March saw the second anniversary of the UK’s first COVID-19 lockdown, in common with much of the rest of the world.
The IFoA was fortunate in that we had already started looking at our systems and processes to make them better, more sustainable and ‘match-fit’ for a great member experience – something good intent alone cannot achieve. It was pleasing to see recognition of these early steps in the feedback you gave us at the end of last year.
COVID-19 transformed the world of work. Any strategy must be clear on what a business needs to be good at to achieve success. The strategy and industry material I see suggest those that started with a digital-first approach a few years back, are good at IT and have a good digital platform, were ‘winning’ during the pandemic – and are now accelerating more quickly than those that lack these capabilities.
We have probably under-invested in the past, only doing enough to avoid losing touch. That has changed recently, with upgraded infrastructure and new member system currently in delivery. Decisions have recently been taken on a new online examination solution that will give our students more options. You may also have noticed that we’ve launched a refreshed and modernised website, which will hopefully provide you with a much more user-friendly experience and better tools to support you. This is the first of several big IT deliveries you will see the benefit of during the next year or so. We have been working out what we need to be good at, and IT is one of those things
We are also upgrading our IT to help our internal colleagues do more for you. They have often been frustrated and limited by our current systems, and we know that this has impacted the service they would have liked to give you.
I am struck by how different your IFoA experience has been during the past couple of years, and what it will be like in a year or so. I take confidence from the way we’ve been working digitally by default to improve your experience, and I look forward to bringing this to life for you even more.
Stephen Mann is the chief executive of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries