iWYZE CTO Mbusiswa Nyuswa is working on large language models and generative AI

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It was the unexpected gift of a keyboard from his aunt that ignited Mbusiswa Nyuswa's passion for technology, which he still displays to this day.

Mbusiswa’s journey into the world of computers began with a simple gift from his aunt, a housekeeper working in Durban. As a child, he was introduced to the magic of computing through a keyboard that his aunt brought home. Little did he know that this moment would ignite a lifelong passion for technology.

Mbusiswa’s curiosity was piqued as he began to explore the computer and started typing away on the keyboard. “My love for computers truly grew during those early days,” Mbusiswa recalls, reflecting on the origins of his fascination with the digital realm.

As he grew older, Mbusiswa faced the pivotal decision of choosing his career path for university. Medicine and electrical engineering were initially on the table, but his budding interest in computers led him to discover the intriguing world of computer science. The decision to pursue computer science was one that he would never regret, as he excelled in his studies and was accepted into multiple prestigious programmes.

Overcoming challenges

Mbusiswa’s journey was not without its share of challenges. Limited access to technology, especially personal computers or laptops, made it difficult for him to keep up with critical emails regarding assignments. Many high schools lacked comprehensive computer education programmes.

To complete his assignments, Mbusiswa resorted to spending long hours at the university’s computer labs. However, his unwavering determination and passion for computers kept him going.

Mbusiswa’s remarkable journey in the world of information technology was far from linear. As a university student, he dived headfirst into the world of programming and seized a golden opportunity to work with a startup IT company whilst completing his Computer Science degree. This first foray into professional programming allowed him to gain practical experience and laid the foundation for his future career.

His professional path led into the realm of consulting, which involved extensive site visits spanning multiple African nations, and opened doors to leadership roles. He says, , “It dawned on me that I possessed the capability to excel in a leadership role, even with my strong technical background.”

Mbusiswa’s career at iWYZE marked a turning point. Initially joining as a Senior Oracle Developer, he quickly progressed through the ranks, assuming roles of increasing responsibility. His journey at iWYZE took him from developer to tech lead, development manager, and ultimately to his current position.

“I learned not only to accept requirements, but also to question why we were doing certain things and suggest alternatives. This allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of how the business operates,” he explains.

Operating as the direct wing of the Old Mutual Insure Group, iWYZE has a unique position in the industry. “Our team handles various tasks, including software development, DevOps, testing, systems and solutions architecture, robotics, IT support and digital enablement. In collaboration with the wider group from a shared services perspective, we also manage network infrastructure and IT risk, security & privacy, database & application administration, and governance,” he says.

The technological backbone

A fundamental cornerstone of iWYZE's technological infrastructure lies in their in-house integration layer, engineered to provide robustness, scalability, and exceptional performance, with the policy administration system that has been re-engineered for configurability at its core. In addition, they offer a digital customer-facing application, allowing customers to complete their entire purchase online without the need for a phone call, setting them apart from competitors.

“We’ve also implemented intelligent bots that provide 24hr customer service and help drive operational improvements for the business. Currently, we’re busy with projects that incorporate large language models and generative AI into our operations,” Mbusiswa explains.

“One of our key goals this year is to improve efficiency within our business operations,” he adds. They’ve dedicated significant efforts to enhancing sales processes, which has enabled them to reduce the time it takes to reach the first premium by 90 percent.

However, the focus now turns to customer retention, improving customer service, and streamlining the claims processes. One of the major pain points for customers lies in the time it takes to finalise some claims. They are actively using AI to automate certain aspects of the claims processes which will expedite the decision-making process.

Traditionally, insurance claims have been burdened by the tedious and time-consuming task of manual data entry. Agents have had to spend countless hours transcribing claim descriptions and asking repetitive questions for validation, resulting in a web of inefficiency. 

Mbusiswa recognised that AI holds the key to revolutionising this laborious aspect of the insurance industry. He says, “By harnessing the boundless power of AI, we can streamline the claims process, pre-fill vital information, automate some decisions and has a potential to reduce the full claim registration by 75 percent. This transformation is a monumental leap forward in operational efficiency for our business.”

Empathy and purpose in development

Mbusiswa’s approach to development is a refreshing blend of pragmatism and compassion, grounded in empathy and a deep understanding of the purpose behind the work. He firmly believes in the efficacy of on-the-job training, asserting, “When individuals comprehend the driving force behind their tasks, they become motivated to invest the requisite hours.” His philosophy underscores the importance of a participatory environment where team members actively contribute their insights, enriching the collective output. Furthermore, Mbusiswa emphasises the value of framing assignments within a broader narrative, illuminating the vital role each task plays within the grand scheme.

Mbusiswa’s quest for personal and professional growth led him to embark on a master’s degree in digital business. This expanded his leadership horizons, enabling him to manage larger teams and interact more proficiently with an array of business stakeholders and strategic business partners. 

In addition to formal studies, Mbusiswa dedicates substantial time to enriching his understanding through reading. His intellectual pursuits take him to LinkedIn, where he closely follows leaders treading paths akin to his own. His current fascination lies in generative AI, a subject that keeps him abreast of the latest developments in the field.

Outside the confines of technology and insurance, Mbusiswa’s interests take a more diverse and artistic turn. In a bold and entrepreneurial move, he ventured into the world of photography, transforming it into a successful business. His lens captured life’s poignant moments and offered him networking opportunities aplenty. 

He envisions his business thriving further, this time with a dedicated team of experienced professionals taking charge of the shutter, allowing him to concentrate on his roles as CTO, husband, and father, while still nurturing his creative outlet.

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