BPAY hosted its inaugural conference for Member Institutions, BPAY 2020, at the Australian Technology Park at Redfern on August 18.

The event attracted a great turn out, and Members were treated to both customer success stories with online bill payments, and the future of payments in Australia. The Australian Technology Park in Redfern was an ideal location for the conference, located on the grounds of the old Eveleigh railway workshops, one of the historic sites of Australia’s heavy industry. Today the site is populated by technology, SMEs and start-up companies creating the industries of the future, highlighting how the past sets the context for shaping the way our future economy evolves.

A vision of BPAY’s future

Stuart Woodward, Director of BPAY, opened his address by noting how timely the conference was. “There was a time when payments were boring but, today payments are the new ‘black’ and everybody wants to talk about payments.”
Consumers want faster, seamless and easier payments. Members want more innovation from BPAY and a broader and deeper relationship with us
John BanfieldBPAY’s CEO, John Banfield, then outlined his vision for BPAY with an emphasis on collaborating with Member Institutions to meet payment needs for all Australians.

“Consumers want faster, seamless and easier payments. Members want more innovation from BPAY and a broader and deeper relationship with us,” he said.

John outlined changes BPAY was making to meet this vision; adopting a relationship management approach to get closer to clients, moving to Sydney’s CBD, shifting the culture of the organisation to be more responsive to its customers, and preparing for the rollout of the Initial Convenience Service (ICS). 

BPAY Hidden Gems

Managers from BPAY’s training and product team, Gill Brown and Michelle Sullivan, took members through an informative session on the hidden gems of the product suite and the benefits for members, billers and customers, triggering a range of questions and suggestions from members about potential improvements.
Each session was reinforced with a powerful visual summary provided by the artist Rachel Dight, who quickly drew a map of the discussion as it unfolded. These were collated at the end of the day so participants could review in detail how the dialogue had evolved into informative and simple descriptions of how the industry and customers benefit from BPAY’s activities.

A focus on innovation

We then switched gears to hear directly from customers. Chris Wojnar of Queensland Urban Utilities talked about how his SE Queensland consortium was increasingly incorporating BPAY into its digital interaction with customers. BPAY QR Codes helped them reduce capture errors, ease pressure on call centres, simplify reconciliation and achieve more efficient cash flow. 

NAB’s Shirlyn Kumar then gave an example of how NAB intelligently and deftly transformed its website to help SME’s better understand and interact with the BPAY biller onboarding process.

After lunch, Peter Evans from Centre for the Edge Consulting at Deloitte (an in-house think tank) led the audience through an insightful session on the impact of technology on the sales process, and how this redefines the way we purchase goods and interact with brands, which are being transplanted by relationships and recommendations (such as Trip Advisor).  

Update on the ICS

That set the scene for Mark Williams, Chief Development Officer at BPAY, and Cuscal’s Nathan Churchwood, Senior Manager, Payments and Product Delivery, to dive into the detail of the future of payments under the ICS; how payments will be made in real time, able to carry 280 characters of text, include an addressing service using mobile phone numbers and email adresses, and the ability to request payments from a group of people.
BPAY is not a competitor to its member banks. We are here to help
Mark outlined that BPAY is not a competitor to its member banks and would nonetheless foster and welcome industry competition. “It is an enabler. We are here to help.”

Besides creating a platform for banks and financial institutions to undertake innovative product development, the introduction of real time payments will also speed up the economy. “It will have a measurable impact on our performance and productivity as a nation,” he said.

Innovation is Not Impossible

To wrap up, delegates heard from the inspiring Australian-born and US-based entrepreneur Elliot Kotek, the co-founder of Not Impossible, founder and CEO of the Nation of Artists and Editor in Chief of Beyond Cinema, who talked with great passion and in simple, powerful language about the new era of “permission-less innovation.”

His message? No one needs to give people the freedom to experiment with innovation, it should be part of the way they work. Elliot then shared personal stories how his companies used collaboration to create powerful innovative campaigns to promote real social change. 

In the spirit of collaboration, the audience finished the day with cocktails in the old locomotive workshop.

Positive feedback

Feedback received from the delegates after the conference was overwhelmingly positive. Some of the delegates noted “I enjoyed the interaction with all of the other people at the conference, which was very well run”, while others stated “BPAY team should be very proud of the event yesterday. It was a really great conference. Look forward to the future ones!”, “It was thoroughly entertaining and I took plenty of learnings away with me!” and “I completely appreciate the hard work that goes into organising such an event – and from my perspective it looked like a well-oiled machine.”

Based on the success of the conference, we look forward to hosting our partners at next year’s event which promises to be even better.

Conference gallery

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