26 Feb, 2021

Coffee Chat with Chris Sims - Chief Product Officer Nodifi

Over a strong mocha: Chris talks us through the technology behind finance and how digitising your business and processes, can improve efficiencies and deliver a better client experience.

In Nodifi’s last coffee chat with Chief Operating Officer, Tim Wells, we discovered important and insightful trends of asset finance and how such data is affecting finance professionals.

Known around the Nodifi office as a tech guru, Chris has in-depth knowledge and 11 years experience in finance broking and improving fintech applications and processes. He shares his insight:

Key Takeaways:

  • Technology can rapidly speed up processes saving time and money

  • Some systems may seem complicated but often consumers adapt the fastest

  • Utilising pre-made third-party applications can often be a simple solution 

  • COVID exposed businesses who were not already providing decent digital experiences

  • The pool for non-digital businesses exists but is shrinking

  • Personalisation and speed are two huge benefits that technology offers

1: Why should a broker, mortgage or asset, embed technology into their business?

Technology enables streamlined processes which, in turn, lets brokers focus on what they do best - providing financial services to their clients. In the financial world, this is good for lenders, brokers and their respective clients.

2: If clients aren’t up to date with the latest technology, won’t brokers find themselves explaining new processes too often?

This may, at first, seem likely, but I’d like to point out that if anything, it’s usually businesses who struggle to keep up with consumer demands. Don’t be surprised at the rate in which consumers keep up with technology. 

Having said that, I think it’s important to test new systems and upgrades thoroughly before implementing them. Always try to get feedback from both employees and customers, where appropriate. A great way to do this is by asking a focus group to trial any changes before going live.

3: What are some simple ways businesses can digitise their operations?

This can be a tall order for brokers and car dealers as they often have time restraints and can lack the technical skills needed to make digitisation go smoothly. It’s important to utilise third parties and software providers who have pre-built solutions.

Some examples of simple digitisation include the use of e-signatures, CRM systems and cloud-based collaboration apps, eg; Google apps and cloud-based storage.

4: It’s no secret that COVID pushed many of us (more) online - what impacts has this had on technology in Australia from a business point of view?

I look at this more along the lines of what impact it has had on businesses and how they view technology. COVID really exposed those businesses who were not already providing decent digital experiences to their clients and has forced businesses to start looking at digitising and automating processes.

Businesses with a digital mindset benefit from operational efficiencies, while consumers benefit from a streamlined and highly-flexible customer experience - it’s a win-win.

5: Taking the recent past into consideration, what does the near future look like in regards to technology and the way businesses and clients interact? (eg: AI)

I feel QR (Quick Reference) Codes are a great example of what’s to come. QR Code technology has been around for over 25 years. However, most people have never used them or weren’t even sure what they were. Now, thanks to COVID's push, everyone knows what those little square barcodes are.

I feel the same will be true for the different and emerging technology out there. There is some seriously powerful tech out there that we will all benefit from more and more as humans become more exposed and/or comfortable with it. AI is just one of many examples. And, whilst that may take away some human jobs, new jobs will pop up! Anything that enables process automation and improves a business’ ability to connect and interact with customers is a win.

6: If businesses don’t keep up with technology, what risks do they run?

There will always be a need for businesses that are not ‘tech enabled’. But, the demographic looking for that type of business is shrinking every day - just because something works for you today, doesn’t mean it will tomorrow.

Consider self-service for example. There was vocal people who said self-service at supermarkets, airports, or even online shopping, was not a good thing. But, research shows 67% of consumers actually prefer self-service. Many of those businesses who were against this sort of thing are now looking at ways to embed self service into their businesses because they are losing market share.

People are quick to adopt technology, which also leads to increased expectations for other industries and businesses, and their tech offering. Once upon a time we were happy to wait 20-30 minutes for a taxi - nowadays we’re likely to cancel an Uber if the wait time is over 10 minutes.

Don’t be afraid to jump on new tech opportunities. If you don’t your competitors just might.

7: Is the finance industry too reliant on technology or is it responsible for the huge advances?

I wouldn't say the industry is too reliant on technology. If anything, I would say the industry is slow at adoption, especially some of the larger financiers that are simply too big to be agile. But, there has also been some great advances as a result of fintechs coming in and disrupting the market.

8: Finally, complete this sentence: The biggest benefit of technology in business for the consumer is...

Being able to conduct business faster and on their terms more often.

I think faster results for the consumers is the biggest benefit. Technology really helps in that regard - just look at how quickly Nodifi partners will be able to read this!

We’ll be hearing and seeing a lot more from Chris in the near future.

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