With Bryan, I discussed global trends in wealth management, humans and robo components competing with one another, and expectations for the near future.> More details
NexJ: Intelligent Customer Management for Insurance and Financial Markets
|Clients||Leading financial and insurance service providers|
|Value proposition||Intelligent customer management solutions for
NexJ is a global provider of cloud-based software for large enterprises. The company has a large geographic base of clients, offering its products to leading firms in North America, Europe, Middle-East, and Asia-Pacific.
WealthTech Club spoke with Bryan Sachdeva, vice president of NexJ, and found out what makes the firm stand out from the crowd, and how it manages to align data from multiple sources to create its unique products and solutions that enable clients to sail through their interactions with customers.
Bryan Sachdeva is the vice president for wealth-management solutions at NexJ Systems Inc. He has been part of NexJ for about a decade.
Prior to joining the company, Bryan worked on implementing projects for financial services institutions, and was a product manager at SAP.
Bryan is responsible for the company’s wealth-management solutions and go-to-market strategy.
What makes NexJ different?
NexJ offers solutions for intelligent customer management. This means a couple of different things, starting with a fundamental understanding of what the customer is and building his/her complete profile.
- NexJ offers a platform that has a number of really strong integration and workflow capabilities and further builds a specific customer model that takes into account all of the customer’s attributes, including their accounts, portfolio, and investments. It’s not really important where the data sits; thanks to the platform it is easy and quick to go to market with a lot of different solutions on top of the basic one.
- After the customer profiling is complete, NexJ shifts its focus to automating and streamlining the process workflow, making such things as reviewing, client onboarding, and the remaining due diligence with KYC and AML simple. The engagement models are automated to guide advisors on who to reach out to and when; helping them segment and quickly engage the business is the main goal of the loyalty process.
- Further, a customer data analytics and intelligence platform integrates all of the enterprise data together and introduces intelligence backing to the platform. The engine processes the gathered insights and passes them back to the CRM and BPM products offered by NexJ.
These three processes form the pillars of the company’s intelligent customer-management solution, which helps advisors quickly understand all the enterprise information they have about the customer and augment that data with streaming information from external sources.
Moreover, the company has close ties with the major wire houses in the US, as well as the top five industry players. On a global scale, there are many large wealth-management firms that have more than 35,000 advisors each. For example, NexJ helps one of its largest clients, US-based Wells Fargo Advisors, to integrate CRM with the account management, custodians, and financial planning system that Wells Fargo already has in place. Whether that’s a home-grown or off-the-shelf product, NexJ deals with all types of integrations. Every customer generally has up to 20 different integrated systems.
Data analytics and the data model at NexJ
“CRMs should be part of the whole consumer journey, but not its focal point.”
For example, if a company serves the needs of high net worth individuals but has a separate investment council group in Canada, the chance that they are using different CRM systems for each is high. There is still a need to bridge the gap to obtain lean data. At NexJ, it is possible to semantically normalize attribute-based data. Whether a customer wants to use IBM Watson or Google artificial intelligence services, NexJ doesn’t need to stick to a proprietary AI or analytics platform, which gives it plenty of choices.
When it comes to analytics, NexJ takes any dashboards or reports and feeds them back in context as part of the CRM experience. In this way, when an advisor is on a customer record he or she can see some of the insights, such as suggested changes to the engagement model or to the portfolio, organized so as to make the advice more meaningful. The main idea behind NexJ’s efforts is to provide the data to a provider of choice.
At NexJ, hundreds of attributes are being accounted for. This makes customer models very deep as they have it all—from regulatory information to taxes—going beyond just the enterprise data. Moreover, this data is supplemented with streaming information from social media and external networks to further refine the data. NexJ has experts on both data science and customer data management. Thus, all resources at hand are integrated.
NexJ has end-to-end encryption all the way down from the data storage level. The real benefit customers get from this is that they don’t need to use the cloud, but can if they want to. Unlike some other firms, NexJ doesn’t offer a multi-tenant SaaS cloud, but rather gives firms flexibility and control over the data and deployment. Many of the company’s existing customers still have on-premise deployments, while others advance and move to a private or hybrid cloud deployment where they can still manage the data center internally using some applications in the cloud.
Due to the nature of its operations, NexJ has to go through all the penetration testing with clients, who put the supplier through very rigorous security testing. The company is highly adept at dealing with issues as they arise.
Product management approach
As a part of its regular practices, NexJ collects feedback on a regular basis. There is a strong customer advisory group that consists of financial advisors, business, and IT representatives for each customer. In addition, NexJ holds regular focus groups along with the representatives from customers to decide on designs and discuss feature requests and business on the whole. These exercises are necessary to create a suitable product roadmap. Another concept utilized by NexJ is regular meetings with industry analysts—e.g. Forrester, as well as other reputable research firms—wherein the company gets market insights and bounces ideas around. Furthermore, the FinTech player attends as many conferences as possible to stay at the top of the industry and keep up with trends.
“…A combination of all the customer feedback, strong industry relationships that we have with a lot of the research firms, and then our own independent views and market assessments help NexJ create its unique offering.”
The management team has been in financial services for decades, so they have numerous connections within the industry. This is another way in which the company leverages the inputs to define a product road map.
“For us right now, it’s very much about leveraging all the work that we’ve done from a data and integration perspective to drive analytics, automate and streamline a lot of the everyday tasks that the advisors are doing.”
Software development process
When it comes to software development, NexJ utilizes the power of Agile using Scrum methodology.
“The focus for us is all about continuous delivery to our customers.”
Every customer of the software provider has its own needs, and the level of customization must be aligned to those requirements. There are many different teams, each of which works through a backlog that determined from the roadmap.
Scrum methodology is used to create and groom the backlog and find each of the stories and use cases, and each fresh Scrum team then iterates on that in an Agile way. It then begins testing, including usability testing.
“I remember at one point we used to do yearly releases, and do quarterly releases. We’re really trying to speed that up so that we’ve got continuous delivery.”
NexJ has a customer in the UK, for example, who is now deploying to production twice a week. Using Scrum helps the provider to present new features to the field as quickly as possible.
Sharing lessons learnt
The whole NexJ team works in the same office, so there is no offshore development and everything is in-house. This approach also applies when it comes to sales and marketing, which is all internal as well. The company uses whiteboards throughout the office to keep everybody aligned with the current roadmap and strategy. Along with its own NexJ University, there is informal training at the company that new joiners go through. After getting onboarded, associates are required to take certain classes in order to understand the markets the company serves, the functionality, etc. On the company’s website, there is a Developer Community section that features training courses on UI, Java, and Scheme. On top of that, the Community contains a selection of useful articles, as well as technical documentation.
WealthTech Club takeaway
NexJ has created a bold offering that synthesizes piles of data into one meaningful pool of insights that help advisors to better cater to the needs of their clients. The company offers a powerful suite of tools that help finance and insurance industry players to take data analytics and customer relationship management to a whole new level.