He says Sanlam’s mission of instilling confidence through financial freedom resonated with him.
Vijay Naidoo was the chief information officer at Old Mutual Finance before joining Sanlam Retail Affluent as CIO. He has also held senior IT roles with large companies such as Appletiser (a SABMiller company) and Parmalat South Africa and Parmalat in Africa (a Lactalis company), where he served as head of IT.
He is responsible for shaping and driving the strategy, as well as the associated demand and IT transformation to build capabilities that will support the business strategies and related objectives, as a member of the executive committees of the three Retail Affluent businesses, namely Sanlam Individual Life, Sanlam Savings and Closed Book, and Business Shared Services.
In addition to his daily duties, Vijay is committed to driving Sanlam's commitment to service excellence. “With clients as the starting point for all endeavours, tailoring our solutions so that our customers are empowered to make sound financial decisions is key. This will be enabled by data and digital transformation along with strong partnerships and a culture of innovation,” he says.
He points out that businesses today expect their CIOs to be innovative, and that this is what gives the advantage as an IT professional, adding that his experience in multiple sectors also goes a long way. “I bring years of experience across various industries and not just financial services,” he notes.
“This has given me the unique ability to spot opportunities for improvement and innovation where others might miss it. I am also passionate about how we can use technology to positively change people’s lives, and it’s this passion that makes me a valuable business partner,” Vijay adds.
According to Vijay, you are only as strong as your team. Sanlam RA is well aware of the growing trend of highly-skilled IT professionals being enticed by attractive offers from overseas firms, but the insurer has plans to ensure their people are not tempted to leave. “There are a variety of reasons why IT professionals choose to work abroad; some seek better career opportunities, while others seek better living standards,” he says.
“However, we want to position Sanlam as an employer of choice not only by giving reasons for people to join us, but also by providing reasons for our employees to stay. This includes not only rewarding and recognising talent, but also providing engaging and purpose-driven work.”
In terms of long-term goals, he says that business agility through effective use of technology is at the top of his list. “I want to drive product innovation and adoption through well-functioning IT delivery teams that can deliver at speed, and ultimately to leverage new solutions to create competitive advantage.”