technology perspective. Customers nowadays are looking for a smooth and seamless journey when it comes to actually transacting with any company or organisation. It’s key for us to understand different types of customers: for example, our offline customers versus online customers. “We have a presence online, on mobile and ATM, and we are leveraging technology such as online chat, but we always maintain a large number of 26

stores on the high street and in airports – that’s really significant to us,” he adds. “Retaining the ability to ultimately speak to a person and offer the reassurance that the transaction is secure, as well as for us to really know our customer, is critical as it is for any financial institution.”

“People are moving from using cash and banknotes to more digital solutions. Ultimately, there’s a shift toward self-service” — Leonardo Tantari, Global Director of IT, Travelex

MARCH 2019


27

As with most companies and particu-

us to be ahead of the game, in relation

larly those in the financial services

to the products and services we offer.

industry, security is at the heart of

We have to meet rigorous, stringent

Travelex’s operations. “It’s something

requirements when it comes to security.”

we review constantly across our land-

These stringent requirements carry

scape,” says Tantari. “This year we will

across not only Travelex’s vast land-

see a significant change in the space.

scape, but its network of partners and

We are piloting a set of tools which we

clients as well as the industry becomes

will test to determine if they are able

increasingly open. “It’s inevitable: you

to detect incoming regulatory require-

can’t deliver everything by yourself,”

ments across the globe– that will enable

Tantari comments. “You need to work w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


T R AV E L E X

1976

Year founded

9,500

Approximate number of employees

28

with customers, partners and suppliers

distributed network we need to support

– the key is to understand how we best

– after all, we have over 9,500 employ-

use the technology, and whether we

ees dispersed globally across six

have to build it for ourselves or buy it.

continents. We rely on partners such

We really ask our partners to adhere

as Ultima and CDW for provision of

to stringent requirements when they

hardware, software and support

come on board.”

across a number of systems to enable

Of these partners, two vital organisations are Ultima and CDW. “The world

us to deliver the best services for our customers and employees.”

we live in now is about integration, the ability to use API to call other services –

A CHANGING LANDSCAPE

therefore, it’s fundamental that we have

Making this transformation work across

a fresh, open and aligned relationship

their global estate, as well as a substan-

with our partners. We have a very large

tial network of clients and partners, has

MARCH 2019


29

been no mean feat – but Tantari is

everything we do. I believe that in every

confident about the journey so far

organisation technology will eventually

as collaboration remains key. “Our

have a platform and transform their

Commercial Directors are supported

business. Connectivity, but most

by a local presence from our support-

importantly the way we share informa-

ive functions, and we also ensure we

tion, will become critical – changing, of

have a close relationship with those

course, in a safe, secure and efficient

Commercial Directors in order to drive

manner,” he adds.

not only the global agenda but the local agenda,” he explains. “I think as we move into the future of connectivity, with talk of blockchain and digital currency, services will become seamless and API will be at the heart of w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


LEADERSHIP

30

INFOSYS FINACLE

A DIGITAL DISRUPTION PLATFORM FOR FINANCE GIANTS WRITTEN BY

OLIVIA MINNOCK

CEO and Global Head of Finacle, Sanat Rao, discusses the trends set to disrupt banking in 2019 and how the Infosys-owned platform guides financial institutions through their technology transformation journeys

MARCH 2019


31

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LEADERSHIP

“TODAY, A LOT OF BANKS ARE WORKING CLOSELY WITH FINTECHS AS WE ARE OURSELVES” Sanat Rao, CEO and Global Head of Finacle

32

G

lobally, banks and financial

with a keen focus on finance. CEO and

institutions are transforming to

Global Head of Finacle Sanat Rao says

enhance customer experience

that this experience is a key reason

and improve operational

banks are choosing Finacle to guide

efficiency. Industry-leading digital

them through the new digital land-

banking solution Finacle, produced by

scape, coupled with the fact that it

Edgeverve Systems, a subsidiary of

offers solutions tailored to the finance

tech giant Infosys, helps drive these

industry. “While our products and

digital transformations. With services

solutions cater for requirements such

being used by banks in over 100

as automation and artificial intelligence

countries, Finacle’s platform offers

(AI), many of which are cross-industry,

global knowledge and experience

we are an industry specific business.

MARCH 2019


prevalent.” As open banking prompts organisations to leverage technology like data analytics, it’s becoming even clearer how back end development can benefit the front-end user experience.

EMBRACING NEW TECHNOLOGY TRENDS Finacle has examined what the new banking landscape means for existing institutions and the challenges it might pose in its annual Digital Trends in Banking report. The organisation has identified 12 key trends for 2019 – six on the business side and six on the technology side – and Rao outlined a few particular areas of interest to FinTech Magazine. “First and foremost, it is clear banking is the area where there We focus on banking – that’s where

is maximum pace of emergence of new

our expertise is,” he explains.

technology. The evolution and adoption

Finacle’s focus is core banking

of new technology is facilitating, most

infrastructure, part of the back end

importantly, the way customers interact

which Rao describes as “the engine

with enterprises.” Rao cites other

that fuels interactions with customers”.

notable trends as changing customer

He adds: “Over the years, we have

expectations, banks increasingly

been able to build an understanding

bringing technology to the fore as

of what goes into the engine room of

an important strategic function, and

the technology department of a bank.

digital disruption leading to the emer-

Today, that understanding is very

gence of fintechs. “Fintechs started off

important as digital becomes more

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33


LEADERSHIP

but today a lot of banks are working closely with fintechs as we are ourselves,” Rao comments. More so than AI and Big Data, which are already proving disruptive, a new technology Rao is particularly excited about – and one he feels has yet to be explored to its full potential – is blockchain. “Financial services has been one of the braver industries in experimenting with blockchain,” he comments. “I think it has the potential to disrupt parts of the banking industry and make 34

“DIGITAL NO LONGER MEANS JUST CHANGING ONE OF THE CUSTOMER INTERACTION CHANNELS: AN OMNICHANNEL EXPERIENCE IS KEY” Sanat Rao, CEO and Global Head of Finacle

processes more democratic and secure, certainly more transparent to stakeholders, as well as bringing about a lot more efficiency.” Rao says that

TRANSFORMING BANKING BEHEMOTHS

while the technology has yet to “sweep”

The new financial landscape creates

the industry, banks are showing more

particular challenges for the larger,

interest in proof of concepts to

traditional banks with mammoth

understand how it might be monetised.

operations to transform as well as

“There are use cases which are of

significant legacy systems. Finacle has

common interest: cross border

partnered with giants like Santander

payments, remittances, trade finance,

UK and the Australian Military Bank to

digital identity and so on,” he explains.

help them on their journeys. “Santand-

“The fact that a blockchain network is

er is a good example of a leading

more secure, transparent and efficient

institution that has begun making

is largely understood. The focus now

a change in a very important area.

is on monetisation.”

Today, hoarding cash and not deploying it in a more efficient manner is

MARCH 2019


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘FINTECH JUNCTION TEL AVIV 2017 – SANAT RAO, INFOSYS FINACLE’ 35

very costly to institutions – therefore

quickly a bank can leverage this new

Santander UK is going to leverage

technology to launch products

Finacle. They will introduce an interbank

because customers are hungry for

cash management portal for all of their

new innovations,” he adds. “Digital no

corporate customers. It will be fully

longer means just changing one of

integrated with secure cash manage-

the customer interaction channels –

ment services, available across multiple

an omnichannel experience is key. While

devices. This will obviously give users

AI, machine learning and automation

a lot more flexibility and freedom. We will

have received a lot of attention and

be working with them towards greater

obviously feed into this, we must

personalisation,” Rao explains.

remember that the underlying intent

“At the end of the day, as technology

is to ensure the experience for the

becomes stronger and easier to use,

end customer, whether corporate or

the proof of the pudding will be in how

individual, changes substantially.” w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


LEADERSHIP

In helping financial institutions achieve this aim, Finacle is very much a collaborative partner rather than a traditional software vendor of of-the-shelf solutions. “There is a lot of onus on banks today to ensure technology serves its purpose, and that what they do today is relevant for the next five, 10 or 15 years,” Rao comments. Finacle’s understanding of the global market and the challenges its report outlines is key here, as well as being a responsible vendor building 36

sustainable relationships with clients. With many vendors, management is involved in selection, but then delegates to other members. However, Finacle connects with companies at senior level on both the business and technology sides. “There is executive sponsorship right up until the program is completed. I think this goes a long way in ensuring success, as well as bringing more certainty to a complex multi-year program,” says Rao. In releasing its 2019 report, Finacle has illustrated its global knowledge of the impact digital disruption is having on banking and will continue to assist its clients with a keen focus on what MARCH 2019

“T HE PROOF OF THE PUDDING WILL BE IN HOW QUICKLY A BANK CAN LEVERAGE THIS NEW TECHNOLOGY TO LAUNCH PRODUCTS – CUSTOMERS ARE HUNGRY FOR INNOVATION” Sanat Rao, CEO and Global Head of Finacle


INFOSYS COMPAN Y FAC T S

1981

Year founded

217,000+ Employees globally

45 Countries Infosys is present in

$11.31bn Approximate revenue

is really important. “It is in our DNA to ensure that while we don’t dilute focus on the end consumer, that doesn’t come at the expense of recognising there’s a change happening in the organisation,” Rao asserts.

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

37


D I G I TA L T R A N S F O R M AT I O N

38

MARCH 2019


Hyland digital transformation of the insurance industry Hyland explains how it’s driving operational efficiency in the insurance industry through its host of digital transformation solutions WRITTEN BY

MARCUS LAWRENCE

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39


D I G I TA L T R A N S F O R M AT I O N

A

major component of digital transformation is the migration from paper-driven back end

operations to digital, accessible, and often cloudbased solutions that can not only store the deluge of data but also present it in a digestible and readily

available format. The technology that enables this administrative disruption remains in the ascendancy, and Hyland Software’s OnBase platform is one of the market leaders in this innovative space. Former Global Director for Insurance at Hyland, Ruth Fisk, spoke with FinTech Magazine about the shift from paper to data, how OnBase facilitates the digital 40

transformation of insurance firms with a traditional reliance on manual data processing, and the culture shift surrounding the success of these burgeoning solutions. Hyland operates through six verticals: insurance, financial services, government, higher education, healthcare, and a sixth category that serves as a catch-all for everything else. Its suite of digital transformation solutions, including OnBase, cloud-based sharing platform ShareBase, intelligent capture solution Brainware and many more, have had demonstrably positive impacts on operational efficiency and productivity in the insurance firms that have deployed it. “Typically, when you deploy the OnBase solution, most insurance companies see a minimum of 30 to 35% increase in productivity,” Fisk says. “The greatest area we contribute to is in MARCH 2019


41

“Typically, when you deploy the OnBase solution, most insurance companies see a minimum of 30–35% increase in productivity” — Hyland Software

increasing capacity, helping companies with their growth strategy. For example, Matsui were able to increase their capacity by 600% just six weeks after deploying OnBase, so they can write 600% more business with the exact same headcount.” Hyland’s solutions achieve this in a range of ways. In the insurance industry, the data is both gargantuan in scope and highly complex in terms of the formats in which it is presented. Whether it be formal documentation, notes on napkins or handwritten forms, the information is w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


D I G I TA L T R A N S F O R M AT I O N

“The technology had never been in place to automate the capture of content because it was so unstructured in insurance, there are just too many countries” — Hyland Software 42

being able to learn new formats and distinguish them from others. “It’s probably the first time that technology’s been advanced enough to conduct that intelligent capture,” Fisk says. “To be able to have the ability to automate some of the capture information in insurance is extremely difficult. You could have medical invoices coming in from bodily injury claims, but you could have 50,000 variations of them. The technology had never been in place to automate this capture of content because it was so unstructured in insurance, there’s just too many variations or too many types of

essential to the accurate operations of

documents.” With the capabilities of

an insurance company and has tradition-

Brainware, this challenge is becoming

ally required significant manual labour

increasingly relegated to history. The

to record and present the data effectively.

