At the heart of the technology transformation, FIIG will be using Microsoft Dynamics CRM to enable growth as it moves to become a more customer-centric business
THE dotcom boom lured Adrian Dixon away from a military career working on fast jets, and since then the frenetic pace of change has kept him in the technology sector.
Dixon has been the chief information officer of fast-growing Australian financial investment company FIIG Securities for more than a year.
He was previously tech chief at Sunsuper. After completing a degree in e-commerce, Dixon went to work on online secure payment gateways in Australia, Britain and the US, and then moved into superannuation and fixed-income broking. The former aircraft maintenance engineer worked at Amberley and Williamtown before a career in technology beckoned.
"It is a great time to be involved in technology," Dixon said, who still holds a pilot's licence, but now pursues off-road motorcycling.
"I just enjoy that constant change and the demands that that places on you as an individual, and trying to find solutions through building teams and different technology platforms."
FIIG manages financial investments in excess of $10 billion. Its core business model allows global investors to purchase parcels of bonds in a market, which normally means dealing with large investors.
The financial returns on these bonds have outperformed the market, driving the business's success.
FIIG has been using a single set of core business applications since its inception. Dixon says the existing platform has allowed the business to achieve its current performance, but there are limitations to the application's longevity and ability to support continued growth in an effective way.
As part of a technology transformation, the business will seek to use fit-for-purpose, enterprise-level applications combined with custom development to continue driving growth. FIIG has primary sites in Sydney and Brisbane, as well as offices in Melbourne and Perth.
"We have a fairly large transformation project under way, which would provide a replacement of the core network and 'uptake of two secure data centres'," Dixon said.
"So the company will be moving equipment into those and starting to stand on its own feet in the financial services space, the father of two says. The combined transformation has been under way for about five months.
"We are targeting the initial release of our software, which will be a new public website and a new customer relationship management platform internally.
"We are dropping that in September and aiming to see the completion of it by the end of the second quarter of next year."
The project is FIIG's biggest investment in technology since it was founded. Continued on Page 34 Gearing up FIIG for growth
At the heart of the technology transformation, FIIG will be using Microsoft Dynamics CRM to enable growth as it moves to become a more customer-centric business.
"We really haven't had a customer-focused platform historically, so it's building something that can offer our clients additional services, and self-service in many ways," Dixon said.
"The company has grown from 75 staff to 110 in the past 12 months.
"We are doing a lot of work on the internal systems as well, so founding a business intelligence platform is something that we have been working on for the last three or four months."
Also, Dixon said, the company is changing the desktop deployment mechanism "so we have got on our radar a standard operating environment upgrade and desktop virtualisation".
FIIG is planning to undertake the SOE upgrade towards the end of the year, but expects the process to spill into the first quarter of next year. Dixon says the system will make provision for any decision to allow employees to bring their own devices.
"I think we need to have some of the core enablers for that, so building remote access into the SOE is important, and data security is pivotal," he said.
Putting mobile tools into the hands of front-office staff to help on the sales cycle is also a priority, he said.
The company is also looking at enabling direct mobile delivery "of our research and education content to our clients", Dixon said.