Background

Vida Homeloans (‘Vida’), a trading style of Belmont Green Finance Limited, is a specialist mortgage lender, that works exclusively with expert intermediary partners, combining cutting-edge technology with skilled and caring people to help everyone find a safe place to call home.

Launched in 2016, Vida now has over 10,700 borrowers, 160 employees and has lent more than £2 billion in mortgage assets. The company has also successfully completed five securitizations worth almost £2 billion. Vida is committed to changing mortgages for good and has ambitious plans for expanding its business.

Challenge

Vida initially built an online broker portal, bringing together elements of automated decision making and human underwriting to gauge risk and make recommendations. Whilst the organization supported a portal with a privately hosted datacentre and remote infrastructure, it realized that, without time and investment, very few private cloud solutions would offer all the capabilities it would need.

Having previously abandoned a private cloud strategy, Vida wanted the ability to manage its public cloud transformation with a longer and more deliberate view and decided on Microsoft Azure.

In the United Kingdom, financial services companies must attest that they have the required IT controls; Vida realized that by leveraging Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure, it could establish and maintain these controls effortlessly rather than with an on-premises or private cloud environment.

The Cognizant Microsoft Business Group team initially met with several members of Vida’s executive team to understand their business requirements. Over a four-month period, the team held workshops with key stakeholders to shape their vision and the tactical roadmap needed to meet objectives. This allowed Vida to progress its growth plans, as well as improving collaboration and resilience.

“We want to reimagine how mortgages get delivered. To lead a shift in specialist mortgage lending and compete against much larger competitors. We will make Azure the platform for our application, underwriting, decision, and data analytics engines.”

Tommy Wight, Chief Information Officer

Solution

Vida partnered with Cognizant MBG to lead the Azure transition. Additionally, Cognizant MBG utilized their trademark “GO” operating model to help Vida implement the Cloud Adoption Framework.

The Vida and Cognizant MBG teams used tools in the Cloud Adoption Framework along with best practices and documentation to carry out an ambitious three-month setup phase. The first step was the delivery of strategy and adoption sessions and the provision of cloud landing zones in Azure. Following the governance models, security controls and specialized operating models for the cloud were built.

“With the Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure, we could master issues like authentication, security and performance and still switch on new services and features at a rapid pace, we launched our first production workload, a data analytics platform, within six weeks of setup.”

David Flashman, Director of Technology

Benefits/Results

Once the landing zones were deployed, Cognizant MBG was awarded a long-term Managed Services agreement to work with the Vida IT team to ensure the services offered the optimal experience to colleagues and customers. The Cloud Adoption Framework allowed Vida to easily and quickly align Azure resources with their business requirements.

Vida wants to further explore Azure and the advanced resources, such as data analytics, A.I., and Azure Machine Learning. This can help them automate processes and increase efficiency in addition to driving insights that support faster decision making and a frictionless customer journey.  The Cloud Adoption Framework has provided a foundation to accelerate mortgage transformation whilst making it easier to manage risk and maintain robust security controls.

“We want to lead our specialist market in how the mortgage journey gets delivered. We believe in delivering an integrated and immersive digital experience and have made Azure our platform of choice on which to deliver this transformational change.”

Tommy Wight, Chief Information Officer