Fast 5

Driving Innovation |  Amit Kuckreja

Fast 5 Amit Kuckreja

 

Fast 5 with Amit Kuckreja, Head of Technology, Digital Banking, Sandstone Technology 

The speed of financial technology is constantly evolving and highlights the importance for organisations and their leaders to foster a culture of innovation. We chatted to Amit and see what else he had to say...

Q1. Which bank or FI organisation do you think is driving innovation successfully?

There are a few areas that are very interesting. The BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) scene with Zip, Afterpay and followers is very interesting. The innovation around Personal Finance Management is still to run its course, and it will be exciting to see where it leads. If I think of the financial services I use on a day to day basis, I think of PayPal. Paypal integration with retail sites reduce friction more than any other organisation I can think of. I’ve been known to find a different retail site if it does not support Paypal (because I’m too lazy to get up and find my credit card!). For more than a decade, PayPal have been pushing the banks and FIs forward with their innovative approach to user experience the developer integration options.

Q2.What do you see as key factors for leaders to foster an innovative environment?

Allowing your teams to work autonomously has been shown to foster high performance teams and innovation. This ensures much more ownership, and teams get a real sense of achievement if they are able to follow through a piece of work. This will also allow teams to learn fast and fail fast. The alternate to this is dependencies on other teams, and the creation of tickets to get things done. If you need to create a ticket and wait weeks to get new resources or environments, then you are doing something wrong! 

Q3. What financial technology innovation has had the greatest impact within the past 2 years?  

While we have just started scratching the surface of the potential of Open Banking in Australia, the UK is more advanced in this area. The potential to view all the spending from my various accounts in a single place, with categorization and analysis is very exciting personally. For FIs and organisations, the ability to perform analysis of a potential borrowers accounts without forcing the painful process of uploading countless documents is sure to reduce turnaround times. 

Q4. What is a financial technology you couldn't imagine living without today?

This is an easy one: Smart Phones. The ubiquity of the Smart Phone in our lives is well known and documented. And with the ability to manage my bank accounts, make payments online and at physical retail shops, with my phone all while on the move is absolutely awesome. Add to this the other functionality of Smart Phones, such as communications, identification, vaccination certificates, maps, and even acting as keys to unlock your car or house, and the usefulness of these devices is only going to grow!

Q5.What's the best piece of advice someone has given you for your career?

Immerse yourself in the business and industry you are working in. I started my career as a software developer, and early in my career it was very easy to just do what was asked of me, with limited context to what was being asked of me. But the ability to ask the right questions only comes with understanding the business you are in. When I was working on a property valuation system, my manager suggested I go out for a few jobs with a valuer, to get a real understanding of how the systems I was building were being used, and who the users were. Within a few hours, I learnt so much about the industry, processes and pain points, that it really shaped the next five years of my career while I was still working in this same area.

Always ensure you are learning about the context you are working in, from a technology, people and process point of view.



Amit Kuckreja

Amit has a passion for technology and how it can enhance the lives of everyone in society. He believes of technology as an enabler within businesses and organisations to innovate and grow. With a background in Software Development and Architecture, he realises the importance of building solutions and services that meet short term needs, but build capabilities for the longer term as well. Amit enjoys working with teams of passionate people who he can learn from. He tries to always ensure he is learning, on topics ranging from phycology, technology, science and history. As a father of twin boys, family will always come first.