Connect with us

News

TOGETHER’S TRANSFORMATION STORY

Published

on

For over 40 years, Together has been committed to providing no-nonsense lending in even the most complicated of situations.

 

The company works with homebuyers, investors, landlords, and small businesses, and partners with a network of intermediaries, including brokers, accountants and solicitors, to secure the finance people need to buy a new home or start a new venture.

 

Antiquated processes

Historically, Together relied on manual processes, which were cumbersome and time-intensive. For a business that is focused on common-sense lending, the human touch in making intelligent business decisions is essential. However, it soon became apparent that the use of technology was an integral part in supporting people in making and implementing those decisions in the most efficient and effective way.

 

As the company began to experience rapid growth, this became even more essential, and so Together turned to Mastek to embark on a digital transformation journey.

 

Simon Carter, IT Director at Together, says, “The business had ambitious growth plans, but we recognised they couldn’t be achieved if we continued to work in the same way. We were very limited in our digital engagement with our intermediaries and our customers. To transform the business, we had to transform the technology.”

 

A journey of transformation

Because Together lends mostly through brokers, its transformation journey initially focused on them. Mastek helped the company replace obscure, complex product interfaces with a unified broker portal that is easier to use, much more systematic and clear about what brokers and customers can expect from Together, and about how the lender’s products work.

 

“We’ve removed paper-dependent steps out of processes, and automated manual ones. Our own research has shown 95% broker satisfaction with the new portal, and the business has reduced the underwriting turnaround by 30%. Meanwhile the business can instantly respond to regulatory changes. Ultimately, we have been able to grow the business in line with expectations, without changing the heart of the business,” says Simon Carter.

 

Improvements to the broker portal have also continued. For example, a recent addition of decision-in-principle functionality uses sophisticated underwriting logic to give potential customers immediate pre-approval for a specific loan amount. This gives them more information and confidence when choosing a lender to apply to.

 

Realising business growth

Together’s programme of smart change has played a big part in its ability to grow the value of its loan book by 150% in just three years, two years ahead of target.

 

Speed and ease of service have made Together increasingly attractive to brokers and their customers. New channels, such as mortgage clubs, have opened up to the lender. And Together’s many new internal efficiencies have allowed the company to take this growth in stride.

 

“Importantly, the partnership has provided us with the ability to scale up or down as business requirements change. We almost doubled our head count in the last four years, and trebled the size of the loan book, so this flexibility has been essential in supporting our rapid growth. Market conditions can also change, so it’s important to have the security of knowing the technology can support the business in that scenario too,” comments Simon Carter.

 

He adds, “the reality is that unless we had transformed, we may not be in business today. We recognised we needed to keep pace with the changing market, but the growth we’ve witnessed since our digital transformation shows we’re more than competing.”

 

Agile development

In the four years since starting to work with Together on the broker portal, the original 14-strong Mastek team has grown to more than 100, working on more than 125 Agile development projects and IT-enabled business enhancements.

 

Steve Thomason, Head of Business Systems at Together, explains, “We don’t buy our core IT products off the shelf; we’ve always pursued bespoke development of our systems of differentiation. It’s a strategy that works for us, giving us the control and flexibility to respond to broker and customer needs without ever waiting on a software provider.”

 

Before bringing Mastek on board, developments were managed in-house with ad-hoc use of contractors; but as the company’s ambitions grew and the pace of change accelerated, there was an unwelcome increase in delivery delays. These are now a thing of the past, with readily scalable Mastek resource and effective Agile development processes in place.

 

Planning for transformation

Every Together development project starts with an idea — a response to a broker need, for example — that is examined until all of the expected benefits and costs are clearly understood. Ideas that pass muster become projects (large or small) and the priority and delivery of projects is continually assessed and re-assessed. Even as the current crop of projects progresses, Together is planning ahead, usually by six to twelve months.

 

Collaborating for success

Besides looking outwards to its products and services, Together looks inwards for continual improvement in delivery. To this end, Mastek and Together are in daily contact. Not just to track and measure progress, but to assess ways of working, the mix of onshore and offshore resource, the performance of individuals, the support that they need, who to hire and when: everything that impacts on the success of the collaborative approach embraced by both companies.

 

Formalising innovation

‘Innovation’ can’t really be ordered on demand, but Together wants to be actively open to new ideas, and is looking to Mastek to bring them to the table.

 

“When we toured the Mastek Centre of Excellence in India and saw some of the things they were doing for other customers, it was an eye-opener,” says Thomason. “Today we have a joint innovation forum and meet regularly to discuss ideas.”

