Categories
Insights

Three ways Super Funds can drive customer engagement and strengthen governance practices


The Australian super industry is undergoing a period of unprecedented disruption as technology reshapes customer expectations and drives funds to redefine offerings and delivery capabilities.

Customer expectations are rising, forcing organisations – regardless of size or sector – to become increasingly customer centric and digitally enabled to not only gain competitive advantage, but even just to compete and survive.

Super is no different. A shift is occurring. What members consider the ‘norm’ has changed. They expect a tailored customer experience, not just to be shown their portfolio. They expect to be provided with transparent value and benefits, personalised recommendations and insights. They want great service, competitive returns and an understanding of what you, the super provider, is doing for them personally.

Coupled with this heightened expectation is a loss of consumer trust in Super funds. This industry and regulatory shift is forcing funds down the expensive path of restructuring organisational values and having to adhere to strict regulatory compliance which has been amplified by political and public scrutiny.

As the power shift to consumer increases, funds have been witnessing an increase in customers exercising their choice to leave in search of better alternatives. This trend is causing a flow on effect of voluntary and involuntary consolidation and mergers of funds.

As funds re-establish standards, technology can be leveraged to help drive customer engagement and strengthen governance practice through the following:

1) Data virtualisation platforms – a single source of truth for all your data:

Many funds run administration services across multiple disconnected systems with little to no integration. Most of these systems are slow, expensive to integrate and require a high level of manual processing that can result in technical debt costing time and money to maintain.

Having to rely on a range of disparate systems usually means there is limited capacity to effectively map out client behaviours and interactions across all channels, as data sets are isolated. This results in an incomplete customer profile that does not consider all aspects of a customer’s financial history and behaviour.

Funds also often lack the ability to accurately curate structured data and unstructured data (emails, texts, letters etc.) collected from customer journeys. Consequently, they are unable to comprehensively understand each customer’s experience and by extension how to best serve each customer.

Data virtualisation is a technology data management solution that allows an application to retrieve and integrate data from across an entire organisation regardless of where it is located and present it in a single place. Governance, control, data lineage and security can be managed and even enhanced using data virtulisation, over other data consolidation techniques. This allows customer and business insights to be gained quickly and often more cost effectively than building data warehouses and data lakes. Modern financial services challenges require solutions that facilitate a faster and cheaper time to insights, whilst managing governance requirements. Data virtulisation is one way funds and companies can meet the challenge.

2) Artificial Intelligence (AI) models for improved member engagement and customer experience:

Adopting AI offers a viable solution to member engagement by enabling funds to connect with clients via AI generated insights. Unprecedented amounts of data can be analysed to find patterns, trends and inflections to determine exactly when and how customer’s needs have changed.

Once established, AI algorithms can engage customers in automated interactions that previously wouldn’t have been cost effective, including customer queries and conflict resolution. Super is often perceived by customers as complex as they struggle to understand the benefits and the value the fund is providing. AI and automation has made first class customer service cost-effective, scalable and achievable for the super industry.

3) AI powered regulatory risk & compliance frameworks:

Compliance, risk and audit have traditionally been reliant on rule-based processes to assess and prevent compliance breaches. In addition, these systems often rely on data from a single platform for each risk assessment. However, without a holistic, enterprise view of the enterprise it is difficult for a fund to truly assess enterprise compliance and manage its whole-of-company risks.

AI paired with a data virtualisation platform can be used to build and train models to have secured views on all enterprise data. Data sources for each model can be tracked and managed for traceability, bias reduction and stop non-compliance from the source, through to model development and production. This combination provides lineage from source data to AI model to the final AI-powered decision; a vital component in good financial service governance.

Proactive risk management, governance and compliance tools and frameworks can anticipate, detect and manage AI-backed risk assessments and analytics – allowing funds to respond faster to threats and be nimble in responding to changing regulatory compliance demands.


Mark Hannon

Head of Sales

Categories
Insights

Four ways to protect your investment in IoT from cybersecurity threats

Four ways to protect your investment in IoT from cybersecurity threats


IT professionals are used to thinking about how to protect our information technology assets. Data loss, data theft, exposure, identity theft and ransom attacks are the menu du jour. As we move towards Industry 4.0 internet of things (IoT) is connecting operational technology (OT) to the network at breakneck speeds, raising the stakes for cyber-attacks to the levels of tales we see in dystopian fiction.

