In my opinion, client-centricity is keeping our Customer's customer at the center and deciding everything around that- both in letter and in spirit. To illustrate this point, if there is something that is right for my customer's customer, though it may be more expensive to me or the bank, as a true partner, we should go for it.
Our leadership team is unique and diverse, and that is the strength of this team. We have a good mix of technology and domain skills, new and homegrown talent, professionals with experience as well as fresh graduates with newer vision... all united by a common purpose of accelerating the digital journey of Banks and FIs. More importantly, the team carries, and embodies, a "Can do" attitude.
Cambridge Intellect Leadership program is our thought leadership event and our humble way of contributing to this ecosystem. It is a global cohort of retail bank leaders, where apart from connecting with their counterparts and thought leaders and academics from across the globe, they can also understand the digital transformation trends and create a personalized blueprint of their institutions with the help of their peers, speakers, global leaders, and Cambridge University Professors.
Our team has worked diligently over the last couple of years to achieve our vision and demonstrated predictable and calibrated growth. Last year, I felt that all the business engines had started firing well in unison: Sales, Solutioning, Engineering, Delivery, and Production Support. I believe that when everything comes together, we get the flywheel impact, and that is what we are witnessing in our business now. I must add, however, that not only retail banking, but all units of intellect have demonstrated significant growth in their respective businesses.
I believe in the following 5 key leadership traits: Reflection, Collaboration, Ownership, Agility, and Accountability. A leader is someone who can assemble a team that may have divergent belief systems and strengths, unites them with a common purpose, empowers them, and is always there to watch their backs. I aspire to be such a leader.
“The power to curate a solution that addresses specific needs is why iKredit360 is ushering a reality beyond lending in the credit space.”
Chief Executive Officer, Global Consumer Banking
Cambridge-Intellect Leadership Programme Reimagining digital
First-ever program on Digital transformation at Cambridge.
Bringing together Retail banking heads, Chief Digital Officers, CIOs, O&T heads.
There is renewed focus and interest in the Lending Business globally, across ‘Consumer Assets’ if I may add, because that’s where the primary revenue opportunities are- it’s the money-generating side of banks/FIs. Traditionally, Lending functionalities and modules were packaged and sold along with Core Banking, and it was considered a massive transformation exercise for the FIs to implement a new Core or to change an existing one. With the advent of new-age platforms, no longer do FIs have to go for a complete Core transformation. Standalone lending solutions provide comprehensive coverage of all banking needs across the Assets platform and especially with a platform like iKredit360, which goes even further to curate niche and relevant solutions across products, channels, and enterprise verticals to change the paradigm of how we have visualised Banking transformations. Who needs a traditional Core when you can curate your credit requirements through iKredit360!
Over the last 18 months or so, the world in general, and consumer finance in particular has seen a considerable churn in the way they are operating- long-established traditional processes and way of working are no longer acceptable and are being removed to make way for faster, digital and straight-through processes- that economize on efforts and cost all across. One of the main influences of this approach has been to replace a traditional product focus approach with a more customer-centric one, leading to an eco-system based product proposition in which credit/lending/consumer finance gets intrinsically wedded to the ecosystem where the finance is being offered- so, a consumer finance proposition at a retail store X needs to differentiate itself from a consumer finance proposition at an e-com site Y, and still provide a superlative customer experience, and simultaneously be commercially viable for the FI. This is only possible if the FIs can raise the bar from being just product pushers to relevant ecosystem players. A great case study that comes to mind is Amazon, where I, as a consumer, can go and select a product, then a brand of my choice, and also avail a financing scheme suited to my needs, and my credit rating, all from the SAME PLATFORM - a perfect example of marrying POS Retail with Consumer Financing and Data Analytics!
iKredit360 is a comprehensive platform that adopts the above viewpoint from an eco-system perspective, curating solutions depending on the requirement envisioned by the clients. This is the winning edge for us- FIs no longer need to tweak their process design to fit our solution, instead, the platform can give wings to their strategic ambitions and design solutions that can wow their customers. We have had workshops where we have gone to the extent of exploring ‘The Art of the Possible’ because of the platform’s capability.
Buy Now, Pay Later has created quite a buzz, and for the right reasons. But I feel what the world has discovered so far is only a tip of the proverbial iceberg-what is yet to be explored are the rest of the pieces of the eco-system puzzle- Merchant Financing and Merchant Servicing being two such key items that we are discovering as part of iKredit360 platform. You hardly see them getting covered in BNPL case studies. These categories will provide newer avenues for financing thereby making the overall proposition stronger from a supply side.
"Let’s get it done!!"
Expanding the BNPL viewpoint from payment to ecosystem
Financial institutions require a holistic solution to crack the fine art of balancing sticky experiences while spotting, and leveraging on, opportunities that bring in additional revenue.
This architecture paradigm is all about the assembly of a solution by bringing together various independent building blocks. When you take the perspective of an enterprise or a bank, it is all about curating solutions and experiences from autonomous business components. Gartner calls these business components “Packaged Business Capabilities” or PBCs relevant for a business user. These components can be accessed from a vendor, or from the bank’s internal eco-system, or from a marketplace that the bank has access to. When you take the perspective of an application or one business component, it is about architecting it with a microservices architecture. It's very important that each building block in a composable architecture is a self-complete black box that provides a well-defined capability in terms of Open APIs and events for others to interact with it.