 

One of the novel approaches being tried is a hackathon, in which a number of small Mastek teams compete to come up with innovative solutions to a given Together challenge. Since most of the teams aren’t working on the Together account, it’s a productive — and fun — way for the Together/Mastek partnership to come up with fruitful new ideas to explore.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Finance

AIRBANK SELECTS YAPILY TO BUILD A FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SOLUTION FOR SMBS

Published

on

By

Airbank, a financial management solution for European startups and SMBs, has selected open banking infrastructure provider Yapily to help its users manage their finances with ease.

Airbank provides a simple financial management solution that aggregates all bank accounts in one place and delivers more control, visibility, and automation to modern finance teams. Startups & SMBs use Airbank to access bank accounts, monitor cash flow in real-time, create reliable forecasts, and make business payments.

Airbank matches bank transactions with merchant and category data to give finance teams complete visibility into revenues and expenses, thus helping make their lives easier with cash flow budgeting, forecasting, and reporting.

Yapily’s API infrastructure provides Airbank users with a smooth, simple way to connect to more than 1,500 banks across the UK and Europe including Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, Sparkassen, Volksbanken and neobanks. Airbank selected Yapily for its strong coverage in Europe, with a specific focus on Germany, France, Spain, and the UK. Yapily’s European bank connectivity enables Airbank’s customers to scale and grow across Europe, delivering forecast visibility anywhere they go.

The partnership with Yapily alleviates Airbank’s customers from spending time and resources managing their finances – giving them direct access to all the financial and contextual data they need in one tool. Historically, most businesses created budgets and cash flow forecasts in manual spreadsheets which is time-consuming and error-prone. With Airbank, customers save time and costs to focus on value-adding business tasks.

The partnership also enables Airbank’s customers to use its data enrichment platform and transaction categorisation engine to turn the raw data from bank accounts into meaningful and actionable insights. Airbank reconciles account balances, forecasts financials and helps business owners make smarter business decisions every day. Harnessing Yapily’s leading open banking infrastructure, Airbank can accelerate its adoption of digital banking services.

Airbank’s vision is to simplify financial management for SMBs and to create a unified platform that helps its users with the full cycle of financial management from cash flow analysis and forecasting, to accounts receivables and payables management, and more. Airbank has raised $3m seed funding from leading VCs, and counts hundreds of users in Germany, Austria, France, Spain and the UK.

Open Banking has enabled smooth integrations with banks, which we utilize to offer richer banking and payments experiences for our users. We’re building a business banking solution that connects all your financial accounts in one place. Our partnership with Yapily gives users a smooth and simple way to connect to thousands of banks in Europe, unlocking real-time insights into their cash flow. We eliminate the pains of finance admin so business owners can focus on what’s really important — growing their business.

Christopher Zemina, Co-founder and CEO of Airbank

Airbank helps simplify the daily routine of banking and finance management for small and medium sized businesses. By leveraging Yapily’s open banking infrastructure, Airbank can provide actionable insights to businesses – at a time where it’s needed. As a small yet fast growing company, Yapily is committed to supporting the SMB community and we are excited to see how Airbank delivers the benefits of open banking to many businesses across Europe.

Comment by Chris Scheuermann, Commercial Lead DACH at Yapily

 

Continue Reading

Interviews

COULD YOU PROVIDE US WITH SOME BACKGROUND ON YOUR CURRENT ROLE WITHIN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES SECTOR?

Published

on

By

– Shanker Ramamurthy, Global Managing Partner – Banking at IBM, BIAN Executive Board Member

 

I lead the banking consulting practice across IBM Consulting, focusing on banks’ digital transformation, core banking, and payments. Additionally, I am the President of the IBM Industry Academy, a dynamic and diverse community of IBM’s industry experts aiming to form new solutions to help our customers win in a constantly evolving industry landscape. The Academy offers IBMers the chance to work together and collaborate with industry experts from all areas of IBM.

Since my career began almost three decades ago, I have been lucky enough to work across six continents in various consulting and leadership roles in the financial services sector. This experience, coupled with my current role, has provided me with a unique insight into the digital trends affecting all industries and enables me to serve IBM’s financial services clients better.

 

Can you explain more about your recent appointment to BIAN’s Executive Board and BIAN’s role in the industry? 