We have seen nation-state attacks against nuclear power plants (India, November 2019), as well as widespread attacks on IP connected surveillance cameras. Just today it was announced that  a major cyber security attack has been identified by the Australian government. However, threats like ransomware take on a new form: consider a farm with hundreds or thousands of IoT sensors being held ransom under the treat that their crop may be flooded just before harvest, sending them into financial ruin. 

Recent attacks have highlighted just how vulnerable Australian government and business are to malicious cyber attack.

OT security is no longer speculative; this week we have seen exposure of attack surfaces in the networking stacks of embedded devices. Nineteen vulnerabilities were discovered in the Treck TCP/IP library commonly in use in IoT devices, four of which are considered critical. Physical security used to be the primary concern for OT managers, but now we must consider a broader landscape. 

Physical security used to be the primary concern for OT managers, but now we must consider a broader landscape. 

How do OT cyber-attacks work? 

In addition to securing the back-office systems the devices talk to, OT security professionals now need to look at the devices themselves. The attack vectors can be broken into four key areas of concern. 

1) Device firmware: This is the software running the device and comprises the base operating system on the device and the application sitting on top of this. Both elements will make use of code which is either subject to unintentional vulnerability via defect, or introduction of malicious artefacts through open-source libraries in use. 

2) Device hardware: There are common protocols in use to communicate between the hardware elements of IoT devices which can be the subject of attack. The very common I2C and one-wire protocols connect sensors and actuators to a device and are prone to being sniffed if physical access is available. 

3) Device APIs: IoT devices are useless unless they are connected to a back end, and these interfaces or application program interfaces (APIs) are often vulnerable to attack. The same attack tools used to attack web servers can be used to attack IoT devices; most common weaknesses exploited are default usernames/passwords, weak passwords, and hard-coded passwords, but buffer overrun attacks are also a concern for the transport protocols in use (HTTPS in most instances) where the attacker uses carefully constructed URLs to attempt to break into the API. 

4) Radio networks: Wireless communications are a dream come true for an attacker, removing the need for physical access to carry out an attack. Open discovery protocols or weak network configuration can leave devices open to man-in-the-middle attacks which potentially expose user or API credentials,  allow actors to extract, inject or otherwise change device data or allow actors to alter the state of actuators by replaying or inserting commands on the device interface. 


“Physical security used to be the primary concern for OT managers, but now we must consider a broader landscape.”


So, What can you do?

We have found that there are four components to an effective protection strategy for IoT assets. 

1) URL filtering: This is the practice of recognising URLs that are known sources or destinations for cyber-attacks. In the case of IoT it is particularly important to manage this access to prevent BotNet attacks which can generate significant amounts of traffic or computational load. 

2) Behavioural assurance: IoT devices are typically low power, low data bandwidth devices so many will fit into one of a few behavioural patterns. Once a pattern is selected for a device, we watch traffic for patterns outside this behavioural definition. For example, a period of high data utilisation when the device has been classed as low bandwidth, or traffic generation during a period when the device should be dormant. 

3) Behavioural profiling: Patterns of behaviour can be established quickly for IoT devices. Artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms can be trained early in a device life cycle to understand the expected behavioural profile of a device, observing low traffic under normal circumstances, occasional high traffic due to an event, and seeing traffic to several legitimate destinations. Once established, the AI can continue to scan the traffic, watching for changes in this behavioural profile to understand when an attack is imminent, or under way. 

4) Global threat profiling: If you have access to enough devices, AI algorithms can begin to learn the patterns of the threat actors as well. This can be applied to the entire population of devices under protection, meaning that new threats can be identified and acted on more rapidly than would be otherwise possible. 

Choose the right protection and integrator  

Unico have extensive experience delivering tailored solutions that meet the specific needs of our customers. Alongside Allot, one of our strategic partners, we have a product that provides four comprehensive modes of protection for your IoT infrastructure: 

  • URL filtering 
  • Behavioural assurance 
  • Behavioural profiling 
  • Global threat profiling 

If you would like to find out more about protecting your business or your customers business please get in contact as I would be happy to show you how the Allot IoTSecure Service can provide affordable, multi-tenanted IoT protection solutions ready to ship to your customers out of the box. 


