An Interview with Alina Grinvich, Panda’s Delivery & Training Team Lead
GC: How does Panda manage to set up a full brokerage solution for its clients in such a short period of time?
AG: The answer is that we’ve been doing this for 16 years now, so there’s not much that we’re not prepared for or haven’t seen in this industry. Whenever we have a product delivery to make, our clients enjoy the full advantage of those 16 years of experience. At Panda, we’ve always been a solution-driven company, so our main focus is to foresee any obstacles new clients may face upon opening a brokerage firm and to have those solutions for them ready to go.
On the tech side our developers are second to none, and the products themselves are amazing. So, of course this helps. Many of our team are industry veterans who truly understand this market inside-out, and the product line-up has been designed to be easy to integrate and quick to deploy. This is whether you’re starting a brokerage from scratch or you’re upgrading an individual system as an existing broker.
In its earliest days, Panda was all about finding elegant technological workarounds for an industry that was still in its infancy. I’m happy to report that our solution-driven, get-it-done ethos is still in the driver’s seat all these years later. For my part, my team and I are dedicated to ensuring that our clients receive all the assistance they require throughout the transitional period and beyond, and that they get to experience the whole of Panda being behind them, fully invested in their success.
GC: Could you share a little about what clients can expect from Panda in the delivery stage?
AG: Each and every one of our clients receive a fully customised delivery portal where they can monitor the progress of their specific project, as well as being able to stay up to date with any inputs that we require from them. Communication is key at this stage, so the portal is a way of ensuring that everyone is on the same page, and that we’re completely transparent about what’s been completed so far, what’s yet to come, and what we require from the client.
My team is tasked with liaising with clients at this crucial stage, guiding them through certain choices that are necessary to the development, but also understanding the nature of those choices and their wider implications. Once we have helped bring them as close to the technical team as possible and the development is completed, our role then extends into training the end clients and their teams in how to get the most out of the software we’ve provided them with.
GC: Panda has earned a reputation as being highly flexible as a company and not one to shy away from customisation. How do you achieve this while developing such a comprehensive off-the-shelf product line?
AG: No two clients are the same. Their business plans, their internal processes, approaches and goals are sure to differ. What Panda does best is to translate those needs into an actionable development and deployment plan. Our products have been created with this in mind, and they’re customisable enough so that the decision-makers in any organisation we work with can see those business plans, internal processes, and goals coming to fruition with our software as the backbone.
We make sure to ask the right questions from the outset, and our people have so much experience in setting up these types of businesses that they know what’s required, as well as which of our tools and services are the best fit for a particular job.
I think if you talk to the devs they’d say that it was all the custom work that really provided the company with that valuable bird’s eye view of the industry, its trends, and the shifting needs of brokers. It has certainly helped steer the company throughout the evolution of the online trading industry.
Whether you’re looking for a 360 degree turnkey solution, or to upgrade an existing setup piece by piece, we’ve done it all in the past and our new line of products are only making this process smoother and easier.
GC: Could you discuss the training that your department provides Panda’s clients after their new brokerage systems have been deployed? Is there a set number of sessions? Is this training provided online?
AG: Throughout the delivery process I outlined above, we do our homework and gain a good understanding of the client’s expectations and requirements. When this delivery process is drawing to a close, my team is then responsible for ensuring that the end client and their relevant team members become experts on Panda’s products.
In order to achieve this, we schedule regular training sessions in whatever environment is most convenient to our clients, and is most conducive to the learning of their teams. Panda really prides itself on its aftermarket service, so education is an on-going thing that we don’t like to place limits on. We will continue to provide training for as long as the client feels it’s necessary.
The training sessions themselves are as flexible as our product lineup. We customise the training experience to make sure each department understands the new tools they have at their disposal, and those tools will be presented in a manner that’s tailored to their day-to-day workflow. For instance, back office and compliance will have a different focus than sales and retention, despite there being some overlap between the systems that these different team members will be using in their day-to-day duties.
We don’t believe that a video or a written guide replaces a live training expert who can answer questions on the fly as they arise. For this reason, unless specified otherwise by the client, we prefer that our training teams visit these brokerages in person to provide them with some hands-on experience on how the software works together as a system.
Each delivery project will have a designated training expert attached to the project, who will guide the relevant teams through every feature and possibility our system has. Furthermore, as Panda’s systems evolve, that contact will always be in place to help with upgrades and any future integrations. After the delivery process is complete, the clients can schedule additional training sessions for their existing or new employees whenever they deem it necessary.
GC: What about brokers migrating from existing systems to using Panda’s software? This must be a much harder delivery process.
AG: Migration from another provider to Panda may seem like a big hassle on the surface, but the key for success, as with building a brokerage from scratch, is communication. We’ve completed many successful migrations over the years, and technology wise we’re more than prepared for anything we may encounter. Also, as our product line grows and evolves, the process is becoming much smoother because we’re developing more applicable solutions for edge cases. The focus is on understanding the client’s existing organisational workflow, and suggesting improvements where we’re certain that our software will give them an edge.
Our recent focus has been on automation and AI. The developments we’ve made over the past couple of years we believe really allow a small brokerage business to compete with much larger organisations. These improvements have made sales, retention, and conversion teams able to operate much more intelligently and efficiently.
As part of our delivery process, we make sure to maximise the performance of those teams by learning how they work, creating new workflows by optimising their day-to-day practices, and providing tools that help them unlock their full potential. Panda specialises in finding the real pain points of not just the brand’s management, but other teams as well and with the right tools, we can make a real difference.
GC: What is your goal for Panda’s delivery process and for the performance of your team going forward?
AG: My goal for the team is long-term progress and improvement in quality. I truly believe that by expanding our tools and being open to outside opinions we can do a lot more to improve workflow and communication among both internal and external stakeholders. There are always areas to improve, and by being alert and open to change, the opportunity for achieving excellence is limitless.
Panda’s technology is world class, but we back it up by having excellent client-facing teams who are experts in every single Panda product and feature. My goal is to guide this important area of Panda’s business, and to ensure that we’re always challenging ourselves and always getting better at what we do.
The delivery stage can be a difficult experience because there’s so much at stake and so much to get right. It’s our responsibility to make this go as smoothly and efficiently as possible, and my team will leave no stone unturned when it comes to getting this right.
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