Specialist, high-impact and agile consulting.

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).

advisory

Advisory

Project health checks, discovery and initiation, strategy design and industry expert advice.

management

Project Delivery

We take full or partial ownership of the delivery of a workstream, providing project governance and quality assurance on behalf of the client.

augment

Project Augmentation

Deployment of consultants on a Time and Material basis into existing workstreams with oversight and quality assurance provided by ECMS.

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High-impact consulting

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.

Industry-leading specialists

We work with industry-leading specialists with a focus on quality delivery. They are benchmarked and peer-reviewed for transparency. Our consultants are top tier industry specialists with a track record of delivery in their areas of expertise and will guide you from start to finish, whilst ensuring expertise and value.

Careers with ECMS

Unlike the big consultancies, our size means 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 businesses.

Our Partners

Mitratech logo

Past-proven, future-proofed legal and compliance solutions for mitigating risk across your entire organisation.

DocoSoft logo

DOCOsoft is an innovative developer of claims management, document management and workflow software solutions for the global insurance and financial services markets.  

Affinity Ititiative logo

Bring the best of breed technology and people together to realise the opportunity intelligent automation aligned with proven business knowledge and experience presents in addressing those challenges.

Netcall logo

​Liberty Create is a low-code development platform from Netcall that enables you to quickly and easily produce applications that automate and transform the business and your customer experience.

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ECMS60 shares 60-second insights from our trusted advisors on the key themes impacting leaders and the c-suite in the insurance and technology markets.

Featured Insights

Our latest insights on the issues impacting leaders in the insurance and technology markets.

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Insights (5)

By Mark Weller

Featured

​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.

Ecms   Insights

By Max Pell

Featured

Why do smart people make bad decisions?

​Why do smart people make bad decisions? This is a question I have been puzzling over for some time. And I’ve arrived at a few conclusions. By ‘bad decisions’ I don’t mean minor missteps about hiring the wrong person, choosing the wrong location for a business, or backing a single failed product. Nor am I talking about entrepreneurial decisions that are not successful. The single individual driving through a high-risk vision for the future which is largely a leap of faith is a key driver of innovation. What I’m interested in are the really ‘car crash’, empire-collapsing decisions. Those that cost the company millions, if not billions, of pounds, leaving behind brands and reputations that are desperately tarnished, sometimes irreparably. And by ‘smart’ people I am referring to those who are universally recognised as being well educated and being intellectually bright. But how do you identify a bad decision? Can it be spotted at the time it’s taken, or only in the benefit of hindsight? Is there such a thing as a bad decision, or are there only just bad outcomes? Can you make a ‘good’ decision that has a bad outcome? Can you make a ‘bad’ decision that has a good outcome? Well, I think you can by separately evaluating the quality of the decision making from the outcome. That there is a difference between good and bad decision making which is separate from the actual outcome of the decision.​​Tell-tale signs of a ‘bad’ decision We know that every day, in organisations (and governments) around the world, smart people are making poor choices. And some of these will wind up being catastrophic. Often, they destroy lives in the process. Take the UK’s Post Office scandal, where a faulty accounting system resulted in the wrongful prosecution of 732 sub-postmasters for theft, accounting and/or fraud. Described as the most widespread miscarriage of justice in British legal history, the company’s former CEO and board have been heavily criticised for being “asleep at the wheel”. Inquiries are ongoing. A ‘bad’ decision is one where the chances of achieving your desired stated outcome, with the decision you are taking, are low to non-existent due to poor information, planning, or execution. Crucially, this was all evident at the point in time when you made the decision. A ‘bad’ decision is not about the outcome. The business environment we operate in is too complex, variable, and ultimately chaotic for anyone to guarantee positive outcomes. But you can reduce your chances of making a bad decision. One way is to have the idea challenged and assessed by two groups of people: Those experienced in the area under discussion, and Equally importantly people with an outside and diverse perspective who can ask the ‘stupid’ – often valid and important - questions. Those with slightly longer memories know the industry is littered with examples. From costly attempts to build bespoke technology platforms (doomed to failure) and the ‘pass the parcel’ LMX spiral to the finite reinsurance and contingent commissions scandals of the Spitzer years. ​The five Cs In its study of the root causes of 20 major corporate crises, Airmic’s ‘Roads to Ruin’ pointed the finger at – among other things – board ‘risk blindness’, poor leadership on ethos and culture, defective communication and risks arising from inappropriate incentives. Some of the reasons why organisations enable smart people to make bad decisions can be summarised under five broad headings – the 5Cs: Culture Conformity Capability Complicity Consequences ​Culture The single biggest determining influence on how decisions are made in any business is the culture of that business. That culture is set by the leadership and management style of the chief executive and its board. Boards are supposed to carry out the role of counter-balancing executive management teams, but very often fail to do this effectively due to a combination of all 5Cs. Conformity It’s difficult and stressful to challenge others’ decisions, especially if that person is your senior. There is huge group peer pressure to conform, and it is part of our basic human psychology to want to be accepted. Agreeing with others is part of the acceptance process. It is hard to object on a complicated business decision when everyone around you is acquiescing. Where being on the board carries a lot of status. It’s much easier to stay quiet and abrogate your own personal responsibility to the ‘group’. Capability Boards may be packed full of ‘smart’ people, but smart does not equal ‘capable’. Nor does it imply experience in the matters that are being decided upon. Too often we come across boards who are full of ‘smart’ people but lack experience in the activities of the group of which they are directors. Complicity Sadly, it is often the case that smart people make bad decisions in the full knowledge these are poor choices. For various reasons they push ahead regardless until disaster strikes, mainly because they judge the personal implications for themselves to be too great if they stopped and challenged the status quo. Consequences Often there is a perceived lack of consequences for making bad decisions. In fact, the penalty for a catastrophic failure is, at worst, a significant pay-off for those in charge. ​Countering the 5Cs There are many antidotes to the 5Cs, but here are some obvious areas to begin with. First, it is important to consciously create a culture where very important decisions can be appropriately challenged, by both the experts and a more diverse set of people who see the world through a different lens. Ask: How effective are your boards and executive teams at challenging, in a constructive way, the assumptions behind big decisions? Have you got the right mix of people with the right experience on those boards to assess the decisions? Tackle conformity by asking: How much diversity do you have on your decision-making bodies to look at the decision from different perspectives? Do you have the right gender mix, geographic and cultural mix? Or are you just pale, stale, and male and stuck in groupthink? Most of all, foster environments that actively encourage, facilitate, and reward those who challenge while ensuring there are appropriate consequences for decision-makers who knowingly make poor choices. And perhaps redefine your definition of the word ‘smart’. The past two years have offered up plenty of surprises. Those who have risen to the challenges presented have often been those who were previously overlooked or underestimated. We are in a new world now and we need plenty of capable hands.

