Financial IT: How would you describe Ohpen?
Angelique Schouten: Ohpen provides both incumbent financial services companies and new market entrants with a “bank-out-of-the-box” solution to fully outsource their investment & savings account operations.
We deliver IT services and technology to outsource the back- and front-office operations of banks, asset managers, and insurance companies. Founded in Amsterdam in 2009 by former bankers, the offering combines fully cloud-based SaaS technology with BPO services that enables financial services companies to launch propositions, digitalize their services quickly and easily, and benefit from lower costs of a unique all-in-one pricing model. Ohpen administrates hundreds of thousands of retail accounts and billions of euros in assets with a team of more than 80 domain experts across their offices in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Spain.
Financial IT: What do you see as being your competitive edge?
Angelique Schouten: Our biggest competitive edge is our culture and mentality. Yes, our solution is new, we have one code base, and we embody customization by configuration and it always works. But we are truly different as we always strive to challenge market practices and keep investing in the best solution for the end customer. This means also that we challenge existing processes of our clients.
Financial IT: Tell us about your clients and the problems that you solve for them. Please give us the real-life case example.
Angelique Schouten: Most of our clients have existing clients and products running on old on premise legacy solutions. They are faced with old software that leads to high hardware costs and low performance. They manage a spaghetti of applications and have file cabinets for record keeping. Their customer service is old fashioned and mainly supporting paper-based processes and they have insufficient audit trail and basic analytics. To top this off they are usually confronted with vendors that do not understand their business as they have never sat at the other side of the table.
We help our clients by delivering a solution based on new processes, technology and business principles. By migrating to Ohpen, they achieve high levels of STP and are able to lower costs significantly whilst increasing customer satisfaction.
Financial IT: What are the key benefits of cloud banking for banks and end users?
Angelique Schouten: Cloud banking is nothing more than virtualisation of computing power. Instead of banks having to invest millions in hardware and allocate hundreds of IT staff to maintain the infrastructure, they now have access to unlimited outsourced computing power to support their processes enabling to better support their end users/ customers with modern processes and services. Both banks and end users will experience a service that is always available and upholds the highest security standards available in the market. In other words “it just works and it is more adaptable, reliable and compliant”.
Financial IT: Many banks face challenges while moving their core services into cloud mainly because of security concerns. How do you solve this problem?
Angelique Schouten: The security concerns are mostly based on the lack of knowledge and experience when talking about cloud. We make sure to explain what the cloud really is such as the fact that a virtual private cloud is being used (and not a public cloud), data at rest and in transit is encrypted and the same accreditations and certificates are obtained (e.g. ISAE3402 Type I and II and ISO27001). People often forget that when a bank moves their core services to the cloud, the same rules & regulations apply. A good example is the physical protection: you have a better chance in trying to locate and access the data centre of your bank than trying to find and locate a datacentre of a large cloud provider like Amazon Web Services. These cloud providers take every single security measure they can. Why do you think even the likes of Nasa use cloud computing services? Banks usually quickly realise that using cloud technology often increases security compared to their existing solution.
Financial IT: What trends are you witnessing nowadays in the cloud banking industry? What are your predictions for 2017?
Angelique Schouten: The past few years a large number of banks, insurance companies and asset managers have tried using the cloud for testing environments or hosting websites. Besides seeing the benefits of cloud, they are starting to realise that their existing architecture is not digitalised to the extent that they can realise the tangible business results they need. Having a high degree of straight-through-processing, accessible data and an audit trail are the foundation of a solid digital architecture. An audit trail will result in valuable data and tangible business results when combining this with technology. My prediction is that financial services providers will focus more on tackling their entire digital architecture by replacing their core on premise applications with cloud based solutions to create a digital backbone of the organisation that can support a modern digitalised proposition.
Angelique Schouten (email@example.com | @SchoutenA) has over a decade of experience in retail banking, insurance, asset management, and fintech at companies such as Aon and ING / NN Group. She was responsible for running the first direct-to-consumer robo-investor in the Netherlands at Ohpen before switching to the software division of the company. There, Angelique successfully led business development, sales, and marketing activities, most recently as Chief Marketing Officer. In 2016, she established Ohpen’s operations in the UK and was appointed to CEO of Ohpen UK. Angelique is a member of the Ohpen Board in the UK. She holds a Master’s Degree in Business from Nyenrode University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Marketing Management from Fontys University.