Buzzwords are great. They get people thinking about moving, acting, building, doing something. They create a buzz! When we think about the buzzwords ‘automate’ and ‘digitize’, what do they really mean for Canadian Credit Unions? The correct ‘consulting’ answer is – it depends. It depends on four of the five Ws – what, where, who, and why are the topics of automation and digitization. The ‘when’ can be figured out later, but sooner is always better than later!

In order for a Credit Union (CU) to figure out where to start it is vital to understand:

The majority of CUs have already started down the path of some digitization (online banking, platform modernization, mobile banking etc.), but what are some of the other areas that are less exploited to date but can be leveraged for further optimization? How does one start an automation project and what are some of the areas of biggest return? Let’s delve into these questions.

Identifying Pain Points

The first steps in any automation project are identifying the pain points and understanding what the use cases are, determining who is impacted by them, and establishing why change is needed. Each use case should provide a potential solution to the pain points that have been identified. This involves a thorough review of manual processes, particularly those that take the longest, cost the most, or provide the least value.

There are several manual processes within the operations of credit unions that can be prime use cases for automation:

Building a Business Case

Once you’ve identified potential use cases for automation, the next step is to build a business case for digitizing or automating the opportunities. This involves not only calculating the potential cost savings but also considering the benefits in terms of improved member experience.

Every business case should encompass a clear vision for digitization and/or automation. This begins with defining the goals, such as improving member satisfaction or increasing operational efficiency. The business case should also assess the current state of technology infrastructure and determine what changes need to be made to accommodate automation. Business cases should highlight the quantifiable benefits, upfront and ongoing costs, return on investment (ROI), Payback Period, and an assessment of risk.

Conducting a Pilot

Before rolling out automation across the board, it’s wise to conduct a pilot program. This allows you to test the waters, identify any potential issues, and make necessary adjustments before implementing the changes on a larger scale.

Reviewing Results and Implementing Quick Wins

After conducting a pilot, review the results and implement any quick wins. These are changes that can be made quickly and easily and that will have an immediate positive impact. This approach not only improves efficiency but also builds momentum and support for larger automation projects.

Quick wins are small, incremental improvements that can be implemented rapidly and can make a significant difference. In the context of automation, quick wins could include automating simple tasks that are currently performed manually. For instance, setting up automatic email responses to common member queries can be a quick win. This not only improves the response time to member inquiries but also frees up staff time for more complex tasks.

Exploring New Opportunities

While many credit unions have already begun to automate some processes, there are still plenty of opportunities for further optimization. For instance, artificial intelligence (AI), optical character recognition (OCR), and smart forms are all technologies that are currently underutilized but have the potential to greatly enhance efficiency.

A Final Thought

Credit unions that want to improve efficiency should start by identifying their pain points, building a business case for digitization/automation, conducting a pilot program, implementing quick wins, and exploring new opportunities. By following this approach, credit unions will enhance efficiency and also improve member experience, reduce costs, and stay competitive in today’s digital age.

Optimus SBRs Technology & Data Services Practice

Within our Technology & Data Services Practice at Optimus, our goal is to help our clients fill in the white space and align business and technology teams to ensure success. We move beyond the provision of resources and deliver innovation – we seek out practice efficiencies, leverage tools and automation where appropriate, and bring a bold, problem-solving orientation to our work because ultimately, technology needs to deliver the right things the right way.

How can Optimus SBR assist you?

Optimus SBR has relevant experience working with Canadian Credit unions in various areas, such as:

Let’s have a conversation today to help plan for the future!

Contact Us

Doug Wilson, Senior Vice President and Technology & Data Practice Lead

Paul Smith, Vice President, Management Consulting Services 


In today’s digital age, every organization understands the importance of securing their applications and systems against unauthorized access and cyber-attacks. The rise of new technologies and the ever-evolving IT landscape have necessitated the implementation of a robust Identity and Access Management (IAM) system accompanied by a Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) framework.

In this blog, we will dive into essential IAM and RBAC best practices that organizations can adopt to ensure secure application access and robust IT risk management. We will explore the importance of protecting applications/systems, the importance and principles of IAM, RBAC, business roles, the Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP), defining access control policies, and sustainable IAM/RBAC integration.

Why Protecting Applications & Systems is Critical

Securing an organization’s applications and systems against unauthorized access is sacrosanct. Due to the sensitive nature of the data within these systems, a data breach can have far-reaching consequences that can result in legal and financial penalties, loss of customer trust, and ultimately affecting brand reputation. A strong IAM/RBAC framework helps keep cyber threats at bay and minimize the impact of data breaches.

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, data security and privacy have become paramount concerns for organizations of all sizes. Managing who has access to sensitive information and how they access it is a critical aspect of safeguarding valuable assets. This is where Identity and Access Management (IAM) comes into play. Let’s delve deeper into IAM and explore a few of its key components: Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), defining business roles within an organization, and how IT Risk management plays a crucial part.

What is Identity & Access Management (IAM)?

Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a comprehensive framework that empowers organizations to control and administer the access of individuals, including employees, partners, customers, and other stakeholders, to their applications and data resources. In essence, IAM is the digital gatekeeper which ensures that the right individuals gain access to the right resources, at the right time, and under the right conditions, whilst abiding by applicable regulatory practices. Furthermore, it is a critical component in the ongoing battle against external threats and cyberattacks, making it an indispensable tool in the modern business landscape.

Within the broader scope of IAM, Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) serves as a vital subset. RBAC is a method of managing access based on users’ roles within an organization. In simpler terms, it’s about providing access to individuals based on their specific job functions or responsibilities. This approach brings about two notable benefits:

1. Enhanced Efficiency – Imagine a scenario where an HR manager, a sales director, and an IT technician all require access to various parts of the organization’s data. Without RBAC, each individual might need to request access permissions separately, taking unnecessary internal resources, time and waiting for ticket approval. With RBAC, however, access is streamlined and automated based on predefined roles. RBAC ensures that individuals gain efficient access to their relevant role-related resources in order to perform in their position most effectively.

2. Reduced Security Risks – RBAC plays a pivotal role in bolstering cybersecurity efforts. By assigning access permissions according to job roles, organizations can limit access to sensitive data which in turn, reduces the risk of unauthorized access or data breaches. This approach ensures that employees can only access information that is relevant to their job responsibilities, minimizing the potential damage that could occur if access is granted indiscriminately.

RBAC & The Significance of Business Roles

In the context of IAM and RBAC, business roles refer to the hierarchy levels defined within an organization. These roles are instrumental in classifying tasks and responsibilities into specific groups of users. Typically, this classification occurs at the organizational structure level, with top-level executives having the highest security clearances compared to employees at lower organizational levels.

Business roles foster accountability within an organization ensuring that individuals are accountable for their actions and the data they handle. By establishing clear business roles, organizations can effectively mitigate the risk of unauthorized access. Business roles align closely with RBAC, ensuring that users are granted access permissions that align with their job functions. This alignment acts as a barrier against unauthorized access, reducing the potential for data leaks and security breaches. In cases of security breaches or data mishandling, it becomes easier to trace the source of the issue and take appropriate measures.

