James Brittle has been Head of the Aptitude Centre of Excellence (CoE) since its inception in 2016. Before that he spent 6 years as Head of Presales for Aptitude Software.
Q: First, can you tell us a bit about how the Centre of Excellence (CoE) came to be?
James: As a bit of background, in 2016 when we first started talking about the need for a Centre of Excellence, Aptitude Software was in a period of significant growth and we knew that growth was only going to continue. To scale and support our clients and partners – current and future – we knew we needed to formally centralize all the knowledge and learnings from the implementations our teams had completed all over the world. The Centre of Excellence was formally launched in 2017.
Q: What are the primary roles of the CoE?
James: The CoE has a number of key responsibilities. Firstly, we capture and maintain project assets, methodology and document templates which help to accelerate and standardize our delivery approach. These product and project accelerators incorporate our learnings from projects we have delivered all over the globe. By applying these best practices and accelerators to current implementations, we can reduce risk and, of course, save time and costs for our clients.
Secondly, the CoE team play an active role in the individual projects. We’ll typically be involved in the initial scoping and planning of the project, functional and technical design oversight (including performance design) and continued project quality assurance. We also provide expert advice and guidance to project teams throughout the project lifecycle. Our team will check in with project teams regularly to ensure adherence to best practice, good design and product standards.
Finally, we act as a support hub for our own new Professional Services staff as well as our Partner community who are looking to gain the required solution knowledge and experience before heading out into the field.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about your team?
James: The CoE team includes some of Aptitude’s most experienced personnel who have participated in many successful implementations and have SME expertise in the product as well as in accounting, regulatory change and finance transformation.
Since its inception the team has been expanding its footprint to cover North American and Asian regions, as well as continued support of European projects. It’s been really powerful to have a pool of specialist resources working together.
Q: Any ‘favorite moments’ so far in your tenure as head of the CoE?
James: We’ve received great feedback so far from client and partner teams on the templated delivery documentation and approaches that are continually being improved. Providing teams with a starting point which they can leverage and tune to clients’ preferences has really helped projects in the initial stages.
Engaging the CoE on projects has also been a great way of sharing delivery experiences and lessons learnt. Our clients often benefit from the team outlining how aspects have been tackled on other implementations.
One real life example of this is in our work on IFRS 17. We were the first vendor to sell an IFRS 17 software solution – to FWD Group in Asia. IFRS 17 is an incredibly complex insurance regulation but through the CoE we were able to bring many of the best practices and lessons we learned from implementing other regulatory change solutions for things like revenue recognition, lease accounting and IFRS 9. Now we’re seeing all our IFRS 17 clients leveraging the templates and accelerators that came out of our work with FWD group and each subsequent project. It’s rewarding to see the impact this can have on cost and resource requirements for our clients. We make sure they get the most business value out of their solution, at every stage. As we’re beginning our discussions with those insurers affected by ASC 944 and Long Duration Targeted Improvements (LDTI), we’ve been able to use all this work we’ve done to illustrate potential project challenges and how we can best mitigate them.
Q: What does the future hold for the CoE?
James: I think we’ve really hit our stride and will continue to promote best practices, continuous improvement, knowledge sharing and expert guidance for continued implementation success as the company scales and grows.
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