Deep domain expertise in delivering transformation projects to the insurance and financial services sector.
What we do
ECMS helps you elevate your business to the next level by offering a range of services including; Advisory, Project Delivery and Project Augmentation through Project-Delivery-as-a-Service (PDaaS).
Project health checks, discovery and initiation, strategy design and industry expert advice.
We take full or partial ownership of the delivery of a workstream, providing project governance and quality assurance on behalf of the client.
Deployment of consultants on a Time-and-Material basis into existing workstreams with oversight and quality assurance provided by ECMS.
From early-stage strategy, through to design, delivery, recovery and transfer, ECMS have deep domain consulting expertise in delivering transformation projects.
A specialist focus
We focus on delivering services across our core specialist areas: business and technology change, operational resilience and automation.
We work with industry-leading specialists who are benchmarked and peer-reviewed. With a track record of delivery in their areas of expertise, our team will guide you from start to finish whilst ensuring expertise and value.
Careers with ECMS
Every member of our team plays an integral, exciting and dynamic role in shaping bespoke solutions for clients, growing our IP and delivering unrivalled outcomes for our clients.
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Our latest insights on the issues impacting leaders in the insurance and technology markets.More insights
Just-in-case versus just-in-time: A supply chain analogy
We are living through a period of massive upheaval and uncertainty. Predicting what even the next 24 months will hold is nigh on impossible. One thing we do know: You can't shrink to greatness.Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you will be aware of the ongoing global supply chain crisis. Manufacturing companies around the world have experienced significant disruption for over two years, exacerbated by the global pandemic, trade wars, staffing issues within transport and logistics and latterly the impact of geopolitical events, most notably Russia's war in Ukraine.From lockdowns in Shanghai to the pressures of Brexit on our doorstep, many large multinationals are rethinking their approach to supply chain risk management. Previously, the emphasis was on 'just-in-time' lean manufacturing and gaining efficiencies by holding onto as little stock as possible.But the pendulum has swung back. Corporates are considering whether they need to retain some 'just-in-case' stockpiles - looking to high-profile examples, such as PPE shortages - as proof that sometimes it is good to hold onto a bit of stock for a rainy day.And, of course, times are changing. Globalisation as we once knew it may have seen its heydayConcerned about the impact of decisions and events on the other side of the world, some companies are moving their supply chains closer to home (so-called reshoring and 'friendshoring'). This is no small trend with up to a quarter of global supply chains are currently on the move, according to McKinsey.The perils of holding onto too much capitalSo what does this mean for the insurance industry? It is in fact a prescient analogy when you take a step back and consider the turmoil we find ourselves in.The insurance and reinsurance industry remains well capitalised, but for how long? Global reinsurance capital declined from $675 billion at the start of the year to $645 billion at mid-year 2022, according to the latest data from Aon.The industry is facing mounting Ukraine-related losses, the prospect of inflation and financial market volatility, and the Atlantic hurricane season has only just begun. In and around the usually sheltered streets of Leadenhall there is growing disquiet surrounding the cost-of-living crisis (there is no ignoring it at the petrol station or the supermarket) and how it will trickle through.There is a temptation in such uncertain circumstances to hold onto too much capital and taking an overly cautious 'just-in-case' approach while continuing to emphasise cost optimisation. This is what we see many clients doing as their margins begin to narrow.Of course there are merits in taking a cautious approach, boosting reserves, focusing on fewer, more profitable classes of business and divesting of expensive and unnecessary office space given the shift to hybrid working, for instance. But it is essential to manage such strategies very carefully: Cut too deep and it will be difficult to return.Not everyone is at the same stage in the cycle. Some remain doggedly in growth mode, seeking M&A opportunities and tapping into private equity investment. There is still money around, but it comes with greater scrutiny attached and growing pressure to generate the right level of returns.What of the middle road? How do you grow and optimise the business while holding onto some capital? What levers do you pull? Either you reinvest, or you think differently. Time to reinvestAs Paul Jardine mentioned in his latest blog post, the time to act is now. You've got to overcome your hesitancy and take some bold steps on your transformation program. Don't wait until the next soft market and/or market shock because it will be too late and the market will have moved on.Think about your growth strategy and how you're going to get the revenue up. We are currently seeing a lack of investment in acquisitions (with a few notable exceptions), but the hard market cycle can't last forever and the organic growth opportunities will begin to dwindle.There is a lot of guesswork around what the immediate future holds but you need to live and die by the data that you have. Based on the data, you should know how to move forward.The trends we are seeing play out in global supply chains thus apply to the world of insurance when it comes to cost versus revenue, or just-in-case versus just-in-time. Ultimately, you can't keep shrinking to greatness and companies have got to reinvest. Those that do should find ample opportunity to take market share.