Andrew Davison

Technology and Innovation Evangelist

Categories
Case Studies

FX – Customer experience model for foreign currency and international payments

FX – Customer experience model for foreign currency and international payments

Target state customer experience model for foreign currency and international payments


Project

  • FX end customer experience business model

Problem

  • Customers moving to other banking institutions due to a lack of transparency with foreign currency charges
  • Unsophisticated product and service offering

Approach

  • Series of initiatives that are focused on closing out business function gaps and ultimately winning back market share for the organisation.

Outcome

  • A sophisticated end to end customer experience business model that segmented customers in the correct channel and identified key pain points in the product and services delivery value chain
  • A clear view of the Target State Business Operating Model for FX and international payments

Foreign currency exchange is a complicated process. For customers of an
Australian bank, sending money overseas involves foreign banks providing
additional services to ensure the transaction is settled as per customers
instructions.

One issue was that the bank was unable to provide their customers with
transparency of fees charged for the end to end service. Understandably
customers weren’t satisfied with the service, with some leaving to find
a more sophisticated banking institution with greater transparency and
confidence.

An end to end customer experience view was developed which identified
key pain points by customer type and channel (i.e. banker, branch, online
etc.) through to the relevant front, middle and back office support functions. The focus was on customer demand types and how well each of the relevant business processes, technology and people were aligned to support customer needs.

This solution provided the banking institution with a clear view of the Target State Business Operating Model for FX and International payments along with a series of initiatives focused on closing out business function gaps. This regained much needed customer confidence, winning back market share for the organisation.


Grant Minchin

Principal Consultant

Categories
Case Studies

Efficient and flexible tolling on a global scale

Efficient and flexible tolling on a global scale

Smart technology keeps Australians moving in the right direction


Project

  • Tolling solution

Problem

  • An end-of-life technology with increasing maintenance costs
  • Inability to augment in response to changing market conditions and customer expectations.

Approach

  • Integrate all toll road operations across seven roads in three jurisdictions into one single platform.

Outcome

  • A tolling solution that consolidated best practice from 15 years of toll road operations across seven roads in three jurisdictions into a single platform.
  • Smart automation, a steep increase in trip construction and a reduction in manual processing

A toll road owner and operator with interests in Australia and the United
States embarked on a major IT project to build a new tolling and customer
management solution.

With a portfolio of new projects and acquisitions managed by legacy IT
architectures and technology, the client required a consistent solution that
would address corporate risk concerns, support multi-tenancy, drive channel shift towards online and be service orientated to avoid obsolescence issues in the future.

Day to day operations required a solution that would process and manage roadside message rates exceeding 100 per second, receive 4.5 million tag and account updates and transmit a further 2 million tag and account status updates.

Unico’s mandate was to integrate all toll road operation and known best
practice from seven roads in three jurisdictions into a single platform.

Once in place, the new platform would reduce IT costs required to operate
and maintain their core business. It would also: plug revenue leakage from
known issues in existing systems, reduce costs associated with customer
service, streamline call centre process through standardization, reducing
costs and increasing customer satisfaction.

The new platform would also manage PCI compliance, risk management and disaster recovery across all of the clients business interests.


Roadside images for enforcement and quality assurance now exceed 30Gb per day and are processed using smarter automation and ergonomics which have vastly reduced the number of staff required to complete manual tasks.


Unico’s ability to build high volume, complex systems was critical to the
success of the project.

Our tolling solution helped seamlessly transition this organisations most valuable business operations and associated customers to a new platform.

The partnered platform now receives tag and account status updates from all toll operators across Australia as well as dealing with high volume roadside message rates and images.


Chiomi Gendre

Business Development Manager

Categories
Business update Insights Media

Open for business COVID-19 update

Open for business COVID-19 update

27 March 2020

We are committed to servicing you and your business-critical IT infrastructure and remain fully operational. Early last week we activated our business continuity plan (BCP). Our BCP facilitates a rational, calm approach whilst acting in accordance with directives from the Australian Government.

Our team is set up with robust IT remote access infrastructure, enabling them to work remotely as required. Minimising disruption to our customers and partners is high priority, second only to the health and wellbeing of our people, customers and community.

