FusionFabric.cloud chat with Marc Smith of Conpend
I’d like to welcome Marc Smith, Founder and Managing Director at Conpend
Martin (M): Hello Marc, good to speak to you. Can you tell me a little bit about Conpend and the areas you specialize in?
Marc (MS): Thanks Martin, of course. Conpend specializes in policy automation and decision support around documents by analyzing unstructured text and performing deterministic and statistical evaluations on the data. Examples are comparing a document to a contract or screening documents for blacklisted companies.
The process involves using OCR (optical character recognition) to digitize documents and NLP (natural language processing) coupled with user-supervised machine learning to recognize relevant patterns in the text. The results are then compared to historical data or evaluated using rules and the outcome is presented to the user for a final verdict if required.
Currently our solution focuses on the Trade Finance domain within banks since this is heavily paper-based and involves numerous time consuming conditional checks.
M: Interesting to hear how you are helping to digitize the Trade Finance space. So, what exactly attracted you to work with Finastra and use FusionFabric.cloud?
MS: In our eyes, Finastra is a well-known brand within Corporate Banking and a banking technology thought leader. The FusionFabric.cloud platform is an example of Finastra’s commitment to also execute on its vision and this has been a principal factor for us to pursue a cloud strategy within banking.
The key reason that we have actively committed time and resources to become part of the FusionFabric.cloud vision is the openness that we have experienced from the Finastra team to help us get up to speed and the efficiency and flexibility that the platform itself delivers.
M: You mention efficiency and flexibility, what are some other benefits you’re seeing?
MS: We see three key benefits. Firstly, market access: The platform gives us an additional channel to deliver our solution to clients which gives us enormous market reach in a very efficient manner. Secondly, the ecosystem: Through the platform, we have met and collaborated with other FusionFabric.cloud partners – which has been a major source of inspiration. Lastly, the access to the back-office: The platform gives us direct access to the banks’ back end systems in a standardized and integrated form.
M: Why is it important that the platform helps to open up access to banks’ back-end systems?
MS: It’s important because innovation within banking is all about data and experimentation. However, each product domain within the bank will have their own back-end system and be organized in silos around their respective systems. This effectively politically and technically ringfences each back-end system by product domain, making innovation very difficult. Often, if all the hurdles to gain cross-domain access have been crossed, the technical complexity of integrating the data to create added value is both time consuming and costly. Both these problems are very effectively addressed by FusionFabric.cloud, where Finastra has taken care of both the security and integration complexity – presenting the back-end as a series of consistent APIs in a very flexible environment. This allows us to experiment and create prototypes in a very short space of time and truly unlocks the promise of agility.
M: So you’re saving quite a lot of time on the development process. How easy was it for you to start developing your applications on the platform?
MS: Starting is simply a matter of signing into the platform. All the required tools are available in the platform itself through the browser and a large number of contextual prompts and examples are also provided, making the learning process very intuitive. We have modeled a typical Trade Finance use case, connected the required systems and wrapped them in an attractive and consistent user interface in a matter of days. This has allowed us to create a working solution to demonstrate to our clients with remarkable ease.
M: What particular applications do you plan to make available through the platform, and is there also scope for you to develop new use cases?
MS: We plan to publish the two core components of our system as separate apps, along with an integrated domain specific configuration for Trade Finance. The first app is AI Document Interpretation: a document recognition and data extraction engine based on user-supervised machine learning. The second is AI Decision Support: an event-driven Machine Learning and analytics decision support system. Finally, Trade Finance AI: prebuilt Trade Finance recognition and compliance models for AI Document Interpretation and AI Decision Support.
As mentioned before, the collaborative aspect has triggered us to start looking at other domains within banking, such as financial markets, and we plan to release more integrated domain specific configurations for other domains in the course of the coming two years.
M: It’s exciting to hear how the platform is helping you to expand your offering. How do you think FusionFabric.cloud will support your growth plans over the next few years?
MS: Firstly, it gives us unprecedented access to potential new clients and secondly, it takes care of a lot of the operational friction on the legal and payment side, so it has been a great decision for us overall.
M: Thanks for your time Marc, it’s been great to hear about how you are using the platform. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with you!
To find out more about what we’re doing, you can visit our website here. I also welcome any questions you may have.