Why you don't want to be a slow husky
Innovation for innovation's sake can send you down an expensive rabbit hole. Ask yourself: what question are you trying to answer and is the customer at the heart of it? The insurance industry is enjoying some of the best market conditions it has seen in a while, despite increasingly challenging headwinds. In such an environment it can be tempting to make hay while the sun shines and to forget about the future. But now is precisely the time to be thinking strategically about your digital transformation and asking where you want to be in five years' time. Here's why: Once we're back in the depths of a soft market or dealing with the next systemic risk, there simply won't be the bandwidth or the capital. And, if you don't do it now, your competitors definitely will. There is a tendency in the insurance sector to put off innovation, to just benchmark ourselves against our peers and forget why we are doing all of this. We've got to stick our head above the parapet and think not only about the threat of disruption from competitors within the industry but the threat from external players we haven't even thought about. Widen your lensI remember meeting up with a former colleague who had become the chairman of a major insurer and I asked him what the difference was between being a full-time CFO and being in his plural career. His answer was that previously he thought he had the broadest possible view. The company was benchmarking itself against its peer group, the market and best practice. But in reality, his view was far too narrow. "We weren't spending enough time thinking about the 'What ifs' or the threats we didn't even know about because we were so focused on our business, people, mission and strategy, results and our shareholders," he said. "It's only when you step back, and you've got time to pause and think, that you realise there's a lot of other stuff going on."An example I always used to give was the Finnish Rubber Works, which was established in 1898 to manufacture wellington boots. During presentations, I would go through every stage of the corporate history, then pause and ask the audience, who is the company? It was Nokia, which at the time, was the largest mobile phone company in the world. We all know what happened next. Nokia's incredible decline in just six years because it was blind to the threat from new technology - notably from the iPod/iPhone - and because it had failed to innovate in time. Putting the customer firstDon't delay. Now is the time to sacrifice some margin to maintain your competitive position. But be clear on why you are innovating and what questions you are seeking to answer. First on the list has got to be, how do we offer more value to the customer?We all know that customer expectations are changing. It's no longer just about the product - it's now about the service. Through e-commerce, we are all used to getting what we want in the most efficient way possible. I went on a road trip to Portugal recently and was scratching my head because each country has different legal requirements on what equipment you are required to carry - everything from a spare set of bulbs through to breathalyser kits. I was sitting at the laptop, put a few search terms into Amazon and viola, up came a page full of comprehensive European travel kits - all reasonably priced and next-day delivery.The needs of the customer is one of the guiding principles of the LMG Data Council. We need to have the customer in mind with every discussion and decision we make. Ultimately, our aim is to deliver a world-class customer journey with minimal workarounds, single points of data entry and one single version of the truth. But currently, just 50p in every pound spent on premium is going towards the customer, so there is a long way to go. Be selective There is no need to reinvent the wheel - the technology exists and there are some fantastic insurtechs doing creative things. But be selective. Look outside of the confines of the industry and ask yourself, what does your customer want and expect? The innovators are thinking about how they use their resources more effectively and how they enhance them through the smart use of technology.At Peacce, where I am also an advisor, we are doing some work with clients to generate insights into the prospects who don't buy their products. They went through the journey of getting a quote but didn't buy... why was that? Was it too expensive or did they not feel valued? There's still an awful lot of work to be done around meeting customer expectations.So the technology to achieve our transformation goals is there already. The next step is harnessing it, selecting the right options and enriching the most useful datasets so you can make better decisions that will ultimately lead to great customer outcomes. Crucially, don't wait until the next soft market. By then, you will have been left behind. Or to put it slightly more crudely: If you're not the lead dog pulling the dog sled, your view will always be the same.