technology is capable of reacting to

OnBase, Hyland’s single enterprise

a format it doesn’t recognise in such

information platform capable of content,

a way that it can effectively teach itself

process and case management,

against its pre-existing knowledge.

incorporates artificial intelligence (AI)

“Brainware doesn’t need to be pro-

and machine learning technologies to

grammed to understand those 90,000

read, extract, and store relevant informa-

variations, but it can contextually see

tion from an extremely wide range of

this is a medical invoice,” she adds.

media formats. The intelligent capture

In the insurance industry, manage-

platform that makes this possible,

ment of information is the crux of a firm’s

Brainware, also boasts the flexibility of

operations at practically every level,

MARCH 2019


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘INSURTECH IN LIFE & ANNUITY’ 43

and Hyland’s clients have been excep-

very well is deliver information contex-

tionally receptive to the enhanced

tually,” says Fisk. “So, if I am in a claims

operations that it facilitates. In addition,

situation and I want to see all the things

an insurance claim’s information stems

related to the damage to your vehicle,

from myriad sources and formats, and

and maybe you were also injured in

this presents a challenge not only of

the accident and maybe I want to see

organisation but also of presentation.

everything related to the bodily injury

Not content with its laudable capture and

claim, OnBase can contextually deliver

organisation features, OnBase rises to

that information dynamically so that it’s

the challenge of content delivery as well.

already organised in a way that makes

“OnBase is oftentimes seen as a mission

sense to the end user. They can be

critical application because it’s so

more productive and they can be more

important to be able to organise that

effective at what they do.” OnBase’s

information, and what OnBase can do

ability to display content dynamically, w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


D I G I TA L T R A N S F O R M AT I O N

bringing up all the relevant information to the right person at the right time, drives operational efficiency in itself. The platform, not limited to print data, is compatible with a host of advanced media such as videos, medical scans, dash cam footage, and more. The traditionally manual endeavour of claims processing has also undergone digital transformation through OnBase’s autonomous capabilities. For example, a medical claim is made by an insurance customer. Brainware 44

extracts line data information from evidence provided by the customer, and the platform ascertains what each document is, whom it belongs to, and

“This is the first time in the industry that I’ve seen some really good innovation that allows you to conduct straight-through processing” — Hyland Software

then validates the information against a firm’s core system. Details of the claim,

conduct straight-through processing,”

such as additional services used such

reflects Fisk. “The invoice comes in,

as physiotherapy, or anesthesiology and

you get it scanned intelligently by

surgery, are validated by the system

Brainware, it determines what it is,

and the workflow engine clarifies

extracts the information, the workflow

policy validity. Should everything check

engine reviews it against a particular

out, OnBase will trigger payment for

item that’s set up in the core system,

the claim, potentially handling the

and if it matches within a certain

entire process without necessitating

threshold then it’s automatically going

human input. “This is the first time in

to trigger that payment. This is innova-

the industry that I’ve seen some really

tion that the insurance industry has

good innovation that allows you to

never seen before, because now all of

MARCH 2019


a certain amount of manual work to support the business,” she says. The streamlining and cost reductions that run in tandem with this minimisation of manual processing is met with a shift in the staff an insurance firm needs. The restructured processing gives rise to a host of knowledgebased roles whereby staff are required to apply their experience, understanding and risk assessment skills when necessary. The result of this digital transformation’s optimisation of business processes and reorganisation of employee structures ultimately benefits an insurance firm’s customers. The translation of minimised business costs into cheaper premiums for the technologies are starting to align.” Within the industry, this digital

customers is met with a vastly improved service and customer satisfaction, with

transformation of business processes

faster turnaround times, fewer compli-

is generating a cultural shift alongside

cations, and a smoothness of proceed-

the marked boosts in operational

ings for claimants. “Everybody wants

efficiencies. “Very profitable compa-

the Amazon experience,” Fisk says, and

nies would just hire more people to

Hyland’s platforms are going a long

solve a business problem. You would

way towards helping firms make this

see these huge insurance companies

dream a reality.

throughout the world that had thousands and thousands of employees because they had to be able to do w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

45


M O B I L E PAY M E N T S

46

MARCH 2019


Ethical automation in finance ST UA R T B R O C K , D I R ECTO R AT S E A L S O F T WA R E , D I S C U S S ES T H E F I R M ’ S C O N T R ACT D I S C OV ERY A N D A N A LY T I C S P L AT FO R M , T H E C U T T I N G - ED G E T EC H D R I V I N G I T, A N D S E A L’ S AU TO M AT I O N ETHOS THAT HITS TH E RIGHT NOTE WITH CLIENTS A N D EM P LOY EES A L I K E

WRITTEN BY

MARCUS LAWRENCE

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M O B I L E PAY M E N T S

S

eal Software’s Contract Discovery and Analytics platform provides firms in the financial sector, from banks

to insurance providers, with the means to maximise revenues and mitigate costs associated with administrative processing. The platform, capable of scanning a vast variety of document types to extract the information and store it intelligently, provides firms with a catalogue and search engine

48

of contracts from across their networks. Stuart Brock joined Seal as a Director after the firm acquired Apogee Legal in July 2018 and since then he has been crucial to the management and development of the company’s financial services platforms. With a history of digitisation reaching back to the transition from paper documents to CLM software at Bank of America, Brock now manages the firm’s financial services programme and provides crucial expertise. Contract Discovery and Contract Analytics facilitates digital transformation for a myriad of players in finance, and Seal successfully blends this technological prowess with industry expertise. “That brought a host of industry experts to the table,” Brock says, MARCH 2019


49

reflecting on Seal’s acquisition of Apogee Legal. “We are unique in that we can talk shop with our clients.” This knowledge expedites Seal’s problemsolving capabilities for its clients when tied with the quality of its platform. “Instead of hiring ten people to extract information from your contracts, you can simply load them into Seal and get that same level of review and that same level of insight in hours as opposed to weeks.” This automation is made w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


M O B I L E PAY M E N T S

50

possible by advanced artificial intelli-

ate insight for contracts that require

gence (AI), machine learning and cloud

additional assessment. “We find our

technology. “We are looking at how can

clients are chomping at the bit to get

we get the most information out of the

their hands on this. It’s something that

data for our clients in the quickest, eas-

will help them to improve their own pro-

iest way, and in a way that meets their

cesses, and repurpose their staff so

security concerns,” Brock says, “So we

they’re focusing their interest or their

bring all of these technologies to the

review time on those risky positions.”

table, we overlap them, we layer them

With automation comes concerns

so that we can, for example, dig into a

about the replacement of human staff

vendor paper contract and get to the

with efficient digital equivalents,

issue of organisation of liability. Instead

particularly where the increasingly

of having to look for a certain pattern

powerful and capable AI is concerned.

or group of words, our analytics on the platform can actually dig through all those parts and pieces and pull them up on the supplier.” This immediacy is compounded by the platform’s ability to learn and utilise new information, enabling clients to leverage a flexible system that can be tailored to their unique requirements. “And we’re constantly looking for the next new thing,” Brock adds, “The thing that might help give us a better take on the analytics, the thing that might help us report that information better or more quickly.” Seal is currently developing a solution that can assess and report the level of risk in a contract, offering immediMARCH 2019

“Instead of hiring 10 people to extract information from your contracts, you can simply load them into Seal and get that same level of review and that same level of insight in hours as opposed to weeks” — Stuart Brock, Director at Seal Software


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘WEBINAR: WHAT IS SEAL SOFTWARE? – WHITEBOARD VIDEO’ 51

“We are in, as far as AI goes, an explosive time of growth,” Brock observes. “I think the one factor that gets the most attention is are we replacing humans with machines and putting people out of jobs, and what does that mean over the long term?” Brock insists, however, that Seal’s platform does not eliminate employee roles so much as enhance them and the experience of work. “I honestly believe, and I see this in the clients that we work with, that you are not putting people out of work. Instead, you’re repurposing those folks to do w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


M O B I L E PAY M E N T S

work that benefits from the human brain versus the machine brain, work that is more valuable to the company and offers a better quality of life for that person,” he says. “You’re not having them churn out the same thing over and over, and that person as a general rule has a better day of it, and they like what they’re doing much better than what they were doing before.” This increase in role satisfaction is beneficial to the company in itself and, by repurpos52

ing an employee’s time while the job they were doing before has been automated, the company in question can enjoy an increase in productivity on a day to day basis. “We still need humans,” Brock adds, “and I don’t foresee them going anywhere anytime soon.” When it comes to training the platform in the specifics of a certain industry, users are understandably curious as to where that data comes from and to whom it pertains. For Seal, security is embedded in everything the firm does, and Brock notes that no customer information is ever used without that customer’s express consent. The platform is instead trained with MARCH 2019


“The unique alignment of technology and subject matter expertise is, at least in my mind, putting Seal well out in front of any of the competition” — Stuart Brock, Director at Seal Software

publicly available contracts, of which there is no shortage of relevant data, with which Contract Discovery and Analytics can learn the tricks of its trade. “At this point, we have passed all of the security reviews that our financial services companies have given us, and that speaks to how seriously we take security,” Brock says. Seal’s client-focused automation ethos is certainly integral to its everexpanding success. Brock highlights the accomplishments that Seal has enjoyed over the past year, and the growth of its brand and reputation within the financial services industry. “We’ve consistently added top-notch international companies to our list,” he says. “The unique alignment of technology and subject matter expertise is, at least in my mind, putting Seal well out in front of any of the competition.”

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CYBERSECURITY

FINANCE REIMAGINED

54

ADAPTING TO OPEN BANKING Rob Parker-Cole, Digital Engagement Lead for Google Cloud’s Apigee team, discusses the changing finance landscape and how organisations can adapt to open banking WRITTEN BY

MARCH 2019

ROB PARKER-COLE


55

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CYBERSECURITY

T

he finance sector is constantly evolving alongside technology, with innovations coming in thick and fast:

first online banking, then banking apps and now mobile-first challenger banks. Now, open banking is causing more changes in the financial landscape. Generally, this new landscape requires

that with a customer’s consent, banks must make payment initiation and account transaction data available to third parties via application programming interfaces (APIs), a shift that enables 56

new players to compete in areas banks have traditionally controlled, forcing legacy banks to reassess their approach. A recent Accenture report concluded that ‘only a minority of incumbent banks are making the necessary difficult choices for the digital age’. Open banking is one instance in which this is clear. While its uptake by challengers has been significant (according to Ernst & Young research, 94% of fintech firms view open banking as a source of opportunity and 81% are actively preparing for it), one recent report noted that only 1% of US banks are designing open banking platforms.

MARCH 2019


In other words, open banking and the ability to make financial data available to third parties will be of benefit to customers, but many incumbents are not taking advantage of this and will need to adjust their focus and embrace new ways of operating. Here are four tips to help banks chart the right journey.

FOCUS ON AGILITY OVER COMPLIANCE The open banking regulations introduced in January 2018 require financial institutions to grant third party providers (TPPs) access via APIs to data and functionality if requested by the customer.

“REHASHING OLD TECHNOLOGY AND WAYS OF WORKING WILL NOT CUT IT AGAINST THE FAST-MOVING, DIGITALFIRST COMPETITORS” — Rob Parker-Cole, Digital Engagement Lead, Apigee

However, using APIs for compliance is mere table stakes – an organisation cannot distinguish itself in the market by taking a compliance approach. Instead, businesses should manage their APIs like a product, designed to be intuitive and easy for developers to consume, supported by documentation and sample code, and improved based on user feedback. There can be an immense gap between satisfying a regulation and actually seizing the opportunity to offer better services to customers.

