Link Group’s investment in technology and innovation enhances efficient and effective service delivery, while also enabling innovation across the group. It is a critical pillar that enables us to provide scaled operations and services, underpinned by robust information and data security.
During FY2019, we made good progress towards creating a global technology framework – thus enabling our clients’ own customers to connect with their assets more easily, efficiently and effectively.
Over the past ten years, Link Group has re-invested more than $300 million in the development and implementation of our market leading platforms, for the benefit of both our clients and our people.
Consistent and common platforms and systems
Ensuring that our activities support our global growth goals was a key focus for us in FY2019, especially with an increasingly large footprint of operations spread across the world.
The work we began in FY2018 to integrate the LAS Finance, Human Resources and Risk & Compliance systems into those of the broader Link Group was completed in FY2019. This was an important step towards our technology standardisation agenda, creating a foundation from which we will have common and consistent, organisation-wide technology infrastructure, systems and platforms.
The signing of a long term agreement with Microsoft, for our cloud-based transformation initiative has also enabled the migration of select databases and systems into the cloud to begin this past year. This agreement will see us transition selected workloads to Microsoft Azure and deploy Microsoft Dynamics 365, while enabling our clients and our people across our global operations to access quality service and tools that will support scaled innovation, at an increased pace.
Our ultimate goal is to establish a single set of secure, connected systems, platforms and information sources across all our businesses. This will provide our clients with a streamlined, seamless and consistent Link Group experience regardless of their location, as well as a greater ability to personalise the experience for their own customers, and will also enhance our own employees’ experience by supporting better communication, collaboration and innovation.
Easier & more convenient account management
Link Fund Solutions in the UK introduced a digital customer portal, Fund Management Centre (FMC), that improves our managed fund clients’ relationships with their retail investors. Through the FMC, end users can make transactions and manage their investments directly, saving them time and money. The FMC enhances our other services by facilitating a direct digital relationship with end investors.
Supporting productivity and collaboration
During the year, Link Group continued to make technology investments that will ultimately provide all our people with the tools they need to excel individually and collectively, with flow-on benefits for clients.
These included the introduction of on-the-floor technical assistance, additional virtual meeting and collaboration tools to support flexible working and refreshed contact centre platforms.
In late 2018, our new Network Operations Centre (NOC) went live, increasing system availability for employees and clients by speeding up issues resolution. To support Link Group’s innovation program, we established a new LinkLabs in London to facilitate solutions testing, collaboration and co‑designing with clients as well as providing a state-of-the-art environment for technology demonstrations.
We also began work on a multi-year investment in a new data hub that will provide seamless, tailored access to data from multiple sources. This will enable us to provide customised data analytics services that will ultimately deliver a more personalised experience for our clients and their own customers.
Enhancing service delivery
In FY2019, we introduced new technology solutions that help us to better connect people with, and to protect and manage their assets, such as our:
Investor Centre mobile app
Fund Manager Centre
Micro investing app
Robust asset and data protection
Link Group’s clients and other stakeholders expect us to provide a high level of data protection and privacy, which continues to be a key focus.
One of the Centres of Excellence established this year was in Information Security, leveraging our deep and proven experience in this area from Australia into other regions. Our ISO 27001 certification – an international best practice standard for information security – was not only maintained but expanded into other business units.
We also maintained our compliance with other frameworks, including National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), APRA Prudential Standard CPS 234 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Easier access and greater convenience
Link Group rolled out two new mobile apps to help shareholders and members of our clients conveniently manage their assets on the go. The apps are an example of how our technology leadership enables clients to deliver a unique, value-added user experience to their customers and importantly, is technology that can be rolled out globally.
We also launched Fund Management Centre in the UK, an online platform for retail investors that provides 24/7 access to real-time information about their managed fund investments and simplifies account management.
FY2019 ended with the integration of our Technology & Operations teams into one global division. This will promote a closer relationship between the two areas so we can better understand technology needs from our clients and incorporate these and other continuous improvement opportunities into our technology strategy and priorities, thereby enhancing our service delivery and offering to clients.
Investing in customer-centric, mobile-led technologies
Link Investor Centre app
This app provides retail equity investors in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong with secure access to information about their share portfolio anywhere at any time. Launched in August 2018, it was voted the Financial Services App of the Year in the 2019 Financial Standard MAX Awards — the third year running that Link Group has won this award. The app will be rolled out globally from FY2020.
Intrust Super SuperCents app
Going live in June 2019, this micro‑investing app uses technology provided by Link Group and our strategic affiliate Moneysoft, to automatically round up everyday transactions made by Intrust Super members to the nearest dollar, and invests this in to the member’s superannuation account. This represents a first for an Australian industry fund, with the potential for this technology to be applied to other funds and industries.
Looking ahead to FY2020 and beyond
The following key initiatives are planned for FY2020 and beyond:
- Continue moving to common global operating systems, platforms and data sources to improve productivity and end-user experience;
- Identify continuous improvement opportunities that harness technology and innovation;
- Develop our Centres of Excellence; and
- Continue our cloud transformation initiative.