How has the team pivoted to work together effectively during COVID-19?
It was mandatory to work from home in Singapore from 7th April, but the team has adapted well to this and in fact, we managed to close several deals still during this period, as well as managing the implementation of new projects.
We start our days with a virtual stand-up, going through key client focus and priorities for the day. The rest of the day consists of meetings, demos and execution of client work, which surprisingly, have made us more productive than before. However, we had to move our daily stand-ups to later in the morning, as the days were getting very long with some of us having to work late into the night to accommodate client calls.
How have client projects been managed during this period?
With client meetings being done virtually instead of in person, one surprise is that many clients have been more excited about demos, which we think could be due to people being more receptive to seeing demos from the comfort of their own homes.
Implementation can be more challenging because we are not able to be onsite to confirm requirements, go through and align details and timelines of the project plans, finalise contracts and sign deals face-to-face. However, we have taken the new normal in our stride and are in the midst of 4 different implementation projects for Connect and Product Factory.
What changes have you seen with clients due to COVID-19?
I think COVID-19 has largely helped our clients realise the value of our technology solutions. Many have taken the opportunity to relook their stack and search for new solutions that can help them write business virtually, support their sales teams to sell efficiently and keep their product launches going. This means an increase in demand and awareness of our Flow, Product Factory, Connect and policy management system solutions.
Are there any new opportunities or wins that have resulted from the challenges presented by COVID-19?
The SEA team has had quite a bit of success despite the pandemic. We have closed several deals for Connect and Flow in Southeast Asia, our first POC in Japan, and a Product Factory implementation in Brazil.
We have also shifted to securing more regional deals to support client businesses in multiple markets. We have seen increased interest in Product Factory with an additional policy admin solution as insurers seek out quicker product launches and more automation in its policy management systems. They have also been willing to look beyond traditional legacy systems, which have challenges with integration, to newer, API-based front-end sales systems and product configurators, as they are more lightweight and adaptable.
What are the challenges when recruiting virtually? Is there anything you’ve learned from this process?
We have been recruiting and have added new members to the Singapore team during COVID-19. We have also recruited a team of 7-8 developers in India and are continuing to recruit given the new client deals we are signing.
The situation has been challenging, but also presented more opportunities as these are people we otherwise would not have had the chance to recruit and now we are able to as the talent pool has opened up, enabling us to leverage on their experience and availability to jump-start our development build.
Interviewing virtually can be quite challenging – it is never the same as when you meet someone face-to-face and see all the visual cues which allow us to assess enthusiasm, energy, commitment and determine team fit. However, we have persevered and managed to find some great new team members who will be wonderful additions to the team.