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CYBERSECURITY

“IN ORDER TO EFFECTIVELY COMPETE WITH CHALLENGER BANKS, INCUMBENTS NEED TO PROPERLY EMBRACE THIS NEW WAY OF WORKING” 58

— Rob Parker-Cole, Digital Engagement Lead, Apigee

APIs are the backbone of modern software, providing the interfaces that let different software systems communicate and helping developers to quickly combine data, functionality and other digital assets for new services and digital experiences. Compared with legacy approaches to software development, API-first approaches enable developers to work more quickly, efficiently and independently. This agility creates space for experimentation and innovation where traditional ways of working necessitate some stasis. Many fintechs and challenger banks already operate naturally in these more modern ways. This gives them a potential advantage over traditional banks with slow-moving legacy techniques. In order to effectively compete with challenger banks, incumbents need to properly embrace this new way of working, leveraging APIs for business innovation coupled with insights derived from highly valuable internal data assets, instead of merely using them for compliance or systems integration.

MARCH 2019


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘THE APIGEE CROSS-CLOUD API PLATFORM’ 59

IMPROVE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES INSTEAD OF REPACKAGING EXISTING EXPERIENCES

to improve customer service, from

Mobile apps are a great example of

authentication, to layering financial

how evolving technology has played

analysis tools over account information.

out in finance. Yet some incumbents

Challenger banks have repeatedly

reacted to this by simply putting

found ways to target areas in which

a mobile-friendly wrapper on their

traditional banks’ services aren’t quite

traditional business model, merely

in line with customer expectations.

enabling customers to perform the

omitting fees characteristic of traditional banks, to supporting biometric

Legacy institutions need to adjust

exact same functions they would

their approach in line with these

have in a physical or online bank but

customer-focused fintechs. Incum-

on their smartphone.

bents have the advantage of having

Challenger banks and fintechs, in

a large number of already developed

contrast, have often focused on ways

services, and these can be exposed w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


CYBERSECURITY

and monetised using APIs. By carefully assessing what customer pain points can be eased, incumbents can then use their existing processes to deliver innovative solutions to those problems via API products.

MEET CUSTOMERS IN THEIR PREFERRED SPACES Expecting customers to come to you – and only you – is an ineffective way of ensuring their support. While legacy banks have traditionally been involved in the full process of the customer’s 60

financial experience, today’s landscape

“BUSINESSES SHOULD MANAGE THEIR APIS LIKE A PRODUCT, DESIGNED TO BE INTUITIVE AND EASY FOR DEVELOPERS TO CONSUME” — Rob Parker-Cole, Digital Engagement Lead, Apigee

necessitates a closer look at which parts of this should be reserved for the bank itself, and which services can be outsourced to partners or third parties. Put another way, sometimes a

DON’T WAIT TO ACCELERATE The banking industry is facing seismic

customer may be happy to open up a

shifts in the way it looks and feels and

given bank’s app to complete a given

incumbents need to accept that they

transaction, but in many other cases,

are facing a new era. Rehashing old

that customer may want to complete

technology and ways of working will not

the transaction from within the context

cut it against the fast-moving, digital-

of whatever they’re already doing. In

first competitors who are continually

these cases, a bank must be able to

gaining traction. One advantage legacy

insert its business capabilities wher-

banks do have is long-time brand equity

ever the customer demands them, not

and the customer trust it has engen-

just within a first-party app. APIs are

dered, and this trust should be the

essential to this process.

cornerstone around which they build

MARCH 2019


61

a new dynamic approach. In a very real way, the APIs that banks

from their customers to ensure their continued success. The time to

create represent their brands as much

accelerate is now: millennials are

as their mobile apps or even brick-and-

already beginning to challenge the

mortar branches do. APIs are the way

accepted wisdom of banking in-branch

their brands will interact with third

– and who is to say that by the time the

parties and in many cases, the way the

next generation comes around that

end user will experience the bank’s

this will still be accepted wisdom?

services. If its API programme doesn’t continue a legacy of trust, a bank is likely to face significant challenges. Crucially, legacy banks need to stop relying on historic loyalty and support w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


T O P 10

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MARCH 2019


Top 10 mobile payment apps FinTech magazine looks at the top 10 most popular mobile payment apps, according to Systweak WRITTEN BY

SEAN GALEA-PACE

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T O P 10

64

10 Skrill With a total of 40mn users, Skrill is a popular method of paying with the ability to transfer money to anyone, anywhere via email. The app will store your card details securely and allow instant access to money 24/7. With 40 currencies in 200 countries, Skrill provides convenience with no registration required .

www.skrill.com/en

MARCH 2019


65

09 Circle Pay Available in 29 countries and accepting payments from US dollars, British pounds and the Euro, Circle Pay enables money to be sent in a similar fashion to text messaging, with the ability to set up fingerprint and face identification. With no fees attached when sending money between currencies, the app allows money to be circled around in a chat up to 20 people, enabling users to be paid quicker.

https://www.circle.com/en-gb

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T O P 10

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08 Venmo Owned by PayPal, Venmo is designed to specifically transfer money to friends. Popular among young people, the app allows users to quickly transfer money to their bank and enables users to connect with friends easily. Venmo can be used to split costs at restaurants, pay shared rent or to share the cost of bills by linking a debit card to send and receive money. According to CNN Business, Venmo sees 10mn monthly active users.

https://venmo.com

MARCH 2019


67

07 Square Cash The app allows users to draw funds from a linked bank account via debit card free of charge and offers a range of different methods to send and receive money instantly. Square Cash protects your payment with a pin or fingerprint and is recognised as being fast, free and secure. Although the total number of users haven’t been announced, it was revealed that 7mn used the app in December 2017 alone, according to Recode.

https://cash.app

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T O P 10

68

06 Zell With payments being made straight into the receiver’s account, Zelle doesn’t hold money in a digital wallet and allows users to send money without even installing the app. According to TechCrunch, Zelle has around 27mn users and there are no charges to send or receive money. In 2017, it was announced that Zelle was signing up users at a rate of 100,000 consumers per day.

www.zellepay.com

MARCH 2019


69

05 Samsung Pay Samsung Pay allows the user to earn rewards points and adds all the user’s credit, debit, gift and membership cards together to allow transactions to be made from any location with a credit card reader. According to Statistic, Samsung Pay has around 34mn users with the app recognised as being highly secure through the implementation of Samsung Knox tokenisation. Samsung Knox provides an extra layer of security through the generation of a random set of numbers for each transaction to secure the real card.

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T O P 10

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04 Google Pay Google Pay is a free download from the Play Store and has over 100mn installations, according to Payment Week. Launched by Google to unify Android Pay, Google Wallet and Pay with Google, it recently expanded into Australia, Italy, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden late last year. The app allows users to pay in apps without entering payment information, pay friends, in-store and on websites.

https://pay.google.com/about

MARCH 2019


71

03 Apple Pay This mobile payment app allows users to make secure payment in stores, web and in-app purchases, as well as holding the capabilities to send and receive money from friends and family via Messages. Apple Pay doesn’t store any personal transaction information or the original card number but instead generates a token referred to as Device Account Number (DAN) to secure card details. Although the app only caters to iPhone users, Apple Pay currently has over 252mn users, according to Mac Rumours.

www.apple.com/uk/apple-pay

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T O P 10

02 Alipay Having been developed by Alibaba, Alipay was launched in 2013, but is only available for China-based customers. According to 72

ChinaDaily.com, the app sees over 900mn active users annually with Alipay recognised as being a very popular payment method in China. Available for both Android and iPhone users, Alipay can be used to select local restaurants, receive discounts, pay bills and share information.

www.alipay.com

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T O P 10

01 PayPal Topping the list is PayPal with a total of 254mn users during the third quarter of 2018, 74

according to statista.com. Having been acquired by eBay in 2002, the service is considered a leader in the field of online payment apps with a number of retailers use PayPal as an in-store payment or digital wallet top-up method. Accepted in over 200 markets, PayPal provides the easiest and safest way to make payments online.

www.paypal.com/uk/home

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EVENTS & A S S O C I AT I O N S

The biggest events and conferences around the EDITED BY OLIVIA MINNOCK world for fintech leaders

03–04 APRIL 2019

76

10–11 APRIL 2019

IP Expo Manchester

Dublin Tech Summit

[ MANCHESTER, UK ]

[ DUBLIN, IRELAND ]

Cybersecurity is a vital issue for fintech

Dublin Tech Summit is one of the larg-

leaders especially, and this event is the

est technology conferences in Europe,

UK’s biggest IT and cybersecurity event

promising a plethora of influential tech

outside of London. 2019 will mark the

leaders. 2019’s cohort include Werner

fifth iteration of the event which is made

Vogels, CTO of Amazon.com, Douglas

up of professionals in cloud, infrastruc-

Terrier, CTO of NASA, and Mihai Alisie,

ture and cybersecurity. This year, it

co-founder of Ethereum. Attending

hopes to include more topics surround-

companies and partners at the Tech

ing data analytics, AI, software

Summit include Airbnb, Amazon,

development, IoT and Blockchain. With

Microsoft, Google, SAP and Facebook.

sponsors including Cisco and Sophos,

The event takes place at the Conven-

speakers at the event will range from

tion Centre in Dublin’s Docklands area,

Dr Nicola Millard, Head of Customer

just 20 minutes from the city’s interna-

Insights & Futures at BT, to Chris Testa-

tional airport. This event explores

O’Neill, Data Scientist at Microsoft.

technology transformation and the

Click to visit website

impact of digital disruption across many industries and as such offers valuable perspective for the fintech leader.

Click to visit website

MARCH 2019


21–22 MAY 2019

03–05 JUNE 2019

ICT Spring Europe

Money 20/20 Europe

[ LUXEMBOURG ]

[ AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS ]

This year, ICT Spring Europe promises

Boasting over 6,000 attendees and

to focus on three key topics: digitalisa-

2,000 companies from around 82 differ-

tion, space and of course fintech. As

ent countries, over the course of the

such, attendees can expect to hear

three-day event more than 490 speakers

about AI, insurtech, venture capital,

are set to deliver around 80 hours of

IoT, telecommunications and satellites.

insightful content. Money 20/20 dubs

The two-day conference is made up of

itself as “where the payments, fintech

over 5,000 key decision makers across

and financial services industries come

various business sectors. ICT Spring is

together”. Attendees are promised origi-

held at the European Convention Cen-

nal content on both a regional and global

tre, minutes from Luxembourg airport,

scale, product launches, networking

and the event programme is packed

opportunities and access to exciting

with seminars and presentations. In

startups and innovators. 2018’s Europe

2018, notable speakers were Xavier

event featured prominent speakers

Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg;

including Ralph Hamers, CEO of

Susan Coleman, a Managing Director

ING Group; Andy Maguire, Group

at PwC; and John Thornhill, Innovation

COO of HSBC; and Steve Wozniak,

Editor at the Financial Times.

co-founder of Apple.

Click to visit website

Click to visit website

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EVENTS & A S S O C I AT I O N S

The biggest events and conferences around the EDITED BY OLIVIA MINNOCK world for fintech leaders

19–20 JUNE 2019

Blockchain Expo Europe

78

OCTOBER 2019

[ AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS ]

Finovate Asia

Blockchain Expo is a series of confer-

[ TBC ]

ences which take place in Europe and

Following on from the success of 2018’s

North America. A total of four co-located

event in Hong Kong as part of the city-

events throughout the year welcome

state’s Fintech Week, advance tickets

over 36,000 attendees, over 1000

are already on sale for 2019 which

speakers and over 1000 exhibitors.

promises 600+ attendees, 20+ firms

The Europe Expo takes place at

offering demonstrations and 80+ expert

RAI Amsterdam with 10,000 guests

speakers for a mix of speeches and

expected. Notable speakers on the

panels. Finovate Asia advertises the

agenda come from Maersk, Gucci,

opportunity for attendees to “meet

Volkswagen, Shell and IBM as the con-

the fintechs, platform players, financial

ference looks at the many uses of this

institutions, regulators and investors

disruptive technology. Topics to be

who are redefining the future of finan-

discussed over the two-day event

cial services”. Notable speakers in 2018

include cryptofinance, blockchain for

attended from Danske Bank, AXA Lab,

enterprise, cybersecurity and supply

Accenture, Bank of America and Alipay.

chain management.

