You discover a lot about yourself during tough times. The last two years have tested us all, whether we’ve been on the front lines tackling serious health issues, or managing a business, or managing home life. Whatever our personal and professional circumstances, we have in common a challenge that has affected us all one way or another. As we enter what will be year three for the global pandemic, I’d like to reflect on those moments I’ve had good reason to smile about, and hope that you too can look back on your endeavours without judgement.
Was ieDigital prepared for the advent of hybrid working conditions? Yes, we were. How comforting it was to realise that, despite our main riverside HQ being located in beautiful Kingston upon Thames, working from home (or elsewhere) was something we could naturally do. I’ve always imagined flexible working to be more than where you sit and type – it’s a mindset, not a location. Being truly flexible is about being your true self at work, wherever that may be, and being put to the test as a technology business in 2020 and 2021 meant we could put this theory into practice.
The way we run ieDigital meant we already had an infrastructure of communication in place – a foothold to reach for when we needed to adapt quickly to change. I had to learn how to govern ieDigital from the kitchen table, as I know you had to transform your rooms and spaces. You quickly realise how few electrical sockets you have, how far wires stretch, and how nice it is to have your own toilet and kettle nearby. Did my productivity dip? Actually, I felt quite energised by the challenge, and found myself using new communications tools to communicate in different ways.
Our clients did the same. From our friends at Dudley Building Society, Cambridge & Counties Bank, DF Capital and Darlington Building Society, to new friends Mambu and OutSystems, we found ways to work together to stretch what we were capable of. Whether creating digital banking services, or launching new services for mortgage providers and their customers, we discovered new methods to reveal innovation. And as an ongoing day-to-day business, we made decisions about hybrid working practices we will take beyond the pandemic and further into the 21st century.
Celebrate the fruits of our labour
Those new partnerships with Mambu and OutSystems were especially rewarding. With Mambu, we clarified expectations around digital services, combining our expertise to deliver even greater digital solutions. DF Capital customers benefited from this partnership via the online savings platform we delivered in 2021. Richard Morgans of Mambu shares our self-service technology vision, and I can see us working on many more projects in future.
Our OutSystems partnership has bolstered the capabilities of Interact Application Suite, so we can deliver best-in-class solutions to our customers. Cambridge & Counties Bank improved how it manages risk assessment thanks to this partnership. Customer onboarding is quicker and smoother thanks to significantly upgraded financial crime risk assessment systems, and CCB can now develop applications that help it scale at speed.
And there’s our very own launch to celebrate, of Interact Switch, created to help mortgage lenders retain customers at product offer maturity. This is financial services innovation where it’s needed most: the mortgage industry! Our motivation as a technology company has always been to help organisations replace legacy systems and processes. Interact Switch is our way of taking this statement of intent to new levels, playing our part in changing the dynamics of how a traditionally cumbersome sector operates.
I’m incredibly proud of the work you and your teams did to make Interact Switch a reality in 2021, and excited for what you will come up with next. We’re making an impact on the financial services industry, creating solutions that empower our clients and their customers to make better decisions. What a thrill it is to know that! And with new, fresh talent joining our teams, I couldn’t be more delighted. Please join me in welcoming Ranjana, Bernadette, Nick, Issy, and Rob to the ieDigital family. Their insight and perspective will contribute to our success as we strive to be even more influential in the marketplace.
Let’s boss ourselves
And now to personal success. Please indulge me. I believe I have successfully surrounded myself with some of the smartest, most honest and most creative people I’ve ever worked with. In turn, this has strengthened my resolve to always push for more innovation, to make ever bolder decisions, to focus on the growth of those people as thanks for helping me be a better “boss” and a better person.
I actually dislike the word “boss”. I imagine Bruce Springsteen doesn’t like the nickname either because it implies authority and entitlement, and is often the opposite sentiment of being truly democratic. It’s nicer to think we are our own bosses at ieDigital, all pushing for personal and professional success, whatever that looks like for you, and doing it for the common good: the growth of this wonderful, innovative company. We may be sat in the spare rooms of our houses, or perched on a wobbly chest of drawers, but it’s great to feel we’re still a team.
I am in the privileged position of being able to hear those things our clients say about us that they may not share with everyone, but I’d like to share the overall sentiments with you to round off what has been a terrific year for ieDigital. We are regarded as being trustworthy, patient, involved, focused, motivated and influential. If these words were written for a school report, I’d be an ecstatic dad! How equally satisfying it is to realise these are small, yet significant client vignettes of praise that all of us should use to feel good about the work we do. These are emotive, expressive words that describe people, not processes, and they are testaments to you. My colleagues.
Take care of yourselves during this time. I look forward to working with all of you in the new year!