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Microsoft partner LAB3 helps Angle Finance achieve a fivefold increase in business volume while bolstering security

Angle Finance is an Australian-based non-bank lender that challenges the conventional boundaries of financial services with its innovative and agile approach to asset finance.

With a focus on providing faster, easier finance to brokers, Angle supports small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in financing solutions for primary, secondary and tertiary assets. The company also provides equipment partners with tailored finance solutions through its Vendor Program.

Portrait image of Peter Haviland
Peter Haviland, Chief Information and Operating Officer at Angle Finance.

Angle strives to deliver on its promise via streamlined application processes and attractive terms, whilst protecting customer data and complying with Australian Government and agency expectations. The company’s technology vision is anchored on the use of process and decision automation to drive a great experience.

As part of this journey Angle Finance has developed a unique culture – one of inclusivity and safety to encourage productive disruption in the marketplace and society.

“We want to serve brokers on their terms,” says Peter Haviland, Chief Information and Operating Officer at Angle Finance. “This is a little different to the traditional model: we need to be open and flexible, but also disciplined in our decision-making. It’s important for us to have a culture of inquiry, positive progression and critical thinking.”

Pursuit of this culture has led the company to champion four key traits: ‘saying no to naysayers,’ ‘eating sacred cows’ (confronting and re-evaluating established norms or ideas, no matter how ingrained they may be), embracing the mantra of ‘if it’s good enough, get it out there’, and ‘embracing candor’.

As simple as they might sound, these traits are geared towards empowering every team member, from the most junior employee to the CEO, to challenge the status quo and innovate at speed. They keep the teams connected and focused on great customer outcomes. This has helped the company achieve a compound annual growth rate of almost 200 per cent over the past 18 months.

Increasing capability and capacity in the cloud

As a high-growth company, Angle Finance wanted to optimise the capability and capacity of its existing Microsoft cloud environment which, up until recently, had been managed internally.

“We had two problems to solve: the support, uplift and augmentation of cloud infrastructure, and uplift of our cybersecurity services,” says Jason Qoriniyasi (JQ), Head of Technology and Security at Angle Finance.

“We needed to augment skillsets to support a growing Microsoft Azure tenant, migrate workloads to the cloud, improve ecosystem resiliency whilst scaling, and imbue a culture of continuous cost optimisation.

We also needed to augment skillsets to manage cybersecurity threats and protect our systems, endpoints and data. This is especially critical for our company given our commitment to security and responsible handling customer data.

After evaluating the market, in October 2021, Angle Finance reached out to Microsoft partner LAB3 to provide the capability and capacity uplift that it needed.

“We hadn’t done anything with them in the past, but I knew what they were capable of,” says JQ . “I picked up the phone and with a short memo of understanding they jumped straight in to help us. That’s the kind of a partnership I was looking for, and it’s taken off from there.”

Reaping the business benefits from rapid deployments

Leveraging Microsoft services such as Azure, Azure DevOps, Azure Modular Data Centre, Microsoft 365 E5 and Microsoft Sentinel, LAB3 has helped Angle Finance rapidly deploy several solutions focused on improving cloud agility, data governance and security.

These include an IRAP-assessed security information and event management solution known as LAB3 Security Insight that with automation, deploys (and then manages) Microsoft Sentinel in weeks. The solution has been integrated into the company’s hybrid infrastructure, including its on-premises and software-as-a-service systems, for end-to-end coverage.

Angle Finance has also deployed a managed security operations centre (SOC) that maintains data sovereignty and control sovereignty. This is made possible with the automated lifecycle management provided by LAB3 Security Insight.

“The SOC was the first big-ticket item that we put in, and it’s still maturing today,” says JQ. “We now get a whole lot more visibility and real analytics that helps us stay safe and secure.”

These security solutions have helped Angle Finance improve visibility, maturity, and control. It is constantly evolving but was recently acknowledged at Board level as a significant uplift and great business outcome.

The company has also automated its Azure Landing Zone with LAB3‘s CAF aligned Bedrock solution to enhance cloud scalability, data governance and security against modern threats.

“One of our business requirements was to deploy a portal for the specific [asset] vendor market that we support, and Bedrock was very effective as a solution accelerator,” says JQ. “It enabled us to build and deploy that portal in less than 3 months, which was a great outcome for our customers and a living example of our trait, that ‘if it’s good enough, get it out there’.”

In addition to supporting scale, the partnership has also played a key role in keeping costs down, according to Haviland.

“We’ve managed to maintain a relatively stable cost base over the past 18 months, despite handling a fivefold increase in business volume,” he says.

We had to scale rapidly: across an 18-month period we’ve seen a 5x increase in average daily volume… and in one peak period we handled almost 10x more volume. We did that with the same services and operating capacity. Without engineering for scale and using cloud elasticity that wouldn’t have been possible.

“Actually, we even saw some cost reduction initially when the team at LAB3 came on board and took a critical look at things. I am very happy with the culture of continuous cost optimisation.”

Lab3 logo

Angle Finance Logo

A perfect match

Both Haviland and JQ stress the importance of LAB3’s commitment and flexibility as a partner rather than just being a supplier. Its willingness to meet challenges head-on and their readiness to support the team in unexpected ways, such as designing and sourcing t-shirts for a marketing campaign at short notice, has created a strong culture of partnership and has differentiated them from other suppliers.

“LAB3 has been great as a partner because in their own way, they’re very aligned with our traits, and they’ve demonstrated an ability to match our growth rate,” says Haviland. “We’ve been able to move through things quickly no matter what challenges we’ve faced, and we can talk to each other like team members.”

Anthony Wales, Director of Network and Security at LAB3, shares a similar sentiment, emphasising that both companies share a similar technology vision with an appreciation of automation to improve business processes.

“The thing that LAB3 loves about this partnership is that both our companies have very similar values and goals, and we ambitiously embrace modern technology solutions,” he explains.

“We’re both growing very quickly, we’re quite cohesive in the ways that we think, we value collaboration, and we both fearlessly move with agility to disrupt the market and achieve our goals.”

Microsoft’s Director of SMC for Asia, Harish Vellat, says, “Angle Finance represents a high growth customer within the SMB segment that requires agile, scalable and platform thinking when it comes to their digital transformation, and the work done by LAB3 to drive rapid transformation at the customer has set this partnership apart. I’m excited by the journey that LAB3 has been on with Angle Finance to adopt the cloud agility, data governance and security approach that enables them to grow and scale securely.”