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International Personal Finance

The UK financial services firm empowers employees with better insights, leading to better decisions.

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THE SITUATION

IPF wasn't gaining trusted and actionable insights from their data fast enough

Originally established as part of Provident Financial, United Kingdom-based International Personal Finance (IPF) is a home credit and digital loans business with some 1.7 million customers worldwide. IPF customers are typically underserved by mainstream lending, allowing the company to borrow relatively small amounts of money quickly. Last year, IPF issued just over $1.15 billion worth of credit. The company operates in nine international markets using two different business models: “Home Credit” (high-touch credit—both representative and remotely collected) and “IPF Digital” (online credit). 

It’s a multi-brand, multi-product, multi-channel offering for diverse customer needs and market requirements. IPF operates in a complicated industry. They want to make faster, more intelligent decisions to accelerate their mission to make a difference in the lives of their customers by offering simple, personalized financial solutions.


IPF’s business intelligence manager, Mike Richmond, is tasked with group-level and strategic-level reporting and best-practice sharing among the global employee base. For their main board-level operational reporting, IPF used an on-premises SQL Server that created their reports and generated their ETL using an old version of IBM Cognos 8. They weren’t making much use of online analytics with Cognos 8, so they primarily exported reports via PDF. Additionally, due to a combination of factors, the business intelligence (BI) team and their customers were unable to make change quickly enough to keep pace with business developments.” 

Trust in their ability to quickly deliver data and meet user needs had been lost, and consequently, confidence in their reporting was being undermined. “Our decision-making was slow because our insights were out of date and no one trusted the data,” Richmond said. “It was time for a change.” 

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THE SOLUTION

IPF moved their group strategic reporting to the Pyramid Platform and enabled governed self-service analytics

Richmond was part of the team charged with elevating IPF’s analytics game and transitioning from on-premises systems to the cloud. In November 2018, after evaluating software vendors, IPF chose Pyramid Analytics, a pioneering decision intelligence platform, for several reasons: 

  • IPF wanted both graphical and list reporting. Previously, in order to create the data visualizations they wanted, they’d use their BI tool. For the lists of customers they needed, they used their SQL Server. Pyramid let them do both better, faster, and more reliably in one place.
  • Pyramid fits easily into IPF’s existing data stack, including Snowflake, their new cloud-based data warehouse. They now had multi-source direct access to any data at scale in a single view and were able to direct query on Snowflake.
  • Pyramid offered a simple licensing model with the ability to modify capabilities at reasonable prices. Colleagues at IPF were able to get up to speed quickly with the support of Pyramid’s customer implementation and customer success programs. 

“I’ve been working in BI for many years, trialing many BI platforms and I didn’t want our legacy technology to hold us back,” said Richmond. “The move to the Pyramid Decision Intelligence Platform has played a large role in helping us rebuild the trust in our data and our ability to deliver insight quickly. Now the entire team trusts the data and can make faster, more intelligent decisions.” 

The Pyramid Decision Intelligence Platform provides the team at IPF instant access to any data, enables automated and governed self-service analytics for any person, and serves any analytics need, from the simple to the sophisticated. See the platform in action.

“Through simplifying the generation and distribution of analytics, we have changed the way our business views data. Knowing that our employees have a governed self-service portal in which to create their own reporting is a positive step forward for our entire organization.” Migrating key operational reporting to the Pyramid Platform from their on-premises legacy systems has saved IPF around $37,000 a month in support costs and SQL licensing. They also migrated key regular reporting for their Credit & Risk and Loss Prevention functions to Pyramid and introduced self-serve analytics to these departments. They also made dashboards available to users at the Board level. 

“It was so easy to onboard our employees on the Pyramid Decision Intelligence Platform. The no-code platform enabled us to put the power of analytics in the hands of any person in our organization,” Richmond says. “This is a massive change for us because, previously, they would get their information by a data dump from our SQL Servers and be asked to formulate it as they liked.” 

“Not only have we made use of Pyramid for our customers, but we’re also using the Pyramid Platform internally within my team to monitor our process execution for our data warehouse. We’ve got automated data quality checking against other sources, so we know our data warehouse is consistent and correct.” 

THE FUTURE

Migrating everything to a unified, complete decision intelligence platform

Richmond and his team are rolling out a weekly operational performance dashboard to their executive board to deliver insights into daily work. Because they are logging into the Pyramid Decision Intelligence Platform themselves, they no longer spend their valuable time sifting through reams of Excel reports. 

Next on the agenda is working with the accounts department to migrate cost-center reporting from Excel and therefore removing further manual reporting from the finance team. IPF is also starting to use Pyramid for geolocation and KPI mapping data, automated financial-scenario modeling, and to support their budgeting process. 

“We are actively, regularly going through all our existing reporting with a view that we’re going to migrate as much as we can to Pyramid,” Richmond says. “Pyramid is part of our technology stack, it’s not just a replacement or a new reporting tool, it supports the end-to-end process from data to decisions.” 

The Pyramid Platform enables faster, more intelligent decisions with any data, for any person, and any analytics need. Now that you’ve seen how Pyramid helped IPF, see a demo of how we can help transform decision-making in your business.

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The move to the Pyramid Decision Intelligence Platform has played a large role in helping us rebuild trust in our data. Now the entire team trusts the data and can make faster, more intelligent decisions.

– Mike Richmond, Business Intelligence Manager at IPF

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