Click to visit website

Click to visit website

MARCH 2019


11–15 NOVEMBER 2019

03–04 DECEMBER 2019

Singapore FinTech Festival

FinTech Connect Global Europe

[ SINGAPORE ]

[ EXCEL, LONDON, UK ]

The Singapore FinTech Festival is

FinTech connect is a leading event for

returning in 2019, with the five-day

banks, insurers and investors looking to

event set to host 300 exhibitor and

leverage the latest technology and trans-

30,000 visitors. The majority of partici-

form their operations. Featuring 200+

pants are set to include C-suite

partners and exhibitors, the annual event

executives, Heads-of-Departments,

is set to host over 5,000 visitors. Topics

key influencers and decision makers.

to be covered at various conferences

Even Indian Prime Minister Narendra

throughout the event include digital

Modi is set to make an appearance.

transformation, IT infrastructure,

The 2018 event was a roaring success,

insurtech and compliance. In 2018,

run in conjunction with Deloitte as the

exhibitors at FinTech Connect included

‘knowledge partner’ and one of the grand

Oracle NetSuite, Invest Hong Kong and

sponsors. Topics discussed included

KPMG UK. Among last year’s stellar

the growth of fintech across ASEAN,

collection of speakers were Raman

AI in finance, financial inclusion and

Bhatia, HSBC’s Head of Digital, UK and

insurtech – with much more set to be

Europe, and AJ Hashim, VP Innovation

added to the agenda for this year.

and Emerging Technology at Barclays.

Click to visit website

Click to visit website

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80

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

AXA’s Move to the Cloud: a customer-driven technology transformation

WRIT TEN BY

OLIVIA MINNOCK PRODUCED BY

A LE X PAGE

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81


AXA

Ash Shah, AXA Group’s Global Program Director for the insurance giant’s Move to the Cloud, discusses the technology transformation as part of AXA’s ambition to become a customer-driven, tech-led organisation

“W

hen we undertake a transformation, we do it on a truly global scale with technology at the forefront as one of the enablers,”

comments Ash Shah, Global Program Director of leading insurer AXA’s Move to the Cloud initiative. 82

This is no mean feat, with the insurer serving 105mn clients across a vast footprint of 62 countries. To aid its technology transformation, AXA has undergone a significant company-wide IT restructure. “We have an ambition to be an innovative, customer-driven, tech led company and we’ve enhanced and modified our IT organisation to support and drive that ambition,” Shah explains. “Technology has become more intrinsic in our business and it’s no longer just a support function – it’s the key enabler for us to continue to innovate and move forward as an organisation.”

‘INNOVATIVE, CUSTOMER DRIVEN, TECH LED’ As a composite insurer, AXA covers many lines of business including health, life, property and casualty insurance. The French multinational currently spans a mix of growth areas and established markets, MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

83

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From Inspiration

to Innovation


TECHNOLOGY

CLICK TO WATCH : AXA GLOBAL PROGRAM DIRECTOR ASH SHAH ON TRANSFORMATION ACROSS GEOGRAPHIES 85

and has a significant legacy of looking

standing – all aimed at promoting

after customers at those times when

innovation and collaboration and

they need it most. Shah, who assumed

showing, through colourful posters

his current role just six months ago, is

and games areas, that insurance is far

already a familiar face in Paris where

from an old-fashioned career choice.

AXA is headquartered. Counted among

AXA’s staff are adapting well to

its numerous locations is the spectacu-

the new working environment which so

lar new Java building which offers a

much investment and thought has gone

true reflection of AXA’s ambition to

into. Colleagues do not have a strict

modernise a business often seen as

dress code – with some stating this

traditional. The office itself boasts

makes them feel more valued for their

open space, natural light, and flexible

skills and output than their appearance

options allowing colleagues to work

– and have plenty of opportunities to

independently or as a group, sitting or

socialise by playing pool or enjoying w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


Building an ecosystem? Connect the dots. “Your journey to cloud must navigate pitfalls and opportunities that are unique to your business. We support you in imagining and delivering your cloud journey and making it run�. Eric Meistermann, Deloitte Partner in charge of AXA Group


TECHNOLOGY

“We foster a strong change management process where we make sure we communicate, evangelise and onboard our colleagues in all parts of the organisation” — Ash Shah, Global Program Director – Move to the Cloud, AXA

coffee together. Shah joins us at this new

We measure compliance, performance

Paris office having spent three days with

and KPIs at both a centralised level and

AXA’s Dubai Gulf business discussing

a local entity and business level,” says

the company’s transformation across

Shah. “It’s also important to understand

that region. “It’s pushing all parts of our

the various cultures AXA operates in

organisation into that journey and bring-

and the pace and size at which they can

ing them onboard. It takes time and effort

make changes.” For example, AXA’s

and engagement – but once you do that,

companies in growth markets will focus

you can see the end results. We’re moni-

on establishing a presence while

toring, and can see we’re making good

well–established entities might focus

progress now,” he enthuses.

on innovation to remain competitive.

In its ambition to become tech led, sectors and geographies with both

A GLOBAL, CUSTOMER-CENTRIC TRANSFORMATION

a strong global vision and local knowl-

Currently, one of AXA’s key areas of

edge. “Usually, we have a central team

development – and the element for

but we listen to the requirements and

which Shah is responsible – is its ‘Move

needs of our different business units and

to the Cloud’, whereby the business will

make sure they are a part of that journey.

come away from legacy technology

AXA is pushing technology across all

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TECHNOLOGY

CLICK TO WATCH : GLOBAL PROGRAM DIRECTOR ASH SHAH TALKS THE IMPORTANCE OF PARTNERS AT AXA 89

and store and manage data on private

allows an organisation to innovate. “It

and public clouds. This is a key strategic

gives us business agility, flexibility and

initiative which AXA is taking on for two

speed to market which is much harder

key reasons. “One is that we want to

in traditional IT methods. In addition,

modernise and update our technology

the cloud enables the collaboration

infrastructure,” says Shah. “The second

that is so key to a global business. As

is that we really want to exploit new

we deploy something in one country,

technology innovation – such as artificial

we can replicate that quickly in multiple

intelligence (AI), chatbots and image

countries,” Shah explains. “We therefore

recognition – which we wouldn’t be

end up with a consistent product which

able to do with our existing systems

we can enhance and change – and those

and processes.”

changes can be rolled out across numer-

For Shah, and for AXA, a key feature of cloud technology is the speed at which it

ous entities and organisations far more quickly than in the past.” w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


AXA

“The relationship we build with our suppliers – and I would call them partners rather than suppliers – is very important to us” — Ash Shah, Global Program Director – Move to the Cloud, AXA

90

Why is AXA undertaking such a significant investment? “Firstly, it’s for

to be able to respond to this change in a customer-centric manner.”

customer experience. We deal with

Every technology investment AXA

customers through an omnichannel

makes involves extensive thought into

process: they need to have consistent

how it will impact the customer. “We

experience.” For example, customers

make sure there’s really a business

may wish to deal with a claim over the

driver and value for what we’re investing

phone and then switch to live chat.

and innovating in. We then start with

“We need to be able to receive data and

a proof of concept, idea and trial before

respond to it in all manners, shapes and

we really push something.” AXA’s cloud

forms. Customers today are expecting

program is a prime example of this. “We

a different experience of working with

have to build new features, new products

a global insurer,” Shah adds, citing

and new ideas onto the platforms.

omnichannel as a key driver. “We need

There we have the voice of the customer

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

CLICK TO WATCH : GLOBAL PROGRAM DIRECTOR ASH SHAH – HOW AXA MOVED TO THE CLOUD 91

to drive the demand and the prioritisa-

“We foster a strong change management

tion process. Then their voice is heard.

process where we make sure we

They drive the change agenda.”

communicate, evangelise and onboard our colleagues in all parts of the organi-

A TEAM EFFORT

sation,” says Shah. “That’s one of our

With the agenda driven by customers, it’s

key success factors in implementing

important that each and every member

a lasting change.”

of AXA’s 160,000-strong colleague base

This is not always easy given that AXA

is on board in order to promote the best

is dealing with new technologies and

service to every customer. Managing

working across a plethora of different

a significant change, and the shift in

locations, but Shah maintains that it’s

culture it brings, across such a mam-

possible with a combination of training

moth organisation is vital to make things

and open communication. This is not

work all the way to the end customer.

just looked at in terms of individual jobs, w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


AXA

but in terms of the key part each employee plays in AXA’s journey as a global organisation. The transformation so far has not just been successful in terms of IT, but far beyond this, including the people and culture at the company. “We have an extensive change training program for all of our colleagues where we’re working extensively to make sure they are all aware of what the cloud journey is, what AXA is undertaking, and why. It’s also important the program has the sponsorship of our management committee, and it is discussed and agreed – which then helps cascade the information and messages 92

around our program.” AXA’s move to the cloud involves not just thousands of employees, but a network of strong partners too – and all must be aware of the company’s long-term vision. “We are not technical experts in all domains and areas we’re undertaking as part of our move to the

“The cloud gives us business agility, flexibility and speed to market which is much harder in traditional IT methods” — Ash Shah, Global Program Director – Move to the Cloud, AXA MARCH 2019


93

cloud journey,” Shah admits. “So the

Other important delivery and consult-

relationship we build with our suppliers

ing partners include Capgemini and

– and I would call them partners rather

Deloitte who are also supporting AXA

than suppliers – is very important to

on this journey.

us.” AXA has worked with some of

Shah makes it very clear that AXA

the biggest names in tech as part of

isn’t just buying off-the-shelf solutions

maintaining a secure yet efficient cloud

but is growing alongside each of its

transformation – from IBM with its

key partners in a sustainable relation-

private cloud provider to AWS and

ship. “We’re undertaking a multiyear

Microsoft Azure for its public cloud

commitment. They’re on this journey

journey. Innovation projects have also

with us.” Another element the above

been supported by Google Cloud.

names have in common is famously w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


AXA

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MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

secure service – something which is paramount for any organisation, but especially within the insurance industry. “A few years ago, the reason people didn’t move to the cloud was security. Now, organisations are actually moving to the cloud due to the security provided by the likes of IBM and Microsoft Azure. They have some of the best security experts out there. Their business is built on secure, trustable platforms – they would be out of business if their platforms were not secure.” Handling the kind of sensitive data AXA deals with on a daily basis means security is something Shah and his team don’t take lightly. “We need to ensure we have robust processes on our side. We are selective with what we put into the cloud, especially from a compliance and regulatory purpose. Cybersecurity is one of the key drivers of this program,” Shah explains, adding that the global insurance behemoth has a strong legacy to maintain. “Our brand value is particularly important – when you’re buying insurance, you’re also buying a trusted brand.”

A FUTURE IN THE CLOUD Following AXA’s success on its journey to the cloud thus far, Shah believes that other organisations will follow suit – or risk being left in the dust. “Cloud technology is going to w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

95


AXA

AXA GROUP

€98.5bn Approximate revenue

1982

Year founded

166,000

96

Approximate number of AXA employees

significantly disrupt the insurance

sations, such as AXA, concerned

sector, and the insurance value chain,”

about the rise of fintech and in-

he predicts. “Cloud technologies and

surtech startups – but Shah believes

Insuretech partners will look at

these shouldn’t be perceived as

different parts of the value chain and

a threat. “Parts of our value chain will

come up with innovative ideas about

continue to be disrupted by cloud

how they can accelerate a certain

partners, innovators or insurtech

process – such as claim notification or

companies who will come in with

risk modelling.”

solutions and ideas which don’t have

Across the finance and insurance

the resistance to change that larger

spheres, the rise of technology

organisations have to deal with,”

leaves many more traditional organi-

he comments.

