Financial service provider ramps up innovation capability with Azure, Office 365 and Teams
Australia-based financial service provider Pepper Money, has spent two years transitioning to Azure, Office 365 and deploying Teams, to help employees engage with one another and also customers.
Operating since 2000, Pepper is an Australia an alternative lender that provides a variety of lending products. Jeremy Francis CIO at Pepper Money said, it works in the home loan space where they help families who don’t tick all the “traditional boxes”.
The financial service provider has about 750 employees in Australia and New Zealand. According to Francis, Pepper is mindful of the pace of change in the sector from a regulatory and technological perspective.
It is also a sector that is also experiencing a period of profound change, with digital technology, regulatory reform, and heightened customer expectation, shifting the goal posts on what it takes to succeed.
Meeting these changes was a key driver for transformation within the organisations. There needed to be a strong technology foundation, where the IT team could focus on enhancing customer experiences and automating the business, rather than spending a lot of time on maintaining older technology.
“We’ve done that through early moves into cloud, investments in data and analytics, building strong integration and API frameworks and more recently artificial intelligence” said Francis.
“Over the last two years, working with Microsoft partner Harbour IT (part of Canon Business Services), Pepper has transitioned a significant portion of its workloads across to Azure, with ongoing work of leveraging further platform capabilities.”
Pepper’s approach is to use software as a service platform where appropriate, but also to retain the opportunity to tailor solutions in situations where they deliver a competitive edge.
According to Francis, it wanted to take back control of its technology environment from a high reliance on third party providers, particularly in the areas whereas a business we want to differentiate using that technology.
“That’s led us to shift towards building our own proprietary applications where it makes sense, run those applications on platforms like Azure and be able to work in an agile.”
Francis said key to this “Pepper-styled” solutions are applications streamlines by Azure Active Directory.
“We want to provide an experience that’s in line with our mission of helping people succeed,” Francis said.
Harbour IT and Microsoft have also freed Pepper’s technology team from managing back-end infrastructure. This allows Francis to direct internal efforts to where it has the most business impact.
Ensuring customer service employees have access to rich and supportive data and technology is critically important he said.
“We realise that there’s a direct link between the experience that our employees have and the experience that then flows onto our customers and so we’re always conscious of both,” said Francis.
“[With Office 365 and Teams] We’ve got employees who are happier to use the technology that we’re providing them.”
Pepper is also focused on exploring how the business can make even more use of data because the very nature of its business means that it has long been a data-driven organisation.
With new cloud foundations Francis expects additional flexibility to access and use data and also scale the technology platforms to keep pace with the company’s growth trajectory.