This also highlights a need for a composition platform that rapidly enables this assembly and orchestration. Maximum scale and agility are only possible if you have these components deployed as containers on a Kubernetes service on elastic cloud, follow cloud-native principles, and be available as a service.
There is a thin line between PBCs (Packaged Business Capabilities) and microservices. Architecturally they represent the same paradigm of composition. PBCs due to their enterprise context have a Go To Market focus, are granular enough to serve a business need that can be composed while designing an enterprise solution or composing a bank, and can be swapped easily with an alternative PBC from another source. Thus, they are apt for an independent GTM as a service on the cloud. Microservices are more relevant as application architecture and might not be practical for an independent GTM as it would increase the costs of integration and might make the change transformation unviable. Practically, one PBC will be architected as one or more microservices.
When designing a product or a PBC, it must be "Open for Extension, Closed for Change". There are some conscious design strategies to ensure that the product kernel is a black-box and any extensibility and customization is a "Do It Yourself" and happens using one or more of the following strategies:
For seamless integration, we use a proven composition platform called iTurmeric. This is a unique composition platform bringing all elements of digital – orchestration, integration, APIs, and user experience. Thus, it is also a digital application development acceleration platform. All APIs from the product for external consumption are published in iTurmeric. Similarly, any API orchestration or integration flows to call APIs of Intellect products or bank / external systems are encapsulated as DIY configurable flows in iTurmeric. There is a fixed contract between product and iTurmeric for various functional needs and does not change as such. The required protocol and message translation for integration to other systems happens in iTurmeric as part of implementation or onboarding the customer to the product.
The iKredit360 sandbox is spawned on-demand on the cloud with an automated CI-CD of all microservices represented by the iKredit360 PBCs, deployed as containers on a Kubernetes cluster. The immediate client experience is that of a pre-integrated solution experienced via the back-office web UI, APIs, and events. There is an API exchange portal that describes all the APIs to interact with the product components. The clients are also given access to the iTurmeric platform to do a POC of their business process by trying out custom APIs and custom screens, the composition of iKredit360 components with custom components via their APIs and trying other customization mechanisms. The clients can experience the power of iKredit360 on their own with initial orientation on iTurmeric usage, product functionality and setup, product, and API documentation.
A perfect orchestration of composable solutions resonating in a symphony that will change the way you look at credit. Revolutionise the way you deliver it.
We curate quality solutions for our clients with their end clients in mind. Our sole objective for every delivery is to achieve "Customer Happiness" and that is the single lens used by our delivery leaders for any decision during the implementation promise.
I don’t think any other technology partner has the width and depth of the IP in the BFSI space that we have. These include platforms, products, and enterprise frameworks, with an underlying design that’s as robust as it is agile. It is this ammunition that gives us the formidable power to curate any kind of credit solution – with speed and ease.
The power also lies in the deep understanding of how strongly technology connects to business and operations. That’s why we have consciously designed the delivery organisation with a diverse set of experts across banking, technology, data & experience.
We consciously invest and groom the "glue" roles, that play a pivotal role in bringing multiple talents together. These roles are typically the Client partner, the solution architect, the product head, the engineering head, or the delivery head.
Our talent management systems are unique in the sense they nurture self-empowered teams. The rewards and recognition have a strong team component.
Approach delivery like a "cooking" process. Not a "baking" process. Give room for curation and customisation. Give room for improvisations.
Put the spotlight on young talent and bottom-up innovation. Build a culture of trust and reliability, where contracts are just a formality! Bias towards action!
Jon Howe, Managing Director, Cater Allen, Santander UK, speaking about the experience and partnership with Intellect
For banks and financial institutions, the primary driver for curation is to differentiate against comparable product offerings and deliver a superlative experience to their customers. On the other hand of course is the need to optimize investments and efforts to service a certain segment or line of business. That technologies and solutions align themselves to address these demands is imperative and therefore an obvious outcome.
More importantly the question is - Why go beyond lending or your core business activity anyway? The answer lies in creating stickiness. Imagine a small business entity which relies on its bank's experience and personalized advisory services across a range of topics like digital marketing strategies, tips for automation, cashflow forecasting or tax planning. Won't the bank find it easier to sell its core products and services to such a customer on the back of such engagements? Similarly mortgage lenders who provide real estate advisory, documentation support and home improvement planning are more likely to succeed in winning over and retaining customers over the long run. The value added services may be non-core and sometimes even seem to be a distraction, but go a long way in creating long term profitable customer relationships.
The visualization of Credit 360 platform relies on three pillars namely convergence, connections and cloud nativity. In an increasingly complex business environment where best of breed solutions are the preferred way to go, existence of information silos is a harsh reality. These silos also do not help in customer engagement or experience in any way. Enter seamlessly inter-connected platforms that help converge service delivery capabilities across the relationship lifecycle, irrespective of access channels or device form factors. The need to converge solution components in line with specific business demands has always existed. With standardization and democratization of technologies, this convergence has just become far more real.
Credit 360 platform looks at business as a whole including upstream and downstream activities, and focuses on imbibing them to the maximum possible extent. Examples of such all-encompassing solution landscape are,
Multidisciplinary collaboration for a larger common outcome
Intellect Digital Lending powering the digital transformation of Payments and Financing platform for Europe’s leading e-Commerce entity