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

gies through our AXA Next organisation.” Along Shah’s journey to cloud transformation across the globe, the change will need to be continuously driven at all levels. “Hopefully we’re getting to a point where this communication and buy-in is becoming one of our key success factors. We measure that through KPIs. We’re at the point where we’re starting to become successful in promoting our program and moving forward with the migration– but we still have a long way to go.” Indeed, Shah cites the pace at which his team has accelerated buy-in across AXA. “In the last three of four months, we’ve seen more momentum than we saw in 15 months. That in itself is quite rewarding. We’ve seen the adoption and deployHowever, an insurer like AXA which

ment of lots of our applications on the

is prepared to innovate and stay at the

cloud. Momentum is building and it

forefront of new technologies can

will just get better and better.”

only stand to benefit. “We need to embrace this as an organisation, look at our value chain, and see where we can utilise insurtech organisations to streamline, to be more efficient, more innovative, faster, and to deliver the change our customers are looking for. We work with and invest in startups where we can leverage their technolow w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

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MLC LIFE INSURANCE Undergoing a digital transformation in the insurance sector WRITTEN BY

SEAN GALEA-PACE PRODUCED BY

ALEX PAGE

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MLC LIFE INSURANCE

Sarv Girn, Chief Innovation and Transformation Officer of MLC Life Insurance, discusses how his company is embracing technology amid a digital transformation in the insurance industry

W

ith digital transformation having an increased impact across all industries, it’s become paramount that companies

continuously monitor their operations to ensure 100

they are providing the best possible service to their customers. For Sarv Girn, Chief Innovation and Transformation Officer of MLC Life Insurance, the experience of the customer is considered key. With a 133-year history and considered the oldest start-up in Australia, MLC Life Insurance has substantial experience in the insurance sector. Having transitioned from NAB ownership to joining the Nippon Life Group of Companies, Girn believes that the change in ownership has allowed MLC Life Insurance to progress its customer experience significantly. “It actually ploughs investments back into the customer offering. The ethos within MLC Life Insurance is that we ensure we put the customer first and investments aim to create platforms for advisers, group funds and end policy holders that are truly customer centric,” says Girn. “That MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

101

makes us quite unique given Nippon’s background, because with the investment in new technologies it’s clear we are really serious about our customers. I believe that is what gives us an edge and it shouldn’t be underestimated.”

UTILISING TECHNOLOGY As customer demands continue to change, it is important that companies respond and adapt to the latest digital trends in order to stay competitive with industry rivals. From first-hand experience, Girn believes he has an w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


MLC LIFE INSURANCE

“We’ve introduced LifeView for our group customers which is a platform we offer to superannuation funds and it’s been very important to us” 102

— Sarv Girn, Chief Innovation and Transformation Officer

MARCH 2019

effective understanding of what customers expect from a life insurer. “The demands of the customer have changed because customers expect everything to be done online now. Three years ago, I had a nasty fall where I broke my ankle and ended up in hospital,” explains Girn. “At the time, I was part of another life insurance company and having to make a claim wasn’t easy. I couldn’t really load all the documents up online and I had to physically go around to a GP, surgeon, and the hospital to get documented proof that I’d been injured, which on


TECHNOLOGY

CLICK TO WATCH : ‘LIFE UNCHANGING — BROOKE WOULDN’T CHANGE A THING’ 103 crutches is no easy task. What

insurance needs online and, should

customers are really expecting is to

they need to make a claim, to be able

log on to a portal, load up all the informa-

to track its progress,” says Girn. “This

tion about their claim electronically,

has been great for members because

track it and get paid automatically.”

claims can go straight through for

With customer requirements in mind,

assessment without the need for lots

MLC Life Insurance has implemented

of manual paperwork. The portal also

a new platform called LifeView, which

offers an integrated experience for

will make the insurance and claims

trustees and administrators, providing

experience easier for members of

superannuation funds with transparent

superannuation funds. The platform is

view of the claims process.”

designed to help improve member engagement, automating processes

TRANSITIONING TO THE CLOUD

and decreasing response times.

Having moved to the cloud under two

“It allows members to manage their

years ago, MLC Life Insurance has w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


MLC LIFE INSURANCE

106

“It’s extremely important to innovate because our customers are tech-savvy and expect to be able to conduct their business online. However, we do leverage the broader Nippon Group and look at what other life insurers in the group are doing” — Sarv Girn, Chief Innovation and Transformation Officer

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

migrated its services and transformed

philosophy, Girn believes that it’s vital

its infrastructure to ensure it produces

to innovate and utilise partners to

the best possible service. Girn affirms

achieve results. “It’s extremely

that any such transformation is difficult

important to innovate because our

to achieve. “Any migration to the cloud

customers are tech-savvy and expect

or to a new system is complex. It takes

to be able to conduct key elements of

careful planning and because we didn’t

their business online. However, we do

actually have a previous system: we

leverage the broader Nippon Group

had to start off from scratch. Every use

and look at what other life insurers in

of cloud needs to be managed from

the group are doing,” he says. “It’s also

a risk perspective, so it’s important

vital to keep in touch with our custom-

that we make sure we understand the

ers in order to gain a better under-

operational aspects of that outsourcing

standing of what issues they have. I’m

and look at how we’re managing and

a firm believer that it doesn’t really

monitoring it.”

matter who you work for, it matters

With innovation considered a key component of MLC Life Insurance’s

who you work with – so for us, having partners out there where you can pick

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Sarv Girn Following the acquisition of MLC Life by Nippon Life from Japan, Sarv is responsible for leading the business transformation to re-establish MLC Life as Australia’s leading and most trusted life insurance company. This includes delivering the most advanced digital and process infrastructure in the insurance sector so as to create great customer experience across the group and retail insurance channels.

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

107


MLC LIFE INSURANCE

1886

Year founded

1,650

Approximate number of employees

HQ

Melbourne Australia

108

up a phone and say ‘we want to try this

objectives and there’s a win-win for both

experiment, can you help here?’ is the

sides. If you have a partner that is

key to innovation.”

always trying to sell you something you

In order to ensure that MLC’s

don’t need, then it isn’t really a partner-

success is sustained, Girn points to the

ship,” he explains. “The trick is to find

development of key partnerships with

joint objectives because if you’ve got

Indian multinational IT provider Tech

a partner who’s doing a great job

Mahindra as well as Salesforce, TCS,

implementing your platform and it’s

Infosys, Microsoft and Oracle and

truly strategic, then you can help them

affirms that effective partnerships have

grow in another part of the company.

been an important component to the

It’s primarily about understanding the

transformation. “I think a partnership

objectives of each other, because if the

works well when you’ve got joint

objectives aren’t aligned, it’s never

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

109

going to be successful, no matter how

around for a long time. Our purpose is

hard you try.”

‘a promise for life’, and considering we’ve been in operation since 1886, we

FUTURE PLANS

want to stay around for a long time to

With sustainability at the forefront of

come. It’s sustainability in a financial

MLC Life Insurance’s strategy, Girn

sense, but it’s also vital for us to stay

believes it’s important to stay relevant

relevant to the community. We’re trying

to customers and respond to their

to become more sustainable in offering

demands on a consistent basis. “We

propositions like health and wellbeing

have to ensure we’re not just effective

when customers are considering life

when dealing with customers, but

insurance,” explains Girn. “If my life

efficient internally as well because we

insurer can tell me that I’m eating the

need to make sure we’re going to be

wrong things or not exercising enough, w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


1

3 2

4

5

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TECHNOLOGY

“We have to ensure we’re not just effective when dealing with customers, but efficient internally as well” — Sarv Girn, Chief Innovation and Transformation Officer

111

and refer me to a gym or a physio, then

mation. We also want to look at some

I’m going to be more likely to stay fit.

really advanced analytics to better

If they keep me healthy and fitter, then

understand our customers’ require-

I’m going to like them and they’re going

ments,” he says. “We’re now entering

to become more sustainable. I believe

a period where we can use machine

that helps to re-define life insurance,

learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to

because a life insurer is primarily a health

analyse customer behaviour and data

and well-being company.”

with their consent and offer a proposi-

Looking to the future, Girn aims to

tion that meets their needs.”

continue to prioritise customers in order to thrive in the life insurance market. “We’re extending our platform even further to our advisers and Group customers to enable further transforw w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


112

MARCH 2019


USA

Agility and customercentricity: Progressive Leasing’s recipe for fintech success WRIT TEN BY

L AUR A MULL AN PRODUCED BY

ANDY TURNER 113

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PROGRESSIVE LEASING

Harnessing agile methodology and a customer-centric approach, Progressive Leasing provides simple and affordable purchase options for credit-challenged consumers

Y

ou could argue that in no sector is disruption more palpable than in finance. For a long time, new entrants found it difficult

to break into the market – but the rise of fintech companies has quickly changed that. These disruptors have helped to usher in a new era where technological prowess and a customer-centric 114

approach have loosened the grasp of incumbents on the market. It’s also provided greater choice for customers, allowing them to select the business which best caters to their needs. But what about the rising number of consumers who are being turned down by primary and secondary financing? Where do those with less-than-perfect credit fit into the equation? Respecting that these customers were underserved and appreciating this was an untapped market, Progressive Leasing, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aaron’s Inc., has made its mark. For over 19 years, the firm has provided simple and affordable purchase options for credit-challenged consumers and it now stands as the largest and longest-tenured virtual lease-to-own provider in the US. Ben Hawksworth, Chief Technology Officer (CTO), MARCH 2019


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PROGRESSIVE LEASING

says the firm ultimately owes its

“The culture is really one of the main reasons I joined the company” — Ben Hawksworth, Chief Technology Officer, Progressive Leasing

success to two things: its deep customer focus and its significant scale. “What gives us an edge is our scale – we’re the number one in the industry and we have been at it the longest,” he observes. “With US$2bn in revenue, thousands of retail partners and a very loyal customer base, this scale has proven to be a real competitive advantage for us and it’s one we hope to leverage as we move forward.” Indeed, today Progressive Leasing’s lease-to-own option has helped millions of customers and their families, meaning

116

that they can buy the goods they need (whether it’s a mattress or a mobile phone), even if they have imperfect credit or an inability to pay for their purchase upfront. Looking forward, Hawksworth is well- equipped to steer the firm as it grows in size. A seasoned business and technology leader, Hawksworth spent almost two decades at the two largest payment providers in the US. As such, he has first-hand experience of how to scale technology. “When you’re dealing with thousands of transactions a second, you have to design your systems and think about MARCH 2019


USA

CLICK TO WATCH : ‘CUSTOMER STORY’ 117 your products and processes a little bit

worth explains. “From our Quality

differently,” he says. “You have to

Engineers to our CEO, everyone is

ensure that they’re hardened, that they

involved in the product experience

can withstand the forces of uptime,

creation. We measure usability,

reliability and accuracy.”

practice design-first thinking and, at

Hawksworth and his team have

the end of the day, we’re really passion-

worked diligently to ensure that the

ate about taking the friction out of the

customer remains front and center

process for our customers at every step.”

of the firm’s vision. As a digitally-fo-

To sum this up, one of the firm’s core

cused business, this journey starts

values is to ‘innovate and simplify’. This

with software development and, more

simple mantra, Hawksworth believes,

specifically, product development.

is one which is central to Progressive

“We have an intense focus on our

Leasing’s way of thinking.

