Helping a leading insurance provider improve their data access controls

A global insurance provider had begun migrating their legacy on-premise applications to a new data lake. With a strategic reporting solution used, it was clear that report users had access to data that they did not need to have access to.

Previous studies had identified the gaps and it was time to push forward and deliver a solution. We were engaged to define the roles and data access control business rules to support Germany, as they had specific requirements around employee name visibility. A temporary solution had been implemented but a strategic solution that unmasked employee names to those who needed to see them, was required.

We developed the rules with support from the Claims business, the Data Protection Officer, and German Works Council. We designed and built a Power BI prototype to demonstrate the rules working using attribute-based access controls (ABAC).

This prototype and the business rules have led to a further engagement to implement the solution in a real report connected to the data lake.

Helping a US broker-dealer manage its application estate using open source tools

Our client was a Fortune 500 US independent broker-dealer with over 17,500 financial advisors and over 1tn USD in  advisory and brokerage assets. They had a large application estate with nearly 1,000 applications they had either developed, bought or acquired through mergers and takeovers. The applications were captured in ServiceNow CMDB but there was little knowledge around flows, owners, data, and batch jobs.

Additionally, the client also wanted to roll out a new data strategy. Part of this engagement with their business community was to educate and inform about the data strategy and its impact on their work.

We were asked to implement an open source enterprise architecture tool called Waltz. Waltz had been originally developed at Deutsche Bank and had recently been released as open source software under FINOS (Fintech Open Source Foundation). Waltz is not widely-known in financial services yet and we saw this as a great opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of using open source tools.

To support the data strategy rollout, the client asked if we could build a simple and clear internal website to show the new data strategy and data model. The data model would be navigable to drill-down into more detail and provide links to existing documentation.

Our approach:

With our extensive implementation experience, we put together a small, experienced, cross-border team to deploy and configure Waltz. We knew that understanding the client's data was key; what data was required, where was it, how good was its quality. Waltz uses data around:

  • Organisational units - different structures depending on the viewpoint (business, technical)
  • People - managerial hierarchies, roles, responsibilities
  • Applications - owners, technologies, costs, licences, flows, batch jobs
  • Data - hierarchies, entities, attributes, definitions, quality, owners, lineage
  • Capabilities - owners, services, processes
  • Change - initiatives, costs, impact

We split our work into a number of workstreams:

  1. Data readiness - understand what data they had, the sources, and the quality
  2. Data configuration - understand the relationships between the data and prepare it for Waltz
  3. Waltz implementation - understand the base open source version of Waltz with its limitations, gather the client requirements (like single-sign on and configurable data loaders), develop the features into Waltz, and deploy Waltz at the client
  4. Data strategy website - understand the audience, design website prototype options for client review, build an interactive React website for the rollout roadshows

The project was challenging because, as ever, the state of the data. There were multiple inconsistencies which hinders the use of tooling to bring order. We needed to identify those inconsistencies, see who should own them, and ensure they were resolved.

With the flexibility of an enterprise architecture tool, it was important to be clear around the specific problems we wanted to solve for the client. We identified 10+ potential use cases that we worked with the client to narrow down. Future extensions of the project enabled us to extend into these other use cases.

One such problem was around batch job documentation. The client had thousands of Word docs specifying batch jobs transferring data between internal and external applications. These documents were held in SharePoint, Confluence, and local drives. This made it difficult to find information about specific batch jobs if something went wrong, for example.

We used the applications captured in Waltz and linked them together. We developed a new data loader that could import Word docs and extract the batch job information automatically from them. This was used to populate Waltz and make this information searchable, reducing the time spent by Support teams to find out about failed jobs.

One common negative that is raised about similar applications is the effort involved to get data into the application. Waltz accelerates this by sending surveys out to crowd-source knowledge from across the organisation. We found this a great way of engaging with users and capturing their experience into Waltz.

Our results:

We were able to deploy an open source enterprise architecture tool on a client's AWS cloud within three months. This included adding new features, such as single sign-on, improving existing Waltz capabilities, like the data loaders, and defining the data standards to enable smooth data integrations with source systems.