Putting learning before earning
There is much talk of the great resignation and an impending talent crisis. If you want to retain your best people in the current climate, you'll need to completely re-evaluate what your staff really want. Back in the midst of the first pandemic lockdown when everyone was still grappling with adjusting to remote working, the group HR director of a major insurance broker found something interesting. The firm was monitoring people's use of IT and he noticed that some staff members were logging into the company systems in the middle of the night. The reason for this kind of monitoring was less about being a 'Big Brother' and more about mapping employees' work habits. But for the HR director, it was a red flag. Was it that some people prefer working during anti-social hours, he wondered. Were they still working effectively? For some, the stress, burnout and constant juggling has been too much and they are voting with their feet. A re-evaluation of priorities have inevitably followed the pandemic and latterly the conflict in Ukraine. Record quit ratesThe stats are telling. UK workers are quitting their jobs at a rate not seen since the height of the GFC, according to analysis by Deutsche Bank. Meanwhile, there were over 1.3 million open vacancies between December 2021 and February 2022 - a record high. We all remember those early days of lockdown. Adapting to a multitude of video calls, and town hall meetings while navigating new ways of working and - for many - juggling childcare and family commitments. More recently, the pressures have evolved as firms have shifted to hybrid models. Even now, if you do come into the office, much of your day is taken up on Teams, Zoom or Slack to interact with clients and colleagues working remotely. For many, the pressures feel relentless and the corporate cohesiveness of the past has gone, leaving them feeling disengaged. Performance inevitably suffers. With too many responsibilities and too much pressure, those responsible for making decisions do not have the time they need to weigh up the information at their disposal and work through all the outcomes. I know many highly-experienced industry executives over the age of 55 who in the last 12-18 months have opted for early retirement or begun consulting on a part-time basis. Unburdened by mortgages, school-age children and with money in the bank, they are exiting the workforce and taking their skills with them. Conventional perks are not enoughIn the insurance industry, it is the tightest talent market in decades. If you're accomplished, you can name your price. There are examples of individuals getting counter-offered 15% or more of their salary to stay in their current roles. But half of those who have left their jobs over the past two years are living off their savings. This suggests that remuneration as a strategy is simply not enough to hold onto talent. So what is the solution? How do we prevent this brain drain? First is meeting today's expectation of a flexible work life. Fifty-seven percent of Brits polled by Theta say they do not want to go back to the 'normal' 9-5 office hours, while 40% stated that a strict return to the office would hinder their performance. Some firms are introducing extra holidays and days off. Some are trialling 4-day working weeks. Some offer incredible benefits, bonuses and salary schemes. But money and conventional perks are not enough. What we are seeing is a real cultural movement in how people want to work and what they expect from their employers to maintain their productivity, motivation, health and wellbeing. For too long, training and culture have been under egged. We have been too focused on process and technology, to the detriment of our intellectual property. Agile working practices are great but have missed some of the focus on how we create time to support both training and coaching to deliver better high-value “people” driven decision-making. It is not too late. Lloyd's Project Rio is helping to shift the balance with its focus on the importance of fostering an inclusive, high-performance culture. As Harvard Law School's Erica Ariel Fox explains, today's leaders must put learning ahead of earning. "Knowledge workers" - as she describes them - want to learn and develop and they are actively seeking corporate cultures with "learning in their DNA". Industry professionals expect to receive proper support and investment from an army of coaches, mentors and trainers. They want to be given the right tools so they can be more effective in their roles. Such an approach does not, of course, guarantee that firms will be able to stop people from leaving. After all, skilled individuals must spread their wings. Ambitious underwriters, brokers, analysts, IT professionals and many others don’t expect to stay in the same organisation throughout their careers, and we shouldn’t try to make them if we can’t offer them what they can achieve. But if we - as an industry - can invest in our talent and cater to that hunger to learn and develop, we will all prosper and be all the richer for it.