MMC’s core infrastructure forms the operational backbone for the provision of services to their fund and wealth administration clients whose businesses rely on MMC daily. As client service availability is critical when providing essential services, robust business continuity planning has always been an essential part of MMC’s planning for the unknown.
Responding to unexpected challenges
As the COVID-19 pandemic quickly evolved in 2020, MMC had to mobilise their staff overnight. Vedran Babic, MMC’s CEO, explains: “Even though we were regarded as an essential service, we made a call early on to prioritise the safety of our people. As such, we needed to execute our business continuity plans, which included remote access. As the first lockdown was announced, MMC transitioned smoothly and swiftly into full remote working, where everyone was set up to be productive from home and continue delivering business as usual services to clients.”
Babic continues: “The buzz words these days are agility and being able to pivot on a dime, and technology enables that if you have the right technology stack, team and partners supporting you. Lancom Technology have been an instrumental partner to MMC over the years. Having access to the latest Microsoft technology enabled us to switch our operating model to remote access overnight without any impact on client service levels or performance. Our focus over the years to continuously review and improve our processes and investments in latest technology meant that we were well placed to handle the new world order.”
Waruna Kirimetiyawa, Lancom Technology’s CEO, elaborates: “MMC are a core infrastructure provider and an essential service. Being 100% online is the pinnacle of the client service levels they provide. At Lancom Technology, we ensure a smooth running of the infrastructure and support MMC staff to be productive at any time and from anywhere. Business continuity planning is always at the forefront of our thinking and we were able to quickly transition from business as usual to remote access. As the first lockdown came into force, we prioritised all queries related to remote working. This included the provision of hardware and guidelines relating to VPN connectivity, firewalls and ensuring security levels remained high. Microsoft 365 and Teams proved to be powerful collaboration tools that were reliable and easily accessed by all MMC staff.”
The impact on client service levels
MMC’s long-term partnerships with their clients added to their trust in delivering services during disruptive times. David Boyle, Mint Asset Management’s Head of Sales & Marketing, comments: “The pandemic has put a lot of stress on all industry players as the market turned volatile which also lead to an increase in investor activity. It was important that MMC delivered continuity around unit pricing. They kept us up to date on a regular basis, which was so welcomed in respect of the clients we were talking to and making sure that our information was accurate.”
Relationships are incredibly important to MMC’s client centric business. Nicola Tait, MMC’s Chief Client Officer , says: “Whilst nothing can beat face to face meetings in person, the challenges of lockdown in fact strengthened many of our relationships in a number of ways. We made a conscious effort to run roadshows and workshops virtually. Knowing this was a difficult time, we focused on reaching out to our clients more often than we normally would. Our technology enabled us to get easily connected with all our clients who are spread across New Zealand. Having the trust in our day-to-day operations running smoothly, despite the transition to remote-working, meant that we could focus on providing the same great level of service that we always pride ourselves on.”
Monique Pearson, Rutherford Rede’s General Manager, adds: “The service that MMC provide to us is absolutely crucial. In MMC, we have a trusted ally who provide us with operational services and seamless integration that helps us deliver reliable information and reporting quickly to our clients, as and when we need them.”
Quentin Peri, Westpac’s Senior Investment Operations Manager, shares his experience: “MMC did an excellent job of maintaining their service delivery and quality throughout lockdown level 4 (and beyond) in what were very uncertain and challenging times from both a people and services perspective.
“We were impressed with the seamless way MMC were able to execute the move to a work from home environment at short notice. The initial move to distribute some of their workforce prior to full lockdown was proactive and evidenced a good degree of planning, which was very reassuring. When full lockdown hit, communication from the team about the changes was timely and most importantly, we did not notice any reduction in service levels or turnaround times as a result which was great.
“During this period, we were in regular contact with MMC around shifting timelines and deliverables. MMC were responsive and flexible, able to accommodate changes at short notice as required by us for settlement and funding activities. These changes had knock-on effects to other downstream teams, but MMC were able to adapt without incident. In addition, it was scheme year end and MMC were able to deliver all the associated activities required for this as per normal non-COVID-19 timeframes. This to us was confirmation of how well MMC had done their planning and preparation and how readily they were able to adapt to working remotely.”
As New Zealand returned to a near normal situation, MMC have maintained flexible working arrangements, depending on function and engagements. “What’s around the corner is never constant but how we plan and approach it can be. Adapting to change is vital to our business and how we service our clients. We believe in empowering our talent with technology to nurture collaboration and productivity to accelerate our clients’ success in all situations, from anywhere”, Babic adds.
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