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APRIL Head of Data Talks Data Strategy Challenges, Opportunities

Ashish Ray

APRIL Head of Data Ashish Ray sits down to talk data in fintech with Corinium’s Vanessa Jalleh ahead of CDAO Sydney 2023

How fintech organisations use and apply data and analytics is often of interest to most businesses. Payment platform APRIL benefits from being an enterprise software-as-a-service company, allowing its customers to reap the benefits of an agile response to market trends.

This, the fintech’s Head of Data Ashish Ray says, provides APRIL with a level flexibility that most legacy organisations do not have.

Good Strategy

What are the necessary requirements for a good, successful strategy? Ray says his key requirements are that the strategy must prioritise data-driven decision-making and be flexible to match the twists and turns that come with the natural flux of business.

“The data strategy allows us to pivot and make changes as needed, while still staying aligned with the overall objectives,” he says.

“The flexible data strategy is even more pronounced in organisations like APRIL, where we adapt fast and innovate to serve our customers better.

“There are some fundamentals that are the same, like information security and data sharing standards, data accessibility and relevancy to people’s roles, confidence in the reliability of data, data used consistently, and the governance of data used for analysis and real-time decision-making. But the key to staying ahead is being able to deploy new products at speed.”

Shared Challenges

When asked to illustrate the unique challenges fintech companies face with regards to data and analytics, Ray noted that scalability, third-party integrations, real-time analytics, and often resources for data governance are significant challenges.

“Having worked in and advised banks on data risk and enterprise data management policies, I can say many of the same challenges are experienced by these banks as well,” Ray says.

“Challenges around the quality and reliability of data, data privacy, and sharing include protecting customer and payment data from cyber threats. Data ethics is also an emerging discussion where businesses are required to act responsibly while collecting and consuming data. This could be a challenge as we look at using machine learning and AI more in business.

“At APRIL, our engineering team takes privacy, sharing, and ethics very seriously. We always ensure our compliance level exceeds the industry standard.”

Being cloud native and a fintech, organisations like APRIL can adapt quickly and leverage new technologies, helping to integrate data from external partners and their APIs, and scale their data stack.

When the question of AI usage and development came up, Ray said that AI is indeed a part of APRIL’s strategy in the years ahead.

“We are already working with partners that are built on AI. Some of the services we rely on are fraud detection, consumer KYC checks, and business ID checks,” he says.

“There are other areas, like loan underwriting and risk management, that we will be working on enhancing using machine learning in the future.”

New Opportunities

Data and analytics feature extensively with the exciting developments in the fintech space.

Ray says that APRIL partners with businesses, banks and financial institutions to offer white-labelled embedded finance solutions and deliver a seamless payments experience for end users.

“Payments use cases are at the intersection of banks, technology, and financial product providers. They are the true experience makers when it comes to consumption,” he says.

“Real-time payments and instant settlement are becoming more prevalent, allowing faster and more efficient transactions.”

Ray continues to highlight that open banking and the API economy creates new opportunities and competition among fintechs and traditional financial institutions.

“The increasing amount of data generated by payments and financial transactions, advancements in data and analytics that drive personalisation, and harnessing machine learning innovations are all playing a part in improving the payments experience for customers,” he says.


Ashish Ray will be speaking at CDAO Sydney 2023. Check out the agenda and register to attend by clicking this link!