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The banking jobs: Transformation project consultant
Amid rapid changes in markets, sectors and new technologies, the development of BNP Paribas' activities hinges on the Group's ability to adapt its organization and business lines. To this end, in 2017, BNP Paribas created BNP Paribas Transformation's function: a team of experts made up of Project Managers, Project Leaders and Transformation Project Consultants to serve all Business Units in their major transformation projects, regardless of their environment or strategic challenges. Stefan Hautier, Head of BNP Paribas Transformation and Katia Deppen, Transformation Consultant, share their views on a dynamic activity that is growing every day.
Perspectives on BNP Paribas’ transformation and support from business lines
Stefan, is it a new idea to have an internal department dedicated to business transformation? What are the issues at stake?
Stefan Hautier – Consulting activities have already been in place for five years, although the Transformation team is more recent. BNP Paribas Transformation was launched in May 2017, at the urging of BNP Paribas General Management, and tasked with three main missions: to strengthen the Group's transformation plan; to accelerate the reduction of external consulting expenses; and, finally, to professionalize the Project Management line. In short, we are supporting all Business Units and Functions in the implementation of their many strategic projects and Transformation programs.
Katia, what is the role of a transformation expert?
Katia Deppen – Whether you are a Project Manager, Project Leader or Transformation Project Consultant, a transformation expert’s role is to act as a facilitator for our internal clients. Whatever the nature of the project, whether it is organizational or operational, on every assignment I commit to supporting my clients as they implement and secure their project. I coordinate the various parties involved, raise alerts and propose solutions adapted to the context.
In addition to my assignments, I also take part in developing the BNP Paribas Transformation function by contributing to the department's internal projects. For example, at the moment, I am working on improving communication within the team, since we all work for different internal clients and on different sites.
A TRANSFORMATION EXPERT’S ROLE IS TO ACT AS A FACILITATOR FOR OUR INTERNAL CLIENTS
What inspires you about this job?
KD – I get to discover new jobs and new organizations with each new project. It's both intellectually and socially rewarding, because I learn a lot through my various assignments and I work with people from a wide variety of professional backgrounds. It's also very motivating, because you always have to get out of your comfort zone, quickly come to grips with new subjects, understand the subtleties of each business and, above all, adapt to each new internal client, gain their trust and prove yourself all over again.
SH – As Head of BNP Paribas Transformation, I am involved in managing the people and methodology. It is exciting to build a strong, close-knit, innovative and agile team, while working on strategic missions requiring a very high degree of professionalism and a strong ability to convince and coach other people. This is achieved through quality employees, robust methodologies and good management.
What does your daily routine look like?
KD – There is no typical day for me. As a consultant, you have to be flexible and agile. You have to accept that your priorities may change quickly so you can manage the ups and downs of each project. Certain tasks are unavoidable, however, such as prioritizing actions, building and monitoring the schedule, measuring performance indicators, coordinating stakeholders, leading governance bodies, etc.
SH – Although employees may be located at the internal client’s site, they are not alone. They are trained, supported and equipped to capitalize on the Group's synergies and BNP Paribas Transformation's track record of more than 300 projects completed to date. In other words, internal consultants have a strong advantage: they never have to start from scratch. In particular, they can draw on the knowledge acquired during similar assignments in the past, on methodologies that have been tried and tested elsewhere in the Group, and so on.
So, working on the transformation of the Group's businesses is both intense and rewarding?
KD – That's right. We're entrusted with some very important assignments for the Group, so there's bound to be a bit of pressure. We support our internal clients from start to finish on their projects, from the initial diagnostics to the finishing touches of the new organization. As such, it’s immensely satisfying to participate in the successful completion of these projects in the service of the Group.
SH – Absolutely. Our consultants need to understand the reality and issues of each business, in addition to their traditional consulting skills. At the end of the day, we’re also colleagues to our internal clients. We don't just drop in, we accompany them over the long term... In other words, it's in our best interest to be good at what we do!
KD – We’re also in a position to learn quickly, which opens a lot of growth opportunities. In fact, many of us attend certified courses in partnership with internationally recognized schools, such as ESCP Business School.
SH – BNP Paribas Transformation is an incubator for the Group. Employees are selected on the basis of their excellence. In addition, they are trained to the highest standards in project management and transformation, with a comprehensive view of the Group acquired through their assignments. After their time in Transformation, we also count on them to become the next generation of managers in the business lines, especially since 67% of our assignments are monitored by the Executive Committee. That means it's a great way to get your name out there.
BNP Paribas Transformation is an incubator for the Group
What are the main qualities needed for this role?
KD– I would say discipline, adaptability, empathy and then stress- and priority-management.
SH – Big assignments mean big responsibilities. For that reason, I would say that discipline, organization, foresight, an openness to learn, and analytical capacity combined with a good strategic vision are all essential.
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