In this month’s issue of our Employee Spotlight series, we’re getting to know FISPAN’s Technical Pre-Sales Manager, Nigel Bateman. Nigel joined FISPAN three years ago, having previously worked in both Technology (Financial Services) and Management Consulting at Accenture. Since then, Nigel has worked his way across several business areas at FISPAN — today, he’s an integral part of our Sales and Strategy team. In his role, Nigel helps define and design how FISPAN’s solutions will be implemented by our clients and additionally lends a hand in overseeing the Account Management side of the company.
Let’s get to know a little more about Nigel, his transition in Financial Services from Accenture to FISPAN, and how he’s helping lead FISPAN’s expansion into the UK and Europe.
Nigel, fellow FISPANer James Dowell & Co. at Yoho National Park, British Columbia in 2020.
What key factors initially attracted you to joining FISPAN?
Back in 2018, I was looking for a new adventure to pursue when a close friend suggested a one-way ticket to Canada. Knowing that Vancouver is an incubator for technology innovation and startups, and that I had always wanted to work for an early-stage tech company, I’d say that coming to FISPAN was a pretty easy decision.
I remember finding the posting for FISPAN's first project lead; they needed someone who could implement their software with their very first customer. At that moment, I pretty much dropped all of my plans for that day and hunkered down to start my application. Seeing this nucleus of founders who shared a wealth of experience, centered around an idea just about to take off, was what excited me the most. I wanted to play a part in the early chapters of that story.
Vancouver ain't a bad spot to live either!
How does your experience at FISPAN differ from your previous role at Accenture?
I spent nearly six years working in tech consulting for Accenture in Dublin, Ireland. It was a fantastic place to start and build my career — I absolutely loved the experience, and I made friends for life there. I was already working in the Financial Services industry, so that aspect of my job hasn't changed a great deal.
The main difference has been how I help deliver changes for banking users and clients. Instead of being embedded deep within bank IT teams to steer the "ship" in new directions, at FISPAN, I now dedicate my time to testing new ideas with Innovation teams through pilots and proof of concepts.
Best buds and step-brothers Bernie (far left) and Ernie Bateman (right) back on the farm in Ireland — who are alpacas, not llamas FYI.
What is your favourite part about working at FISPAN?
Being encouraged to explore new, undefined areas of FISPAN has been the best part of my time here. Our company has been growing rapidly and I’ve been really fortunate to take on the challenge of bringing structure and definition to new areas of our business.
Starting as the first person on our Delivery team, I took the core ideas behind Accenture's methodologies and processes and applied them into the FISPAN context. As we hired project managers and business analysts, the entire department eventually took on a life of its own. Looking back today, it's hard to believe we got anything done with the hacked-together processes we originally relied on.
A year and a half later, I started figuring out how a Pre-Sales team should look and operate; more recently, helping shape how Account Management can be set up to ensure the success of our wave of newly-signed bank customers.
It can be quite challenging to be surrounded by ambiguity, or to bring a startup into new areas, but when it works, it really pays off.
Has the pandemic affected your work life at all? If so, how?
The pandemic has definitely created some notable changes for me — mostly with regards to how and where I work. Living abroad during the lockdown made it difficult to see my loved ones, so I decided to return home to Ireland six months after the pandemic started.
Thankfully, the move back to the Irish countryside has worked out well for me, despite the time zone differences. I’m able to blend my working hours so that there’s some overlap between my day and FISPAN’s HQ back in Vancouver. Generally, this means I get to enjoy my mornings off, and since I live near my parent's farm in the Irish countryside, there are plenty of activities that fill the time. Then in the evening, I log into work for a bit to sync up with the crew in Canada.
A taste of Ireland: Ruby explores the coastline (and is also the Bateman Farm manager in her spare time).
Have there been any challenges to working remotely?
The hybrid of partial in-office and partially remote is the most difficult I find. This is evident when joining a meeting and half of the group is in a room together and others join through Zoom. As a result, it can be easy to start feeling left out unless the in-person team focuses on keeping the same level of interaction with remote employees. I personally think this type of empathy really helps with virtual engagement, not to mention the benefit of having a clearly assigned facilitator in meetings as well.
Like most companies, FISPAN is still trying to strike the right balance between the shared remote and in-person workforce, but overall, I do think hybrid workplaces will result in more well-versed, empathetic facilitators.
What continues to excite you about FISPAN?
FISPAN has been working on expanding its operations into the UK and Europe, and that’s created an exciting new energy. We may still only be at the beginning of this particular adventure, but we’ve received super positive feedback so far.
I hope to play an active role in the creation of a future FISPAN UK office, but for now, we’ll be focused on onboarding some of our first European bank customers. Hopefully, the future holds fewer accent issues and criticism of my attempts at American-ized/ised spellings!
Nigel and James welcome in BC's cool, autumn weather at Glacier National Park earlier this month.
We invite you to get to know Nigel further by checking out his LinkedIn and exploring the many career opportunities we have here at FISPAN for those ready to launch their newest adventure.