An Effective RBAC Model

At a high level, when users are assigned a role, they are granted access to pre-authorized systems, applications and permissions which have been mapped out based on the job function and its required resources. When designing business roles, in addition to leveraging the Principle of Least Privilege which is detailed below, users are still be able to request further access permissions through your organizations regular ticketing platform (e.g., SNOW, JIRA, SolarWinds, etc.) and therefore will follow the same approval workflows.

Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a cornerstone of modern cybersecurity practices, and within IAM, Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) is a powerful tool for managing access efficiently and securely. Additionally, defining business roles is an essential step in ensuring accountability and reducing the risk of unauthorized access within organizations. By embracing these practices, organizations can fortify their data security defenses and operate with greater confidence in an increasingly digital world.

The Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP)

The PoLP dictates that users should only have access to the minimum permissions necessary to perform their duties. As such, organizations should classify users based on their job functions and restrict access to only what is essential for their roles. This reduces the attack surface and limits potential damage in case of a breach.

Furthermore, it’s not enough to simply decide on the minimum permissions a user needs; these permissions also need to be regularly reviewed to ensure they are still appropriate for the user’s role. As individuals progress through the company, their responsibilities and required access may change. Regular audits of user access can help uncover any potential over-provisioning of permissions, thereby reducing risk and maintaining adherence to the PoLP.

Another critical aspect of implementing PoLP effectively is the segregation of duties. This involves splitting responsibilities among multiple individuals to prevent any one person from having too much control or access. This serves as a form of internal control designed to prevent errors and fraud, enhancing the overall security posture of the organization.

Tailoring Access Control Policies

Effective access control policies are the backbone of a secure IAM/RBAC system. These policies determine who can access specific resources under well-defined conditions, and they are essential for maintaining data security and integrity. Let’s explore this crucial aspect in more detail:

Organizations should begin by crafting comprehensive access control policies that align with their security goals and regulatory requirements. These policies should clearly define:

User roles and responsibilities: identify various roles within the organization and specify their access needs.

Resource classification: categorize data and resources based on sensitivity levels.

Conditions and constraints: define circumstances under which access is granted or denied (e.g., time of day, location, device type).

Exceptions and approvals: establish procedures for granting exceptions to the standard policies, ensuring that exceptions are carefully evaluated and approved.

Revocation procedures: outline the steps for revoking access when an employee leaves the organization, and their access to all assets should be revoked.

Sustainable IAM/RBAC Integration

The effectiveness of an IAM system hinges on the continuous training of employees and promotion of sustainable practices. Here’s how organizations can achieve this:

Continuous Training: employees should receive ongoing training to understand the importance of their roles within the IAM/RBAC framework. This includes educating them on best practices for access management, data security, and compliance. Regular training sessions can help keep employees informed and vigilant.

Adapting to Change: job roles and responsibilities often evolve. It’s crucial to update system access and permissions as these changes occur. This ensures that employees have the appropriate level of access to their current roles and responsibilities. Timely updates also help prevent unnecessary access, reducing security risks.

Regular Testing: periodic testing of the IAM/RBAC system’s robustness is essential. Organizations should conduct vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, and simulated cyberattack exercises to identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities. These tests help in fine-tuning the system’s security measures and ensuring its resilience against evolving threats.

Continuous Monitoring: proactive monitoring of the IAM/RBAC system’s performance is vital to staying ahead of potential cyber threats. Real-time monitoring and alerting can help organizations detect suspicious activities or access attempts. Continuous monitoring ensures that any anomalies are promptly addressed, minimizing the risk of data breaches.

Modern Authentication Mechanisms: to enhance security, organizations should consider adopting modern authentication mechanisms, such as Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). MFA requires users to provide multiple pieces of evidence of their identity before granting access. This could include something the user knows (like a password), something the user has (like a soft/mobile token), and something the user is (like a fingerprint or other biometric method). Incorporating MFA within the IAM/RBAC framework significantly decreases the likelihood of unauthorized access, even in instances where user credentials have been compromised.

A Final Thought

In order to ensure maximum security, it’s important to understand that security is not a one-time achievement but an ongoing process. The exponential growth of the digital landscape reflects an influx of threats, which highlights the urgency for organizations to establish robust IAM and RBAC systems that are adaptable and flexible to address emerging challenges.

Optimus SBR Technology & Data Services Practice

Within our Technology & Data Services Practice at Optimus, our goal is to help our clients fill in the white space and align business and technology teams to ensure success. We move beyond the provision of resources and deliver innovation – we seek out practice efficiencies, leverage tools and automation where appropriate, and bring a bold, problem-solving orientation to our work because ultimately, technology needs to deliver the right things the right way.

Contact us to learn more about our Technology & Data Services, and how we can help you on your IAM & RBAC journey.

Doug Wilson, Senior Vice President and Technology & Data Practice Lead

Paul Smith, Vice President, Management Consulting Services 





Reality Check: the post-pandemic technology world in which we operate is prone to frequent disruptions. Within this landscape, four generations often collaborate on projects, whether in shared offices or remote settings, and each organization has its own approach to virtual work. Canadian credit unions (CCUs) are no exception to this. We are all dealing with the implications and applications of AI, while also worrying about economic uncertainty and potential cyber-attacks. This fast pace leaves little room for future planning, as we’re occupied with continually changing security requirements, adjusting workspaces, or discussing and planning for the impacts of the latest economic instability.

Given these factors, taking a pause long enough to evaluate the business and refocus on what truly matters to CCU stakeholders, employees, members, and potential members becomes a daunting task. This is where Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles come into play. Despite some negative press, particularly regarding ESG funds, it’s generally acknowledged that the younger generations – millennials, Gen Z, and Gen Alpha – are more concerned with and supportive of ESG principles than their predecessors, likely due to increased exposure in recent years.

Credit union membership has seen strong growth, but individuals aged 18-34 make up only 12% of the total. So, how can Canadian credit unions (CCUs) adjust their ESG messaging, marketing techniques, and practices to appeal to and retain younger members amidst the turmoil of technological advancements, shifting work environments, and economic instability? What role does technology play in this endeavor? Let’s explore these questions further.

Mobile-First, Anywhere-to-Anywhere

In today’s world, most credit unions are app-savvy. A mobile app can be leveraged to enhance the CCUs ESG messaging to foster a brand that is consistent with messages being reinforced at the branch and website levels.  CCUs that don’t offer a mobile app or mobile banking must immediately implement a mobile solution to attract younger generations. Younger members prioritize mobile apps for tasks like mobile check deposits, bill pay, and peer-to-peer payments. Online account opening and digital onboarding should also be strongly considered – CCUs that offer services without mandatory branch visits will have an edge. The mobile app can feature functions like account balance view, branch locator, and “ESG-relevant” principles such as community announcements, recruiting announcements, and important news releases. These features will help promote a positive, transparent, and inclusive brand that appeals to younger, tech-savvy members (and those who will become future members).

