The Aptitude Blog

Interview with Olivier Homps, President & Chairman of the board at FIIT Consulting

April 25, 2023
Posted by Sarah Werner
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Recently we spoke with Olivier Homps, President & Chairman of the board at FIIT Consulting, a Certified Aptitude Partner. Olivier’s Insurance & Financial Services industry experience has developed in Europe (UK, Switzerland, Poland) since 2010 with companies such as Aptitude, HSBC and Swiss Re. In this blog we talk with Olivier about his vision for his company, his perspectives on the finance function and the changing technology landscape and the future he sees as an Aptitude Partner.


Sarah:
Welcome, Olivier – thanks so much for having this conversation today! To start, can you tell us a bit about FIIT Consulting and why you started it?

Olivier: We started as a group of contractors – all Aptitude alumni – working on the same big transformation program. In addition to working well together, we thought there was value in our shared expertise that could benefit the wider market. There was a need on the Aptitude side as well, driven by company growth, to build out a larger pool of trained delivery partners. It was a perfect fit. So, we really started FIIT Consulting to provide comprehensive support for Aptitude projects – be it around implementation, or taking over testing phases, all the way down to operational support.  

At FIIT Consulting, our mission and vision revolve around the conviction that Aptitude products hold the power to simplify finance transformation and finance digitalization and we are committed to leverage our expertise in these products to make life easier for finance teams. That’s what we strive for. And I think we’ve found this vision resonates deeply with our clients – who appreciate the value we bring and recognize how our services seamlessly complement Aptitude’s offerings. 


Sarah:
I didn’t realize you were Aptitude alums! We always hear from our clients that it’s our people that make the difference – they go the extra mile and bring so much expertise – so it’s great to have an extension of that client-first approach and knowledge through FIIT Consulting.  

Olivier: Certainly, our time at Aptitude was invaluable in terms of gaining experience, understanding client approaches, and learning how clients collaborate with Aptitude. This knowledge enabled us to identify a niche and an opportunity for growth that has proven to be highly effective for our business thus far. 

 

Sarah: Do you have an industry or regional focus? 

Olivier: We primarily serve the EMEA and APAC regions. We were involved in a couple of IFRS transformation projects in APAC, but our bread and butter is EMEA where we’re quite familiar with the cultural approach. We are focused primarily in the Financial Services sector with expertise in Telecom as well. But the bulk of the work we’ve been doing as FIIT Consulting has been with Banks and Insurers.  

 

Sarah: You’ve been in the finance transformation industry for a long time. Have you seen a shift in the approach to finance change programs? 

Olivier: When I started, finance transformation projects were predominantly triggered by regulatory change. I started working at Aptitude in 2008 so obviously there was a really big push in the Banking industry at that time in terms of regulatory change. Finance digitalization was seen as a big undertaking and almost always driven from the top down. So, either the regulator said, ‘you have to do this,’ and the CFO complied, or the CFO had a vision for their company and the way they wanted to take finance into the digital age and out of the Excel.

But it has changed dramatically. For starters, the business and the finance function are a lot more tech savvy than they were ten years ago. There’s a lot more understanding of what products are out there and what these products can do for their day-to-day jobs. And as a result, there’s now a significant bottom-up push for finance transformation, which means we’re seeing a higher volume of smaller-scale initiatives where a business unit is saying, ‘you know what, we’re going to change the way we do things compared to the group.’ Then they talk across business units and communicate the value coming from these smaller projects that can be executed in 9-12 months and make a real difference. That’s how they get buy-in across the business. This bottom-up feed into transformation is something that didn’t exist before. There is a much bigger appetite for change. 

 

Sarah: In your experience, what are the most common finance challenges you see when you go into these Banks and Insurers in terms of the architecture and just the limitations that are driving finance transformation activity? 

Olivier: While there are several factors that can spur a transformation, one of the most prevalent challenges in banks and insurers is the integration of systems and processes following mergers and acquisitions. Organizations that have expanded through M&A often find themselves dealing with disparate systems and disjointed processes, making it a significant hurdle to overcome, thus driving finance transformation initiatives.

 

Sarah: So, you talked a little bit about FIIT Consulting’s linkage with Aptitude and your experience with Aptitude products. Can you talk about your official partnership with Aptitude and what value it provides both organizations and our clients? 

Olivier: Yes, so we are officially an Aptitude Certified Partner which we’re very happy about! What that means for us – in addition to being a lot busier – is that we’ve got regular alignment with sales, with professional services and with the partner teams at Aptitude so that we can work on refining our offers and work to bring additional value to the client.  

What we’ve seen is there are phases in the finance transformation program where Aptitude would prefer not to leave consultants on site for too long but where some clients could use additional support. Testing is a good example of this. Aptitude delivers an implementation and then we can step in and oversee the acceptance testing and roll out. For the client, that means not having to onboard extra resources internally and commit to that cost for a long period of time. This way, they get access to trusted, trained, experienced resources for the exact length of time they need. 

This adds value to Aptitude because they know their commercial interests are safe and they have a responsible team engaged and incentivized to make sure the client derives value from the product. At a management level, we have working relationship with the implementation team on site with the client as well as the technical team which are based in Wroclaw, Poland where we also have an office.  

 

Sarah: What are you most excited about with regards to the Aptitude/FIIT partnership? 

Olivier: We’re very excited about the prospect of Fynapse, Aptitude’s new finance management platform because it means not only we will be able to be a service provider, but we can also start channeling our expertise into creating modules specifically for Fynapse that encapsulate our Banking and Insurance knowledge for our joint clients. We’re excited to ramp up our internal development capabilities to take advantage of this opportunity to add to the Fynapse marketplace.


Sarah:
As a technologist, are there any technology trends that are really exciting or interesting to you? 

Olivier: When I started at Aptitude most of the focus was file based. Transferring files, loading files, extracting files, producing more files. So, the whole microservice approach where you can consume data from pretty much anywhere and from pretty much any system is something that makes our lives so much easier. And in terms of infrastructure, the whole Cloud push is something that has been so refreshing. To be able to be onsite with a client and just jump up an environment in an hour. Now you’ve got a brand new environment that you can ramp up, assign the capacity you need to perform any kind of testing and then you can get rid of this environment. The flexibility that it offers on implementation is great. 

If I’m looking into the future, how can we not talk about the advent of artificial intelligence in our daily operations? It’s hard to fathom at the moment how much of an impact it will have on the finance office but there are very clever people who are looking at this. I think the use of data combined with artificial intelligence in order to build predictive models and things like that is just something that I’m really excited about. 

 

Sarah: Thank you for sharing your expertise and perspective, Olivier!

 

To learn more about FIIT Consulting, please visit https://fiit-consulting.com

 

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This blog post was written by:

Sarah Werner
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