If you have any concerns or questions about your interactions with our team during this time, please reach out to your Unico contact.

John Rowland, Managing Director


John Rowland

Managing Director

Categories
Case Studies

Building conservation through e-commerce

Building conservation through e-commerce

Revealing Melbourne’s best kept secret to an audience of millions


Customer

  • Melbourne Down Under

Project

  • E-commerce portal

Objectives

  • Create an e-commerce portal to support social media efforts to reach new markets and raise awareness within the Australian community

Approach

  • Creation of website, media platform and secure e-commerce solution
  • Real time engagement and dissemination of information, events and products

Outcome

  • Integrating social media and SEO efficient designs have contributed to an audience reach of over 5 million people that led to more than $2 million of free media coverage

Melbourne Down Under (MDU) is a campaign to raise the profile of Port Phillip Bay’s unique marine life through several high profile media platforms. A partnership with state government, local councils, key stakeholders and community groups, the project also raises funds through product sales to seed fund marine projects in the local community.

The lynchpin to the project was MDU – the jewels of Port Phillip Bay, a stunning coffee table book showcasing the colour and diversity of the local marine environment. World-class photographs and entertaining text is used to engage and educate the readers while highlighting important conservation messaging. A list of local friends groups and tourism operators are also included to encourage people to get involved in their community and see first hand the wonders of the bay.

To support the book and meet project objectives, MDU required an attractive and user friendly website portal that could effectively promote MDU, support social media efforts and manage product purchase and distribution.

With our extensive IT expertise and long history of supporting conservation initiatives, Unico were approached to help deliver this vital element of the project. It was an exciting opportunity to showcase to the world the brilliant colour and diversity of Port Phillip, which is difficult to protect when few people know of its value, and it is a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’.


“Unico were pivotal in providing the seed funding, technology capabilities and e-commerce expertise to give this project the fins it needed to swim. The IT solutions Unico have delivered far exceed our expectations, meeting all our on line needs and provide the opportunity to expand MDU project in the future.”

Sheree Marris – Melbourne Down Under Project Manager and Aquatic Scientist


Our enthusiastic and talented team developed an engaging website platform and secure e-commerce solution with user editable content and social media linking allowing real-time engagement and dissemination of information, events and products.

The MDU website is now a valuable platform that educates, facilitates
dialogue with the community and hosts a secure shopping cart facility with
promotional voucher discount facility to successfully market MDU products to a national and global audience.

Integrating social media and SEO efficient designs have contributed to an
audience reach of over 5 million people that has led to more than $2 million of free media coverage including front page features in some of Australia’s leading magazines and newspapers.

The project has continued to grow while raising funds that will be reinvested back into local communities to seed fund local marine legacy projects and help develop a marine stewardship ethic in the community.


John Rowland

Managing Director

Categories
Case Studies

Movies on demand: Using analytics to improve user experience from pay to play

Movies on demand: Using analytics to improve user experience from pay to play 

How Unico helped optimise a major streaming service’s user experience through a data driven analytics framework.


Customer

  • Tier 1 Australian Telco

Project

  • Create a holistic view of all operational and business data for a pay on demand movie service

Objectives

  • Increase customer satisfaction and retention rates
  • Ensure all customers had access to the service
  • Enable customer claim verification

Problem

  • Disconnected data streams prevented the identification of critical service delivery issues in online movies delivery
  • It was impossible to identify how many customers could not use the service they had paid for

Approach

  • A solution that meshed machine data from organisation systems to deliver an end-to-end view of the online movie service delivery in near real time
  • Creation of Designer Analytics™ framework

Outcome

  • A concise picture of system performance enabling the client to act instantaneously
  • Weekly transactions were turned around in minutes, giving improved confidence with service delivery and increasing customer satisfaction and retention.
  • Increase customer satisfaction and retention

For increased business performance and management, the structures of
large organisations are often highly segmented. Without the right technology platform this can be challenging when business segments are required to share information that relates to service delivery across the enterprise. It can be resource intensive and increase the margin for error, severely compromising business efficiencies and customer experience.

For our customer, separate departments were responsible for managing
different data relating to the delivery of online movie services. The
departments didn’t share data or communicate with each other, making it
difficult to manage service delivery effectively. As a result, management
only became aware of technical issues associated with the online movie
delivery when a customer complained. This made isolating technical issues
difficult and resource intensive. It also led to revenue leakage because the
organisation had no way of verifying customer claims.