Enhanced Social Media Presence and Branding

CCUs need an executive responsible for their digital strategy, which should include a social media strategy. This includes maintaining a digital presence and delivering consistent messaging across platforms like X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, and TikTok. Younger generations increasingly turn to social media for news, connecting with service providers (banking, mobile devices, auto), customer service, and even job searching. A strong social media and branding strategy means being easily discoverable on various platforms and having meaningful messages that resonate with newer generations of members.

Revised Digital Platform Strategy: Leveraging Platform Providers with ESG Tracking and Reporting

Creating an ESG strategy that is relevant to younger members and aligned with the CCU’s principles requires updated tools and methods for tracking, recording, and reporting. With increasing regulatory requirements for Climate and ESG reporting from OSFI, CCUs have an opportunity to use ESG to their advantage: appealing to younger employees, attracting new members, and meeting compliance requirements. If done properly, a strong ESG strategy and narrative can enhance the CU’s positioning with the younger generation (both members and employees), but it must be backed by accurate data, reporting, and compliance for an authentic narrative in the eyes of the younger generation. When done right, it’s magical, but any missteps can pose brand, reputation, and regulatory risks.

Key elements such as community involvement, youth outreach, digital offerings and penetration, personalized services, and competitive rates and fees can all be evaluated, implemented, tracked, and reported on. It’s imperative for CCUs to create or update their digital platform plans to include ESG elements that are relevant and appealing to younger audiences, and to establish systemic features for tracking these elements with the future in mind.

A Final Thought

Canadian Credit Unions must strategically adapt and evolve in the face of technological advancements, shifting work environments, and economic instability. The incorporation of ESG principles by CCUs, coupled with the effective use of technology and targeted marketing, presents a powerful strategy for attracting younger members and securing future growth. It’s clear that a meaningful commitment to these principles and effective communication of the same can promote the perception of Credit Unions as not just financial institutions, but as pillars of community growth and sustainability for the forthcoming generations.

Optimus SBRs Financial Services Group

Optimus SBR is an independently owned management consulting firm that works with organizations across North America to get done what isn’t. Our Financial Services Group provides strategic advisory services, process improvement services, risk management services, and project management support to leading Financial Institutions, insurers, asset managers, and pension funds.

How can Optimus SBR assist you?

Optimus SBR has relevant experience working with Canadian Credit unions in various areas, such as:

Let’s have a conversation today to help plan for the future!

Contact Us

Carolyn Kingaby, Practice Leader, Financial Services

Paul Smith, Vice President, Management Consulting Services 



In a world where change is the only constant, organizations are awakening to the undeniable truth – resilience is the secret weapon for survival and success. But what exactly does resilience mean in a team context? It’s more than just bouncing back from setbacks; it’s about harnessing individual and collective strengths, adapting to challenges, and rebounding to higher levels of success. When organizations support leaders and team members in enhancing their resilience, it fortifies their overall well-being and drives innovative strategies to solve problems and make good decisions.

What is Resilience?

Resilience is the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands.

– American Psychological Association

Resilience is a multi-faceted concept, consisting of various components and strategies that are present in everyone to varying degrees. Unlike personality styles, our individual resilience can be improved and strengthened by practicing skills and behaviours that enhance our ability to adapt positively to pressure, setbacks, challenges, and change to optimize performance. Understanding how we are resilient, and how we can adapt to changes, will help us navigate future experiences more effectively and successfully.

The Resilience Edge

Resilience in teams has emerged as a vital competitive edge for organizations – from enhanced problem-solving capabilities to increased productivity and sustainable growth, building resilience in teams offers organizations significant benefits.

Adaptability: Resilient teams can adapt quickly and effectively to changing circumstances, allowing them to navigate unexpected challenges and seize new opportunities.

Better Decision-Making: Resilient teams are composed of individuals who can think critically to solve problems and make informed decisions under pressure. They are skilled at weighing risks and benefits, resulting in more effective and timely decision-making.

Improved Problem-Solving: Resilient teams possess a problem-solving mindset, enabling them to creatively address obstacles and find innovative solutions. They thrive in complex situations and can overcome hurdles with confidence.

Enhanced Collaboration: Resilience fosters a sense of unity and cooperation within teams. By encouraging open communication and trust, resilient teams can collaborate seamlessly, leveraging diverse perspectives and skills to achieve common goals.

Increased Productivity: When teams are resilient, they are less likely to be derailed by setbacks. They maintain focus, motivation, and productivity even in the face of adversity, ensuring that projects stay on track and deadlines are met.

Higher Employee Engagement: Resilient teams create an environment that promotes engagement and employee satisfaction. By offering support and recognizing individual contributions, team members feel valued and empowered, leading to higher levels of commitment and loyalty.

Sustainable Growth: Building resilience within teams sets the stage for sustainable growth and long-term success. By weathering challenges and learning from failures, teams can continuously improve and evolve, positioning the organization for future achievements.

8 Components of Resilience1 

To help organizations lay the foundation for building high performing teams, 8 critical components of resilience have been identified that hold the power to transform your business performance.

Based on a Resilience Questionnaire™ developed by Talogy, there are 8 validated components of resilience which we leverage within our Raising Organizational Resilience workshop. Incorporating these components into your team’s culture and mindset, implementing strategies to improve, and following an actionable plan, will build the necessary skills to function as a high performing team.



By providing a supportive framework for leaders and team members, organizations can arm their workforce with tools necessary to be more adaptable, flexible, and optimistic when facing challenge which will increase overall resilience and strengthen their ability to succeed in any situation.