BIAN stands for the Banking Industry Architecture Network. It is a collaborative, not-for-profit organization of institutions and professionals from the financial and technology industries, including leading banks, technology providers, consultants, and academics from all over the globe. Member organizations are committed to lowering the cost of banking and increasing the speed of innovation adoption in the industry. Members draw upon their combined industry expertise to define a revolutionary banking technology framework that standardizes and simplifies banking architecture to overcome limitations preventing growth and efficiency and encourage ease of management in their existing environments.1

The opportunity to become a member of the BIAN board was an invitation I could not turn down. I am honored to be part of BIAN’s executive board to provide counsel and support their work in helping financial institutions negotiate this time of immense opportunity and disruption. For the financial services industry, BIAN’s open framework, services-oriented architecture, and standards model are more critical than ever before.

 

Shanker Ramamurthy

After working in the financial services industry for a number of years, what is it that makes you so passionate about the industry? 

I am delighted to see the impact of exponential technology on financial services because these innovations provide an opportunity to bring positive change to people’s everyday lives. I am also a strong advocate for financial inclusion and emphasize its importance as part of my practice. Financial services should be accessible for all, regardless of financial means and where you are in the world. In this respect, I am committed to helping banks widen the availability of banking services and reduce the cost point of doing so.

 

The importance of financial inclusion is evident. But what measures can global banks take to increase the availability of banking services and keep cost points low?

The financial services industry still has much to do to achieve inclusive banking globally. Having said this, incumbents, fintechs and techfins have made significant investments in technology and innovation, with this end in mind. Unfortunately, we live in a world where globally, billions of people still do not have access to basic financial services. Critical areas such as payments – particularly cross-border payments – remain costly, and access to credit continues to be a challenge for so many.

Global financial institutions will find success for their own business processes and their customers through a technology and business strategy to support the bank of the future and by prioritizing innovation powered by hybrid cloud and AI. Although there is much work to be done, it is encouraging that the combination of innovation will help democratize and transform finance like never before.

 

What can banks do to prepare for the future? 

Banks are facing an evolving landscape due to COVID-19 and changing regulatory environments. This is something banks and fintechs are navigating. At the same time, the financial services industry is being shaped by new consumer trends – from the rise of a cashless society to the pandemic-driven shift towards online banking and mobile payments.

The focus on technological development to accommodate these changes will continue. The banks that succeed will be the ones who have a technology and business strategy to support the ‘bank of the future,’ in which much of the middle and back office gets almost entirely automated and focus shifts to customers and customer value-adding functions. This transition requires rapid digitization and the adoption of exponential technologies powered by the hybrid cloud and AI. BIAN has an essential role in helping banks do just this.

 

What does the shift towards digital banking, including the increasing use of mobile contactless payments by customers, mean for the bank of the future?

Digitization drives innovation, new business models, and efficiency while simultaneously enabling extreme competition from traditional and non-traditional competitors. In tomorrow’s banking eco-system model, the value is increasingly accruing from customer-facing functions supported by platform-based business models. By extension, this has meant competition from both fintech and importantly, techfins (large technology companies that are moving into the less regulated aspects of financial services such as payments, electronic wallets, BNPL – buy now pay later models and more).

Banks in the future will automate extensively, and likely extend their business models to create ‘beyond banking platforms’ to support their customers in areas outside of the traditional banking value chain. The future of such models is being written in Asia by banks such as DBS in Singapore, State Bank of India, among others as they evolve their business models to combat the growth of ‘super-apps’ like Alibaba, Tencent, Grab, Gojek, and more in that part of the world.

 

How can the industry find its footing after such a change?

Banks have several natural advantages that come from incumbency, customer loyalty, and material regulatory barriers preventing non-traditional competitors from quickly breaching their businesses. Regardless, mastering the future will require banks to ask themselves three questions:

  1. Is our strategy ambitious enough?
  2. Are we executing fast enough?
  3. Do we have the talent and capabilities to win?

Answering these questions honestly and then putting in place programs to execute relentlessly is the only way for the industry to continue to thrive and take advantage of the extensive opportunities in the near future.

 

 

Continue Reading

Magazine

Trending

Business17 hours ago

THE FUTURE OF CLOUD: HOW TO KEEP YOUR DATA SAFE

By Pete Braithwaite, COO of KIT Online Cloud services are inherently scalable, responsive and flexible. They offer huge flexibility –...

Business2 days ago

ETRADING SOFTWARE AND ARTIS HOLDINGS LOANS ELECTRONIC PLATFORM OPEN FOR BUSINESS

The Bids Wanted in Competition (BWIC) process completes on the WIC trading platform   Etrading Software, the independent, global provider...