products and solutions and how they

To put this vision into motion, the

meet our customers’ needs,” Hawks-

business has turned its attention to w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


PROGRESSIVE LEASING

agile methodology, a software development practice which helps teams respond to the unpredictability of constructing software. Hawksworth and his colleagues have practiced an agile approach at a team level for quite some time but the real challenge was how to scale this as teams naturally became more interdependent on each other and as products became more complex in a rapidly growing organization. This is where Progressive Leasing first had the idea for an Agile Portfolio Office (APO). Hawksworth describes 118

$2bn

Approximate revenue

1999

Year founded

1,600

Approximate number of employees

this as a place which “brings a center of gravity to our software development lifecycle and adds central accountability to the process of development”. Essentially, this helped to put a structure in place which enabled collaboration, allowed the firm to scale and to promote visibility into the product development lifecycle. Progressive Leasing then

execution of the sprint work itself,”

decided to take this one step further by

explains Hawksworth. “Dual-track puts

exploring a dual track, agile product

accountability on three people – the

development methodology where

product manager, the UX designer and

discovering what to build is just as

the tech lead – to assess the feasibility,

important as the building process. “Our

effort and scope of an idea. It allows us

analysis showed that we spent too

to truly determine whether or not an

much time figuring out the feasibility of

idea is worth building before we start

a product or a feature during the actual

the work.” Successful ideas from the

MARCH 2019


USA

119

discovery track are then followed up

Hawksworth has only just scratched

through a so-called delivery track. This

the surface of Progressive Leasing’s

allows Progressive Leasing to concen-

journey. The business is also imple-

trate its energy and efforts on projects

menting an API management platform

which will deliver value. “By spending

from Google which he says will “give

a little more time upfront, it makes for

the business the ability to innovate on

a much more rewarding experience for

the edge” allowing it to innovate more

our engineers and product managers,”

quickly, consistently and securely. In

he adds.

line with its customer focus, Progresw w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


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USA

“We measure usability, we practise design-first thinking and, at the end of the day, we’re really passionate about taking the friction out of the process for our customers at every step” — Ben Hawksworth, Chief Technology Officer, Progressive Leasing

and deliver a better experience for our customers and retail partners.” Additionally, Hawksworth highlights how the firm is also striving to make its workflow more “content driven” using a content management platform to deliver real-time, uniquely customizable workflows for its retail partners. As a digitally-driven firm, product development isn’t just a technology issue at Progressive Leasing: it’s company wide. As the company rapidly grows, constraints and bottlenecks are something that every department faces. Hawksworth says: “I have the ability and the pleasure to be able to sit down with our CEO and talk about how maybe a legacy design or a legacy constraint creates friction or slows down our delivery process. We can

sive Leasing is also exploring new

easily talk about investing in the

ways to reach and interact with its

foundation as much as in new features

customers. This often involves tailoring

and products,” reflects Hawksworth.

the customer journey to the type of

“We really try to balance staying

device they’re using. “It means that

focused on product innovation and

we’re increasingly putting more and

eliminating legacy constraints.”

more of the process into our custom-

Another challenge with software

ers’ devices whether that’s a mobile

development undoubtedly lies in

phone or a tablet,” he says. “That’s

customer transparency. It’s a core

really where we can take technology

value for Progressive Leasing which w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

121


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USA

123 the company won’t concede on.

Friday holiday. “We had the single most

“That’s really the key quest for us,”

successful day in the company’s

Hawksworth admits. “We never want

history which was a testament to the

to compromise on customer transpar-

hard work that our product, engineer-

ency and, simultaneously, we want to

ing, sales and operations teams put

deliver the best user experience that

into the business,” says Hawksworth

we possibly can. Those two things can

proudly. “It demonstrated that we met

naturally be at odds with one another

our own expectations of flawless

and so it’s up to us to find that perfect

execution on our most successful day.”

harmony.”

However, such growth brings along its

This is a delicate balancing act that is

own challenges and opportunities –

undoubtedly paying off. Progressive

one of which involves attracting and

Leasing has grown nearly 10 times in

retaining key talent. Today, the

size over the past six years, with its

business has several hundred people

success culminating in a bumper Black

working in its technology and product w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


PROGRESSIVE LEASING

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department with more being added every day. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, a region which has been dubbed ‘Silicon Slopes’ for its buzzing tech scene, Progressive Leasing has to work hard to ensure it not only gets the best talent, but that these individuals also work well within the firm’s culture. Progressive’s innovative recruitment team has turned to firms like Tekmark Global Solutions to find unique skills and the best talent – but for Hawksworth, it’s not about skills alone. “In this competitive market, we have to move quickly but we also feel very strongly about spending quality time with candidates to make sure they are going to be a good cultural fit,” says Hawksworth. “The culture is really one of the main reasons I joined the company. It’s second to none. It’s great to see Progressive Leasing has managed to maintain this culture even though we’ve grown to be a two-billiondollar company and my job is to make sure we keep it strong and vibrant. Firms like Tekmark understand how important culture is for us and they speak the Progressive story innately with candidates to attract the right w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

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PROGRESSIVE LEASING

talent required to sustain our growth.” Progressive Leasing owes a lot to its team, and it also relies on key partners, both externally and internally, to maintain its rapid momentum. “Internally, my biggest partner is our Chief Product Officer and our VP of Product. We simply can’t afford to be misaligned. If we aren’t running in the exact same direction, at the exact same target, we will not be able to deliver our vision. Meanwhile, externally, we’ve leveraged a firm called Silicon Valley Product Group (SVPG) to help us to fine-tune 126

our process and ensure that we’re all on the same page.” With this support, Progressive Leasing is set to continue on its upward trajectory and whilst no

“We have an intense focus on our products and solutions and how they meet our customers’ needs” — Ben Hawksworth, Chief Technology Officer, Progressive Leasing

MARCH 2019


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one can predict where the finance sector will head in the future, one thing is for certain – Progressive Leasing will remain laser-focused on the customer experience. “We believe that really listening to our customers will give us the best roadmap to our ongoing success,” Hawksworth affirms.

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PAYOMATIC: DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION TOWARDS MOBILE ENABLEMENT WRIT TEN BY

JOHN O’HANLON PRODUCED BY

ANDY TURNER

MARCH 2019


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PAY O M AT I C

For more than 60 years, Payomatic Corporation has filled the space between the formal banking system and the cash economy for millions of New Yorkers. Today, money works differently than it used to, catalysing a new digitally enabled customer focus

T

he blue and yellow PAYOMATIC banner is a familiar sight in and around New York, standing above almost 150 stores or

Money Centers. Nearly half of these are open 24 130

hours a day. Since its origins in the 1950s, the company has provided an essential alternative to the formal banking system, providing the ‘underbanked and unbanked’ population with the facility to cash checks, pay bills and remit money overseas, among other services. The New York metropolitan area has always attracted a huge population of migrant and immigrant workers, and though these are by no means the only group to benefit from such services, they typically work irregular hours, maybe in multiple employments and get paid in cash or by check. Not infrequently they are supporting dependents overseas, necessitating a reliable and quick way to remit funds. For these customers, the bureaucracy of the traditional banking route is not easily accessible. However, at PAYOMATIC, they can take care of all MARCH 2019


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PAY O M AT I C

“We endeavoured to build a single source of truth for the customer” — Steve Mayotte Chief Information Officer, PAYOMATIC

of their business in one place. At the same time as cashing a check, they are able to pay utility bills, buy money orders, and even try their luck with the NY Lottery. The ability to walk in off the street into a welcoming store environment is important to them, and for the many shift workers whose labor keeps the city humming, the latenight availability of so many stores is a boon. PAYOMATIC is the largest financial services provider and Western Union’s biggest reseller in the New York area.

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FROM CONSULTANT TO CIO Like everyone else PAYOMATIC customers are busy people who want to take full advantage of the tools technology affords them. As a retail-type business with a large high street presence and the overhead costs that go with that, PAYOMATIC decided some eight years ago that it needed to bring all of its systems up to date and take advantage of the technology that had infiltrated the traditional banks. It partnered with Modus Agency, an awardwinning digital innovation MARCH 2019


USA

133 consultancy, to develop a multi-

rate view of the customer and each

year plan focused on modernizing

transaction was a function of that store.”

PAYOMATIC’s legacy software

Each time a customer came in with

platforms. Modus’s Steven Mayotte

a check to cash, the customer service

and his team worked on this plan and

representative (CSR), or teller at the

developed a roadmap, working closely

counter, had to take a risk on behalf of

with PAYOMATIC’s CIO and COO.

the company, making decisions about

In 2013 Mayotte transitioned from

that customer and the issuer (‘maker’)

Modus to become Vice President for

of the check – and underwrite that risk.

IT at PAYOMATIC, and in 2015 he was

“If someone hit one location with a fraud-

appointed CIO. It was a seamless

ulent check they’d probably move on to

progression, he explains. “When I first

hit ten or 15 other stores because the

engaged with PAYOMATIC the company

systems did not talk to one another.”

faced problems that are familiar in the

Another issue was that the stores

retail and financial service space. With

leverage distribution of around 15

150 locations, each one had a dispa-

partner products. Each of these, like w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


FinTech. MarTech. HealthTech. Whatever your tech, it’s all really HumanTech.

Driven by innovation, design thinking, and a deep understanding of human behavior, we create digital products and experiences that businesses—and humans—love.

The HumanTech Company modus-made.com


USA

PAYOMATIC’s largest partner for

as well as an online transactional

remittances and international payments,

system that could integrate with every

Western Union, has proprietary

third party in real time through applica-

procedures. “There were disparate

tion programming interfaces (APIs).”

systems that tellers were expected to know how to use, then enter back into

DIRECTED TO DIGITAL

the main transactional systems, mostly

This was an ambitious goal but an

in real time. Losses from fraud and

essential first step in the digital journey,

teller error were high. The company

he says – to consolidate data from the

had not really evolved to make use of

customer, the maker, and all other

the more modern technologies

sources, create better analytics to

available. We endeavored to build

understand customer behavior, achieve

a single source of truth for the customer,

transparency into fraud patterns as 135

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Steven Mayotte Steve Mayotte is responsible for building and developing technology systems and infrastructure for all the PAYOMATIC businesses and for leading the company’s digital transformation. He is responsible for developing and implementing PAYOMATIC’s information security strategy and data engineering, analytics, and machine learning strategy. Mayotte has more than 12 years of experience in financial services and hightech consulting. Prior to joining PAYOMATIC, he served as Service Delivery Manager for Modus Agency. w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


PAY O M AT I C

well as underwriting models, and align these within the business so that accurate information would be available to its leadership for better decision making. It had been tackled before in the financial space, he acknowledges, but having looked at existing platforms, his team found that none of them would fit PAYOMATIC’s unique hybrid business model in the space between retail and financial services. Partnering with Modus Agency for software development, a custom-written 136

platform known as TL2 was created that can not only encompass the inventory management and tracking of the product (cash) but also recognize all of the

efficiencies at every level,” says Mayotte.

treasury functions required by the

“This plat-

Federal Reserve and the banking

form paved the way for us to automate

system as well as multiple partner

back-office processes and enhance the

systems. The new platform removed the

in-store customer experience.”

burden from 800 CSRs of working with

Building on the success of new

multiple platforms when completing

transactional platform PAYOMATIC

customer transactions, dramatically

turned its focus to data. From data

reduced fraud losses and made it

silos, the company has achieved data

much easier to manage the peaks

democratization. “At first we leveraged

and troughs that the stores exper-

external partners to help us with data

ience on paydays, holidays and at

warehousing and ETL processes, then

different times of day or night. “We

as our capabilities matured we hired a

have seen dramatic cost savings and

dedicated team internally focused on


USA

“Migrating to managed cloud solutions allows our team focus on delivering business value rather than on hosting and setup” — Steve Mayotte Chief Information Officer, PAYOMATIC data engineering. The team partnered

delivering business value rather than

with analysts and built a platform

on hosting and setup.”

