“We need to adapt more quickly than ever”
François Baudienville has been serving as CEO of the Portuguese insurance company Mudum since late 2019. Mudum is a subsidiary of the French Crédit Agricole Assurances, which operates across nine countries with a workforce of 5,800 employees. In recent years, Mudum has made huge strides in the digital realm. In addition, its team of 90 dedicated employees have achieved remarkable growth forging and developing solid partnerships and expanding the client base. But for François, this is just the beginning. In the following interview, he elaborates on the crucial role of data integration and why learning is so important to him and Mudum's future goals.

François, Mudum is an interesting sounding word. What does it mean?

Mudum is the fusion of two Portuguese words: "mudança," meaning transformation or movement, and "mundo" signifying world. This reflects the essence of our mission, which is to empower our clients to navigate the ever-changing world around them. At Mudum, we provide non-life protection and insurance solutions to 325,000 customers across Portugal, including coverage for motor vehicles, homes, health and credit protection.

Around four years ago, you were introduced to the employees of Mudum for the first time. Hailing from France, your grasp of Portuguese was fairly limited. Nevertheless, you prepared a speech in Portuguese. Why go the extra mile?

You don’t get a second chance on a first impression, right? Meeting people at eye level from the beginning was paramount to me in demonstrating my desire to engage with them as an approachable and supportive team member and not an authoritative removed manager from France.

You learned to speak Portuguese in just a few weeks, and today it’s almost flawless.

Oh, no (smiles modestly). I'm still struggling with my Portuguese. But learning the language was my own personal prerequisite because I firmly believe that to thrive in the world we live in, we need to adapt more
quickly than ever before. And to be able to adapt, I need to interact with people. So, it was only natural for me to prioritize mastering Portuguese as quickly as possible. Communicating fluently in Portuguese is an enormous help for me in day-to-day operations within our company as well as in our partner ecosystem.

What were your biggest business challenges at the beginning?

As far as IT is concerned, my first challenge was a short-term one. We faced the task of a carve-out from our former sister company and parent company, the latter remaining our distribution partner. That entailed completely rebuilding our IT and data infrastructure. My second and more important challenge was aligning our IT solutions with our strategic objectives. This encompassed two aspects:  providing our customers with the best digital and data solutions to serve their insurance needs and expanding our business beyond our current distribution partners. Achieving these goals quickly required a total rethink of our IT infrastructure to enable us to connect more agilely and with high standards of seurity with new partners, especially in the realm of e-commerce.  

So you had to review and update many areas of your IT infrastructure?

Yes. This was necessary because we were not able to build on our existing infrastructure. We conducted a thorough review of our integration architecture focusing on secure exchange of data and files. At the same time, we optimized future capabilities to position our business in the API ecosystem economy. This strategic move will form the foundation for fast and effective communication while minimizing complexity.  

Can you describe your partnership with Software AG?

Software AG provides an essential part of our IT infrastructure when it comes to the issue of integration. Their technology has significantly accelerated our business and our time to market. Our partnership with Software AG is also critical in terms of security rules which enable us to integrate with new partners, both for distribution and management solutions.   

How would you sum up Software AG’s work?

Our partnership with Software AG has proven to be extremely valuable and fruitful. Thanks to their support, we created new omnichannel insurance packages and capabilities which are now available to our partners through APIs. We have a developer portal which enables our partners to share data with third parties—such as other business partners—who then sell Mudum services directly. Thanks to Software AG’s expertise, our operations have become considerably faster and more secure.

What are your primary short-term goals for digital transformation?

A key objective for Mudum is to gain scalability, driving our need to expand our business. Initially, we aim to achieve this expansion with NovoBanco, our current key strategic partner. Additionally, we want to forge alliances with new distribution partners. We will focus on the three pillars of our group strategy. Firstly, our priority remains delivering service excellence to our clients. Equally important—and necessary for the first pillar—is empowering our team members and equipping them with the conditions they need to excel in their roles and deliver that level of service to customers. Thirdly, we are driven by a broader societal ambition to make a meaningful impact beyond our business.

You have now lived in Lisbon for four years. What do you like most about Portuguese culture?

There are many things about Portuguese culture that have captured both my wife’s and my heart: the food, the brilliant sunlight, the sea and the climate, to name a few. But what truly impresses me most about Portuguese culture—at the risk of sounding simplistic—are the Portuguese people. They embody optimism, zest for life, humor and ambition. For us, Portugal isn’t just a destination. It’s a place we call home.  

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