Opus CEO on empowering clients through constant execution

Opus is a leading consulting firm helping companies adapt best-in-class payment systems and introduce new features like digital wallets, cross-border payments, card management platforms, and more. With more than 25 years of experience and offices spanning the US, the UK, Canada, and India, Opus Consulting works with large banks, processors, fintech platforms, and payments providers.

We spoke with CEO TM Praveen about Opus’s constant focus on execution, his key leadership principles, and why Opus partners with Stripe.

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You’ve been supporting businesses for more than 25 years. How has Opus maintained its standard of excellence as more companies turn to online commerce?

With more companies shifting to online commerce and with all the digital transformation we’re witnessing today, we’ve been able to provide deeper value to our customers by staying focused on the right solution for their needs. This has included issuing and managing different types of payment cards and helping facilitate payment processing across ATM, point-of-sale, mobile, and online channels.

We’ve also worked with some of the largest merchant services organisations to help them build digital capabilities, including new fintechs that want merchant onboarding solutions and faster market entry.

What are some of the common challenges that Opus is solving for its customers?

Our specialisation lies in technical excellence and a relentless focus on execution.

Businesses work with Opus because they want a cohesive, innovative payments ecosystem upon which disruptive capabilities can be developed. Our clients are looking to solve the hassles of working with primitive payment architecture and legacy applications, not to mention the high cost of integrating new payment systems.

We empower our clients with key payment outcomes and enable digital solutions, allowing them to build next-generation products and deepen customer relations. As a result, over the years, we’ve been able to power large-scale transformations of monolithic IT infrastructure.

How do you select the technology partners you choose to work with?

Identifying the right partners helps us deliver on our objectives and meet the shifting needs of our clientele.

We work with partners that have proven experience in delivering successful products in the payments ecosystem. These are innovative companies with customer-centricity in mind, and they are constantly upping their game by creating products and services built around customer experience.

How would you describe your leadership approach when it comes to building a team that’s constantly focused on supporting your customers in new ways?

At Opus, we have a set of strategic principles that drive accountability for the way we lead and add value to our customers.

To thrive in today’s radically changing digital landscape, you need to foster a culture of continuous learning in the workplace in order to become a future-ready organisation.

We also believe that collaboration is key, and being agile is at the heart of everything we do – right from our project approach to our overall organizational culture.

I’m also a firm believer in employee empowerment. Time and again, we have seen how empowered employees go the extra mile to win over loyal customers and tap into exponential business growth.

What’s your vision for the future of Opus?

Among many other lessons, the pandemic has taught us that our clients deserve the broadest range of digital payment offerings. With our extensive expertise in the financial domain, we’re well-positioned to continue driving digital transformation and payments innovation.

Going forward, our goal is simple: We strive for the highest levels of quality, flexibility, and professionalism in providing services and solutions around payments and digital offerings. We want to be a strategic partner to the most innovative brands in the payments industry.

Looking into the future, we see three trends:

  • Optimisation of trends that began during the pandemic, including frictionless customer experience, opex optimisation, regulatory and compliance changes, and stricter fraud and risk controls.
  • Customers are expecting to see overlay and context-based payments that are seamless and frictionless. They want to use an underlying payments foundation like real-time payments or distributed ledger technology, etc., to deliver enhanced value to their end customers. Overlay services not only augment payment-processing capabilities but also benefit all participants in the ecosystem, helping them expand the reach and ubiquity of instant payment services. This is already happening – for example, when you see a TikTok user making purchases directly without ever having to leave the app.
  • As more options and innovations enter the market, they must be interoperable for customers to adapt quickly. For example, the payments in the Metaverse and the physical world have to work together seamlessly. Similarly, the various cryptocurrencies and protocols have to work well with each other and within existing fiat rails.

What kinds of services did your customers require during the height of the pandemic?

The pandemic has made digital transformation a priority today for financial services organisations.

The limitations of legacy infrastructure, complex regulatory requirements, highly competitive marketplaces, and shifting customer expectations are some of the main forces that are driving companies to invest in digital payments transformation.

As a result, our customers are looking for frictionless and omnichannel digital experiences that end-users demand, such as real-time money transfers, contactless payments, BNPL, and the like.

Do you think more businesses and consumers will gravitate toward online commerce?

Yes. The advent of the pandemic brought forth a profound change in the commerce space. Some customers who have shifted to digital grocery shopping, for example, swear never to go back to the brick-and-mortar store.

What we see today is a seismic change across the commerce ecosystem – from buying behaviours and spending habits to payment preferences.

As players in the industry, we need to adopt new technologies that simplify commerce to deliver a seamless experience to all stakeholders that are involved.

Where do you think Stripe and Opus are uniquely aligned in terms of our customer focus and values?

Stripe filled a glaring white space in the payments ecosystem and remains attuned to how customer experience and expectations are evolving.

Opus, similarly, is focused on shaping the future of payments technology.

Our expertise is very complementary to Stripe. We can evangelise Stripe products and capabilities to our clients and help customers on Stripe with quicker onboarding. Our experience and expertise in helping merchants with acquiring and processing ensure efficient and cost-effective Stripe implementation for B2B and B2C clients. We can also modernise customers’ payment stacks to maximise the benefits of Stripe’s products.

How has Stripe helped Opus achieve its goals?

Our partnership with Stripe has been extremely beneficial in supporting a wider scope of customers.

Stripe’s modern technology infrastructure not only meets the high standards of our customers, but also makes it easy for them to implement, reduces the time to market, and lowers costs. Stripe is always at the forefront of customers’ needs.

With the recent launch of the Stripe Partner Ecosystem, we now have access to sales enablement collateral that will help accelerate growth. The certification process is also a great initiative from Stripe; Opus developers were one of the first to get certified.

In the coming months, we’re looking forward to in-person partner forums and networking sessions with Stripe. These community engagements are a great way to scale up our efforts for more organisations that want seamless payment experiences.

How can Stripe and Opus continue to partner effectively on behalf of our joint customers?

Partnerships are symbiotic, where each partner has a core offering and can build on that while relying on their partner to augment them to offer end-to-end compelling solutions to the customer.

Our partnership brings together Opus’s 25 years of payments expertise and Stripe products like Sigma, payments APIs, card issuing solutions, digital wallets, and more.

With our combined domain expertise, we look forward to bolstering payment innovation in the United States.

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