enabling on-demand data exploration

He’s proud of the way his staff has

and reporting in our on-premise

been able to develop their skills and

infrastructure. As we’ve grown, the size

learned how to leverage the efficiencies

of our data continues to expand

presented by the public cloud. For

exponentially. To deal with the problem

example, PAYOMATIC uses AWS

we are architecting our next genera-

managed Kubernetes to run their

tion data platform running on the public

microservice workloads. “Previously

cloud.” Mayotte is looking at Tableau for

our deployment times weren’t bad but

data visualization and Apache Hadoop

they took the better part of a day running

for large-scale data processing on the

a mixture of automated scripts, manual

public cloud. “Migrating to managed

procedures, and testing: now with our

cloud solutions lets our team focus on

investment in DevOps, continuous w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

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PAY O M AT I C

integration, and continuous delivery we can deploy our microservices workloads to Production in minutes!” It’s especially gratifying to him to have built a focused, tight-knit team that has delivered results like these when other companies might have engaged Big Four consultants costing millions of dollars. These days, development teams have a big tool chest they can raid. For example, Terraform, the infrastructureas-a-service (IaaS) tool from HashiCorp has, Mayotte testifies, played a huge 138

part in the DevOps work of his teams,

“The organisation, having tackled the behind-the-scenes technology, was ready to start engaging with customers in a new channel” — Steve Mayotte Chief Information Officer, PAYOMATIC

enabling them to easily access Amazon or other cloud resources. Cybersecurity laws are evolving, he points out, with New York being the first state to publish financial service sector information security regulations. “Our CISO and his team are responsible for security compliance and we use IBM QRadar and other cloud-based SIEM (security information and event management) monitoring software tools to detect cybersecurity attacks and network breaches.” PAYOMATIC has invested scrupulously in tools and aud-

MARCH 2019


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5mn+

Checks cashed annually

1958

Year founded

1,000

Approximate number of employees 139

iting from a risk management perspec-

directly deposited, all without a trad-

tive, and is fully compliant with the New

itional bank account. The inPOWER

York State Department of Financial

card, accredited to the highest PCI

Services (NYS DFS) Part 500 cyberse-

Level 1 standard, has not been on the

curity regulations for financial institutions.

market long, having been launched in November 2018 but, linked to a new

INPOWER: CARD ON THE RUN

mobile app it’s already transforming

Two years ago, Payomatic started to

customer engagement, he enthuses.

develop its hottest new offering,

“The organization, having tackled the

a prepaid MasterCard that allows

behind-the-scenes technology was

Payomatic customers to pay bills,

ready to start engaging with customers

withdraw money from an ATM, shop

in a new channel – mobile.”

online, or have paychecks and other government checks like tax refunds

Payomatic partnered with a mobile commerce specialist to identify the w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


PAY O M AT I C

C O M PA N Y FACT S highest value opportunities to transform consumer experience and extend the familiar store experience into the digital world. Assigning a dedicated product team, Stuzo researched the customer base to produce a product strategy and roadmap. The result was a mobile app for iOS and Android that launched with the inPOWER card. “All of the services supporting the mobile app run on AWS cloud. The app’s initial features focus on inPOWER customers with plans for 140

new products and features in 2019. Early customer adoption has been excellent. We are really excited about mobile as an alternative distribution channel to the stores. It gives us a much closer relationship and understanding of the customer and their behavior.” Connecting the in-store experience with the digital experience will be his focus over the coming year, he continues, adding features like staging transactions, which are making it easier to complete them in store or even ‘on the run’ using mobile technology. “Utility payments make up a large portion of our bill pay-ment transaction volume. Say a customer has been MARCH 2019

“We are really excited about mobile as an alternative distribution channel to the stores” — Steve Mayotte Chief Information Officer, PAYOMATIC


USA

saving up to pay multiple bills at the month’s end. When they come to visit a store there is a lengthy data entry process to complete all their transactions. Our vision is that customers store their bills in our mobile app and choose to process their payments in-store or through the mobile app. ” Steven Mayotte has a palpable relish for his role as CIO of PAYOMATIC, which he says is not really about technology so much as about customer engagement. “Younger customers would probably rather not come into a store at all, but they are always going to need our financial services. My view is that we must meet the customer wherever and however they want to be met. We need to be relevant to all our customers for the next 30 years or more and the technology is just serving to advance that strategy.”

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Disrupting insurance with flexible technology architecture

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WRIT TEN BY

DA LE BENTON PRODUCED BY

A LE X PAGE w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


SINGAPORE LIFE

Singapore Life disaggregates insurance products through flexible and efficient digital architecture

I

n 2014, insurance company Singapore Life was built on a simple belief: that the world needed a better life insurer which used technology to

provide a superior experience for the customer. In the years since, Singapore Life has grown significantly. Through the company’s acquisition of Zurich Life Singapore’s expansive insurance business portfolio in 144

2018, Singapore Life continues to push the boundaries of technology in financial services. As it navigates the digital revolution in financial services, through sound investment and technological innovation, the company has built an architecture that enables greater flexibility and technology implementation while keeping the customer at the heart of its operations. “We are not a fintech that creates intellectual property purely through technology,” says James Shanahan, Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Singapore Life. “Instead we put that technology to use in a way which brings a unique business model to life.” That business model, something that truly separates Singapore Life from other leading financial institutions worldwide, is centred on “disaggregating the traditional product in order to bring greater flexibility and ultimately a better buying experience and pricing for the customer”. As technology continues to disrupt the traditional and MARCH 2019


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SINGAPORE LIFE

“What we see are business models built on big systems and platforms that are very inflexible and typically reflect a cost-driven approach and this translates into a rigid, fixed sales approach and impersonal market offerings” — James Shanahan Chief Operating Officer, Singapore Life

now archaic means of buying and selling financial products, Shanahan believes that this has shone a light on what is a fundamentally broken market. “What’s broken isn’t the uptake of technology, it’s actually the attitude towards technology and the flexibility in how you sell financial services,” he says. “What we see are business models built on big systems and platforms that are very inflexible and typically reflect a cost-driven approach and this translates into a rigid, fixed sales approach and impersonal market offerings.” Singapore Life disaggregates the product MARCH 2019


ASIA

and breaks them down into multiple levels: product configuration, service orchestration and market offering. At the product configuration level, Singapore Life’s back end functionality allows the company to build products as wide-reaching as possible in terms of defining or limiting parameters. This takes into consideration as wide a number of possibilities as possible, such as different currencies or interest rates. “Why should there be market specific limits at the back end? “, asks Shanahan. The middle layer, service orchestration, is key to facilitating Singapore Life’s market offering. “This model allows for much lower costs and breaks down some of the complexities of the process,” says Shanahan. “Once a product is set up and the service configured, the offering can then serve multiple markets. It makes the front end very flexible because what can be offered is orchestrated in that middle layer.” Given various different mediums which customers use to access financial services, such as mobile applications, online portals or third-party platforms, Singapore Life’s back end functionality allows the front end delivery model to operate almost unconstrained. “None of the front end changes the back end product configuration. It’s all about the customer journey and their experience at the front end,” he says. “We’re able to produce or work with w w w.f i nte c hma ga z in e. com

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— Walter De Oude, Founder & CEO of SingLife, and happy customer & friend of Contemi since 2014


Contemi was founded in 2001 to design, build and robustly scale the complete IT systems for a start-up insurer in Scandinavia. From the initial mock-up and proof-of-concepts, to building the insurers own scalable core, accounting and claims systems, and managing the IT platform as the insurer grew leaps and bounds. Ever since then, Contemi have worked successfully with many start-up insurance operations in Scandinavia and Asia. Both stand-alone entrepreneurial pursuits as well as new business setups for

larger, mature insurers. For most we have built and managed their respective IT platforms and acted as key IT partner over the years, as they have gone “from zero to hero”. It is a Contemi specialty. We started working with Walter de Oude and his team at the SingLife design and proof-of-concept stage in 2014, and today still work with SingLife on delivering key pieces of the IT platform. We enjoy thoroughly working with SingLife and hope to do so for many years to come as SingLife’s success continues.

If you are looking to start something new in insurance – could be a new business line, a new partnership, a new distribution channel, a new claims process, a new eco-system integration and customer engagement model, etc – and you are now thinking about the underpinning IT solution - please do give us call on +65 8695 4219 and let’s talk about it. No promises, but let’s see if we can’t help put a bit of thunder into the IT part of your project.

www.contemi.com


SINGAPORE LIFE

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C O N T E M I — A S T R AT E G I C PA R T N E R S H I P

Contemi, a global leader in next generation IT solutions and supporting customers through digitialisation journeys, has been a key strategic partner of Singapore Life since the beginning. For Shanahan, the relationship between the two represents the way in which Singapore Life truly values its partners. “There are several aspects that we deeply value with Contemi,” he says. “First, their proactive and deeply supportive culture, which lies at the heart of all our key relationships. Secondly, they understand our business and they add value to our thinking and our solutioning and our designs constantly. Thirdly, the technical skills and knowledge and, increasingly, experience, arising from Contemi’s home in Vietnam.” It is this third part in particular that highlights Contemi’s role in the growth of Singapore Life. Shanahan notes that the education system, culture, work ethic and competitive landscape in Vietnam is rapidly transforming, giving rise to what Singapore Life believes is a “powerful new force in technology, particularly in software development”. Contemi is integral to the company’s architectural, design, development, testing and rollout capabilities, participating and collaborating in the

entire product lifecycle. “Sustainability in any friendship arises from mutual contribution to the relationship,” says Shanahan. “For SingLife, we work hard to contribute to all our friendships. For Contemi we experience their contribution continuously and proactively and we benefit from their insights and experiences.” Contemi has taken the lead role in developing Singapore Life’s direct and advised portals. Every customer of Singapore Life engages with the company through these portals, as do its advisors, and so Contemi allows the company to innovate and to improve both the portals and the customer and advisor relationships. “Our policy serving is accessed via our portals in the first instance, meaning that an increased portion of customers’ needs are performed directly by customers and advisors in their portals,” says Shanahan. “We are continuously expanding the capabilities of the portals so that the experience is maintained at a worldclass level and so that customers and advisors access the most efficient solutions for their needs. We very much look forward to Contemi continuing in this role as we expand into new business lines and geographically.”