As a pioneer leveraging the big data revolution for analytics solutions Unico created a framework, Designer Analytics™, to locate and unlock the value of operational and business data amongst the vast amount of data generated by the organisation. Machine data was mined from systems in the chain and pieced together to deliver an end-to-end view of machine and application chatter associated with online movie delivery.

This information was then placed into context of the service delivery using
customer data and activity. Our domain experts worked with the client to
identify the high value data they possessed and strategies to leverage them.

The methodology revealed several other issues impacting business
performance; uneven distribution of system loads for transactions, a
decommissioned service consuming a third of system resources and longer
customer waiting times than anticipated. Discovering these additional
performance issues saved the client a costly capacity upgrade and valuable
resources while highlighting the need for improved service delivery.


Grant Minchin

Principal Consultant

Categories
Case Studies

Proving the authenticity of Australian meat products using blockchain technology: Meat & Livestock Association (MLA)

Proving the authenticity of Australian meat products using blockchain technology: Meat & Livestock Association (MLA)

How Unico helped the Australian red meat industry establish if blockchain technology could be used to encourage supply chain traceability.


Customer

  • Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA)

Project

  • Blockchain technology for red meat traceability

Objectives

  • Establish if blockchain could provide a transparent, trusted lineage of a value chain
  • Establish if blockchain technology could be integrated into existing processes 

Approach

  • Utilise blockchain to record live cattle movements through interface to the NLIS database 
  • Conceptualise a blockchain solution that could record lineage of beef product from processor to consumer
  • Use blockchain to demonstrate how potential fraudulent products received by the consumer can be detected  
  • Demonstrate transparency of blockchain through a user interface that can inform all members of the supply chain 

Outcome

  • Successfully implemented and integrated

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) identified the potential for Blockchain technology to determine the provenance of Australian red meat products for overseas markets. Across the industry demonstrating the origin of meat is crucial to ensure food safety, quality and determine the conditions upon which that product was produced.

MLA sought to understand how Blockchain might be applied in the Australian red meat industry and identify the potential benefits and challenges it could bring to two beef supply chains.  

Working closely with the MLA, Unico performed two proof of concepts (PoCs), one with each of the major suppliers, Stockyard (A premium producer of high quality Angus and Wagyu) and Teys (One of the largest meat processors and exporters in Australia). 

Both PoCs were to engineer a label for beef products that consumers could scan to prove the provenance of their chosen product. Our team selected Quick Response Codes (QR) to function as the labelling system due to their widespread use on IOS and Android systems.

Traceability data would be entered into an application via a web interface and then printed onto a QR code stamp. All data regarding provenance of the beef is stored in blockchain and immune to change negating the risk of fraud.

When beef arrived at a point of purchase, the buyer could then use QR labels to retrieve information from the application to verify where their product has come from as well as information regarding its carbon footprint and standards for ethical treatment.


The project demonstrated that provenance could be achieved using blockchain technology despite the amount of supply chain stakeholders and bio security regulations. It also demonstrated how brands could build trust with consumers by using this technology to determine if their products fit within their personal standards.

Supply chains are a highly promising area for the application of blockchain technologies. The neutral ground provided by a blockchain can help integrate disparate participants in a supply chain, and the integrity and audit trail in a blockchain ledger will improve transparency and confidence within the industry.

Consumers will benefit from the transparency and immutable nature of a blockchain, allowing them to purchase with confidence in respect to the origin of the product. Future iterations of the solution will have the added benefit of recording, product type, frequency of purchase and the location of purchase. 


Evan-Harridge

Evan Harridge

Director of Innovation and Enterprise

Categories
Case Studies

Creating a one-to-one customer experience through SFMC: Cargill Australia

Sales-Force-Marketing-Cloud
Sales-Force-Marketing-Cloud

Creating a one-to-one customer experience through SFMC: Cargill Australia

How Unico helped a global food provider communicate more directly with Australian farmers using Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC).


