Q&A with Eagle’s Robert Erman

Rob Erman, Head of Global Professional Services, Eagle Investment Systems

Eagle Investment Systems’ Head of Global Professional Services shares implementation best practices and highlights on how clients can get the most out of their solutions.

Q. You’ve been with Eagle for nearly a decade now as the Head of Global Professional Services. Can you discuss what that role entails?

A. Over my tenure at Eagle, we have seen our business grow and the expectations of our clients rise dramatically.  With our leadership in the industry, clients expect us to help them improve their operation by implementing our technology. I oversee a team of more than 200 people and we work diligently to ensure we have an optimized and repeatable implementation plan, so when clients sign on with Eagle they understand not only how to use the software but also how to fully leverage the power of the Eagle platform. We’ve done this hundreds of times, so we are able to steer clients down the right path with sound proven ways of doing things. Within Eagle, I want to make sure my team is communicating daily and sharing best practices, because that institutional knowledge is incredibly valuable to clients and can really accelerate their time to value.

Q. What’s the most interesting implementation that you’ve worked on recently?

A. Truthfully, some of our most interesting work comes out of the ways we support BNY Mellon, our parent company. As both our parent and our client, BNY Mellon provides some real enriching and holistic insights. All of this translates into best practices that we can then pass along to our entire client base.

Q. What might be a good example of that?

A. With BNY Mellon, for instance, we were able to build out the basis of our insurance accounting platform. With a solid foundation, we were then able to work with an external insurance company to further build out our offering. One specific example involved the implementation of Eagle’s new Reference Data Center. Our work with the client helped to augment the solution even further and we were able to enhance certain capabilities, such as validation and exception processing, while introducing the flexibility to accommodate the bespoke nature of investments typical to the insurance industry. We were also able to update the user interface to minimize adoption requirements, in addition to other refinements and enhancements that were incorporated into our most recent software release

Q. What is the most overlooked component when it comes to implementation readiness?

A. There is a lot that goes into getting ready for an implementation, so it can be hard to pinpoint just one. When it comes to supporting Investment Book of Record (“IBOR”), for instance, organizations need to ensure that their data is up to par in terms of quality and completeness; Reference Data Center gives us a powerful tool to ensure the appropriate validation and exception processing occurs. It is also important to get users on the system early to ensure the configuration of the application is fully aligned with their specific business needs and desired outcome. Our experience says that an end-to-end development of a Model Office is the optimal way to ensure this occurs.

If I had to pick one area, however, that usually surprises most clients, it’s that the quality and completeness of their data is lacking and isn’t really “accounting ready” to provide a true enterprise view of their organization. This would have to be the most overlooked component, at least prior to achieving an accounting book of record.

Q. What advice would you give to clients in terms of how they can best leverage Eagle’s Global Professional Services Team?

A. We can offer very real and unique value in consulting with firms and serving as advisors as they get up to speed on the new solution. We’ve found that almost universally, clients that have leveraged the GPS team to really understand how to use our product and get the most out of it, have become the most successful relationships. While there is a cost to engage our team, we help clients to get the most return on their investment. To accomplish this, we work very hard to ensure our consultants in the field collaborate on solutions with their peers and ensure clients benefit from the optimal answer to what can often be complex problems.

Our clients understand their business better than anyone, but they most likely only undergo a major technology implementation once every couple of decades, whereas we do this every day and have literally seen everything that can come up. It’s like the old maxim about giving a man fish versus teaching him how to fish; we want to prepare clients for self-sufficiency and also ensure they’re realizing the full power of what they can do with Eagle.

Q. What is one of the most influential books that you’ve read and why?

A. I really like the book “Good to Great.”  Since our business is predicated on having great people who can help clients solve complex problems under what can sometimes be very stressful situations, I am constantly looking for ways to identify and empower greatness among our resources. I found the philosophy of focusing on first getting the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) to be great paradigm for how we have achieved such low employee turnover and fostered a truly collaborative environment.  We are very selective in our hiring process and often take several months to be sure it is a good fit. We believe that a bad hire is far worse than not hiring at all. Like in the book, we view our people as a portfolio of knowledge and skills. Lastly, we celebrate the fact that our teams consist of people who debate vigorously in search of the best answers, yet who unify behind deci­sions, regardless of parochial interests.

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