Strategies to Build Resilience

 Increase Emotion Regulation
  • High performing teams are capable of remaining calm and in control of their emotions in stressful situations even during difficult times.
  • Teams that manage their emotions well feel more connected to each other and can handle stress in a healthier way.
  • Encourage open communication. Create a culture where team members can express their emotions and concerns openly.
  • Provide resources for emotional well-being. Offer access to mindfulness training, workshops on managing stress, and support services.
  • Foster a positive work environment. Encourage team members to celebrate successes, practice gratitude, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
 Increase Support Seeking
  • It’s not easy for everyone to support seek, but knowing when and being willing to ask others for help is critical to team success.
  • High performing teams are able to seek input from others to deal with problems more effectively
  • Promote collaboration. Encourage team members to seek help from one another and emphasize the importance of teamwork.
  • Establish mentorship programs. Pair experienced team members with newer ones, providing a supportive environment for learning and growth.
  • Implement regular check-ins. Conduct one-on-one meetings to provide support, address challenges, and offer guidance.
Increase Optimism
  • Having a healthy level of optimism translates to the belief you will experience good outcomes in life and reflects the way in which one reframes the setbacks they experience.
  • Teams that are optimistic exhibit a positive outlook and are more inclined to overcome adverse situations.
  • Cognitive flexibility and a problem-solving mindset help in developing optimistic thinking.
  • Encourage positive thinking. Celebrate progress and milestones, focusing on strengths rather than dwelling on failures.
  • Practice reframing. Help team members see setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning.
  • Build resilience narratives. Share stories of individuals or teams who overcame challenges, highlighting the power of optimism and perseverance.
Increase Self Belief
  • Individuals who believe in their abilities are better able to address problems, withstand criticism, rejection, and failure, and overcome obstacles.
  • High performing teams that demonstrate self-belief possess confidence and are not afraid to take calculated risks and are more inclined to persist with tasks
  • Recognize achievements. Acknowledge individual and team accomplishments to boost confidence and self-belief.
  • Encourage risk-taking. Foster an atmosphere that empowers team members to confidently embrace calculated risks and explore innovative strategies.
  • Provide constructive feedback. Offer feedback that focuses on strengths and highlight how employees have overcome challenges in the past to help build individual and team self-confidence.
Challenge Orientation
  • Teams that are challenge-oriented embrace obstacles and perceive adverse situations as opportunities to learn and improve.
  • They embrace new learning experiences and view the challenge as an essential element to their growth and development.
  • Set stretch goals. Encourage team members to tackle ambitious projects that push their boundaries and inspire growth.
  • Promote a growth mindset. Emphasize that challenges are opportunities for growth and development, and that everyone can learn and progress.
  • Celebrate resilience and effort. Recognize team members who embrace challenges and demonstrate perseverance when facing obstacles.
Increase Adaptability
  • The willingness to adapt behaviours and approach in response to changing circumstances.
  • High performing teams demonstrate agility and flexibility to respond quickly to challenges and opportunities.
  • The ability to adapt requires a willingness to accept change, as well as the self-awareness needed to navigate new situations.
  • Foster a learning culture. Encourage continuous learning and development through training programs, workshops, and knowledge sharing sessions.
  • Emphasize flexibility. Encourage team members to embrace change, adapt to new situations, and find innovative solutions.
  • Provide resources for skill development. Support team members in acquiring new skills that are essential for adapting to evolving business needs.
Increase Purposeful Direction
  • High performing teams have clearly defined goals, direction and purpose.
  • Clarity around goals and desired outcomes, aligns team members towards achieving a shared vision, providing a sense of direction and motivation even when obstacles arise.
  • Establish a clear team vision. Define a compelling purpose that aligns with the organization’s goals and values.
  • Communicate objectives. Ensure team members understand the importance of their individual contributions within the larger context.
  • Foster a sense of meaning. Connect the team’s work to a greater purpose and emphasize the positive impact they have on others.
Increase Ingenuity
  • Involves thinking beyond the visible and making new discoveries.
  • Creative thinking skills are essential for teams to be willing to use alternative approaches to solve problems.
  • and come up with innovative solutions to problems they encounter.


  • Encourage creativity and innovation. Foster an environment where new ideas are welcomed, and diverse perspectives are valued.
  • Support experimentation. Allow team members the freedom to test new approaches and learn from both successes and failures.
  • Provide resources for ideation. Offer brainstorming sessions, design thinking workshops, or access to innovation tools and technologies.

Resilience is fundamental to create high-performing teams that can overcome challenges and thrive in uncertain environments. By identifying your team’s areas of strength and development, you can develop strategies to build resilience and become more agile, adaptable, and creative. Resilience is not a fixed trait that is ‘hard wired’ in us; it’s a way of thinking. With support and practice we can strengthen our patterns of thinking, preferences, and behaviors to increase our resilience. Remember that building resilience is an ongoing process that requires commitment, and a collective effort from team members and leaders alike.

How to Develop a Resilience Implementation Plan

Assess team resilience: Conduct a resilience assessment survey to identify areas of strength and areas for improvement at an individual and collective level.

Develop a resilience roadmap: Based on the assessment, create a plan outlining specific actions to address each component of resilience.

Provide training and resources: Offer workshops, training sessions, and resources to help team members develop the necessary skills and mindset to strengthen their resilience.

Encourage peer support: Establish buddy systems, peer mentoring, or support groups to foster a network of support within the team.

Regularly review progress: Conduct periodic check-ins to evaluate progress, make adjustments as needed, and celebrate achievements.

Continuously learn and adapt: Stay updated on the latest research, best practices, and tools related to resilience-building and incorporate them into team practices.

A Final Thought

Over the last few years, unforeseen crises have dramatically transformed the business landscape, presenting organizations with a unique chance to bolster their commitment to learning and growth. Through strategic investments in programs that promote organizational resilience, businesses can cultivate high-performing teams that are well-equipped to conquer future business challenges and reach higher levels of success.

Optimus SBR’s Learning & Development Practice

At Optimus SBR, we know first-hand that building high preforming teams is about attracting, retaining, developing, and engaging top talent. We partner with clients to create scalable, targeted, experiential learning programs that enhance employee engagement, resilience, team collaboration, communication, and team performance.
If you’re a leader looking to build a resilience strategy for your organization or team, please feel free to connect and learn more about how you can partner with us.

Giselle Kovary, Head of Learning & Development Practice

[1] © 2023 Talogy, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Advances in natural language technologies have enabled the development of tools that allow us to delve deeper into our data than ever before. Natural language processing (NLP) is a field of artificial intelligence that enables computers to understand, interpret, and generate human language. In simpler terms, it’s what allows machines to “read” and respond to our words just like a human would. Whether you’re asking Siri a question, or a chatbot is helping you online, that’s NLP in action. By using powerful artificial intelligence algorithms, companies are now able to bridge the gap between raw numbers and meaningful analysis with NLP.

Two industry-leading data visualization tools, Tableau and Power BI, both offer the ability to query data using natural language. But how do they stack up? In a showdown between Tableau and Power BI, we examine each platform’s current capabilities and differences and uncover their plans for facilitating data querying through natural language.

Tableau’s Ask Data

Tableau’s Ask Data is a cutting-edge feature that facilitates data querying via natural language, rendering data visualizations as responses. Central to this system are ‘lenses’ crafted by a Tableau author which clarify the data fields being utilized. Users can access these lenses from various areas, such as the All Lenses page or the Ask Data tab. Query-building is expedited through automatic search and display of relevant data fields, functions, and string values, further assisted by dynamic phrase suggestions. Queries can be tailored by adding fields, filters, aggregation types, or groupings. Users can create multiple visualizations from a single lens and share these with others via email or a link. To maximize the efficacy of Ask Data, users are advised to utilize keywords, precise field names and values, table calculations, and quote encapsulation for longer values.

Power BI’s Quick Measure Suggestions with Co-Pilot

The Quick Measure Suggestions with Co-Pilot feature in Power BI, backed by machine learning, offers a more intuitive and efficient method of creating DAX measures. It reduces the reliance on intricate DAX codes or templates, substituting them with easy-to-use natural language expressions. By simply expressing the needed measure in common language, like “Total Sales in the East Coast for 2022”, users can swiftly construct DAX measures suited to a variety of situations, such as aggregated columns, row counts, and various mathematical and text operations.

