CIO50 2020 #24 Angela Donohoe, BPAY Group
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who’s never used BPAY. A stalwart for payments in Australia for over 20 years, 165 financial institutions offer BPAY to 13 million Australians who in turn use the platform to pay 45,000 businesses.
A further 60 financial Institutions offer BPAY’s Osko service for real time peer-to-peer payments.
As chief information officer for BPAY Group, Angela Donohoe was a central figure in arguably the most transformative period in the organisation's history, helping to drive creation of its much-anticipated Group Developer Portal and APIs.
“Prior to the 2019 release of our APIs, the only way to integrate our services was through the more complex batch-based systems,” she tells CIO Australia.
Which says a lot about how important BPAY is for so many businesses that they needed to make the integration work regardless of the difficulty.
Now the process is orders-of-magnitude easier, with customers reporting less mistaken payments and lower overheads as the APIs validate payments upfront.
BPAY APIs are accessed through a BPAY Group Developer Portal which also provides BPAY with direct access to the developer community in Billers, FinTechs and NeoBanks.
Donohoe describes the portal as a one-stop-shop for developers, providing registration, sandbox and access to production BPAY APIs.
“The BPAY API features make life simpler for businesses as they enable more efficient processes, avoid the need to implement more expensive and complex batch-based solutions, and reduce the overheads of mistaken payments for customers."
Making APIs easily available to all partners, be they merchants, traditional financial institutions or challenger FinTechs and NeoBanks, has transformed BPAY and how organisations interact with it.
Fittingly, Donohoe predicts the wider financial services ecosystem will now start to move away from batch processing.
The APIs were launched to 165 financial institutions and their payment providers in October 2019, with interest and uptake far-exceeding expectations.
In six months, over 25 companies integrated with BPAY via APIs. The list includes banks, Buy Now Pay Later, accounting packages and FinTechs.
Over 6 million API calls were made since October, with the trend continuing north, while to date more than 500 users have registered to test the APIs through the Developer Portal.
Donohoe emphasises the importance of bringing “a business lens” to the positioning and management of technology and security functions at BPAY.
“I make it my purpose to establish valued and trusted relationships with my CEO and executive peers and to establish a reputation for good advice and delivery of reliable and trusted services.”
Evidence of her ability to manage and influence across the company lies in her having unified previously siloed approaches to technology, a feat which no doubt held the organisation in good stead during the recent large-scale API project.
She has also strived to create greater unity through diversity on a cultural level.
With a real passion for women in STEM she leads BPAY’s Women’s Forum, mentoring young women through the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Lucy Mentoring Program.
And in 2019, Donohoe arranged BPAY Group’s first scholarship sponsorship for a UTS Women in Engineering and IT undergraduate, while introduced – and arranging funding for – an internship program as well.
More broadly, she notes BPAY understands that employees have different needs at all stages of professional and personal life and is proud to say she has actively supported staff for instance, who have asked to work more flexibly, requested career secondment, or sought to take a break altogether.