Meet…Jackie Colella

With more than two decades of experience from Wall Street and consulting, Jackie Colella shares what her new role overseeing the client experience entails and her perspective around how to define success.

You initially joined Eagle last year in a project management capacity, helping clients adopt Eagle’s V17 software release. Today, your focus is overseeing the client experience—a role that is seemingly unique from positions traditionally encountered on Wall Street or within fintech. Can you discuss the encompassing responsibilities and how you’re approaching this new role?

Working directly with clients and providing support as they adopted the V17 release early on positioned me well to fully comprehend the significance of the client experience to Eagle’s success; and then, how to help facilitate alignment between all areas of Eagle’s business and the objectives of the financial institutions we serve. Accordingly, this role—which resides within Eagle’s Office of the Client—builds on the company’s value proposition to collaborate closely with clients and create business-led solutions.

In a lot of ways, my position is comparable to that of a cruise director. I’m not sure if anyone remembers the TV series The Love Boat, but the cruise director is expected to know all of the ins and outs of the ship; they are tasked with orchestrating the staff, ensuring the right people are where they need to be; and they serve as a guide to the passengers, helping to shepherd guests accordingly so they can enjoy all that the boat has to offer. Similarly, the customer experience isn’t just managing client relationships—it’s about raising awareness of what Eagle can offer through our software, strategic alliances, and other offerings, like managed services. By knowing our clients intimately, we can proactively help them identify the optimal solution.

You’re also approaching this role from a fairly unique perspective, in that you’ve spent considerable time on Wall Street, overseeing the global equity trading desk of an asset manager that today has north of $400 billion in AUM. But you also spent much of your career as a consultant, most recently serving as the Head of Business Consulting Operations and Professional Services at Publicis.Sapient. How does this experience plays into your role today? 

You could say I’ve been around the block, perhaps a few hundred times even. I started my career in financial services more than 25 years ago as a trader in New York. When I relocated to Boston, I used the opportunity to change careers, and shifted to a software-consulting role. Most recently with Publicis.Sapient, we did lot of work with clients to transform their operating models. My transition to Eagle, though, stems from a desire to return to focusing more closely on the software side of the business and help financial services clients rethink their business in light of all of the technology and capabilities now available.

But the way my experience and background help me today is really twofold: they support my work with clients, externally, but also shape how I build awareness, internally, so we can fully appreciate – across the organization — how our solutions support the business objectives of our clients.

For instance, in working with clients, we want to engage with them in a very collaborative way. We want them to think of Eagle as an extension of their business. This is why we place so much emphasis on opening the lines of communication and facilitating this dialogue over time through our client advisory counsel, the ENGAGE client conference and recurring regional events.

Internally, we know that our success depends on the success of our clients. But it’s important to continually reinforce this. When our R&D team can understand how the software they’re developing is deployed and applied by end users, for instance, they’re attuned to the specific and sometimes nuanced outcomes clients wish to achieve. This perspective is invaluable to driving client satisfaction and in allowing us to build upon these relationships over time.

What would you say are some of the overlooked parts of your role?

I’d first note that Eagle is pretty unique, across financial services and across technology, in that the company has an Office of the Client and a Chief Client Officer, Diane McLoughlin. In my experience, this role just doesn’t exist in most software companies. The transparency this engenders really creates a differentiator for Eagle. But, importantly, it also changes the nature of the client/vendor relationship.

Consider the more typical interactions that clients have with their software vendors. I think in most cases, following the implementations, outreach is generally negative or triggered by issues clients encounter and need to resolve. At Eagle, though, we really want to make sure that positive feedback is conveyed across the business as well. This is really critical in making sure that our organization knows what success looks like. And it also changes the nature of the dialogue so that clients can see us as a resource and true ally, able to bring best practices to bear.

So from your perspective, what does success look like?

Well, in terms of quantifying it, Eagle’s retention rate is phenomenal and speaks to the long-term relationships we’ve forged with clients. The level of add-on business, which has only grown in recent years, is another marker. And the “referenceability” of our client base, and its influence in driving new business, is another characteristic that we’re quite proud of. But, really, we define success differently for each and every client because each relationship is unique and how they leverage our software and services tends to be customized to their business needs.

The things that can’t be quantified, but are just as important, are all the different ways clients seek to pick our brains to understand how the industry at large is handling challenges from regulatory compliance, to consolidation activity and overall AUM growth, to the pace of technological change. Asset management generally tends to produce a very insular culture. Some of it probably stems from the fact that so many of the world’s biggest firms started as partnerships, built around a distinct philosophy or investment strategy. But I think one of the best indicators of a strong relationship is when clients leverage our experience of working with a diverse and global client base. It’s not just trying to understand what else Eagle can bring in terms of solutions, but when they look to us to help guide key decisions on more of a consultative basis, it underscores their trust in us.

And what do you believe is the critical ingredient to instill that kind of trust?  

Well, it’s very simple – honesty and integrity. But as easy as it is to say this, it’s equally difficult, if not harder, to deliver. The key to success, I believe, is to complete the triangle. It’s not just about selling the technology – it’s about standing behind your product and helping clients implement the software, utilize it in a way that they can get the most out of the technology, and then continually work with the client to understand and solve new challenges that come with growth. And in transitioning from these various stages of the relationship, clients should never feel like they’re being dropped by one team and picked up by another.

We have taken pains over the years to transform our own business and development model to embrace the concept “One Eagle,” and I think this concept really underpins the client experience.

One Response to Meet…Jackie Colella
  1. alan.thureson

    “One Eagle”!! A great idea and excellent concept!!

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