Amid rising inflation and interest rates, and the growing number of cyber threats, businesses are constantly evolving in order to be resilient. This month, The Fintech Times is highlighting how businesses are showing this resilience against a myriad of factors – some within, and some beyond, their control.
Rounding out our business resilience focus this month, we look at operational trends; while some trends have benefitted organisations, a variety of new challenges have emerged this year too. We hear how StarCompliance, Spendesk, Linedata, Moniepoint, Wildfire Systems have overcome their biggest challenges in 2023.
A connected ecosystem
Steve Schott, head of ecosystems and partnerships at StarCompliance, the employee compliance tech solution provider, notes the importance of partnerships and collaboration within an ecosystem.
“Harnessing the strengths and abilities of a connected ecosystem can be a highly effective, strategic way to solve complex challenges and create greater value for all parties involved. Ecosystem partners can provide access to broader solutions that work together, providing clients with greater flexibility, convenience, and trust.
“By taking a collaborative approach to improving regtech and compliance, service providers can make a significant difference. They can deliver multi-layered protection for businesses so they can comply with confidence.
“Ecosystem partners can help unlock significant new sources of value and increase return on a firm’s investment. Whether through product innovation and augmentation, cost reduction, new services or wider reach, when experts partner it can reduce the often burdensome nature of compliance.
“This is the approach we took at StarCompliance for the development of our crypto asset pre-clearance software solution, which addresses digital asset trading challenges and launched in April 2023. By collaborating with partners with complementary capabilities, we were able to deliver a solution that enables greater transparency and visibility into employee crypto trading activities for mitigating regulatory compliance conflicts, and provides clients with the consistent user experience they expect across multiple asset classes.”
A sustainable growth model
It is impossible to grow an organisation without some challenges. However, how these operational challenges are overcome is what makes or breaks an expansion. For Julien Lafouge, CFO, Spendesk, the company’s success was a result of a sustainable growth model.
“The biggest operational challenge we faced this year was expanding our presence in both Spain and Italy. All the while maintaining growth in our established UK, German, and French markets. Despite economic uncertainty, we stuck to a sustainable growth business model that focuses on our core people-centric values, healthy unit economics and long-term thinking.
“Beyond 2023, as we hopefully sail into more predictable economic waters, we will see the continued move away from the hyper-growth model and a focus on sustainable growth. Navigating a business through any type of crisis is more manageable if you are well capitalised, and funding is always available in an economic downturn for the right businesses.”
“Digital transformation is a perennial focus for the fintech industry, and the rise of AI and other advanced tech is causing a shift in the mindset of finance professionals to identify value, not just in a company’s finances but also in its tech infrastructure, its network, and its people. Redefining value in this way will feed into the future success of strategic sustainable growth.”
Technology is the answer
The development of technology cannot be understated. Therefore, for organisations to prosper, they must take advantage of tech – namely automation technology. Timothée Raymond, head of innovation and technology at Linedata, the tech solution provider, explains: “In a market with slimmer margins, operational efficiency continues to be the most significant challenge for asset managers.
“As part of our Global Asset Management Survey earlier this year, we asked 45 buy-side firms in the UK alongside an additional 220 firms across Europe, North America and Asia about how they have been adapting to evolving technology operations.
“Almost half (49 per cent) of the UK respondents picked increasing automation to improve operational efficiency as a driver of business growth and performance over the next 12 months. Additionally, we found that 60 per cent of these firms identified increasing system and workflow automation as a priority area for IT investment, aligning with the strategic priority of bringing costs down to improve operational efficiency.
“Through this increased automation we are likely to see organisations meet one of their greatest operational challenges, efficiency!”
More customers equals more demands
Tosin Eniolorunda, CEO of paytech Moniepoint reflects on how the company overcame the growing demands of its customer base. He highlights the importance of integrating new technology.
“Our biggest operational challenge was scaling operations to meet the demands satisfactorily of our growing customer base.
“To overcome this challenge, we took a number of steps, from investing in new technology, such as cloud-based software, to improve efficiency to bringing in more world-class talent to take our services to the next level.
“As a result of these steps, we were able to overcome the challenge and go on from strength to strength. I am confident that we can continue to succeed in the years to come.”
As an organisation expands so do its requirements. Scott Ritch, VP of operations at Wildfire Systems, the company monetising organic e-commerce, explains how the company developed its ops team to deal with new operational challenges.
“Wildfire formally launched an operations department and strategically on-boarded dedicated ops team members starting in early 2023. To accomplish this we had to evaluate all the ‘ops’ work that current non-ops team members were doing. Then, we figured out how to shift our processes and assign those ‘back of house’ responsibilities to our new ops team to free up valuable time for Wildfire’s product managers, client support, merchant development, and other teams.
“This way they could focus on their strategic roles as part of a fast-moving startup, instead of having to do all of these ad hoc reports and manage administrative functions. Now that the ops team is in place, we are focused on utilising Tableau, a business intelligence platform, to extract all the real value in the data that we’re capturing to propel our business forward while also using that data to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace.”