Before I started at Nationale-Nederlanden, just over 2.5 years ago, I worked in consultancy. First of all, I completed a young professional programme and then worked as a consultant. During that time, I worked at lots of different companies, including Nationale-Nederlanden, which enabled me to build up a network. When I realised that it was time to take the next step in my career, I contacted my network. Nationale-Nederlanden was looking for a Business Change manager at the time. Gaining experience in team management at the cutting edge of business & IT and change management was exactly the new challenge I was looking for.

The business unit where I work at Nationale-Nederlanden is organised by discipline: Change & IT, Commerce, Sales & Marketing, Risk, Finance, etc. The large stakeholder landscape means that my work is dynamic. My team’s job is to implement the IT changes in the business, so that our stakeholders and users understand changes to products, portals and our pension administration systems. We also initiate and support innovation-driven changes, use communication tools to create a mutual insight and understanding in our Business & IT organisation. Basically, we’re the lubricating oil between all the departments: we build a bridge between IT and the business.

In practice, this means, for example, that my team works closely with the IT teams, so that we know exactly what we face in the upcoming sprints. We then do an impact analysis: which user groups are affected by the IT changes and how – think of new products or new functionalities – and what do we need to provide for? These changes not only affect our internal customers, but externally, they also affect insurance advisers, employers and pension plan members.  For example, we approach employers to explain the new operation of a portal.

When I started here, I had no experience as a manager. Suddenly, you’re given a large set of tasks: to put a team on a professional footing, to carry out projects from your MT role, to deepen understanding, discussions with internal customers and with suppliers, and coaching your team. How to you tackle that? But, I soon noticed that you’re given plenty of scope for this at Nationale-Nederlanden. For example, in our department, we set up the Young IT Professional Programme. It was a great job to do and we had to think carefully about how to set up a programme like this, what training courses are needed and how you can attract and retain IT talent in your department. Talent that is not only good at testing or programming, but can be deployed across several IT disciplines. This makes us less dependent, we can properly support one another and work on the reputation of an insurance company where as an IT professional it’s a good place to be. It’s the human aspect that makes the playing field between business and IT so great. It’s a challenge to bring together different disciplines, which are currently still separated to a certain extent, and to ensure that they increasingly understand each other better.

I’m also given plenty of scope for personal development. For example, I’m currently taking part in a Digital Leadership Programme run by Rightbrains, a network for women with a passion for digital technology. This freedom appeals to me. Nationale-Nederlanden puts the emphasis on people and development: people are empowered, are given confidence and responsibility.

 

Stephanie Taverne
Manager Business Change at CH&IT Pension New Business, Life, Nationale-Nederlanden