Newly appointed SMS Global Lead talks about her team, transition, and favorite moments
Joli Riley was recently appointed as the Global Leader for Aptitude’s Solution Management Services (SMS). She has been with Aptitude since 2011, holding various roles such as APAC Delivery Director, Service Delivery Manager, Managing Consultant, and Technical Lead.
Q: Congratulations on your recent appointment. How did the SMS offering come about?
Joli: SMS was actually launched in 2015 when we realized there was a client need for specialist, post go-live services above and beyond Level 1 and Level 2 product support. Previously, these sorts of optimization and enhancement services were covered by our Professional Services team but really it sat outside their primary responsibility of solution implementation. We felt that by creating a separate SMS team, we could make sure each group could provide the best level of support in their respective areas. Professional services would focus on implementations and Solution Management Services could focus on priorities and initiatives that happened after the solution went live - especially around Continual Service Improvement.
It’s so important for us that our clients receive the same high-quality service throughout their journey with Aptitude - from the sales and commercial process, to implementation, to post go live. Really that last part of the journey is the longest, so ensuring we are a trusted partner to help our clients grow and evolve is how we will ensure we fulfil our commitment to being Client First.
Q: How was the transition from a Professional Services Delivery Manager to SMS Global Lead?
It was a natural progression for me. I led the first Managed Service offering a few years ago, working as the Service Delivery Manager. It was an exciting project and a voyage of discovery – there were constantly new challenges. It was a tremendous team effort and I am really proud of what we achieved. Our SMS offering has been steadily growing over the past few years and as we added more and more clients, it became clear there was a need for a dedicated Global Leader. I was delighted to accept the position as it’s a service I feel passionate about. I love finding ways to make continual improvements to be able to best serve our clients.
Q: What are the primary responsibilities of SMS?
Joli: SMS is responsible for a specific aspect of post go-live support of a client’s solution. Post go-live support can be broken down into three categories:
Supporting the infrastructure on which our products run, which is covered by our Cloud-ops team,
Supporting the out-of-the-box features of the product itself, which is covered by our Product Support team, and
Supporting ongoing product configuration and a clients overall solution, which can encompass more than just a product, which is the role of SMS
Our products are flexible and can be to be tailored to meet individual client needs as they evolve over time. This is a core value of our solutions – they can grow with you. Depending on your needs, Solution Management Services can provide a full managed service - essentially running the solution on a day to day basis - or offer a consultative level of service whereby you can tap into our expertise when it’s really critical.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about the SMS team?
Joli: We currently have a team of around 20 support consultants based across North America, the UK, and Poland, and we are actively recruiting to expand this team. A great SMS Consultant holds deep Aptitude product expertise and has a strong understanding of finance that allows them to quickly grasp a client’s bespoke requirements and tailor the product to meet their needs.
We have a range of experience levels and job roles to ensure we have coverage for all aspects of the SMS function – from batch monitoring, to defect fixing, performance tuning, and service management. We use ITIL for our IT Service Management and our team is ITIL qualified. We also employ agile methodology and lots of the DevOps best practices. We have built out an extensive, centralized knowledge database through our Centre of Excellence which all of our SMS consultants can leverage. This level of investment in tools and a knowledge repository means we have no key man dependencies and can provide a high level of responsiveness and resilience.
Q: Any ‘favorite moments’ so far in your tenure as Global Leader Solution Management Services?
Joli: Making clients happy is the best part. I love helping them to feel confident that they have a great solution and working in collaboration with them on every step of their journey.
Of course, while we go to every effort to prevent issues, inevitably they do occur - sometimes upstream or downstream of our installed products – but I feel like some of our closest client relationships have been forged in these moments. We earn respect by coming together as a team to ensure speed and completeness in our response through laser focus, deep expertise, and methodical procedures.
Q: What does the future hold for SMS?
Joli: I believe we will continue to grow and expand – trends in the market do show a desire by organizations to outsource solution management to experts rather than manage it in house – much in the same way we’ve seen infrastructure management shift to cloud providers. This allows our clients to focus on their business and leave the Aptitude solution expertise to us. It takes away the need to recruit, train, and retain in-house resources and can remove a huge burden from an already busy finance team.