50% more efficient: Why digital transformation matters
When to start from scratch?
Imagine you're IPF — a multinational provider of home credit and online loans.
You want to transform your insurance offering (currently a limited add-on) into a more flexible and attractive portfolio of options. But it will take a year and several million pounds to make your legacy product management system fit for this purpose. What do you do?
Fortunately for IPF, Mastek was on hand. So it took just four months, and less than 20% of the baseline development cost, to build a new insurance product system that was fully integrated with the core legacy system.
It really helps to have a partner in Mastek that can translate their knowledge of our business into creative, effective solutions that help us achieve our transformation objectives."
Chris Robinson, CIO, IPF
International Personal Finance (IPF) started life as the international division of UK lender Provident Financial, before becoming a separate business in 2007. It offers responsible home credit to customers with low or fluctuating income, and online loans to those with an appropriate credit history.
IPF has 2.3 million customers, predominantly in central, eastern and northern Europe, and also in Mexico, Spain and Australia.
It's easier when integration isn't a worry
Usually you'd be reluctant to build a new system when you have an existing one for all related business. But when the existing system is 20 years old, there's benefit to leaving the outdated past behind and embracing today's best practices.
For IPF, the development of a brand new insurance system kills two birds with one stone:
- It gets them to market in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost.
- It gives them a flexible new platform that can, over time, take on the functions of IPF's legacy system to become IPF's new single core business system.
For this approach to work, IPF had to be confident that the new system would integrate properly with the old — without complicating future developments or migrations.
Fortunately, the development was in the hands of Mastek. And this wasn't the first time that Mastek had delivered on IPF's transformation objectives.
The right partner makes all the difference
When Chris Robinson joined IPF as its global CIO, Mastek was an established partner, relied on to manage all aspects of the core legacy system. Robinson wanted partners that could step up to the challenges of digital transformation, and Mastek fit the bill.
"I was told that Mastek could always be depended on to deliver, and I've consistently found that to be true, whether they're developing a new solution from scratch, extending an existing system, or integrating something built by others."
— Chris Robinson, CIO, IPF
Results in the making
Clemens Baader is IPF's first Chief Data Officer, appointed because the company recognises the importance of analytics to transformation.
Baader likes having a partner that can easily turn its hand to analytics applications and machine learning. The example he cites is fraud detection in IPF's fast-growing online loans business. Without any personal interaction with applicants, IPF depends on algorithms to distinguish genuine customers from sophisticated fraudsters doing their best to behave like genuine customers (usually with the help of stolen ID information).
Mastek approached us with a proposal to build a fraud detection model that could outperform the commercial systems we were using. Although it's still at 'proof of concept' stage, the early results are very promising, improving our fraud detection by 10-15% on test transactions."
Clemens Baader, Chief Data Officer, IPF
One of the first IPF transformation projects to come Mastek's way was MyProvi, a mobile app designed to digitise the purely paper-based processes of some 22,500 IPF agents who deliver the company's home credit service.
While face-to-face personal service is a significant differentiator for IPF in the home credit business, relying on paper-based processes isn't efficient in a highly competitive and heavily regulated industry.
With the MyProvi app, agents no longer use stacks of paper to track their appointments and collections, and they can issue e-receipts. IPF administrative staff no longer have to gather stacks of paper and retype everything into the product system — it's a straight-through digital process, with agents recording their activity on the app, and the system of record being automatically updated.
By far the most complex part of developing the MyProvi app was its integration with our product management system, in which Mastek was heavily involved. The Mastek team has been incredibly hard-working and flexible, taking ambiguous and changing requirements in stride and somehow always delivering good-quality, working software"
Helen Baron, Senior Delivery Manager, IPF
Richard Atkinson, IPF's Head of Business Change, enumerates some of the many benefits of digitising agents' work:
- Elimination of back-office data entry improves data quality and reduces administrative effort by 50%.
- With most customers being visited every week for collection, the app will eliminate the printing of millions of sheets of paper (for collection recording and receipting) every week: a huge ongoing cost saving.
- The digitised processes are easier to track and audit to prove regulatory compliance. It's also easier to roll out process changes digitally, when regulatory requirements change.
- New accounting functionality is in plan, to save every agent around an additional hour per week.
MyProvi has already been rolled out to three of IPF's home credit markets in Europe, with rollout just starting in Mexico. The app is being iteratively developed, with collection and team management functions already delivered, sales functions (to support loan issue) being tested, and accounting functionality to follow.
Our agents love the app because it makes them more accurate, professional, and easy to do business with. Even though most of them are middle-aged, they've adopted it wholeheartedly."
— Richard Atkinson, Head of Business Change, IPF
With the recent development of IPF's new insurance product system, IPF saw Mastek's Agile development expertise in action. It's one of the reasons the build took only four months and a fraction of the cost of adapting the legacy system.
Before joining IPF, CIO Chris Robinson had a lot of experience with Agile development, so he knows that it takes specialist expertise to do it well. It's a relatively new approach for IPF, so the company is exploring the possibility about using Mastek's Agile expertise in a consultancy role to help embed the approach more thoroughly within IPF.
A growing relationship
When I joined IPF, the company wasn't exploiting Mastek's expertise to the full. Today we're definitely looking to do so, not just to take better advantage of Agile working, but to explore new opportunities, for example in blockchain, analytics, and robotic process automation."
Chris Robinson, CIO, IPF