Using Waltz showed the client the value of bringing together disparate knowledge from around the organisation into one place. It does expose data gaps, but we always see this as a benefit for the client, as any improvement in data quality yields improved business results.

Helping a UK retail bank to benchmark their ESG progress against their peers

Our client wanted to improve their ESG position against their competitors, based on real data. They were unsure about where to start with ESG measurement and integrating ESG philosophy into their culture and business processes.

We were asked to come up with an ESG scoring model that could use existing public data from the client's peers against their own internal reporting data. This scoring model would be used to place the client against their peers in environmental, social, and governance groups, as well as an overall rating. Our ESG expertise was recognised in identifying which ESG frameworks could support this scoring model. We were also tasked with ensuring that their ESG philosophy was aligned to their purpose.

Our approach:

We used an example of best-in-class ESG stewardship in a Tier 1 financial services firm as a demonstration of what is possible. This case study covered how ESG impacted the firm across:

  1. Partnerships
  2. Products & services
  3. Diversity & inclusion
  4. Climate change
  5. Governance & ESG frameworks

We created an ESG scoring model that used existing ESG frameworks, such as SASB and UN SDGs. This scoring model included 32 questions across E, S and G categories. We researched public company reports to find data and references to key ESG themes. Thresholds were used to classify metrics and create a weighted score per category.

We emphasised the importance of authenticity in embedding ESG into a firm's culture. This was demonstrated through analysis of peer behaviour and assessing ESG integration into the peers' purpose. A set of recommendations were made to increase the maturity of ESG within the client, including specific frameworks and metrics to start tracking.

Our results:

The board members at the client were able to see where they stood versus their competitors, in more detail than ever before. This detail enabled a set of specific next steps to be laid out around establishing the ESG philosophy and policy of the client, which ESG areas to prioritise, changes to the risk appetite statement to incorporate ESG risks, and making a commitment to becoming net-zero.

Helping Adjoint gain ISO 27001 information security certification to support its expansion strategy

Adjoint required ISO certification to comply with legislation, across multiple jurisdictions, and increase confidence in their brand. Due to the nature of their clients (fortune 500 and international companies), a widely recognised accreditation was required. The firm's incorporation of next generation processing, such as distributed ledger technology (DLT), increased the complexity to achieve certification. Their global teams in the UK, Switzerland and USA, were undergoing a heavy scaling-up.

We were asked to customise and implement an ISO 27001 framework for global accreditation in IT security management.

Our approach:

  1. Capture delivery requirements
  2. Create relevant policies, procedures and a controls framework, for applicable IT functions
  3. Perform gap analysis and risk assessment
  4. Establish clear roles and responsibilities and deliver a formal training program
  5. Conduct internal assurance audit to identify incidents and data breaches
  6. Lead external certification process with BSI, through Stage 1 and 2 completion
  7. Provide agile delivery through to completion

Our results:

  • Effective coverage of all ISMS mandatory requirements surrounding ISO 27001
  • A new performance management system to track controls in company processes, structure and focal points
  • Global delivery, with clear road-mapping structure
  • Scaled offerings in open APIs and raised brand in the market
  • Improved sales process due to meeting client ISO requirements

Helping Adjoint, a DLT FinTech, with agile delivery management services to increase sales at pace

Adjoint required an experienced delivery partner to run technical delivery and build and manage client relationships, as well as create a scalable delivery model. They lacked a scalable platform and struggled to educate prospects and clients on the misconceptions between the benefits of DLT versus the noise created by other solutions.

We were asked to be the client and delivery partner, to deliver DLT solutions to fortune 50 clients, including tier 1 banks, insurers, and multinational corporations. The client wanted a scalable platform to manage internal and external work-streams, as well as internal and client resource prioritisation, to ensure better alignment of the product delivery team.

