The specialty financial services institution insists that digital transformation in real sense means requires a clear understanding of a product’s value proposition:
The Anglo-South African banking and wealth management group Investec has been in the thick of modernization using high-end technology for the past 5 years. Its strategic focus, besides making the company a digital enterprise, has also enabled it to have one in 4 of its employees a technology specialist. For it, the technology transformation has been smooth and seamless even as it continues to operate in a digital-first environment. It adopted a multi-dimensional partnership approach in all its digitization efforts. This has been achieved through strategic collaborations, funding for early-stage tech enterprises and high growth companies and acquiring fintechs.
For example, the company has partnered with OfferZen, a developer job marketplace that helps developers find a new job, and ultimately, make their next career move, and made its private bank accounts programmable allowing customers to code their own bank experience. The 2 companies are working together to enable developers to access the world of banking according to their preferences. The whole project is based on open banking technology.
The company believes that one of the ways to measure the extent of digital transformation in an institution is to analyze responses from customers. It feels it is more about the customers’ response to what is happening at Investec rather than their opinions about the services offered or the quality of the products or the efficiency of the channels. Customers should know and comment about what is happening within the organization rather than offer opinions about the efficacy of a channel offered or a product that has found favor with them.
So, understanding the sentiments of the customers is supreme. Investec had closed down its robo advisory platform ‘Click and Invest’, a bold decision it had taken as it rightly realized and accepted that digital transformation is not just upgrading technology. The platform was created with the aim of disrupting fintechs with the hope that it would appeal to customers with small investment portfolios. However, it realised within a short time that ‘the appetite for investment services such as ours remains low’. Investec had kept the minimum investment required at £10,000, whereas small-time customers can open an account even with £100 with a fintech competitor.
Investec has also understood correctly that digital transformation is more than upgrading IT functions. Rather, it requires a clear understanding of a product’s value proposition, seamless delivery and the ability to leverage a business’ existing competitive advantage.
Investec has implemented Sales Insights Add-on for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales, which is aimed at improving the conversation intelligence capability of the application. This has been done to improve the management of data so that its salespeople are capable of better sales conversations. There is an interactive, intuitive and engaging UI now, backed by conversation intelligence, which helps the sales teams to drill down for details to make perfect sense of the information they are given. Now, the client-facing teams can listen directly to customers and build more valuable relationships. The system automatically transcribes sales calls and analyzes the content, sentiment and participants’ behavior. With these insights, Investec can review salespeople’s conversation styles, help coach individuals on best practice, keep track of sales conversations, build stronger client relationships and ultimately close deals faster.
Investec does not want to be a run-of-the-mill organization. It wants to be a provider of specialized products and services to specialized groups. Its CEO Fani Titi had said in an interview that the strategy is driven by a total dedication to specialization, ‘being niched and we do, we have to be excellent because we are not the biggest.”
MOVING TO CLOUD
The company has recently migrated to iServer365 SaaS platform from Orbus Software. The aim is to migrate all its applications and technology stack to the cloud, thereby simplifying and improving efficiency. For this, it has implemented iServer365 from Orbus Software.
Investec has recently integrated the Leapwork automation platform into its system. The Leapwork platform enables users to build and execute automation flows for test and process automation. For Investec, it automates 95% of its regression suite and embeds Leapwork into its CI/CD pipeline to reduce risk across the organization and deliver 3x faster time to market. Leapwork also enables the company to test multiple technologies, including the core mortgages platform and web-based applications. Test execution is now 20% quicker and can run 24×7, as opposed to manual execution which could only take place 8 hours per day for 5 days a week. As a result, productivity has soared and risk has dropped.
With its focus entirely on wealth, and investment and banking, Investec’s specialist banking divisions like private banking, for high net worth and high-income individuals, and corporate and investment banking, are indeed making major forays into all the major markets in Africa, Europe and Asia. Its revenue for the last financial year stood at $3.9 billion and assets at $72.1 billion.
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