Finance2 days ago

AIRBANK SELECTS YAPILY TO BUILD A FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SOLUTION FOR SMBS

Airbank, a financial management solution for European startups and SMBs, has selected open banking infrastructure provider Yapily to help its...

Interviews2 days ago

COULD YOU PROVIDE US WITH SOME BACKGROUND ON YOUR CURRENT ROLE WITHIN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES SECTOR?

– Shanker Ramamurthy, Global Managing Partner – Banking at IBM, BIAN Executive Board Member   I lead the banking consulting...

Business2 days ago

IT COST MANAGEMENT: 10 STEPS BUSINESSES CAN’T IGNORE

By Matt Dando, Director, Strategic Business Value Consulting at Serviceware   In today’s ever-accelerating digital era, and as we recover...

Banking2 days ago

UNCHARTED TERRITORY: HOW OPEN BANKING CAN HELP BANKS NAVIGATE COVID CHALLENGES

Opinion from Rafa Plantier, Head of UK and Ireland at Tink The last year has propelled banks, businesses and consumers...

Finance2 days ago

AI AND HOW IT’S LEADING THE FIGHT AGAINST FRAUD IN THE FINANCIAL SECTOR

Geoff Clark, Managing Director, Aerospike EMEA Much like many other sectors financial institutions have accelerated their digital transformation projects since...

Banking2 days ago

HOW DIGITAL IS MAKING THE ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ POSSIBLE FOR FINANCIAL FIRMS

  By Lavanya Kaul, Head of Customer Success, BFSI, UK&I, LTI Article synopsis: Focused on the digital transformation of the...

News2 days ago

DANSKE BANK TO BRING DOMESTIC SCHEME, DANKORT, TO APPLE PAY

Danske Bank, Denmark’s leading bank, supported by Nets, will bring Dankort to Apple Pay Dankort is the preferred means of payment...

News2 days ago

TACKLING THE FORGOTTEN PLASTIC PANDEMIC: CLIMATE CHANGE

By Mark Taylor, Group CCO, Waterlogic   Last year the COVID-19 pandemic was, quite rightfully, at the forefront of all...

News2 days ago

CROWN AGENTS BANK ACCELERATES GLOBAL GROWTH AND EXPANDS INTO NEW MARKETS WITH MULESOFT

MuleSoft, provider of the world’s #1 integration and API platform, today announced that Crown Agents Bank (https://www.crownagentsbank.com)  is using MuleSoft to digitally...

Finance3 days ago

THE IMPORTANCE OF ACCURATE AND TRUSTED TIMESTAMPING IN FINANCIAL SERVICES

Richard Hoptroff, CTO, Hoptroff   Recent global financial regulations such as MiFID II require that all stock exchanges, credit institutions,...

Business3 days ago

HOW OPEN DATA CAN HELP FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE

David Lais, Co-Founder and CPO at Ecolytiq – providing banks and financial institutions with the digital infrastructure for green finance....

Business5 days ago

NOW’S THE TIME FOR THE INFRASTRUCTURE SECTOR TO GET IR35 RIGHT

Matt Fryer, Head of Legal Services at Brookson Legal   The Government’s recently announced £650bn programme of infrastructure works is...

Business6 days ago

MAKING THE MOST OF RPA TO ENHANCE THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Standfirst: Capturing and analysing business processes should be a prerequisite for any implementation of robotic process automation, argues Dr Gero...

Banking6 days ago

FINTECHS AND BANKING POST-COVID

COVID-19 has forced businesses and society to adapt to new realities. From big-name Wall Street banks to up-and-coming financial technology...

Technology1 week ago

WHY AGILE TECHNOLOGY PLATFORMS ARE THE KEY TO EFFECTIVE INNOVATION

Sujit Unni,CTO, Paysafe   A main reason why platform technology can prove to be so effective for a business is...

News1 week ago

DIGITAL TOKEN IDENTIFIER REGISTRATION OPENS WITH ETRADING SOFTWARE

Top 100 cryptocurrencies can now be tracked authoritatively using new ISO standard   Etrading Software, through its non-profit division the...

Finance1 week ago

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR FINANCIAL ADVISER

With World Financial Planning Day approaching, it is the ideal reminder to meet with your financial adviser and review your...

News1 week ago

HOME INSURANCE PROVIDERS GAIN NEW POWERS TO HELP OFFER FAIRER PRICING THROUGH LEXISNEXIS® PROPERTY INSIGHTS

New Relationship with Outra Puts Industry-leading, Comprehensive Property Data at Point of Quote   From rebuild cost to square footage...

Trending