As part of our ongoing Leadership Connect Series with Teranet’s thought leaders, our latest feature is with Deepak Gupta, Vice President, IT, Financial Solutions.
1. Tell us a bit about your background and what brought you to this role?
I feel fortunate to have a diverse background that has led me to the role I’m in today. Following a degree in Philosophy, I taught myself programming and found my first job with a small IT consulting company that allowed me to hone and refine my skills and supplement them with more formal training.
Through a series of acquisitions, I found myself working for a global consulting organization where I had the opportunity to complement my IT skills with consulting experience. I worked on projects in various industries such as fintech, health, retail, utilities, public sector and engineering. I was also able to put on many different hats across these client engagements, including software development and delivery, project and program management, product development, management consulting, outsourcing, professional services and managed services.
I switched gears from consulting when I moved to D&H, taking on technology delivery, product development and program management leadership roles in the collateral management, mortgage technologies, student lending and retail solutions lines of business.
Through another series of acquisitions, I had the good fortune of landing at Teranet as part of CMS, leading the technology team. As Teranet has grown and evolved over the last few years, it has allowed me to take on Technology leadership for the Financial Solutions line of business.
2. What does it take to effectively deliver complex IT solutions and products?
I’m sure there are as many views on answering this question as there are complex problems to solve. In my personal experience, I’ve found a few general principles that have helped me in the successful delivery of complex IT solutions and products.
People are always the most important component as you embark on a new initiative and that includes more than just clients. For clients, you need to understand what their pain points are, what problems they are trying to solve, what will help them achieve their goals and how they define success. You also need to direct an equal amount of attention to who’s doing the building, stakeholders, decision makers, partners, peers, and influencers. For each of these groups, I’ve found that trying to understand what drives them, what personally defines success for them, what motivates and inspires them are critical to successful delivery.
Understanding clients and people must be followed with a clear view on collaboration, communication and change. Defining the norms and protocols on how people will work together to exchange information, ideas and data is a key success factor, as is ensuring people understand what they are responsible and accountable for. A lot of times the source of friction or missteps can be traced back to a lack of, or just plain poor, communication. You need to create an environment where people feel safe and comfortable in speaking up, sharing thoughts, and expressing their points of view. And you must have a plan to deal with change and the mindset to understand and accept that things will change, and not always for the better. With the three c’s under control, you can then shift to the how.
Simplifying is the first step in understanding how to deliver something complex. Breaking the problem down into manageable, measurable, and achievable components makes it feel more attainable and less overwhelming. Making informed decisions on the delivery methodology, tools and process best suited for the solution are as integral to success as any of the other factors.
And finally, the most practical element I’ve found for success is evolution; evolving your ideas and approach as you learn from your own mistakes and the mistakes of others will cement your ability to build and deliver even the most complex solutions.
3. How has the Financial Solutions vertical changed in recent years?
2021 was a year of change for Teranet. All solutions for the financial and lending markets were brought together to enable us to leverage our breadth and scale on an enterprise basis. CMS search, registry, recovery, insolvency and all other financial services and data analytics solutions were brought under the Financial Solutions umbrella.
The consolidation of financial products and services has allowed the Financial Solutions vertical to bring products closer together to find synergies, overlap and identify broader areas of opportunity. By looking at the alignment of similar products, we are driving optimization, effectiveness, and increased value for our customers.
We are focused more than ever on driving solutions that solve market problems and address challenges brought on by evolving environmental factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. Continuing to drive smarter decisions will help us grow our footprint in new markets and retain our position in existing markets.
4. What were some of the significant achievements in your vertical in 2021?
Our ability to efficiently and effectively integrate the various lines of business brought under the new Financial Solutions umbrella has been a key achievement and a proud moment for the teams. Despite the ongoing impact of the pandemic, the teams have continued to meet their objectives and commitments, delivering high quality products and services to our clients.
The Data Analytics and Robotics team worked diligently behind the scenes towards establishing Teranet’s cloud-based analytics capability and keeping data flowing seamlessly through our analytics data pipelines to support the enhancement of our dashboards and reporting capabilities.
The PurView team delivered significant enhancements in 2021, including launching the eStore which enables the purchase of additional reports and documents with a credit card. The team also improved the PurView report with better data, new property data points and more coverage across additional provinces, and a better overall user experience.
The CMS teams successfully moved several large Financial Institutions and their various divisions onto the CollateralGuard enterprise (CGE) platform, with over 70% of transaction volume now taking place on the modernized platform. The teams have also completed critical infrastructure upgrades and achieved significant technical debt reduction in preparation for the re-platform of CMS Recovery systems.
In terms of innovation, Teranet’s first ever enterprise wide, virtual Hackathon was held last year with over 15 teams and almost 100 participants from all locations. A lot of untapped talent has been brought to light and we are looking forward to further exploring all the great and innovative ideas.
5. What can we expect from the Financial Solutions vertical this year?
2022 is shaping up to be an exciting year for Financial Solutions. We are going to continue to protect our base, grow organically, and find new customers and markets. Enhancements to existing products and services, development of new offerings, automation and strategic use of our data analytics capabilities will help drive growth and new opportunities. CMS will look to complete migration of major clients onto the new CGE platform and progress the re-platform of recovery systems. That will be coupled with development of new, strategic offerings that can be rapidly built and deployed. And we will continue to invest heavily in enhancing PurView and shining a bright light on the true value that it brings our customers.
2022 will be a very busy and focused year for the Financial Solutions vertical. We are all very excited for the bright future ahead and look forward to continuing in our role as trusted advisors and vendors of choice for our customers.