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The key to a digital revamp? People!

13 January 2020

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Fund administrator Intertrust has introduced transformational processes that are designed to help the firm’s clients do the same. Amongst the technology, the human touch is a central feature.

So many fund firms are now attempting to transform themselves digitally. By definition, technology is a crucial factor in this – but the ability to personally engage and empower employees should not be underestimated as firms seek to generate value-add opportunities.

“Our clients are in sectors that are rapidly changing due to regulations and politics, meaning that they need products and technology that are fit for purpose,” says Lee Godfrey, Managing Director, Western Europe at Intertrust. “We needed to better understand and structure the organisation in order to meet their needs, so it was necessary to make people across an organisation feel they could voice their ideas in order to enhance the end-user experience.”

Transformation could change corporate models and it entails a more agile framework. Although a digital transformation will have software at its centre, a transformation strategy really prioritises innovation for the future and learning from the past.

This requires a more open environment and an outcome-led approach based on flexibility and teamwork.
Intertrust, which has a presence across over 30 jurisdictions, has developed a client engagement model that ensures resources are targeted at the right locations and creating centres of excellence in local offices.

The company is able to leverage in-house talent, which now include skills gained via the acquisition of Viteos, a top-ten US tech-enabled fund administration provider.

A role for ELLA

Continuous education and development are important, so Intertrust launched a company-wide online digital upskilling programme called e-Learning logically arranged (ELLA). ELLA, with content organised into four buckets of competencies – Emotional Agility, Grit, Growth Mindset, Mental Agility – aims to educate individuals at every level of the company about the benefits of agile practice and also equip them with the latest digital tools. Employees are taught how to work more effectively with colleagues and clients in order to keep pace with their requirements.
There are over 3,000 courses on offer within ELLA that are both tailored to people with specific roles, but also available to any individual keen to learn new skills, technologies and methods.

“The programme is not just about training in artificial intelligence, for example, but teaching people about the importance of organisational change, collaboration and culture,” says Godfrey. This translates into a strong emphasis on soft skills, such as communications and leadership, he adds.

While future trends will inform the programme, Godfrey also believes that taking the time to look back is critical to the learning process and to identify missed opportunities. Intertrust is introducing an “Agile” mindset and using the “retrospective”, often known as “lessons learned”, sessions to focus on continuous improvement. In these meetings teams assess, openly and honestly, how successful or unsuccessful a certain initiative has been, in order to identify desired alterations for the next iteration, driving continuous improvement.

Godfrey joined Intertrust two months ago and says there is a real creative buzz in the air. Client advisory boards have been set up and, more internally, there is an emphasis on collaboration, with regular open sessions where new ideas and potentially new products can be discussed rather than over email, ensuring the face-to-face interaction remains central.

“When people talk about business transformation, they normally think about it in terms of technology and reallocating costs to find greater efficiencies – but really it is about capturing the hearts and minds of people,” says Godfrey.