Financial Services Transformation
I studied Business and IT, which wasn’t as popular then as it is now. I started my career within the IT side of a big bank and quickly developed a specific interest in e-commerce from which led me on to complete a post-graduate degree. My first job as a programmer was in the lending area of a bank, dealing with student loans mainly. From here, I moved into the Treasury area as an economic analyst which was so interesting and I really felt I had found my niche. My role was to support the Asset and Liability functions in the Treasury department, as well as to improve processes and highlight what needed changing in order to support the wider business-objectives.
When I saw a business analyst role come up for SAP Treasury at the South Africa Post Office, I went for it and have since worked with lots of different versions of SAP Finance and Loans Management, starting with R2 (almost 30 years ago) to R3 which is now S/4HANA.
I spent many years working with the system and implementing for many different businesses including agricultural banks, development banks and government bodies. This path led me to working within the Financial Services industry, specifically in lending and with a keen focus on SAP Loans Management (CML). During these CML years I co-founded my own company and we joined with IZAZI in 2005, which was subsequently bought by Ernst & Young in 2016.
I started in February 2022. I must admit I wasn’t aware of bancon before a friend made the introduction, and couldn’t believe my luck to find a niche company with big ambitions that still has a people first culture. I met with Bradley Jarrett in London whom I was very impressed by; he was saying everything I wanted to hear in terms of their customer service ethos, global knowledge sharing, innovation and being open-minded to change. It was a refreshing approach. Many of our values aligned. bancon are serious about giving customers a service that is worth paying for and ensuring they make the choice that is not only right for the business, but is the best value for money in terms of service and people skills.
I recognised that there was a gap at bancon for someone with my SAP Loans Management (CML) skills and knowledge, and also identified with the challenges they were facing in scaling their service offering to cater for S/4HANA Loans Management. I’ve invested my career in doing just that and felt I complemented what they had already and was able to accelerate it.
The biggest implementation project has almost been a full-time role as CML Functional Architect on the Standard Bank S/4HANA Lending project. Although this role initially started when I was not working for bancon, since the start of 2023 bancon is playing a significant role in the project with not just myself involved, but at least another six CML team members too.
Some of the bancon team members have a longstanding relationship with Standard Bank, dating back to 2004 when Standard Bank made the decision to implement SAP Business partner as central customer master. This history has given us great experience and insight into the operations, landscape, aspirations and challenges enabling us to bring immediate impact and familiarity. It will continue to be a strong strategic partnership this year.
Of course, most notably clients are becoming increasingly cost conscious. Particularly since the pandemic, budgets are tighter than ever and clients need to see value for money. My team are passionate about helping make sure that money is best spent where it will make the biggest difference. Amongst us we bring over 200 years of experience in SAP Lending; so you can be sure you’re in good hands.
Institutions are requiring increased flexibility from their Lending Platforms, which is becoming an even greater priority as many ageing systems cannot couple. Clients now demand a scalable system which is able to handle all their different Lending products with the various permutations or structures within each product, S/4 Loans Management is an ideal solution for this level of flexibility and has proven to be a market leader for over 20 years.
Another trend, or rather necessity, is the focus on the customer journey. For too long the focus has been on the lenders, opposed to borrower, where customer journeys are over complicated and often require the borrower to provide information which the institution already holds. This has changed over the past 18 months, where we’re now seeing institutions invest more into innovating the front-end and putting extreme focus on the user experience. This plays to the strength of SAP Loans Management (CML) which, with its open architecture, enables it to be coupled with nearly all CRM or self-developed origination journeys.
I am really blessed to have a highly technical team for whom these challenges are nothing new; they have seen it all and have come up with world-class solutions.
I really love it! I get the best of both countries especially with the weather. I enjoy British Summer time with it’s long days while I miss the Winter in South Africa. Then as Autumn fades to Winter in the UK, I head back to the Summer in South Africa for a few weeks and enjoy a sunny Christmas. Although I would like to experience a White Christmas one day.
It is a good arrangement for work too. As we have clients in both Europe and South Africa, I have the opportunity to visit them in person and think this is an important effort to make to maintain strong working relationships. I am also able to form close relationships with colleagues in both countries, which improves collaboration, knowledge sharing of the local markets and understanding of the international landscape. Wherever you are in the world, banconeers are the best people to work with.
There are a lot of positives but I will narrow it down to three. bancon is a people centric company, they really do care about individuals, both employees and customers.They don’t just say this, they show it - when I first spoke to bancon Co-Founder Jörg Mauelshagen he started by saying he was privileged to be speaking to me! I was flattered.
Secondly, company size. We aren’t a big faceless corporate which means that as an individual you are able to make a real impact. bancon only employ highly-skilled people in their industry, cherry-picking talent to join their team of banconeers.
Lastly, trust. The senior team have a genuine trust in the people who work for them to do the best job they can, which is why flexible working and remote working isn’t an issue. They also develop a huge amount of trust with customers, as their focus is more on reputation and doing a great job than profit margin.
If you’re looking for a new career opportunity, take a look at our careers page or get in touch with Claudia Hoffmann.