Additionally, Power BI offers a range of built-in calculations, such as time intelligence features like Year-to-date Total, rolling averages, and running totals, among others. The user-friendly interface allows users to simply drag and drop their chosen fields into the appropriate sections, with Power BI efficiently handling the rest.

However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the DAX measures generated by this tool should be validated to confirm they meet user requirements. The Quick Measure Suggestions with Co-Pilot feature doesn’t intend to negate the need for users to understand and craft DAX calculations. Instead, it serves as a supportive tool to streamline and expedite the report building process for users of all experience levels.

What are the Key Differences?

Tableau’s Ask Data and Power BI’s Quick Measure Suggestions with Co-Pilot both use natural language processing to simplify data analysis and report generation, making them more user-friendly and accessible. Ask Data focuses on providing instant responses in the form of automatic data visualizations based on natural language queries. It covers sophisticated analytical concepts like time series and spatial analysis and can be accessed via different methods in Tableau.

On the other hand, Power BI’s Quick Measure Suggestions with Co-Pilot emphasizes on simplifying DAX measure creation through natural language expressions. It aids in generating DAX measures for various scenarios and fosters faster report building. Both tools facilitate data analysis using natural language, but they differ in their primary functionalities—Ask Data is about generating visual responses to data queries, while Quick Measure Suggestions with Co-Pilot is about streamlining the creation of DAX measures.

What’s to Come?


Launching in Spring 2024, Tableau GPT and Tableau Pulse represent significant advancements in the data domain. Tableau GPT brings generative AI to the data analytics world, allowing it to streamline our data interactions. This isn’t merely an advanced feature; it’s anchored on a reliable platform named Einstein. Rather than simply combining Tableau with OpenAI’s GPT, Einstein GPT integrates Large Language Model (LLM) technology with Tableau, adopting Salesforce’s established data governance framework. This ensures the credibility of external data and safeguards an organization’s private data from exposure when merged with external sources, as emphasized by Tableau, making it a secure choice.

Tableau Pulse provides automated insights and personalized analytics to users. Its aim is to empower everyone to feel proficient with data rather than being overwhelmed by charts and figures. Pulse delivers precisely what you require, precisely when you need it. Think of it as your tailored newsfeed for work-related metrics. The more you engage with it, the more adept it becomes at presenting what’s important to you. Hence, there’s no need to sift through countless charts; Pulse ensures everything remains concise and pertinent.

Tableau GPT and Pulse benefit data analysts by automating many of their routine tasks. They receive recommendations for visualizing their data, and the system even outlines the data’s origins. For everyone else, these new features translate intricate data into straightforward language. Imagine having someone anticipate your next question and then provide an answer.

Power BI

Microsoft is preparing for the upcoming launch of Microsoft Fabric and Copilot in Power BI. Fabric, which is in preview as of July 2023, is an innovative analytics solution that consolidates an organization’s varied data and analytics into a single, unified Software as a Service (SaaS) platform, combining the strengths of Microsoft Power BI, Azure Synapse, and Azure Data Factory. It has been designed to enhance collaboration among data professionals, with the aim of fostering a strong data-focused culture within organizations. It provides six distinct experiences: data integration powered by Data Factory, data engineering, data warehousing, data science, real-time analytics powered by Synapse, and business intelligence with Power BI, all hosted on a lake-centric SaaS solution.

A new feature, Data Activator, is also under development to help users react instantaneously to data changes by setting up an automated alert system. Meanwhile, Copilot, currently in private preview as of July 2023, utilizes advanced generative AI to speed up the uncovering and sharing of insights. Users can simply ask a question or specify the insights they need, and Copilot will create a comprehensive report, turning raw data into actionable insights in an instant. This positions it to compete directly with Tableau’s Ask Data.

If you’re interested in learning more about the differences between Tableau and Power BI capabilities, see Power BI vs Tableau – Which is Better?.

A Final Thought

Natural language processing is reshaping how we visualize data and engage with business information. Both Tableau and Power BI harness the power of natural language processing, but each has its unique approach to understanding and responding to queries. As they evolve, both platforms are unveiling more dynamic ways for users to extract insights through NLP. Regardless of your preference for Tableau or Power BI, AI’s influence on data visualization is evident and here to stay.
There are many different factors that organizations must consider when sourcing a BI tool. If you need assistance, our team of analytics consultants can guide you through the process. Our insight is impartial, so we recommend the solution that makes the most sense for your business.

Optimus SBR’s Data Practice

Optimus SBR provides data advisory services customized to support the needs of public and private sector organizations. We offer an end-to-end solution, from data strategy and governance to data infrastructure, engineering, analytics, data science, visualization, insights, and training.

Contact Us to learn more about our Data practice and how we can help you on your data journey.

Insurers embracing IFRS 17 are revolutionizing their operations, embracing cutting-edge technologies, and enhancing data requirements. This entails streamlining processes and unifying teams to generate IFRS 17-compliant financial statements. With a strong emphasis on accuracy and integrity, insurers are also faced with the task of redefining their control environments and governance structures for financial reporting.

Updating the control environment brings a host of important benefits. First and foremost, it ensures proper risk management (accuracy and completeness of data) throughout the entire IFRS 17 solution, guaranteeing auditability and financial statements free of material misstatement. Additionally, the seamless automation of controls significantly shortens the close process, freeing up valuable time for existing staff to focus on analytics and other value-added activities.

  1. Risk Identification: Identify and address risks that can lead to material misstatement.
  2. Control Environment: Establish a robust control environment, implementing the necessary controls to mitigate risks.
  3. Risk Monitoring: Continuously review both new risks and existing controls to ensure effective risk management.

These will be discussed in further detail below:

Risk Identification

Safeguarding an Insurer requires staying ahead of potential risks. With the implementation of new systems and processes mandated by IFRS 17, it’s crucial to be aware of the additional failure points that may arise. To ensure accuracy in financial statements, it’s essential to thoroughly consider all possible events that could lead to material misstatements.

To streamline this process, Insurers must adopt a holistic view of their end-to-end IFRS 17 processes. This comprehensive perspective enables the identification of bottlenecks and failure points, allowing for efficient risk management strategies.

Once risks are identified, the next step is to assess and quantify their impact. Prioritizing risks is key, as urgent and serious risks demand immediate attention. By prioritizing and addressing risks appropriately, Insurers can effectively manage and mitigate potential issues.