Customer

  • Cargill Australia

Project

  • Enhance communication with farmers on market conditions using SFMC

Objectives

  • Allow Cargill Australia to send targeted, personalised messages to its contacts 
  • Create elaborate customer journeys and communication campaigns with relevant stakeholders  

Approach

  • Targeted consulting in Cargill Australia’s prioritised areas 

Outcome

  • Tailored customer journeys designed to fit the business requirements for all subscribers 
  • New personalised, direct communications capabilities with subscribers 
  • Managed and authenticated a subscriber list of over 50,000 contacts  

Cargill Australia have a large database of contacts in SFMC who they regularly send emails and text messages regarding crop pricing and market conditions. Without marketing automation enabled through SFMC, they could not create and send personalised emails to key stakeholders and customers at scale. Consequently, Cargill Australia would conduct untargeted email campaigns carrying irrelevant information to broad customer segments. 

During our engagement with Cargill Australia we helped build journeys and campaigns for all existing customers within their database. This included designing interactive email campaigns containing cloud hosted crop surveys that were able to deliver data to Cargill Australia regarding estimated crop sizes and harvest dates. Collated data was able to drive campaigns that contained useful and timely information sent in alignment with crop harvesting and growth cycles. This data could be utilised by farmers to better manage their crop.

Increased efficiency in communications has been beneficial for both Cargill Australia and their contacts as they now have access to important agricultural data when they need it most.


Through the utilisation of crop survey emails, we were also able to authenticate Cargill Australia’s contact database to ensure that all customer data was accurate and clean.

Our partnership with Cargill Australia has boosted their confidence in what they can achieve with Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Unico’s ongoing consultation has empowered their team to utilise SFMC to map out custom journeys and campaigns for their entire contact base.


Evan-Harridge

Evan Harridge

Director of Innovation and Enterprise Sales

Categories
Case Studies

Developing Australia’s first eSIM solution for wearable device compatibility: uPair

UPair-1

Developing Australia’s first eSIM solution for wearable device compatibility: uPair 

One SIM, one number, one service. An eSIM (embedded SIM) solution that allows Australians to use the built-in cellular capability of their Apple Watch (GPS + Cellular). 


Customer

  • Tier 1 Australian Telco

Project

  • uPair

Objectives

  • Create a high availability, low latency and fault tolerant eSIM provisioning system 
  • Allow for a single mobile number to be allocated to multiple devices 
  • Geo-location enablement 
  • Full ACID compliance 
  • Real time performance and storage capabilities 

Approach

  • Develop a subscriber identify module that securely provides subscriber identification information to a carrier’s network 
  • eSIM provisioning for a shared number service 
  • CRM integration and customer entitlement management 
  • Built in multiple edge case scenario capability 

Outcome

  • A polished and seamless end-user experience
  • Provisioning for 20,000 to 30,000 transactions per day
  • Full 4G GPS & Cellular capability for the Apple Watch  

Australia’s largest mobile service provider, needed an application that enabled the new Apple Watch to share as single service with a mobile device through sharing accurate subscriber identification information to a carrier’s network. A single mobile number needed to be connected to multiple devices with real-time performance and storage capabilities. The solution needed to be telco grade with real-time and high availability performance requirements.

Our eSIM (embedded SIM) solution introduces the ability for customers to use the built-in cellular capability of their new Apple Watch (GPS + Cellular). Thanks to uPair thousands of Australians are connected to Australia’s biggest mobile network for phone calls and messages via their wearable devices. 

Unico’s technology has provided a host of enablers for this service, including management of customer entitlements and CRM integration. uPair encompasses customer-facing screens that enable sign-up processes, entitlements, database systems and mediator protocols which apply updates to various systems across telecom networks. 

Our team solved several technical challenges resulting from integrating new technology into an existing national network with an accelerated timeframe. uPair seamlessly handles multiple edge case scenarios such as lost settings, refreshing broken entitlements and timeouts. 


Solution

Our product was able to meet the needs of a world-class telecommunications provider and deliver a world first in eSIM technology.

– John Rowland, Managing Director, Unico


The project included provisioning and enabling of the eSIM for the Apple Watch to download and update its network whilst allowing paired devices to operate with a ‘shared number’ service. The partnership marked the first time an eSIM technology had been delivered to the Australian consumer market.  

Our solution offered a high availability, low latency and fault tolerant solution that facilitated an optimal user experience. 


Mark Hannon

Head of Sales