An Interview with Phil Copeland, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Avoka Technologies

FST Media: What are your business and digital priorities for the next 6 months?

Copeland: Our goal is to assist and help many of those large, traditional financial services organisations to modernise their business and to help them with their digital transformation.

FST Media: What are your business and digital priorities for the next 6 months?

Copeland: Our goal is to assist and help many of those large, traditional financial services organisations to modernise their business and to help them with their digital transformation.


FST Media: What technology or innovation is proving to be the single biggest game changer across the financial services industry?

Copeland: Clearly digital, but it’s changed quite a lot and customers, banks and organisations are really moving towards being able to fully engage their customers through digital channels. The piece we focus on is what we call ‘customer acquisition’ or ‘digital sales’, which is signing up and onboarding customers through a wide variety of digital devices including phones, kiosks, laptops and desktop computers.


FST Media: What is the main challenge Avoka faces as it continues to develop in a competitive market space?

Copeland: Really scaling the business – we work with many large organisations and we are developing as a fast growing business which is providing quality service to our customers and making sure they are successful along the way. That is the number one thing we are focussed on.


FST Media: How can fintechs and traditional financial services work together collaboratively?

Copeland: There are two types of fintechs; disrupters, who challenge the traditional financial services organisations and are a threat to these organisations. There are also fintech enablers who help traditional financial services organisations to digitise their business and help them compete in this world. It all depends which camp you are in!


FST Media: How are you leveraging big data and analytics to create customer-centric services?

Copeland: Our whole solution is focused on customer experience and improving the customer journey, so big data helps us with analytics. All our customers want to reduce abandonment, improve conversion rates, and be able to utilise big data services for things like number crunching and analytics. One of the biggest changes we have seen in the last 12 months is cloud and mostly all our major global customers have been implementing our solution in the cloud. Prior to now, virtually none did that and that is a much bigger change in 12 months than anything in big data.


FST Media: What specific insight does Avoka bring into the Australian finance sector?

Copeland: We started off in Australia, but now 65-70 per cent of our revenue comes other continents. Australia has always been a nation of great early adopters to technology and of innovators and Australian banks have also done a reasonable job by world standards. Avoka have just completed a study and survey of adoption of digital across major banks in each region, and Australia is slightly ahead of both North America and Europe in terms of adoption of technology.


FST Media: What is the next big thing for Avoka and how will you measure its success?

Copeland:We have seen a lot of adoption of our platform in areas of retail banking globally and what we are seeing at the moment is a big move from commercial banking groups and wealth management. These have tended to lag a little bit, particularly the retail banking customers, so that is the next big frontier for us.


FST Media: Where do you look for emerging technology trends?

Copeland: Finovate has always been a fantastic event for us and it is very much the gold standard for what is happening in the industry. That is always a great spot for watching what is happening.


FST Media: How to maintain a culture of innovation within your team?

Copeland: We work with new products and technologies on cutting-edge solutions and I think by employing staff who are well-educated in those emerging technologies and who are ready to adopt and experiment with new solutions, is really the key.


FST Media: What is the best career advice that you can give?

Copeland: I think encouraging more people in the importance of getting involved in the tech industry. There is a huge movement in the USA where around 30 per cent of all new jobs are being created in and around the tech sector and so I think that we are lagging here in Australia in terms of recognising the importance of that for the future. People need to realise what great career opportunities there are in the space. We need more innovators and people who are prepared to create fantastic new tech companies. There has been a huge change in the last ten years and the start-up culture in Australia has dramatically improved out of sight, so it is now much easier to create a company.


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