Cbus overhauls infrastructure bringing digital assets in-house

Having control over its digital platforms allows the company to deliver tailored experiences to customers.

Australian super fund Cbus is nearing the final stages of completing its digital transformation, which has involved two years of progressively moving its digital assets from a third-party administrator to in-house.

Cbus CTO Rob Pickering told ZDNet the idea was to give the company back some control of how it delivered its digital experience to customers.

"If you look at any financial services across Australia and the world, we've struggled for a long time around engagement with our members. People don't look at the superannuation very often, people don't want to interact with their superannuation very often … and so if we can deliver a great experience for our members when they want to interact with their super … it will improve their retirement outcome," he said.

"If you interact with your super, generally your super will be better than someone who doesn't.

"The more you think given how much we know about our members … having the control of our digital platform means we can deliver an experience that matches our brand promise."

The 30-year-old company has always relied on its administrator Link Group for delivering its backend transaction systems.

Pickering said this set up restricted the company's ability to deliver a tailored experience for members.

But since beginning its digital transformation project, Cbus has managed to build a whole raft of technology assets in-house, including its cloud-based infrastructure on Amazon Web Services, its integration stack on Mulesoft, and its customer relationship management on Salesforce.

See also: Digital transformation: What nobody tells you about innovation in your company (TechRepublic)

Since moving these assets in-house, Pickering said the company launched a member portal and app in June last year, followed by an employer portal in August. More recently, the company also delivered a pension portal.

The next focus for Cbus, according to Pickering, is bringing its contact centre in-house in the next 12-18 months.

"When we bring in our contact centre, we will own all our channels … and that's been a real change for the fund. Going from a fund where all of our things were sitting with our administrators to now having those assets being inside of our control for us to build, manage, maintain, and look after," Pickering said.

He added transferring its digital assets in-house has enabled Cbus to gain a 360-degree view of its 800,000-plus member base.

"We've always had access to a wide variety of data but correlating that across a number of data systems has always been a challenge," he said.

"When you look at all the sources of data we have … all of that historically sat in disparate locations and one of the big part of the digital transformation has been bringing that into a single source of truth."

Additionally, the company has experienced a 19% uplift in the usage of its new member portal.

"We've seen a tremendous increase where people are engaging with the system more regularly, which is great … so we can use those assets to ask people to do things that makes sense to them," Pickering said.

"If they have a life event, they can look at what their insurance options are. If they haven't changed their investment options for quite sometime, they can look at what their investment options are and change it if they want to salary sacrifice. Or, if they're not sure of their ability to add or top up their super for the financial year, we can give them that on their home page."

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