The story of EnOC

The story of EnOC






A platform designed by practitioners for practitioners

If necessity really is the mother of all inventions, then that certainly holds true for the EnOC Pro Platform; a new cloud-based platform that was designed by Walker Crips’ CEO Sean Lam as part of his vision to ease the regulatory administration workload on financial services companies, through the use of innovative technological solutions. The new SM&CR Regime comes into effect on 9 December 2019, and it is the latest new regulation in the deluge of regulatory initiatives faced by the industry in recent years. Whilst it may be possible to use spreadsheets to administer SM&CR, it would quickly descend into a tick-box exercise, and he felt that it would have defeated the purpose of the initiative. He created the EnOC Pro Platform to significantly reduce the administration burden, to engineer out the complexities, and to allow members to actually focus on the duties of responsibility and accountability.

EnOC’s inception was not by accident, but the latest in a long line of technological innovation created by Sean Lam for the business, but it is certainly the first time that he is offering one of his creations to the industry. Sean has been a financial services professional since 1992, and has always been fascinated with technology so he started designing and creating systems to improve processes, and he has been doing so for over 25 years. As both CEO and CTO, he creates systems from the perspective of a practitioner and with the skillset of a technologist.

“We are not an IT company building costly and complicated IT software, we are business people creating business solutions that work simply and simply works.”

Sean has already migrated a significant proportion of the company’s system into the cloud, and it is logical that the EnOC Pro Platform would be born in the cloud. There are five regulated entities (with a total of 280 users) within the Walker Crips Group, so EnOC had to be multi-tenanted. But why stop at five? Why not fifty? Why not five hundred? Therefore, from the get-go, EnOC was designed and built with the ability to scale. By building it in MsAzure (Microsoft’s cloud service), performance and scalability is available on tap. With a single platform architecture design, systems can be designed and deployed at a very low price point, therefore removing cost consideration as a barrier to entry for the smaller firms.

The FCA tells us that there are about 47,000 regulated companies that will be subjected to SM&CR in December 2019. The majority are small companies, many with only a handful of members caught under the SM&CR. Large systems often come at a huge price tag, often require expensive hardware to run the system, a server room to store the hardware, and systems analysts to run and maintain them all; and additional costs for upgrades. Likely to be cost prohibitive to the smaller companies and thereby creating a technology gap between the haves and have-nots. EnOC aims to bridge that gap, by providing enterprise-level solutions which can be used by firms of all sizes, including the very small firms.

“Many small companies cannot afford good technology. I want to help close the technology-gap, I want to provide small companies with big company systems, for less than what they pay for a hot dinner.”

When designing EnOC, Sean drew inspiration from three models: Apple, Google and Microsoft

  1. Apple because of its app store, where the apps are intuitive, easy to use, and does not require a user manual. EnOC users could update their details and then be up and running in a few minutes, without requiring lengthy training or weeks and months of detailed systems setup.
  2. Google because it continually upgrades its products, creates new products and offer them as part of its suite, often without additional charge. Google charges per user, without up front capital expenditure.
  3. Microsoft because we have been using, and we continue to use, their Azure cloud services which is reliable, secure and scalable in an instant.

“Nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes ‘and regulation’”. If we have procedures or software that only just fulfils the letter of the regulations, then it is a tick-box exercise, and it will be a chore, a burden. And with the certainty of more and more regulations round the corner, we will end up developing tick-box fatigue. Systems must be simple, understandable, fit for purpose and useful.

“The saying, “Simplicity is genius” has been attributed to Einstein. I take it further by saying, “Any idiot can complicate but a genius simplifies.” Therefore, we must Engineer Out Complexities, hence the name EnOC.”

In three simple steps, one can be up and running on EnOC. Firstly, enter a firm’s details, then enter the department structure, and finally the members’ details. That will be sufficient to get the system started with responsibility maps, the basics of statement of responsibilities and other services like the annual Fit & Proper declaration questionnaire.  

EnOC runs off a single database, and that means all the details are linked, a change in one location changes all other locations, there is no keying of the same information twice, making EnOC very efficient.

EnOC aims to be ready when the FCA opens up bulk upload to “The Directory”.

“What I build has to work because we are also using it ourselves, and if it does not work, my colleagues will put the kibosh on me! There’s no better quality control than that!!”

Understanding the regulations, determining the procedures and policies around it, and implementing the regulation, takes a lot of time and effort. EnOC takes away the administration headache and allows members to spend their valuable time tackling the more complex and strategic parts of SM&CR, like training and the duties of responsibility and accountability.

Looking to the future, Sean’s hope for EnOC is that it will become an ecosystem of systems and services, supporting members in their regulatory obligations and providing tools to help them administer their business more efficiently.

So, why EnOC? EnOC will simplify SM&CR administration, it is quick to set up, cloud-based, it will continually upgrade and evolve, and all from as little as £25 per SMF, £12 per Certified individual and £3 for other individuals.

“If you are running your SM&CR processes on a spreadsheet, STOP! EnOC can do that, and much more, for as little as £25 per SMF, £12 per Certified individual and £3 for other individuals.”

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