Client Credential: Garantum

Garantum gets help from Actensa to build an IT-department fit for leadership in the Nordic Financial market

Garantum realised a need to address IT challenges, having rapidly grown from a small to medium size financial company. Among those challenges were; recruitment of a new IT manager, a new way of steering and controlling IT, a patch work of solutions for the IT systems and an upcoming strategic decision on a new CRM-system, having had long time to market and too much time spent on IT support.

Actensa helped to take control on these challenges by acting as the IT-manager, developing a new IT governance model and to facilitating the decision on a new CRM-system. The work was achieved by taking “enterprise” concepts, structures and methods then applying and adjusting them to Garantum’s size and needs, in a collaborative manner.

Garantum is the leading structured product provider in the Nordics

Garantum is the leading Nordic providers of financial services for private and institutional investors in the structured product area. The company was started in 2004 and funding partners are still in leading roles. Garantum is dependent on its IT department, which performs a critical role in supporting both Garantum’s business and customer’s needs. Revenue in 2017 was 260 MSEK.

IT plays a central role to enable Garantum to take the next step

Since Garantum had developed from a start up to a leading finance company, the current IT governance had put constraints on the efficiency needed by IT to support the Garantum business development and maintenance needs. Also, when key in-house IT-staff (among those the IT manager and BCIO roles in the current organization) went absent for fair reasons, Garantum had an urgent need to fulfill these roles by leadership and to recruit in house to replace contractors. Among the key IT-challenges was the replacement of Garantum’s current CRM system, which was a complex patchwork of systems developed by different in-house staff and external contractors. As a result of this complexity, developing new functionality took a long time to deliver to customers and the market. Additionally, the high level of IT support required to maintain the current solution needed to be reduced in order to allow increased time for development of new functionality. The requirement was to replace the current solution with a standard CRM solution that still allowed the ability to adjust to Garantum business.

Actensa has applied a proven methodology for large enterprises adjusted to Garantum needs

First, to bridge the gap between business needs and IT a new Governance Model was suggested to clarify roles and responsibilities and to ensure that prioritization of development demands met on a corporate, as well as business unit level. The model was tailored to fit the specific Garantum needs and included elements such as removal of redundant roles, clearance of terminology and establishment of relevant forums to facilitate key decisions. Furthermore, detailed role descriptions were developed to ensure that the new model of working was implemented.

On an interim basis Actensa was engaged as acting IT manager to bridge the gap from planned leave of absence until a new candidate had been installed in the role. By starting weekly IT operational meetings, a forum for escalation and lessons learned was established, thus a stronger team spirit was established.

The need for a new CRM system was clearly recognized however the previous attempts to achieve a decision with key stakeholder buy in had failed. Therefore, Actensa’s first task was not only to make a quality assessment of previous surveys and vendor proposals but also to complement existing material with updated resource plans and business cases. Actensa planned and managed the decision process where a huge effort was dedicated to achieving stakeholder buy-in and active involvement to ensure accountability and support for the implementation to follow.

When assessing the resource plan for development needs (including CRM implementation) it was clear Garantum was facing a huge gap, hence a task was initiated to assess how development resource time spent on IT support could be reduced. The assessment resulted in identification of the need for a First Line Support role within Back-Office to reduce the user and client functional support tickets assigned to the IT development team. Further patterns of support cases were identified to address root causes.

As part of preparation for compliance validation against Finansinspektionens föreskrifter (FFFS), Actensa was asked to identify Garantum gaps and suggest actions to close those gaps relevant to the IT department.

Quick deployment of Actensa solutions has built Garantum a foundation to mitigate challenges

Key features of the Actensa engagement were the experience put on the table to Garantum from the beginning. The external view provided by Actensa helped Garantum to see the issues from a new perspective. The collaborative ways of working and advice provided to Garantum ensured the solution was a great fit for Garantum. Actensa provided an agile way of delivering, making it possible to coach and deliver based on the issues Garantum were experiencing, week by week. The delivered IT governance model and the “Establishment phase” method for instance, were an off-spring from Actensa Group intellectual capital adjusted to the Garantum environment, making the deliverables highly usable for Garantum with sunbstantial cost saving realized through reuse of Actensa intellectual capital. The value created for Garantum by the Actensa support could be measured in several 10th’s of percent of the total IT spend.

What Anders Sandberg, CEO and partner at Garantum says:

Clearly, Garantum needed to act on its IT challenges. Help needed from outside was triggered by our urgent need to staff the IT manager role and to decide on a new CRM-system. Soon we understood that additional help was needed to establish a new model for IT governance and a new organisation of IT. They also helped to recruit our new IT-manager (combined with the CIO-role). All in all, Actensa have facilitated us to solve and define a path away from our challenges in a very good way. Among key attributes I would mention the collaborative way of working with us, their advice, but also their ability to talk and act all the way from overall concepts and structure down to detailed design and adjustments to Garantum needs.

What Martin Skugge, new IT manager and partner at Garantum says:

Actensa Group has contributed with high value in our common approach to solve our issues at Garantum. From start, I was not the IT-manager, but I was a part of the work and clearly, they facilitated the development of the new IT governance, also leading to the new role of my own. Given the major work Garantum had to undertake when bringing the IT Establishment work further, I also appreciate the coaching and the actual hours that Actensa Group contributed with, also showing their understanding and ability to not only act as IT management consultants, but also to be able to dig in to the real problems for a smaller organisation like Garantum.