Feb 11, 2021
Many times pages like this are reserved to talk about our products, their benefits, a new customer win or the ways we are using technology to advance the insurance and financial services industry. We don’t always talk about the people behind those successes or the teamwork that it takes to develop the products and grow customer relationships.
Today, we are going to change that and deviate from the norm a bit to tell the story behind one of our latest projects at our client, St. James’s Place.
Intellect SEEC has been working as a key IT Partner with St. James’s Place since 2006, and we have close to 500 associates supporting the design, build, test, and ongoing support of St. James’s Place IT systems.
St. James’s Place was founded in 1991 and aims to be the most professional and trusted wealth management adviser. In the increasingly complex financial environment, they believe high-quality, face-to-face advice is important for everyone. Delivered through their partner network, the advice covers financial, investment and tax planning, individually tailored to a client’s lifestyle goals and stage of life.
To put in perspective the amount of data and forms that pass through advisors at SJP, consider that the number of clients included in a statement production can range from 80,000 to over 750,000 depending on product and investment choices. The quality of the statements in terms of data accuracy and completeness is paramount to St. James’s Place and their clients.
In 2019, St. James’s Place implemented a Data Virtualization solution that required a significant level of change, build, and testing. Following an internal review with St. James’s Place, Intellect engaged with auticon for the provision of specialist resources. auticon, a social enterprise IT consultancy, recruits, trains and provides careers in technology to adults on the autistic spectrum. Their firm provides neurodiverse and talented people to augment and improve the performance of their clients’ information technology project teams. The consultants leverage the superior cognitive abilities inherent to autism to provide a focus and perspective that enhances their business output. By augmenting their own teams with the autistic talent of auticon’s consultants St. James’s Place has constructed a work environment that has realized the benefits that arise from inserting diversity and inclusion into the workplace.
At SJP, these resources have worked across multiple deliveries since early 2019, designing and executing tests to validate the data that will appear in each statement. There have been multiple successful deliveries completed comprising a range of reports produced.
Auticon provided a well-targeted onboarding experience for the project team, supporting them along with skilled resources to create a successful working relationship with both teams from day one. There was a clear understanding of any adjustments required to make the working environment more inclusive and welcoming for their resources.
People with autism have qualities that are sometimes many adults lack. Their attention to detail, error detection, logical analysis and organization level are often way ahead of the general population. auticon leverages these great qualities. Hence, the coupling of technology skills with the advantages of neurodiversity means that auticon’s personnel are very productive testers and efficient data ‘wranglers’, both in terms of output as well as accuracy. Complex error detection, pattern-matching, sustained concentration and a systematic approach to tasks are among the cognitive strengths that auticon consultants bring to software testing and data quality assurance projects. They provide expertise across three areas:
“Working with auticon has proven to be a rewarding experience where we have seen enormously talented individuals deliver real value and benefit in a complex and technically challenging eco-system,” said Andrew Young, Intellect Head of Test.
In the business space, especially B2B, it’s easy to sell the products, the solutions, the technology and the benefits that result from proper execution. However, there are times when it’s important to realize the teamwork that is required to make companies successful, both the solution provider and the customer. As business associates, we must value and appreciate the labor of hard work and dedication that brings a quality output in the end-platter.