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Lessons learnt during a remote implementation

December 8, 2020
clock 5 MIN READ

At a recent (virtual) webinar, ‘Making a success of outsourcing in the current environment,’ hosted by Compeer I was pleased to be able to interview Alex Twiss, an investment manager at SEI’s client Connor Broadley.

UK wealth manager Connor Broadley selected the SEI Wealth PlatformSM at the end of last year and the implementation project began shortly after in December 2019. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020 both Connor Broadley’s and SEI’s teams began working remotely. Despite this, we were delighted that we were able to complete the implementation on time and on budget, going live in July 2020. 

Alex led the project to select and implement the Platform and we spoke about his experience of going live in a fully remote environment. Following our conversation, I reflected on our discussion and the key lessons that both Connor Broadley and SEI learnt during this unique implementation.

Planning, experienced project teams and robustly tested processes make all the difference during periods of uncertainty. 

For Alex, planning was the main reason that the implementation was successful. Physical meetings quickly became remote, but thanks to the experience of SEI’s project managers, Alex’s team ‘didn’t notice much of a difference.’ Making sure that our processes had been robustly tested, was key in being able to deliver projects for our clients on schedule despite the challenging and changing environment.

Many of our processes, such as the SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) used for document sharing, had been in place long before the pandemic, allowing us to continue working on these projects as planned. I also believe that SEI’s experience as a global firm with its innate ability to communicate geographically, cross functionally and across different time zones prepared us for working with colleagues remotely.

A successful implementation process is a partnership between firms – success is mutual for both client and vendor.

Partnership and collaboration between firms is critical to a successful implementation.

Alex emphasised the importance of fostering an environment that doesn’t feel like client and vendor but rather ‘one team pulling towards one mutual goal.’ At SEI, we have always felt this is key to our client relationships; in fact, building strategic long-term partnerships is one of our key principles. A successful implementation process is a partnership between firms – success is mutual for both client and vendor and starts at the foundation of working together.

Our project team were fortunate to build such a relationship with the team at Connor Broadley. On the one hand, it is important to find a partner that is willing to take the extra time and go the extra mile when needed to truly understand the detail of how the client is going to use the system. However, both Alex and I also acknowledged the importance of having a partner that can balance this with the confidence to keep the other firm on task when needed to ensure critical deadlines are met.

Be open to updating and changing your processes – you cannot stay the same, you need to enhance and evolve.

‘You really want to be trying to adopt not trying to adapt’

 

For other firms that might be considering going through a similar process, Alex shared this final piece of advice: to be open to updating and changing your processes – you cannot stay the same, you need to enhance and evolve. We acknowledge that it can be difficult to see past processes that you have become comfortable with. However, we couldn’t agree more that, as your digitise your business, your business process should change to get the most out of your new technology making your business more efficient and streamlined.

All in all, for me, the interview with Alex reinforced the importance of SEI’s strengths around people, process and technology, and, most importantly, the power of partnership that has been so important during this pandemic. I’m proud that we have been able to continue to deliver for our clients despite all the challenges presented by COVID-19 and I know that we have all learnt a huge amount that we will be able to take forward to future implementations whether these are virtual or otherwise.

Anita Juneja

Head of Relationship Management and Client Service, SEI Wealth Platform, UK

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