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By Paul Jardine

Featured Insights

Lloyd's turns the spotlight to culture

​For the first time, Lloyd's Project Rio places culture at the front and centre of a set of principles-based standards syndicates must strive to achieve. ​We can all point to examples of toxic corporate cultures which have been the undoing of some of the world's biggest brands. These include excessive risk taking and cultures of blindness that brought down Lehman Brothers during the Great Financial Crisis and contributed to the Volkswagen emissions scandal to cultures of bullying and harassment, some of them uncomfortably close to home. Yet for too long the importance of corporate culture has been sidelined. Treated as an intangible aspect of the business that is considered too esoteric to effectively regulate compared to other measures of governance and performance. With its Project Rio Principles for Doing Business at Lloyd's, the Corporation is challenging this perception. In an era that has seen and is continuing to see a profound shift in the importance assigned to inclusion & diversity and ESG, Lloyd's has sent a clear message that market participants must seek to create and maintain diverse, ethical and authentic cultures by, among other things: Demonstrating leadership focus on fostering an inclusive, high-performance culture; Ensuring behaviour expectations are clear and there is zero tolerance for inappropriate behaviour; Encouraging speaking up (and that there are appropriate tools for employees to do so); Ensuring diverse representation within their workforce and leadership population and be inclusive in how talent is recruited and retained to reflect society and their customers, and Understand their employee population, collecting appropriate data and taking action to create an inclusive employee experience. It is essential to increase accountability for culture at a firm level, believes Lloyd's. "We have called out culture as a principle on its own to reflect the momentum behind the many initiatives to improve culture across the market," reflected Kasey Brown, Culture and Engagement Lead at Lloyd's in a market briefing. "We recognise that culture is unique, it can be a source of competitive advantage for firms but we also recognise that culture can be an organisation's downfall and we don't want that to happen." The market wants syndicates to be more "intentional" about culture and proactive in shaping and managing their culture so firms can attract and retain the talent they need to deliver on their strategy. This is because encouraging greater diversity helps to avoid groupthink and fosters greater innovation. For firms that can demonstrate they are taking concrete steps to create and maintain inclusive and high-performance cultures, there are obvious competitive advantages. There is a growing evidence of research into the strong correlations between the ability of organisations' that prioritise ethnic and gender diversity (including balanced boards) to outperform their peers. Research shows that inclusive teams make better decisions 87% of the time. Beyond these competitive benefits, Lloyd's has also committed to taking a lighter touch approach to syndicates that score highly across the dimensions it considers most critical, culture being one. The easing of the market's compliance burden should help free up management time and resource to focus on growth and innovation. The market has indicated it understands each firm's approach to meeting the principles outlined under Project Rio will, appropriately, vary depending upon the size and maturity of the organisation. But as always, the tone must be set from the top. In order to foster an environment in which colleagues feel adequately comfortable to share their personal data, it is essential to communicate what the benefits are and how their information is being used. The workforce must first understand the why, and then the how. Active allyship programmes help to foster cultures of inclusion and acceptance. Returner programmes are among the more innovative recruitment methods which can help to tap into more diverse talent pools, supporting women - for instance - who have taken a career break to start a family. Recognising the importance of transferable skills as the industry evolves allows firms to look far beyond the confines of EC3. Successive CEOs of Lloyd's have pushed the market forward in raising minimum standards for performance, and culture is now recognised as a critical dimension to that. It is a journey and will not happen overnight. But if, as a business, you can demonstrate you are instilling a positive and authentic culture with proper representation of inclusion and diversity across your team and board, the Corporation expects your organisation will grow and drive value over time. And, crucially, it will give you the space to get on with delivering on your strategic goals.