Mahesh Ramamoorthy has spent his career in the banking industry, but even for this seasoned professional, 2020 has still delivered more than its share of learnings. “It has taught us some lessons in life that we should use in a positive way,” explains the Senior Vice President Card and Money Movement for FIS, a provider of financial technology solutions.
“Folks are beginning to settle into the ‘new normal’, which is working from home. We are adapting to a new working style and a new way to engage with clients to ensure that everyone is staying safe.”
While the Fortune 500 company’s headquarters are located in Florida, the US, Mahesh is based in India, along with what he estimates to be one-third of FIS’s global workforce. Today, 96% of this local workforce is operating remotely.
“We’ve created the right infrastructure for them, and we’ve also created some fantastic automation tools,” he says. “It’s a change scenario and the faster we adapt to it, the faster we enable people to work more efficiently from their home office.”
What Mahesh calls a “structured outreach” has also been implemented with every single client, ensuring clear lines of communication are kept open, even if face-to-face meetings have not been possible.
“We’ve been very transparent in how we are working through the whole process. In return, a lot of our clients have gone out of their way to support us,” he says. This relationship with its clients is one of two key markers that Mahesh believes sets FIS apart in the market.
“There’s a difference between engaging as a vendor or as a partner. At FIS, we are a partner in their business growth,” he reveals. But rather than take a one-size-fits-all approach to every market, its ability to navigate an individual market’s behaviour is also an area of excellence.
“The mantra is ‘We are global but deliver local,’” he says. “If you get that right, I think you can be successful in most of the markets you operate.” A continued focus on innovation is another feature that gives FIS the leading edge.
“Not just in terms of building next-gen technologies, but on creating efficiency within our systems,” Mahesh shares, adding that the company is particularly interested in making investments in robotic process automation software. “Our ethos is built around how we can use these innovations to deliver efficiency to our clients.”
Up until July 2019, Mahesh had spent most of his career in consumer-facing roles, where he was responsible for “enabling technology to a business from a banking perspective”. He joined FIS in 2013 as COO for India, overseeing a significant compound annual growth rate over three years, before becoming CIO Asia and then Chief of Product Strategy Solutions APAC.
His current position is his first foray into the product and development side of the business – and it’s a move he calls “extremely positive”. “It’s given me the opportunity to engage with more than one client, to understand their perspective, the market perspective, and to understand the solution set that FIS can bring to the table,” he says.
We’re looking out for those nuggets that we can really start to build upon.
Mahesh explains that the company’s July 2019 acquisition of Worldpay (a transaction valued at US$43 billion) demonstrates FIS’s commitment to investing in areas and markets that place it in a better position to help its customers grow.
But he adds, “It’s never a full stop for us”. As he looks to the medium- to long-term, he says the company continues to map the market to see how it can grow both organically and through acquisitions.
“We’re looking out for those nuggets that we can really start to build upon,” he says. Digital payments, AI and data are three market segments of particular focus. Another of 2020’s lessons? That it’s more important than ever for businesses to invest in their digital footprint.
“You may feel like you are in a holding pattern today, but if you have invested in technologies that will allow you to scale as you grow when you look to re-energise your approach over the next six months, it will prove to be a critical differentiator,” he advises.
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