It is all about the customer!

Interview with IBS Intelligence

Appzillon from i-exceed technology solutions has been recognised as Global Leader in 'Digital Banking and Channels' in the IBSI Sales League Table 2021 for the 5th straight year. The secret to this repeated strong performance is revealed below
Robin Amlot
Managing Editor, IBS Intelligence

The recognition of Appzillon’s performance is a testament to i-exceed’s commitment to innovation, successful deployments, customer satisfaction, and quick return on investment. As the world fast-tracked the adoption of digital contactless business solutions in the face of the pandemic, Appzillon’s combination of a low-code digital banking platform and suite of pre-built cloud native solutions has been helping institutions worldwide. The range of customers that have partnered with i-exceed includes, Large Tier 1 banks, regional banks, Neobanks, credit unions and community banks. Robin Amlot asked S Sundararajan, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at i-exceed to explain the company’s track record: “One clear thing is that we have continued to focus on making sure that all our customers are fully happy, able to get what they need, ensuring customer satisfaction in terms of what we deliver. In other words, we need to deliver what the customer wants and make sure they are able to successfully use our platform and solution. That is what helps to add more customers, add more to our existing installed base.

Sundararajan S

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, i-exceed technology solutions

‘We continuously monitor and engage with what the market needs are, where the industry is moving, to make sure we stay ahead in addressing their needs and stay relevant.

“In terms of the markets where we operate, we continue to focus on more customer wins and establishing our partnership with other players in the ecosystem. We need to be more embedded in the ecosystem – gone are the days when you could just deliver a product and walk away. You need to engage with other players, Fin Techs, API providers – you need to have the whole ecosystem on board. In the last 2 years we have seen more and more offerings in the cloud, and we are embedding more and more into that ecosystem.”

What sets Appzillon apart?

“Many of our competitors started on horizontal platforms across different industry verticals, but from day one we have been focusing on building a platform doing what is needed for the financial services industry and that focus on the platform helped us to get the basic founding blocks right.

“Agility is also key. There are sites we have done where in 6 weeks we have gone live with an onboarding solution. In consumer banking there are sites we have done that have gone live in 3 months. Today, with over 100 customers across 25 countries, our solutions have helped banks open over 45 million accounts. Powered by Appzillon, some of our customers process more than 10 million transactions per day.

“Technology is changing much more rapidly than in the past. Moving from mainframe to minicomputer to personal computers – each revolution took about a decade. Now every year, every two years, a significant change seems to come. So, we need to continuously move on and adapt, making sure it can be smoothly delivered and deployed and go live. This requires R&D capabilities to make sure the solution is production ready on the new technology.

“Agility matters – we need to deliver fast, we need to deliver better, and we need to give a stable, rugged solution to our customers, that’s what really matters.”

What's the importance of how bank customers' expectations have changed?

“Today, every bank, large or small, the biggest challenge they have is customer expectations that have been dramatically changing companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Netflix. Customers using those solutions now expect a similar experience from banking products. Then there are FinTech players, Neo banks, there are niche solution providers. So, banks, on one hand, are struggling with the challenges set by the trend setters, the BigTech companies defining the user experience standard, and on the other, facing pressure from FinTechs and challenger banks.

“The banks need to take these challenges on and ultimately deliver what the end customer needs, ease of use, transparency, simpler terms, and simpler steps, offering consumers the comfort and confidence in the safety and security of what they are using.

“Banks also need to use all the data available within a customer app, of course with customer consent. They have transaction data that they should make use of to personalise what they offer to the customer – coupons, offers, discounts – understanding the customer needs and then, accordingly, recommending products – use the data available to see how the bank can add value to the customer. We have been working with the banks on improving the customer experience, offering them a service to rival what the BigTechs, the FinTechs and the challenger banks are doing today. We have brought many of these aspects into our own offering and we continue to enhance and enrich it.”

How has the pandemic affect i-exceed?

“2020 was a rewarding yet challenging time for us. We were quick on our heels to adapt to Covid as we witnessed a phenomenal rise in the requests for fully contactless digital banking solutions. We are also proud of the fact that most of the projects taken up during this period were delivered successfully entirely remotely.We also witnessed an increasing demand for swift and friction-less customer on-boarding solutions, and we have helped banks on-board new retail and corporate customers in record time using our Appzillon Digital Onboarding solution.

“Overall, the number of opportunities coming in, the number of institutions we have been talking to, dealing with, is significantly higher. We have been very busy in the last 15 months. We have continued to hire more people; our headcount has grown 35% in the last 1 year. There has been a tremendous amount of growth in terms of opportunities ahead.

Where are your biggest opportunities for the future?

“[In] the last 18 months, there has been a greater push on digital transformation, but there’s still room to improve on personalisation and expanding self service solutions.

“We see [second] corporate banking as a great opportunity both in terms of onboarding and full servicing, there is a lot more that can be done in corporate and business banking, the onboarding and the full servicing – we are focusing on adding, addressing more on those lines. The banks have done, some of them, 20-30% maybe up to 40% but there’s a lot of scope and, also, we can bring in Al and ML, making text recognition easier.

“The second aspect within corporate and business banking is bringing the corporate closer to the bank; access to the corporate’s financial data [means banks] can then be able to offer working capital loan, receivables financing, giving more advisory from the bank side to the corporate, this is the next area where we can help.

‘The third area is the entire bank’s own operations. There is still a lot of manual work involved, there’s a lot more automation that can happen. When a customer initiates a transaction, it should come into the bank and be handled automatically with straight through processing.

“And in the field, are the sales force getting all the data they need, to cross sell and up sell? How do we digitise the bank’s entire operations to give better service to customers? More importantly, it tremendously reduces the cost. The branch footprint is already coming down but, in my opinion, with automation coming in it can come down drastically further. There banks need to make sure that they take the bank to the customers rather than having customers come to a branch

“Finally, the last thing I would mention – banks need to make better use of their data! That is what we are working with them on. Banks are generating a lot more data than in the past. What can they do better? Analyse the data, serve the customer better, achieve better decision-making processes, understand how to make use of the data – these are all things where the banks can do a lot more.”