Updating the Control Environment

When it comes to the Financial Risk Management process, while risks cannot be eliminated, they can be mitigated by strengthening the control environment. Depending on the nature of the risk, an entity may choose to adopt a combination of the following controls:

  1. Application Controls: These are controls within an application or system that ensure the accuracy, completeness, and validity of data and transactions. Examples of application controls include data validation of transaction from policy admin system through to the GL.
  2. IT General Controls (ITGC’s): These are controls that are designed to ensure the overall integrity of the IT environment. They include controls over system development, change management, access controls, and data center operations.
  3. Business Validation Controls: These are controls that ensure the accuracy and completeness of business transactions. They are typically manual controls that involve reviewing and reconciling data. Examples of business validation controls could include manual bank reconciliations or the review of outstanding receivables etc.
  4. Service Level Agreements: These are contractual agreements between teams that define the level of service that will be provided. Service level agreements (SLAs) typically include metrics such as uptime, response time, and resolution time, and may also specify penalties for noncompliance. Examples include SLAs between finance and actuarial functions, SLAs between Actuaries and managed service providers that assist with CSM calculations etc.
  5. Change Management Controls: These are controls that ensure that changes to IT systems and applications are made in a controlled and systematic manner. Change management controls typically involve a formal process for requesting, reviewing, approving, and implementing changes, and may also include testing and roll-back procedures. The goal of change management controls is to minimize the risk of system downtime, data loss, or other negative impacts caused by changes to IT

To gauge the strength of a control environment, the examination of the financial close process, especially the time spent verifying the completeness and accuracy of financial data, serves as the key indicator. Insurers with a weak control environment may spend days manually reconciling data or fixing errors. In contrast, a robust control environment fosters efficiency through the automation of manual controls, the elimination of unnecessary or duplicative steps, and the cost-effective consolidation of certain functions.

Risk Monitoring

The financial control environment should be continuously monitored since new risks may arise as the business evolves. While the basics include regular review of internal controls and monitoring KPIs that track the Insurer’s control environment, the businesses seeking true transformation invest in leading cloud software that automates and controls critical financial close management processes. Common features included in this software include:

Risk monitoring should be an integral part of an Insurer’s continuous improvement efforts. Actively seeking out and mitigating new risks through effective controls establishes a proactive approach to risk management. Additionally, continuously evaluating the operational effectiveness of your controls allows you to fine-tune your control environment, ensuring it serves its purpose effectively.

A Final Thought

As Insurers navigate the transition to IFRS 17, it’s clear that significant resources are being dedicated to validating results. Insurers are advised to stop wasting time on reactive processes that are prone to errors, and instead, embrace proactive measures that improve critical controls and expedite reporting. Rather than treating it as a burden, Insurers should focus on addressing the biggest pain point right away, ensuring greater confidence in their Financial Statements and reducing the time and effort spent on this critical task.

Optimus SBR’s IFRS 17 BAU Acceleration Services

Our IFRS 17 BAU Acceleration services help organizations fully leverage their IFRS 17 infrastructure to optimize their investment. Our team is one of the most experienced in the industry, having already supported 24 organizations, both in Canada and globally, through their implementation journey. We have the proven strategic and tactical expertise to help insurers get the most out of this new standard.

Contact Us for more information on how we can assist your team.

Evan Farlinger, CPA, CA – Principal, Financial Services Practice

Farshid Buhariwalla, CPA, CA – Principal, Financial Services Practice

Welcome to the world of data-driven organizations where it is crucial to have a well governed repository to efficiently store and manage your valuable data. But with so many options available, finding the right approach can be overwhelming.

When it comes to architecting an analytics-supporting data repository, there are two main approaches to consider. The first is the traditional three-tier relational approach, known as an Analytical Data Mart (ADM) . The second is the popular Data Lake approach.

Each approach comes with its own unique advantages and disadvantages, allowing you to tailor your data storage solution to meet the specific requirements of your organization. In some more advanced organizations ADM and Data Lakes may even complement each other rather than be competing ideas or architectures. For this article we are focusing more on how they are similar or different rather than how they might work together (e.g., build an ADM on top of a Data Lake).

Below we have outlined the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches to help you make an informed decision.

ADM – Advantages and Disadvantages

An Analytical Data Mart is a subset of a data warehouse that is designed for a specific business function or line of business. It contains a pre-defined set of data that is organized according to the needs of the business function. Analytical Data Marts are ideal for organizations that need to store and analyze structured data related to a specific function or process, such as finance, marketing, or sales. They offer fast query performance and easy data access for business users, making them an excellent choice for organizations with limited resources and specific data needs.

A structured ADM approach generally requires more initial work to connect to data sources, extract data from the source, restructure and prepare it, then store it in structured storage, such as a relational database (i.e., SQL Server, MySQL, etc.). This type of approach offers more control over the quality and consistency of data which is critical in data-driven decision-making processes. Data is organized into hierarchies and presented in multi-dimensional formats, enabling better query performance and improved end-user access. This option is ideal for organizations with a mature data warehousing strategy and ongoing needs for complex analytics.

As the size and complexity of data grows, it can be challenging to scale the ADM to meet the changing needs of the organization. Adding new data sources or changing the structure of the data requires significant resources and time. In addition, as the number of users accessing the data mart increases, query performance can be impacted, leading to slower response times.

Analytical Data Mart (ADM)
Advantages Disadvantages
Fast query performance
More work upfront
More control over data quality and consistency
Limited scalability
Easy data accessibility for business users
Potential data silos
Cost-effective for specific data needs
Can be complex to implement and maintain
Ideal for complex analytics projects


Data Lake – Advantages and Disadvantages

On the other hand, a Data Lake is more accommodating of unstructured data and stores it in raw form making the Data Lake approach a more flexible and cost-effective option. The Data Lake allows organizations to store data from multiple sources in their native formats without upfront transformation or restructuring requirements. Typically, Data Lakes are implemented using technologies/platforms like Hadoop or other big data technologies, providing an open but secure platform for storing and managing large volumes of data. Data Lakes enable the easy addition of new data sources and support agile analytics through their flexible schema-on-read design approach.

However, data quality and consistency can become issues, as data is ingested from diverse sources without immediate consideration of its contribution to broader business objectives. In a Data Lake, data quality is the responsibility of the reader of the data. As a result, data quality management for a Data Lake is decentralized versus an ADM where it’s more centralized. With a Data Lake you need a higher number of people who know how to make sure data is clean and ready for use. Whereas, with an ADM only a few people must know how to ensure data quality. So more organizational “trust” of a broader set of people is required in a Data Lake environment which may make data quality control more onerous.

If adequate data quality and data governance measures are not implemented, a Data Lake will eventually degenerate into a Data Swamp. Data in a Data Swamp is either inaccessible to intended users or difficult to manipulate, and—inevitably—analyze.

Assessing the quality of data is always a challenge, and this challenge is amplified when working with large volumes of data stored in a Data Lake. One of the common mistakes organizations make is using a “schema on read” approach to access data without understanding the context in which the data was generated. This can result in drawing erroneous conclusions and making incorrect decisions based on flawed data. For example, if an e-commerce company is analyzing sales data without considering seasonality or market trends, they could make poor decisions about inventory management or pricing.

To avoid these issues, it is important to understand the context in which data was generated and ensure that data is properly structured before analysis. Implementing data governance policies and practices can help to ensure the credibility of the data obtained from a Data Lake. By taking these steps, organizations can more confidently analyze the data in their Data Lakes and extract valuable insights that can drive business success.



