Esomchi Nwofor is the Chief Information Officer at RenMoney, a financial services company that provides simple money solutions to customers. In this interview, he speaks on how cloud technology is revolutionizing customers’ lending experience.
BY PRINCE OSUAGWU
Can you tell us about your own background and experience in the IT sector?
I have a BSc in Physics from Lagos State University and a Business Systems Analysis and Design degree from City University, London. In addition, I have obtained a professional qualification in Business Analysis (CBPAP) as well as an expert level certification in IT Service Management (ITIL Expert). In the last twelve years’ I have held variousInformation Technology Job roles in the banking sector and currently, I am leveraging my experience and expertise to contribute to RenMoney MFB success as the leading consumer finance organization in Nigeria.
I am the Chief Information Officer (CIO) at RenMoney and oversee the Information Technology department. My job is to provide the technology vision and leadership that enables RenMoney deliver simple money solutions that are innovative, low cost, efficient and profitable. I also oversee the day to day running of RenMoney’s technology investments which are mostly cloud based. These include the core banking application and other technology solutions used by the business to serve customers efficiently.
How does technology help RenMoney?
Technology is at the heart of our business at RenMoney as it enables us innovate and provide “simple” money solutions for our clients. Technology innovation is fundamental to us because the customer benefits more when technology is put to good use. But,the key thing to note is that we do not innovate for fun,there must always be a business driver for innovation.
Talking about drivers, what drives innovation in RenMoney?
Our desire to consistently provide simple money solutions to our customers is the leading driver of innovation at RenMoney. Four indices are key in our use of technology, they are – cost reduction, income generation, pleasurable customer experience; and business process improvements.At least 2-3 of these indices must be met at any point in time. So, the beauty or hype of technology is not enough to sway our decision. Practical benefits both to customer and business must be met.
That means you use technology across the business?
Yes. One example that readily comes to mind is our recent deploymentof Mambu – a cloud based banking application. With a flexible solution like Mambu, we are able to rapidly launch new products, new channels and integrate to new services much faster than our competition. We have integrated Mambu with our decision engine “GDS” which fortunately is also cloud based. This integration facilitates a smooth transaction processing flow from origination, credit assessment and final decision based on business rules defined within GDS (all automated).. This has improved our operational efficiencies and reduced default cases significantly.
In the last few months, Technology has played a strategic role in the development of new partnerships and the launch of new products which will re-define the landscape for consumer finance in Nigeria and position RenMoney as the undeniable market leader in this space
What is lending in the cloud?
Lending in the cloud may sound very vague to the lay man but it is an idea that is brilliant in its simplicity. It is essentially leveraging the internet as your virtual data centre where the technology platforms that facilitate your lending business are packaged and delivered to your users (staff and customers) via the internet.
There is an option of renting, subscribing or buying these services from third parties. It becomes the core function of these third parties to ensure you can deliver services to your customers as long as there is internet connectivity.
What advantage does using cloud technology offer a business?
Cloud technology enables us, for instance,to operate a low cost but high volume business that is truly scalable. It frees us from the distractions of maintaining physical server infrastructure, daily backups and worrying about disaster recovery.
It enables our technology team focus on innovation, process automation and building great customer experiences rather than worrying about the underlying infrastructure, security, scalability or performance. This gives us a great pricing advantage and so we should be able to offer the most competitive rates on the market;a significant benefit to our clients. These are what it can also do to other businesses.
If i am your customer, how would your cloud adoption benefit me?
Once again, the customer benefits from reduced costs. Businesses thatdo not use cloud technology will factor all their business expenses into the pricing offered to the customer. Since RenMoney runs at a lower cost, the price paid by the customer is also lower.
You recently featured on a panel of industry leaders at the Dot Finance Africa Event, Nairobi, Kenya, please share some highlights
On the Dot Finance Africa panel, we discussed “Building Engines of Innovation” and its benefits to both organisations and customers’. This was an opportunity speak about technology driven innovation within RenMoney and our success in delivering new and innovative products in the Nigerian consumer finance space. Our Smartphone finance and float finance services were cited as examples. The audience was informed that innovation at RenMoney was driven from within and led largely by our CEO as we did not have luxury of having a Chief Innovation Officer.
All technology innovation projects within RenMoney would have one or more business case drivers.
The last line was; always begin with a business case and do not seek to innovate for innovation sake. The business case driver for innovation is where the journey should commence from.
What products in RenMoney have been driven by technology recently?
We have launched several variants of our cash loans with direct impact on Nigerians recently.
Our Device Finance partnership is currently on-going with Airtel and qualified individuals can buy selected smartphones and pay in twelve (12) monthly instalments. The in-store application process is on run fully on technology.
Our POS Finance product which allows individuals buy household appliances in partner shops is powered by technology as the entire process is completed on the technology platform (App) developed for it in-store.