CIO50 2021 #26-50 Andrew Todd, Iress
Financial software company, Iress has over 2,250 staff working in 17 offices across seven different countries. And so, for chief technology officer, Andrew Todd the ability for teams to connect and collaborate effectively has been one of his top priorities.
Taking on the role in January 2017, he soon guided Iress to become one of the first enterprises in APAC to adopt Slack, closely followed by Zoom.
Two years later he led the company-wide transition away from Microsoft to the Google Suite for its productivity suite.
“The change created a more seamless, cloud-first collaboration culture which has been hugely beneficial both during the pandemic and when integrating new employees,” Todd says. Iress added a further 200 staff in November 2020 following its acquisition of OneVue.
Throughout the pandemic period, Todd and his team have deployed what they call the Iress Cloud Platform (ICP), which they report has fundamentally changed the approach to product delivery for clients across different regions. Staff are now able to collaborate better to improve client outcomes and drive more sales.
“The ICP has improved Iress’ internal efficiencies and working methods, significantly reducing the time to deliver Iress services to customers,” Todd says. “What may have taken several weeks across several regional teams to execute in one product line can now be performed with a single button click in minutes.”
Iress has deployed a range of cloud solutions leading to significant efficiency improvements and greater resilience.
For instance, Todd says staff are now 90% faster at developing, deploying, and upgrading software and services for clients while reporting a 70% improvement in upgrade times for enterprise-level clients and reduced client costs.
Iress now has over 800 clients globally spread across advice, portfolio, mortgage lending and trading software using auto-upgrade capabilities leading to an ongoing uptick in quality. Meanwhile, new features are being released faster with quicker fixes.
Enhanced support capabilities mean issues are being remediated before they impact clients, leading to greater resilience.
Migration to ICP paved the way for creation of the Iress Data Platform (IDP).
“As part of the broader Iress technology platform, it provides Iress people with consistent solutions to shared needs around the ingestion, processing/learning, and egress of data,” Todd notes.
Benefits have included reduced duplication and effort for the Iress engineering team, freeing up people to focus on more rewarding and impactful work.
Increased visibility and availability of data for both internal audiences and clients means tasks that would have taken several weeks to complete are now done in a fraction of the time.
“This has proven particularly powerful in the area of compliance, where Iress can support licensees to bring together thousands of adviser data sets from multiple sources to produce key risk indicators through an IDP-powered dashboard that enables them to remediate appropriately and limit their risk exposure,” Todd explains.
He adds that Iress’ cloud migration has delivered significant benefits for all of the company’s employees, especially as they’ve tried to overcome the many challenges created by COVID-19.
“When Iress employees began working from home in March 2020, the transition was seamless, with only 1% of surveyed citing difficulties working from home”.
With a shift now to hybrid work models, the cloud-based workplace tools deployed by Todd and his team have allowed Iress to operate far more flexibly and adapt to ongoing lockdowns with no real impact on productivity and engagement.
Meanwhile, with conferences and forums put on hold in 2020, Todd wanted to ensure his CTO and CIO peers working in the financial services industry could continue to connect, share and learn. This led him to establish the Iress CTO Forum.
Beginning initially as an intimate gathering of technology leaders within Iress’ Australian wealth management clients, in 2021 it went global with participants invited from across APAC, South Africa and the UK.