Data Lake
Advantages Disadvantages
Unlimited scalability
Complexity of implementation
Flexibility to store diverse data types
Requires skilled resources for management
Ability to handle large data volumes
Potential data governance and security concerns
Ideal for complex analytics projects
Data quality and consistency may be challenging


Ensure You Choose the Right Approach

Choosing the right approach for architecting an analytics-supporting data repository is an important decision that can impact your organization’s ability to leverage insights from its data effectively. While both the ADM and Data Lake approaches have their own advantages and disadvantages, the choice ultimately depends on your organization’s specific needs and priorities.

Tools like Alteryx Server/Designer, Talend Open Studio, KNIME Analytics Platform, or Azure Data Factory can help to automate the process of cleaning, transforming, and validating data before analysis, ensuring that data is of high quality and can be trusted. However, different data preparation tools connect ADMs versus Data Lakes. Some tools also connect to both, so knowing which tools work for a particular data storage solution may take some investigation. A careful analysis of the benefits, limitations, and potential impacts on cost, scalability, and performance is essential before committing to either approach.

ADM approaches are ideal for enterprises with substantial structured data sources and complex queries where data quality and consistency are crucial. Data Lakes are great for organizations that deal with diverse data from different sources and can benefit from agile analytics using a more flexible schema. In any case, it is necessary to remember that the implementation of a data repository to support your organization’s specific analytics requirements is a long-term investment, and it needs to be set up, managed, and maintained well to provide value over time.

A Final Thought

The reality is that data projects are never “done”, and the design of the analytical repository must support the future onboarding of new data assets or support the development of new analytical capabilities. Without the ability to grow and evolve, an analytical repository becomes less useful over time and eventually fades until it only delivers legacy reports that can’t be migrated to new platforms. One fundamental design premise for all data work that Optimus SBR delivers is extensibility. We design all analytical repositories with the premise that “things change” and new data or capabilities must be added. The architecture and the technology stack are designed to grow with the organization’s needs.

Optimus SBR’s Data Practice

Optimus SBR provides data advisory services customized to support the needs of public and private sector organizations. We offer an end-to-end solution, from data strategy and governance to data infrastructure, engineering, analytics, data science, visualization, insights, and training.

Contact Us to learn more about our Data practice and how we can help you on your data journey.

In our previous article on capitalizing on your IFRS 17 investment, we explored the myriad of challenges faced by insurers, including the lack of a unified perspective on how the IFRS 17 financial close process would operate in a Business as Usual (BAU) state. Many teams are still producing IFRS 17 results in a project setting, which lacks the stability they would experience in a BAU (business-as-usual) setting. To address this issue, organizations should comprehensively reassess their Finance organization’s Target Operating Model (TOM) to facilitate effective knowledge transfer from project resources to operational teams.

When applied specifically to the realm of IFRS 17, a TOM provides a high-level view of the end-to-end solution design, processes, controls, and close schedule required to execute the new finance model. Given the added complexity of IFRS 17, the cross-functional hand-offs between the various finance, actuarial, and technology teams will also have to be layered into the updated TOM.

Our updated TOM not only assures a smooth transition to a BAU state but enhances the long-term operational resilience of the finance organization.

Essential Components of the TOM Include:

Process & Controls Revamp: This serves as an extension of the End-to-End architecture, documenting processes in detail, updating close schedules, and identifying and mitigating risks through the implementation of revised controls.

Customized Learning and Development: Speed up Change Management by instituting a bespoke Learning and Development program that underlines policy changes and alterations in solution architecture. This incorporates the delivery of key artifacts like detailed mandates, job aids, and standard operating procedures.

Data Analytics and Automation: Utilize new system capabilities to consistently automate labour-intensive processes, freeing resources to perform in-depth analytics.

Financial Reporting and KPIs: Develop advanced analytical capabilities to assist with regulatory reporting and upgrade the budgeting/management reporting cycle to leverage new KPIs available under IFRS 17.

Organizational Structure: Adopt a suitable delivery model (Centralized, Decentralized, Shared Services etc.) to ensure optimal resource deployment across the organization, particularly within finance operations (FINOPS), planning and analytics, and specialty departments.

Benefits of Updating the TOM

  1. Enhanced Financial Reporting: A TOM can help streamline the finance processes and systems, enabling the department to efficiently capture and process the required data for IFRS 17 reporting. By establishing standardized procedures, data structures, and controls, the TOM ensures accurate and timely financial reporting in compliance with the new standard.
  1. Improved Data Management: IFRS 17 demands extensive data management capabilities due to its complex requirements. A TOM can provide the necessary framework for data governance, data quality controls, and data integration, enabling the finance department to effectively handle the large volumes of data required for IFRS 17 calculations and disclosures. This can reduce errors, improve data accuracy, and enhance data transparency.
  1. Efficient Process Integration: IFRS 17 implementation often involves coordination between multiple departments and stakeholders. A TOM facilitates the integration of processes, systems, and people across the organization. It establishes clear roles, responsibilities, and workflows, ensuring efficient collaboration and reducing duplication of efforts. This integration can help the finance department align with other departments (such as actuarial, risk management, and IT) to meet IFRS 17 requirements effectively.
  1. Enhanced Control Environment: IFRS 17 introduces new measurement models and disclosure requirements, which may require additional controls to ensure accuracy and compliance. A TOM enables the finance department to design and implement robust control frameworks tailored to IFRS 17, including control self-assessments, reconciliations, and data validation processes. By strengthening the control environment, the TOM mitigates risks associated with IFRS 17 implementation, such as errors, misstatements, and non-compliance.
  1. Increased Cost Efficiency: IFRS 17 implementations have been resource-intensive due to its complexities. A TOM helps optimize the allocation of resources within the finance department. By streamlining processes, eliminating redundancies, and leveraging technology, TOM enhances operational efficiency and reduces costs.

Considerations must be given to tailor the TOM to the unique circumstances of each organization. The level of change that the organization can accept in the new BAU state after completing the IFRS 17 program and the integration of the program and BAU teams are crucial factors, especially after the grueling implementation that many organizations have gone through.

A Final Thought

A robust Target Operating Model provides everyone with stability, clarity and comfort in their work which is crucial to job satisfaction and success. When there’s stability, it’s easier for new ideas to grow and take shape. It’s these fresh ideas that can continue to fuel the transformation that many Finance Organizations seek.

At Optimus, we can help your organization elevate its TOM to ensure that the finance organization is appropriately structured around the updated process and systems that have been implemented. In doing so, teams can focus on extracting value out of the investments already made in IFRS 17. To learn about how our services can help, please reach out.

Optimus SBR’s IFRS 17 BAU Acceleration Services

Our IFRS 17 BAU Acceleration services help organizations fully leverage their IFRS 17 infrastructure to optimize their investment. Our team is one of the most experienced in the industry, having already supported 24 organizations, both in Canada and globally, through their implementation journey. We have the proven strategic and tactical expertise to help insurers get the most out of this new standard.

