NelsonHall attended the WNS analyst conference in New York last week for a business update and to hear about their current initiatives. Here I take a quick look at WNS’ banking industry business specifically, and at how it is focused on applying FinTech to BPS delivery to support large productivity gains for its U.S. regional banking clients.
Market conditions are driving clients, especially in banking, to rethink their business models, operations, and partnerships, and WNS believes it will need to cannibalize existing business to migrate its clients to more efficient digital operations. The willingness to cannibalize revenues has shown itself recently, with double-digit banking revenue losses by quarter Y/Y for the nine months ending December 31, 2016. However, banking processing volumes have increased in North America (primarily the U.S.) and U.K., while decreasing in its RoW markets (which represent half of banking revenues). The North American market is WNS’ primary target market for banking BPS, and increasing volumes in the region indicate that a strategy requiring legacy BPS delivery to be cannibalized by digital-enabled BPS is on track.
WNS’ strategy for the banking BPS market is to focus on regional banks in the U.S. market, primarily banks with $20 Bn to $150 Bn in assets. It has developed a set of tools (TRAC) which sit on top of legacy systems, draw data from silos, and deliver FinTech functionality to relevant processes and channels. WNS has decided to focus on its existing client base to deliver FinTech BPS across a much larger footprint within the client. This has resulted in an elongated sales cycle, which has also depressed short-term growth.
The strategy has begun to pay off, as demonstrated by a contract with a long-term banking client who for many years purchased only one process, credit spreading. This client has acquired 5+ banks in the past two years and has realized it needs to consolidate operations and aggressively improve operational delivery. WNS won the client’s BPS business (another vendor has the ITS remit) and WNS will now expand its operational footprint to cover deposit operations, mortgage originations, and retain credit spreading. Further expansion of the contract is expected.
Part of WNS’ commitment to cost reduction is underpinned by a pricing model, Total Relationship Discount Model, which guarantees cost savings under a non-FTE based business model. Under this pricing model, WNS commits to a set level of cost saving (e.g. 10%). WNS can decide where it will find the savings to optimize its processing, or the client/vendor can select additional areas to pursue wider dollar savings on additional processes. If WNS does not deliver the guaranteed level of savings, it will remit the difference to the client.
In summary, WNS is pursuing the right approach in targeting a very narrow segment of the banking market to pursue FinTech-enabled BPS. This will cannibalize revenues and slow the pipeline in the short run, as WNS and other vendors such as IBM have demonstrated in the past few years. However, in the long run, successful execution of this strategy will produce rapidly growing revenues as clients consolidate vendors to ones with domain expertise in emerging technologies and its application to sub-industry specific challenges. The alternative will be long-term business decline, as the current decline in legacy BPS accelerates.