Business consultant with experience in finance? Meet the Ordina expert

Greetje Vansteenbeeck

Ordina and the financial sector: two peas in a pod. On a daily basis, there are hundreds of Ordina employees working at Belgian, Dutch and Luxembourg banks, insurance companies, leasing companies and payroll services providers. And not all these men and women are IT people. Greetje Vansteenbeeck is an expert in credit and change management who worked in banks for 28 years. She now is a business consultant and competence and practice lead at Ordina. “The switch was an excellent decision,” she says enthusiastically.

“Most of the time, I actually feel like a translator or an interpreter,” Greetje laughs. “Throughout my career, I’ve been trying to translate business needs for IT people – and vice versa.” Her “conciliatory” approach may well have something to do with her first job as a teacher. After just one year in education, she left the classroom for the banking sector, which suited her much better. Between 1989 and 2017 she successively worked for AXA and Argenta.

Uniting business and IT needs

“Back in 1989, AXA was still Royal Belge,” she recalls. “They offered me the dream springboard from education to the business world.” Greetje started her career at AXA as an operational assistant, later to become a team leader, and then switched to the functions of process engineer and business project leader in 2001. Supported by her drive and motivation, she rose through the ranks to the position of product manager for credit. As a business consultant she worked on a front end for the AXA brokers, which was integrated in the bank’s ERP system, and on an online platform for home loans: “I was the voice of the business: I talked to all stakeholders, listed their needs which I then discussed with the IT consultants. Ongoing discussions, negotiations and coaching were central to my job.”

Successfully manage digitization

In 2012, a head hunter persuaded Greetje to leave AXA for Argenta: “Argenta was looking for a manager to put together a team of process and project staff for their credit department. For the first time in my career, I really got a taste of leadership: I led a team of 20 people. However, my job did not differ much from what I used to do at AXA: at Argenta I also had to ensure that IT and business understood each other and worked well together. After all, it is the only way to for an IT project to be successful,” comments Greetje. Argenta was growing strongly at the time and hiring more and more external IT consultants. Greetje regarded them as colleagues. She has now switched sides: as an Ordina employee, Greetje is the external consultant. And she is happy that her clients also treat her as part of the team.

IT and business must understand each other and work well together. It is the only way for an IT project to be successful.

From banking to IT

“I made the move to Ordina following restructuring at Argenta in 2017,” she explains. “At first I was thinking of taking a different path to try working as a coach. But that was not counting on the influence of Hilde Van den Dungen. Hilde leads the Finance & Business Consulting unit at Ordina and I knew her from AXA. She invited me for an interview and before I knew it, I had signed a contract with Ordina.”

Greetje hesitated for a moment when she signed the contract, she admits: “Taking the leap from the bank to the IT sector didn’t seem that obvious to me. But I couldn’t have imagined a better career switch. Obviously, Ordina is an IT company, yet it does not mean that everyone is an IT expert. People with business experience are incredibly valuable here.” After a month of training, Greetje was able to select one project out of three. She chose a payroll services provider because of her knowledge of business processes. Since the end of 2017, Greetje has been working full-time as a project leader in business processes.

Taking the leap from the bank to the IT sector didn’t seem that obvious to me. But people with business experience are incredibly valuable here.

First analyse, then implement

“Payroll calculation is still the core of any payroll services provider and this client is currently developing a new payroll engine. This involves a lot of process architecture,” she explains. Greetje actively maps out who does what, which data processes are involved and how people fit in with them. “We wanted to understand, analyse and list all needs and processes as well as possible before building the application. That is crucial in order to reach a good solution,” she emphasises. “Digital solutions are there to help people. In the past, the application landscape was first designed and employees were then forced to use the system. It doesn’t work. Or at least not immediately. That is why I organise workshops at the customer and I talk extensively with users, customers, the business and IT. I also encourage people to adjust processes themselves. Putting them at the helm makes them feel involved and they are open to change.”

In the past, the application landscape was first designed and employees were then forced to use the system. It doesn’t work.

Expert in processes and change management

Here, too, Greetje works as a coach. Indeed, coaching is the common thread in her career, as she also has a number of other such roles at Ordina. “As a competence lead for credit, I provide business analysts from our business unit with the basics on credit. Last year, we even ran a credit class. If my colleagues understand better how loans work, they can be deployed faster in such projects and develop more effective solutions,” Greetje explains.

Greetje is also practice manager for processes. While working at Argenta, she obtained the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certificate, evidence of her considerable expertise in process improvement and change management. “Apparently, I have a knack for processes. For years, I thought that I had no specific competences, but this one seems to stand out. Now that I no longer have to commute to Brussels and Antwerp, I still have plenty of energy left to read and learn about project management after a full working day. Even though it is just a hobby, I love to share my knowledge with my colleagues afterwards. I think it’s fantastic to help people grow.”

Why business consultant at Ordina?

It is clear from the recommendations on her LinkedIn profile that she has retained her pedagogical talent over the years. Former colleagues call her “a motivator”, “an excellent coach”, “a colleague with an infectious enthusiasm” or “a woman with the natural ability to get the best out of people.” She has put all these qualities at the service of Ordina.

“I feel totally at home in the role of business consultant and project manager. It is a varied job and the companies you visit truly view you as an expert. It’s a great feeling. Ordina is also an excellent company to work for. The mere fact that you can communicate how you feel on your timesheet every month proves that this is an open organisation that takes great care of its employees. At the same time, there is a huge amount of knowledge here, among young and older employees alike. Thanks to our high-performance teams and knowledge sharing in competence centres, I learn a lot from my colleagues and I can also share my knowledge – which can only benefit the customers.”

Thanks to our high-performance teams, I learn a lot from my colleagues and I can also share my knowledge – which can only benefit the customers.

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