Our approach:

  1. Structured approach; using an Agile framework to deliver successful client PoCs and projects, whilst balancing PM, BA, Testing and DevOps deliverables
  2.  Collaborative style; seamlessly adding capabilities and bringing delivery assets to the fore, through a low-risk delivery model, with a focus on outcomes
  3. Hands-on attitude; unravelling DLT, whilst enabling concrete application in treasury, captive insurance, inter-company lending, and securitisation, ensuring common messaging across clients

Our deliverables:
- Business requirements documents (BRDs)
- Testing artefacts
- Quick reference guides (QRGs)
- Support model
- Security policy
- Project plans
- Issue tracker
- Task management

Business benefits:
- Scalable, commercially attractive, and low-risk delivery model
- Optimisation of internal and external resource
- Market-ready DLT solutions with short term delivery timelines
- Recognised as an industry partner to work on value-add business use cases for DLT
- Senior stakeholder management (internal and external)

Helping a leading investment bank improve its client on-boarding processes into a single unified operating model

Our client, like many banks, were facing multiple challenges in their onboarding and account opening processes. Scalability and efficiency were two important metrics we were asked to improve. Our senior experts interviewed the onboarding teams to document the current process and recommended a new unified process covering front, middle and back office teams.

We identified and removed key-person dependencies and documented the new process into a key operating manual for global use.

Helping Clarivate Analytics define a financial services (FS) go-to-market strategy for intellectual property data

We were asked by Clarivate to analyse their IP data and identify where it might be useful in financial services, based on our industry experience. We created and reviewed 39 use cases, interviewed 59 financial services specialists, and reviewed 150 potential partner companies.

We developed four value propositions and recommended 16 projects to execute the strategy.

Helping a global investment bank design & execute a client data governance target operating model

Our client had a challenge to evidence control of their 2000+ client data elements. We were asked to implement a new target operating model for client data governance in six months. Our approach was to identify the core, essential data elements used by the most critical business processes and start governance for these, including data ownership and data quality.

We delivered business capability models, data governance processes, data quality rules & reporting, global support coverage for 100+ critical data elements supporting regulatory reporting and risk.

Helping a global investment bank reduce its residual risk with a target operating model

Our client asked us to provide operating model design & governance expertise for its anti-financial crime (AFC) controls. We reviewed and approved the bank’s AFC target operating model using our structured approach, ensuring designs were compliant with regulations, aligned to strategy, and delivered measurable outcomes.

We delivered clear designs with capability impact maps, process models, and system & data architecture diagrams, enabling change teams to execute the AFC strategy.

Helping ARX, a cyber-security FinTech with interim COO services to scale-up their delivery

We were engaged by ARX to provide an interim COO as they gaining traction in the market and needed to scale their operations to support their new clients. We used our financial services delivery experience to take on UX/UI design, redesign their operational processes for scale, and be a delivery partner for their supply chain resilience solution.

Due to our efforts, ARX were able to meet their client demand with an improved product and more efficient sales & go-to-market approach.

Helping Bloomberg improve its data offering for its customers

Bloomberg wanted us to help review and refresh their 80,000 data terms in order to build a clear ontology of related information. We identified & prioritised the core, essential terms and designed new business rules for the data relationships. By creating a system-based approach, we could train the Bloomberg team to continue our work as BAU.

We improved the definitions, domains, and ranges to align with new ontologies, enabling their 300,000 financial services professionals to make more informed investment decisions.

Helping a Japanese investment bank to develop & execute their trading front-to-bank operating model

Our client wanted to increase their trading efficiency by improving their data sourcing processes and resource efficiency in a multi-year programme. We analysed over 3,500 data feeds from 50 front office systems and over 100 reconciliations to determine how best to optimise their data.

Streamlining their data usage and operational processes is estimated to save them 20-30% costs over the next five years.

Helping a global consultancy define & execute its UK FinTech Strategy

Our client had developed 39 FinTech value propositions and we were asked to assess the propositions and prioritise when, and how, to go to market. We used our financial services experience and FinTech network to plan the best approach, through outreach, warm introductions, and events.

Our approach led to successful introductions with new prospect FinTechs in payments, neo-banks, and crypto firms within four months.

Helping GLEIF build out a new ISO standard for official organisational roles (ISO 5009)

GLEIF engaged us as financial services data experts to identify, analyse, and recommend relevant organisational roles for in-scope jurisdictions based on publicly-available laws & regulations. We looked at 12 locations in a four-week proof-of-concept, using automated document processing

Our work helped GLEIF to launch the ISO 5009 in 2022, enabling B2B verified digital signatures for individuals working in official roles. This digital verification speeds up onboarding time and increases trust.