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SINGAPORE LIFE

“Singapore Life’s architecture is designed in a way that removes the restrictions that are inherently built into the traditional ‘fully integrated’ sales process” 152

— James Shanahan Chief Operating Officer, Singapore Life an unlimited variety of front ends that

what it believes has been missing from

connect to the orchestration, in order

the financial services landscape, which

to service multiple markets, regardless

is the flexibility to adapt to the custom-

of medium, language, geography, buying

er’s needs rapidly, to offer services

customs or other channel characteris-

which reflect contemporary pricing and

tics. Singapore Life’s architecture is

crafting experiences that delight their

designed in a way that removes the

customers, ultimately resulting in better

restrictions that are inherently built

financial outcomes for all stakeholders.

into the traditional ‘fully integrated’

“We are not so arrogant as to expect

sales process.”

people will only buy product X through

Removing the historical rigidity of

an app, or through partner X’s site or in

developing and selling financial services

only one way,” says Shanahan. “We

allows Singapore Life to reconceive its

want to allow all our partners, our own

business operating model and to deliver

teams and others in our ecosystem to

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153

invent new sales experiences, channels

operating model leverages the concept

and mediums and be able to interact

of its emerging platform economy and

with us via an API layer at the orchestra-

the network effects which are becom-

tion level. We don’t profess to have the

ing evident amongst Singapore Life’s

definitive answer as to the best way to

customers and its ecosystem.

sell financial services; instead, we

“We have constructed a platform that

strive to enable as much flexibility as

it is incredibly flexible and operates

possible and to allow exploration and

at a cost which is at least an order of

discovery to lead us to better outcomes,

magnitude lower than prior solutions. In

all the while building a capability which

previous generations it was not possible

compounds the speed of that discov-

to enjoy tiny incremental cost of distribu-

ery over time.”

tion while deploying high flexibility and

The financial strategy underpinning Singapore Life’s unique business

rapid iteration,” says Shanahan. “Our operating model delivers this and further w w w.f i nte c hma ga z in e. com


THERE’S A NEW

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FOR ENQUIRIES CONTACT JASON MORRISSEY, Partner +65 6220 8383 Singapore • Kuala Lumpur • Manila • Hong Kong • Shanghai • Brisbane • Sydney • Canberra • Melbourne • Auckland


ASIA

CLICK TO WATCH : SINGAPORE LIFE WELCOMES ZURICH LIFE SINGAPORE 155 allows us to consider multiple low cost,

importance. As Shanahan notes, the

high volume back ends which expand the

technology platform cannot operate in

scope of services our customers enjoy,

isolation and so Singapore Life invests

while new geographies and partnerships

in its operating model by bringing in

can be explored rapidly and without

partners to create further flexibility,

architectural complexity via front ends.”

managing the operating model via

Ultimately the platform economics

a governance approach which fully

bring about an increasing productivity gain over time, delivering on and

leverages its open ecosystem. He describes Singapore Life as the

continuously strengthening Singapore

‘architects’ that oversee the design, the

Life’s unique business model promise.

funding and allocation of capital, and

Technology is key to achieving

the company’s roadmaps, the distribut-

increased productivity throughout the

ing 100% of its development and back

company and its ecosystem, but the

office operations to create an ecosys-

operating model is perhaps of greater

tem of the likeminded. “The idea is that w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


SINGAPORE LIFE

we don’t want ‘vendors’ or someone who’s just trying to sell us something,” he says. “We also don’t want partners, which simply implies a level of seniority. What we really want are friends.” Shanahan continues: “When we say, ‘open ecosystem,’ it’s an ecosystem of people who are like minded when it comes to achieving our vision, who’ve got each other’s back, who are simpatico in their understanding, and whose incentives, both emotional and professional, are aligned to the same goals.” In bringing this open ecosystem to life, Singapore Life can drive robust and rapid changes in both the organisation and the 156

industry. To this end, Singapore Life works closely with local and international partners such as Amazon, GrowthOps, Ranosys, Sapiens and LogiGear to develop, test and implement leading-edge software solutions to accelerate the company’s growth. “The most important thing for Singapore Life is working with companies that can enable an extreme level of flexibility, to bring in new and different resources as well as different types of skillsets,” says Shanahan. “We then end up with organisations that we’ve effectively grown with – people that believe in our philosophy, our vision,where we’re trying to get to.” GrowthOps in particular has been a key driver of growth for Singapore Life, having worked with the company since April 2017. MARCH 2019

“With our architecture powering growth, it’s now time for Singapore Life to come of age and step into adulthood in terms of our standing as a regional champion” — James Shanahan Chief Operating Officer, Singapore Life


ASIA

Singapore Life engaged GrowthOps as a technology advisory partner to improve its infrastructure, cloud security, compliance and business continuity. In Oct 2017, Singapore Life officially went live with its client portal and high net worth online offerings. Since then, GrowthOps has been working in partnership with the company in five areas: cost optimisation, security, reliability, performance and operational excellence. “Singapore Life engaged us to develop a robust technology infrastructure that could be leveraged to provide financial solutions directly to its clients,” says Jason Morrissey, Partner, GrowthOps. “GrowthOps is excited to be involved in the expansion story of a digitallyfocused financial services company, and our teams look forward to further developing our relationship in 2019 and beyond.” At the very heart of every decision that Singapore Life takes, be it operations, finance or technology, is the customer. In the financial services space, the customer can take on many forms and in order for Singapore Life to deliver the very best for them it needs to understand how the contemporary customer behaves. In Singapore, the modern customer is time-poor and this has seen companies look to tap into this market by creating mobile applications in order to bring them insurance and other financial products. Singapore Life w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

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SINGAPORE LIFE

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SINGAPORE LIFE

160

recognises that while this can bring

Singapore Life is an incredibly

success, it’s not representative of the

ambitious company. By early 2019

customer experience that Singapore

the company was valued at over

Life seeks to provide. “The key for us is

US$200mn and had achieved profit-

observing that time-poor state and

ability in its first full year of operation,

thinking how we can build a smooth,

making it Singapore’s fastest growing

compelling and attractive experience

life insurer. With a wholly flexible and

for that customer,” says Shanahan.

incredibly unique architecture in place,

“There are so many apps in the market

the sky is well and truly the limit. As

now I couldn’t possibly tell you which one

‘the next generation’ financial services

is going to ‘win’. We want to experiment,

company, what does the future hold

use our flexibility and other capabilities

for Singapore Life? The company has

to discover what works for customers

outlined its ambitions to expand into

in real life.”

the ASEAN market, to significantly

MARCH 2019


ASIA

its strong business plans and push to enter new markets and rollout additional lines of business. From the outset GrowthOps has worked with Singapore Life to ensure the technologies are in place to support the company’s goal of becoming a preferred Singaporean financial services company.” For Singapore Life, this goal will be achieved by keeping the customer at the heart of its operations. “Our intention is to fill the more holistic financial services needs of individuals and to continue to work with our ecosystem to bring new and wonderful things to our expanding markets,” says Shanahan. “With our architecture powering growth, it’s now broaden its insurance portfolio and

time for Singapore Life to come of age

to expand to other financial services,

and step into adulthood in terms of our

using its operating model, licence and

standing as a regional champion.”

rapidly expanding capital base to renovate and reinvigorate financial services. It will achieve this with the help of those key partners. “GrowthOps works closely with Singapore Life’s management team and is supporting the company’s digital expansion in Southeast Asia,” says Morrissey. “Moreover, GrowthOps is further enhancing Singapore Life’s technology infrastructure to support w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

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Using technology to grow in Japan

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WRIT TEN BY

SOPHIE CHAPM AN PRODUCED BY

A LE X PAGE

MARCH 2019


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PA I D Y

As Paidy builds its status in Japan, the payment company’s CTO talks to Business Chief about ITS digital disruption journey

T

he Japanese startup was founded in 2008, but despite having been present in the nation’s fintech industry for over 10 years,

Paidy’s expansion became most prominent in the past few years. “Definitely over the last three years we have seen tremendous growth – consumer growth, merchant network growth, and growth in 164

our consumer spaces, such as active users on the platform,” reveals Houston Ross, Chief Technology Officer at Paidy. Since 2017, the company has expanded by more than 200%, and is now currently one of the largest online payment businesses in Japan. The firm offers cardless payments using only an email address and phone number – the accessible, frictionless payment method does not require a credit card nor application. “To summarise, we take the risk out of online transactions. The Japanese use the term “mendokusai” which means troublesome. So, we remove the mendokusai in terms of facilitating payments online,” states Houston. As well as being a technology-driven business, Paidy’s values centre around its workforce. “Paidy’s main core values are discovery, diversity and inclusion,” Houston says. The firm employs around MARCH 2019


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“The government has said that by 2020, 40% of all transactions should be online. Now that’s an opportunity to acknowledge” — Houston Ross Chief Technology Officer, Paidy

MARCH 2019

120 members of staff of 28 different nationalities. “So, diversity is really important to us, in terms of how we operate in trying to collectivise that diversity and then funnel it into the innovation that we use to power our company. I think that’s one of our core values,” Ross continues. With its diverse workforce, the company is able to introduce a range of new ideas and cutting-edge concepts. The business claims to be at the pinnacle of technology-adoption, which allows it to simplify


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CLICK TO WATCH : INSTANT YOU (PAIDY INC.) 167

Japan’s payment options. In order to

to encapsulate an experience right now

remove complexities and mendokusai

focused on the payments. And of

from purchasing, the payment network

course, the technology that we utilize

has adopted artificial intelligence (AI)

underpins that.” As the company’s CTO,

and machine learning. “I think at the

Houston is ensuring Paidy’s relation-

core of what we’re doing, we’re talking

ship with technology continues to

about financial risk management. So,

develop. “I’m responsible for engineer-

our ability to process that data and

ing, products, Infosec and operations,”

analyze it daily at the transactional level

notes Houston. When joining the

is key to our business,” says Houston.

company last year, having previously

“For us, digital transformation is the

worked at Nationale Nederlanden and

engine that underpins our ability to

AXA Life Insurance, the CTO decided

remove that mendokusai. We’re trying

to isolate his firm’s security function. w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


Make Every Customer Interaction Count Create innovative & delightful customer experiences with programmable communications. www.nexmo.com | sales@nexmo.com |


ASIA

“When I arrived at Paidy, security was

factor to our technology operations as

a part of our engineering operations.

well our consumers and invoices. We

One of the first things I did was pull it

run our business in the cloud on AWS

away from engineering and set it on

Stack, and there are other services like

its own course,” claims Houston.

Circle-CI that we’re leveraging as well

There are several risks to consider within the fintech industry, with the P2P platform addressing operational risk,

because they’re on our continuous integration.” The network is becoming increasingly

cyber risk, and risks within underlying

popular in Japan as it is revolutionising

technology. As the business grows,

the industry and targeting both the mass

Paidy is adopting partnerships with

market and business. “The relationship

companies such as Nexmo and AWS.

between users and merchants is critical

“We work with partners like Nexmo,

to every interaction, and everyone

which targets SMS messaging – a key

involved is having to build trust.In that

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Houston Ross Houston Ross recently joined Paidy as the firm’s Chief Technology Officer. Prior to October last year, Houston was positioned as the Chief Operations Officer for Czech Republic and Slovakia at Nationale Nederlanden, as well as being a Board Member. The innovation-focused executive has also worked for NN’s Life Insurance Company as the Vice President, Chief Operations Officer, and Chief Information Officer, as well as AXA Life Insurance Japan as the Chief Technology Officer. Houston graduated from Barrington University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science and the University of Liverpool in 2007 with a Master of Business Administration degree.

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

169


PA I D Y

2008

Year founded

100+

Approximate number of employees

170

MARCH 2019


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171

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PA I D Y

“Diversity is really important to us, in terms of how we operate in trying to collectivise that diversity and then funnel it into the innovation that we use to power our company” 172

— Houston Ross Chief Technology Officer, Paidy

CLICK TO WATCH : PAIDY, HOW TO VIDEO (JAPANESE LANGUAGE)

MARCH 2019


ASIA

we want to introduce additional new products for our company,” Houston says. With opportunities on the horizon, such as the Olympics being held in Japan in 2020, Paidy aims to take advantage of its surroundings. “The government has said that by 2020, 40% of all transactions should be online. Now that’s an opportunity to acknowledge,” continues Houston. The biggest challenge for Houston within his role is enabling the business’s growth: “With the scaling on a vertical side and the scaling on a horizontal side, on one hand you’re trying to build a foundation where you can grow, and space, Paidy says ‘look, we take the

the other is adding additional revenue

risk.’ The merchant is assured they will

and value streams to that ecosystem.

be paid by the consumer, as we accept

My personal challenge is how do you do

the consumer risk and trust that they

both at the same time whilst continuing

pay us,” explains Houston. “Then we

to expand.”

make it a whole lot more seamless, we make it frictionless, and we remove mendokusai for the merchant as well as for the consumer.” “Our primary goal is around growth, from both a vertical and horizontal perspective. The vertical perspective is to expand from 2mn Paidy consumers to 5mn in 2019. As for horizontal growth, w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

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Profile for Gigabit

FinTech Magazine – March 2019  

FinTech Magazine – March 2019