How I helped give Australia’s small businesses a fairer go
October 8, 2021
I grew up in a big family in Malaysia. Even when I was a kid I was a team leader: the second eldest of four siblings – part of the big sister crew, showing everyone the way of things. I came to Australia aged 17 to study and went on to do a Commerce degree, before stumbling into consulting.
A uni friend who’d interned with Accenture said: “You’d like this company, I think you should apply.” I had no idea who Accenture was or what consulting meant. But the more research I did, the more interested I became. I don’t know what the Accenture Managing Director who interviewed me saw in me – but I got the gig!
When I first started as a young graduate over nine years ago, I didn’t know what I was doing. But I liked connecting with people and slowly got more confident. Every day, I learnt on the job. I’m extremely grateful to all the leaders and role models who have helped me in my Accenture journey. I know I can always reach out to my network with a question. Chances are, someone in Accenture will have already addressed my challenge with another client – and people are always so generous with their time, advice and expertise.
I was also lucky enough to attend Accenture’s “Consulting School” at the Malaysia, Chicago and Bangalore training centres and did specific courses in Agile and nCino Commercial Lending. So when I was asked to be the Business Architect on an nCino project with a start-up bank, I jumped at the chance.
Sign me up!
Judo Bank’s mission – to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) get fairer access to finance – really resonated with me. Instead of demanding collateral, Judo’s relationship managers take the time to truly understand business owners and their companies. They actually go and meet people face-to-face to understand what owners are looking to achieve – and give businesses a fairer go.
It’s a brilliant strategy and it works so well that, when I met them, the team at Judo had become a victim of their own success. Having stormed the market since being granted a banking license in April 2019, Judo had outgrown its Customer Relationship Manager and loan origination system.
To be able to support as many SMEs as possible, the new bank needed a whole new system – fast!
That’s where I came in. As a Business Architect, I’m the glue that binds business and technology together – responsible for making sure we design a system that meets the client’s needs. I work with everyone involved – technologists, designers and users. Think of me as a translator. I know how to explain to the business what the technology can do – and to techies what the business needs.
I know it’s a bit geeky how excited I get about systems implementation – especially because I have zero technology background. But there’s something magical about taking a client on a journey, starting from literally nothing and ending up with a system that makes everyone’s lives better.
Best team ever!
One of the things I love about Accenture is that we have access to experts from around the world. During this project, our team was truly global: Australia, India, Philippines and the US. I loved working with a mix of different cultures – and I got to learn from experts who are leading the way in this field, which is pretty cool.
Looking back at what we achieved, I’m so proud of what we achieved for our client, but also of the way we scaled the monumental learning curve we collectively had as a team. We started with just one experienced nCino resource. Now, we have a fully skilled team. Every single person was amazing, willing to do whatever it took to make it work for Judo. I learnt so much about trusting myself and the team, knowing we had what it took to work through the tough times COVID-19 had thrust upon us and still deliver results.
Making lending human again
I had such a sense of relief and satisfaction when we onboarded all the bankers after just nine months. The system has been a smash hit. Everyone is so much more productive. Today, with the nCino solution doing the heavy lifting of workflow, data entry and number crunching, Judo’s business bankers are enjoying being able to spend quality time with many more customers, presenting timely, personalised insights and offerings specific to each customer’s needs and circumstances.
It makes me smile so much knowing I played a part in making sure Judo Bank can be there for the young entrepreneurs eager to build their dreams – and the mum and dad businesses who make up such an important part of our community.