Contact Us for more information on how we can assist your team.

Evan Farlinger, CPA, CA – Principal, Financial Services Practice

Farshid Buhariwalla, CPA, CA – Principal, Financial Services Practice




Millennials, who have dominated the workforce for the past decade, are now ceding the stage to the next generation of employees – Generation Z. A robust and effective early career talent development program is essential for companies looking to grow their future leaders from within. As the global economic uncertainty continues to loom, organizations must look at least three to five years into the future to plan for and invest in programs that ensure a steady stream of new, skilled employees to avoid skills gaps in the future.

Attracting early career talent and training them to become future leaders can be costly and time-consuming, but it’s an investment that pays dividends in the long run. After helping numerous organizations design, develop, and implement best in class programs, we have identified 5 strategies for successful early career talent development programs.

1. Create A Clear Roadmap for Your Early Career Development Program

Before designing your early career talent development program, it is important to look at least three years into to the future to think about and forecast what the organization will look like and what it’s resource needs will be. When organizations look to invest in early career programs, they are building the future of the organization in the present moment and envisioning what the future will look like is critical to the process.

Once this vision is in place, the next key step is to define the program’s goals and objectives via a roadmap. This roadmap needs to be clearly communicated to all stakeholders and employees, so that everyone is aligned. Embarking on an early career development program requires senior leadership buy-in, commitment, and support from a budgetary, resourcing, and strategic alignment focus. When building an early career program, keep in mind that you’re playing for the long term; it’s a 3–5-year commitment to build the next generation of high performing employees. The program investment must also align to the organization’s long-term strategy and goals.

2. Provide A Challenging and Collaborative Work Environment

Early career talent, especially Gen Zs, look for companies that offer an exciting and challenging work environment that provides opportunities for personal and professional growth. Create “on the job” learning opportunities that allow them to apply their expertise while also facilitating collaboration with more experienced colleagues across different functions. Effective feedback mechanisms are critical to establishing a healthy and safe work environment and having consistent and supportive feedback is especially important to Gen Zs. Providing access to senior leader mentors, buddies, coaches and networking opportunities with peers will also accelerate their professional development.

3. Tailor Your Early Career Development Program to Your Company and Industry

Developing early career talent for any industry is vital, yet creating a customized program that address your specific industry challenges is even more critical. A tailored program that aligns with the company’s business objectives and takes into account what’s happening in the industry is essential. For example, in the tech industry, with technologies and products evolving so quickly, it’s necessary to offer continued training, so employees can keep up with developments and integrate new learning into their roles. In addition to continued learning, internal organization process, templates, and roles will need to be adjusted to support early career talent within the organization.

4. Leverage Digital Learning to Reach All Learners

Organizations need to embrace new delivery methods to create personalized, flexible, and scalable learning programs. Digital learning tools such as online courses, e-learning courses, and simulations or virtual classrooms provide early career talent with various learning options. These options promote self-paced learning and are highly convenient as they can be accessed on mobile devices, in real time. Digital learning is cost-effective, purposeful, and more eco-friendly than traditional learning options.

2. Encourage Continuous Feedback and Measure Program Success

To ensure success, measure key performance metrics and provide continuous feedback to learners, the program team, and the organizational sponsors. On-going measurement and evaluation is essential in helping early career talent understand how they’re performing, what they’re doing well, and where they need to improve. Regular feedback is equally crucial for the program managers, as it helps them better evaluate the program’s success and identify required changes.

A Final Thought

Attracting, developing, and retaining top talent is essential for organizations’ sustainability and long-term success. By creating and executing a well-designed early career talent development program tailored to industry needs, organizations can give their new, skilled employees the tools to be successful and increase their speed to competence. Encouraging continuous feedback and measuring the program’s success is an essential component of keeping the program relevant and assuring it delivers against desired key performance indicators. Investing in early career talent development delivers a strong return on investment. It attracts top talent looking for organizations with a clear growth trajectory and build’s the organization’s next generation of leaders.

Optimus SBR’s Learning & Development Practice

At Optimus SBR, we know first-hand that building a great team is about attracting, retaining, and engaging top talent. We partner with clients to create scalable, targeted, experiential learning programs that enhance people leadership, employee engagement, team collaboration, and performance results.

If you’re a leader looking to build an Early Career Development Program in your organization, please feel free to connect and learn more about opportunities to partner with us.

Giselle Kovary, Head of Learning & Development Practice

Let’s start with a big congratulations! You’ve made it, or are very close, and are now in a world of IFRS 17 compliance. Take your pat on the back, take a bow, and thank your project teams and all the functional areas that made this long-drawn-out miracle possible.

Now take a deep breath. Try and fight off that nagging feeling…

Why does it feel like this was just the tip of the iceberg?

For many, moving to IFRS 17 compliance has not meant moving into Business-as-Usual (BAU). In discussions with many insurers across the industry and throughout Canada and the Caribbean, there has been a struggle to deploy IFRS 17 beyond the direct project teams and move into BAU.  The project started with design & discovery, writing policy papers, and outlining requirements. It moved through implementation and several iterations of testing and tuning the key items to get to compliance. Comparative re-runs and/or movement to parallel felt like pulling teeth to make it work, with some insurers in different jurisdictions still working through this component.

The Struggle to Achieve BAU

So why do numerous companies working towards compliance in their first reporting period or having just completed Q1 struggle to achieve BAU?  This is primarily due to a few factors:

Without proper guidance and support, most insurers will not be able to fully capitalize on their IFRS 17 infrastructure investments. This includes those common elements that come with every IFRS 17 implementation such as a Data Lake, an IFRS 17 Measurement Tool, General Ledger updates, or in some cases, a new Subledger and the various reporting tools required to link multiple datasets and ultimately move to a fully transformed BAU.

Where is Your Organization on the Spectrum from MVP to Full Transformation?

The good news is that you can get there! Optimus SBR helps organizations navigate the path to accelerate to BAU with IFRS 17. Our support and implementation services include:


We Can Help Accelerate Your Transformation to BAU With Our Implementation Services

A Final Thought

Despite the investment required to reach compliance, insurers have yet to reap the full benefits of IFRS 17. We can help transform your program to BAU going forward. To learn more about how our services can help drive value from your IFRS 17 implementation investments, please reach out.

Optimus SBR’s IFRS 17 BAU Acceleration Services

Our IFRS 17 BAU Acceleration services help organizations fully leverage their IFRS 17 infrastructure to optimize their investment. Our team is one of the most experienced in the industry, having already supported 24 organizations, both in Canada and globally, through their implementation journey. We have the proven strategic and tactical expertise to help insurers get the most out of this new standard.

Contact Us for more information on how we can assist your team.

Evan Farlinger, CPA, CA – Principal, Financial Services Practice


Farshid Buhariwalla, CPA, CA – Principal, Financial Services Practice

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