Sequantis update : how we address the Covid-19 crisis



The question is : how can we maintain our financial production activity, which aims to serve the needs of our Insurance and Asset Management clients in terms of portfolio monitoring and reporting generation, in the context of a massive disruption of the economy caused by a nasty virus ?

We started to address this question in operational manners, as of March 12th when the French State issued the first serious alert.

For a small company like ours, with less than 25 people (based in the center of Paris), with nearly 100% digitalized processes, with a hosted IT architecture based on remote access for clients and staff, the task was fortunately not an extreme challenge.

Thus we organized ourselves to work from home, for each of us. A first wave took place on March 16th for the staff living outside “intra muros” Paris. Then a second step happened on March 17th for the rest of the staff, in the wake of the second alert issued by the French State (cf. the “we are at war” statement by E. Macron – March 16th).

Ironically enough, we were helped in these changes by the partial economic disruption imposed by trade unions last December in France, with strikes in public transportation meant to oppose pension reforms promoted by the French government. As approximately 50% of our staff were prevented to go to the office for a period of over one month, we already had a fairly good idea of how we could manage our production services through telecommuting.

So, as of March 17th we had our new work organization in place. All of us have been working from home since then, with fairly fluid interactions with clients and suppliers.

Of course, staff communication is not always perfect when people are scattered in different places. Accordingly, we have to adjust, and deal with some inefficiencies due to distance and lack of experience. We have implemented daily routines to be more productive, with tools such as video conferencing and chats that enable us to follow up actions and share information on a continuous basis.

We also rely, more than before, on critical technical suppliers who, up to now, have proven dependable : telecom operators, hosting services, providers of communication tools…

So far so good, production systems are operational as before, communication works within our teams, clients get the answers they need and their own teams have been able to function well in this new context. The next test will be in early April, with the quarterly production that creates a spike in the volume of financial data to be handled. We are confident we can manage this new step, for and with our clients.