Amanda Freke is a Product Manager in GBST’s Digital Team. In this People Spotlight edition, she discusses her exciting project with a major New Zealand bank, how she incorporates user feedback in product development, and her involvement in GBST's Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She also has quite the list of hidden talents – let’s just say, if you need a cosy blanket or a warm fresh loaf of bread this winter, she's got you covered!
How long have you been in the GBST Digital Team and what is your role?
I’ve been working with the GBST Digital team for over 15 years now, and in that time, I’ve undertaken various roles. I started as a developer, and then moved into project management, followed by business analysis and finally, my current role as a Product Manager.
I manage two products: Equate by GBST – our financial tools and calculator’s product, and DXP by GBST – our CMS solution, which helps clients to independently make content updates to their own websites, tools and calculators.
I am also an active member of our diversity and inclusion network that helps to ensure GBST is a welcoming and accepting place to work for all.
What do you enjoy most about your role and working for GBST?
I really enjoy building connections with our diverse range of clients, both new ones and those I’ve collaborated with over the years. Similarly, working alongside my GBST colleagues brings me great satisfaction, whether they are long-standing team members or recent additions. The introduction of new faces adds an element of excitement to the mix!
I particularly enjoy the flexibility and support that GBST offers me. I am a full-time remote worker and have been since before it was cool (aka 2020). I’ve never felt isolated, and I always feel included in the day-to-day running of the department. GBST’s flat executive structure grants my team autonomy, and enables our success, as well as facilitates regular interactions and direct feedback opportunities with upper-level executives.
How do you stay up to date on industry trends and changes in user behaviour to inform product strategy?
The team consistently evaluates the market for financial calculators and tools, and to stay informed on industry trends by keeping a close watch on releases from financial institutions outside our client base. By doing so, we identify any potential gaps in our offerings that can be addressed. Recently, we made significant updates to our term deposit calculator, anticipating an increased focus from institutions due to rising interest rates.
I meet regularly with our clients to stay updated on their evolving needs. Recently, a client catch-up led to a custom project supporting their onboarding process. In the coming month, we’ll be hosting a customer forum to discuss the future of our Stamp Duty Calculator, ensuring its relevance and alignment with our clients’ and their customers’ requirements.
What has been your most exciting client project so far?
We recently developed a remarkable set of five custom calculators for Kiwibank, the largest New Zealand owned bank. These visually distinct calculators offer a diverse range of features, meticulously implemented by our dedicated team. I take immense pride in our work, as our Digital team crafted the Equate user interface and built the complex calculations from scratch to meet Kiwibank’s requirements. Our close collaboration with Kiwibank resulted in a highly successful project, leaving both parties extremely pleased with the outcome.
How do you gather and incorporate user feedback into the product development process?
Our Equate and DXP roadmaps are regularly reviewed and updated to ensure we are prioritising the development of features/improvements that will offer actual results to our clients. When we are approached for a new feature request, it is included onto our roadmap to be assessed and scheduled in our fortnightly product meetings. I also use our regular client review meetings to discuss any user feedback received.
We are currently undergoing a project to revitalise and refresh the user interfaces for some of our online tools. From the design stage of the calculators, we have been collecting feedback on these tools and iterating the development frequently. Based on client and user feedback, we will continue to make updates to the tools to ensure they continuously suit market needs.
How do you prioritise features and decide what to work on next?
Managing the product roadmap takes a village. I consult heavily with my development team, client services team, sales teams, and clients to ensure we’re meeting the needs of customers. There are several factors to consider when determining what to work on next, including: if we’ve been asked about this feature previously, if our competitors offer this feature, if clients have responded positively when asked if they’d like this feature, and the effort required to implement the feature. We always prioritise work to implement legislative changes to our calculators and any updates to ensure the security of our products.
What does Diversity and Inclusion mean to you in the workplace?
To me, diversity and inclusion means having a broad range of perspectives in the workplace and that everyone we work with, including our clients, feel comfortable to be themselves in all interactions we have together. Personally, I find it important to recognise that everyone has an individual perspective and that they all have a right to be heard, feel seen and be comfortable in the workplace. I believe in the power of small changes to affect larger cultural change and I’m proud of the work that our Diversity and Inclusion network has achieved at GBST.
Do you have any hidden talents or skills that people might not know about you?
Goodness, where to start! I’ve got quite the range of skills and talents up my sleeve. Lately, I’ve been hitting the pickleball court and taking lessons, all in the hopes of finally beating my partner at a game. Now, I cannot knit, but when it comes to crochet, I’m a bit of a pro. I’ve made a mountain of blankets and toys. I also love a well-crafted spreadsheet or Word doc and get irrationally annoyed when people mess up my formatting… Let’s not forget my passion for cooking and baking. During lockdown, I went all out and baked up a storm. I whipped up everything from rolls to pretzels, and even tackled the challenge of making homemade croissants from scratch. Trust me, it was a three-day adventure, but worth it for the joy it brought my friends and family. And finally, I can solve a Rubik’s Cube!
Posted in: Calculators and Tools, Diversity & Inclusion, GBST Digital
Stuart is based in our Wollongong office, the origin of our WealthTech business. Stuart’s passion for continuous learning and tinkering with new tech means he is the perfect person to determine new trends and technical capabilities to benefit GBST clients. Read more on Stuart’s GBST journey since 1997!
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