How the shy girl next door became a successful pianist

With the help of Mastek’s technology solutions, IPF could make Simona’s* dream of playing the piano a reality.


New beginnings are usually exciting. Simona, an eight year old along with her parents, Anca and Marius had just moved to their new home, in a friendly neighbourhood. While Anca and Marius went about introducing themselves to their neighbours and making new friends, this was a challenge for shy Simona who found it difficult to befriend even children her own age, and usually kept to herself. Yet, she was quickly drawn to her neighbour, Oana. Every day, upon returning home from school, Simona would hurry over to Oana’s house to listen to her play the piano, an instrument that had fascinated her from the day she set sight on it.

A Ray of Hope

When she returned home from Oana’s residence, all Simona could talk about was the wonderful music she heard expressing a great desire to play the piano and make music like the legendary composers. Oana also encouraged Simona’s parents to unleash the girl’s natural talent by sending her for piano classes. While Anca and Marius were keen to enrol Simona for music lessons, they could hardly afford the additional expense. Anca remembered Rodica, the friendly lady who worked as an agent at Provident, a subsidiary of IPF (International Personal Finance) and got in touch with her. Taking into consideration Simona’s parents’ situation, Rodica offered them a personalised, easy-to-repay loan facility, to help finance their daughter’s music lessons.

Making a Difference in Everyday Lives

As part of its business strategy, IPF was keen to expand its footprint by improving customer engagement and enhance its service offerings. Based on extensive research through information collated from its vast network of agents in Romania, the company reorganised.

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IPF engaged the services of Mastek, a long-term IT partner to launch new products for the Romanian market. “Mastek’s Agile team of analyst and developers delivered a record, 250+ new loan variants over a short period of 12 months. They also delivered IT system changes that benefited our customers and offered flexibility on the fees we charge, says Simon Quick, Group Marketing Director at IPF.”

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It is this flexibility that enables IPF to customise credit facilities that suit the personal circumstances of beneficiaries like Simona and quickly realise their dreams. This is in line with IPF’s vision of offering a responsible, personal home credit service to those who want to borrow small sums of money quickly and transparently.

Global! Yet Not Losing Sight of Local

A rapidly growing and resilient business, IPF has over 130 years’ experience in the home credit market. Its operations span eight countries across Europe and Latin America. Not an easy task when you consider the geographic spread and local dynamics involved.

To provide micro-finance on such an enormous scale requires extensive effort. Over the years, IPF has responded to changing consumer demands by modernising the way it does business. This includes being responsive to customer needs and the changing market demands of the countries in which it operates. ‘Focus’ its core application is an end-to-end IT solution that supports and streamlines numerous business processes, from loan inception through to closure and renewals.

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“IPF has to support evolving government regulations in each market that it operates in. Additionally, the company is enhancing its product proposition to respond to the competitive micro-finance marketplace. This large, evolving portfolio of change and enhancement requirements is supported by Mastek through Focus.” says Joe Venkataraman, Chairman at Mastek.

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“Mastek, our trusted delivery partner has been closely involved in enhancing and managing Focus over the course of a decade. They have delivered substantial business value and contributed in a big way to our success,” says Doug Kleppen, IT Director at IPF.

A Strong Focus on the Present and Future

According to Sanjay Ambawane, Programme Manager at Mastek, “We have a dedicated team based at IPF’s office in Leeds, and also provide support from our offices in Mumbai, India”.

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“Central to Mastek’s approach at IPF is the use of Agile methodologies. By incorporating Agile processes, we can deliver a large volume of change within stretched timescales whilst maintaining the quality and stability of IPF’s core systems,” he added.

Mastek has also implemented Business Intelligence Solutions at IPF by enhancing a bespoke Enterprise Data platform that streamlines data from various business sources into a single repository. This powerful BI solution includes comprehensive reporting and analytical capabilities, which provide detailed actionable insight into operational and finance performance across the markets and at a group level.

“By repositioning our products to address competition, and the inevitable regulatory changes, we aim to be resilient, relevant and responsible by balancing short-term results with long-term growth,” Sanjay further reiterated.

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Adds Sanjay, “Through our Managed Service partnership, we ensure that IPF’s critical systems are resilient and always on. We provide Service Management for Focus, the Enterprise Data Platform and additional ‘satellite’ applications, which support business operations across all markets.”

“Mastek’s role includes incident, problem and change management, and knowledge management and reporting against comprehensive SLAs & KPIs. We regularly monitor, review and refine these with IPF’s management team to continuously improve performance.”

According to Simon Quick, “As a business, IPF is keen to launch new products that deliver substantial cost-savings without any manual intervention from our IT division. Mastek helped us do this by supporting our enterprise architecture strategy and centralising the Focus application.”

Doug Kleppen asserts, “Today, IPF is well-positioned to deliver multi-country and multi-lingual support. We can confidently enter new markets with a strong product, and more importantly, with the competitive advantage.”

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