Who are the people behind CCS? What drives them and what inspires them in everyday life? Using a series of portraits, we answer these questions and introduce you to our colleagues: those who make CCS the ambitious company it is today. In this particular portrait you will be introduced to:
Myrte's remit was not exactly cut and dried when she first walked into CCS in April 2019. On the contrary, she ended up in a role that was unfamiliar both to her and to CCS - that of Partner Manager for CCS’s relatively new, open ecosystem, Marketplace. Because the offering was fairly new, Myrte had no examples of how this functionality had previously been designed. Nevertheless, within an impressively short time, she managed to set up a streamlined process for Marketplace and the affiliated partners. “I am quite a control freak, and I had to build a new foundation at CCS - a real challenge if you are used to having everything under control. But, after a year, I can honestly say that we have come a long way.”
Myrte's CV has a striking twist that you would not directly link to the insurance industry. “I used to want to become a film director or film producer. I had completed a Bachelor degree in Media & Culture and a Masters in Media Studies with a view to continuing on to the Film Academy. After an internship at a television production company, I slowly came to the realisation that my passion for TV and films was not really strong enough to make it my career. Also, the work during my internships was not what I had expected, and I discovered that the world of the TV industry did not really suit me at all.
When I graduated in 2013, the economy and the job market were completely out of whack. In an economic crisis, the sort of jobs I had trained for were particularly scarce, and, perhaps more importantly, my passion was no longer for the world of TV and movies. These factors led me, partly by accident and partly through necessity, to take a completely different direction.”
"I can honestly say that we have come a long way."
After her graduation, as jobs were scarce, Myrte decided to pack her backpack and set off to travel through Asia… accompanied by a complete stranger! “Since my friends were already at work, there was no one who could travel with me. Through a post on a forum, I met a girl who wanted to travel with me. We had agreed to book together and see how things would go, but we clicked so well that we ended up travelling together for two months.
When I finally got back to the Netherlands after my trip, it really was time for me to find a job. My sister pointed me towards a position as Sales Support at a company developing a mobile app. This position was short-lived, as, unfortunately, the company pulled the plug on the app. So, after a year, I was back on the street! Eventually, I ended up in the software division of Wolters Kluwer where I did 4.5 years of relationship management in Legal & Regulatory. This is the department that covers the corporate legal software package.”
Within Wolters Kluwer, Myrte moved up the ranks to the position of Senior Relationship Manager and was the main point of contact for the key accounts of Legal & Regulatory. “By asking the right questions, I made an inventory of how the system could be optimised. Customers are inclined to decide for themselves ‘where the buttons should go’. However, by asking the question, “What do you want to achieve with this?” there often turns out to be a simple and easy-to-configure solution. And that’s what I would sell them, along with new modules and add-ons. When it got too technical, I handled the management of the projects and made sure that new functionalities were configured in the system. I saw that many opportunities in the area of project management were being left untapped. In response to this, I set about acquiring new skills, and did a project management course and PRINCE II.”
During a holiday in South Africa, Myrte was informed about the vacancy for the position of Partner Manager at CCS. “Because my growth opportunities at Wolters Kluwer turned out to be somewhat limited, I was starting to look around. My first thought regarding the vacancy of Partner Manager was: “This isn’t what I want!” I thought it was purely a new business role, and that’s something that wouldn’t suit me at all. My real strength lies in connecting different parties and working together on a solution for customers. With this in mind, I was looking for more of a consultant-like challenge or something more in the direction of project management, where I could be involved in the overarching process. Nevertheless, I decided to go for an interview. During the application process, critical questions were asked, which not only forced me to clearly identify where my strengths lay, but also where I wanted to go.
In South Africa I had a brief phone conversation with someone from CCS who explained to me the exact nature of the position. I decided to follow it up and, after two extremely pleasant conversations, I became the new Partner Manager of CCS! The role had not existed before, so the first few months were incredibly intense. I eventually resolved this by taking the time to identify the pain points at which I could target my contribution, but also by becoming clear about where other colleagues saw my role as adding value. Of course I had an idea of how I wanted to do the job, but it was also important that my vision was in line with daily practice."
"As a starting point, I began with standardizing and finalising the contracts. That didn’t take long. But, gradually it became clear that I could not close the contracts if I was not involved in what partner solutions look like, how the whole process works, what the added value of Marketplace is for the customer, etc. It was proving hard for me to define my role without knowing what is going on around me. That has taken a long time, but certainly with the arrival of Stephan Schram (Architect CCS), the collaboration with Jan Lengers (Product Manager) and the arrival of the Developer Portal, we have taken great steps in the past year to make partners an active part of our ecosystem. The steps that need to be taken to integrate partner solutions in Level and Marketplace and to connect with customers can now be completed much faster as a result.”
“Marketplace is unique in that outside parties are involved in the development of the platform. As a consequence, everything you used to do with two parties, you now do with three. That requires some essential adjustments. Many steps must be taken with every new partner. A project-based approach is used not only during the actual onboarding of a partner (at what rates can the solution be sold? How does everything work legally?), but also thereafter. The account managers must be informed about how a solution can be sold, pilots must be started with customers, the final quotations must be drawn up and the projects must run smoothly. If we come up with solutions that are related to each other, how do we decide which solution best suits each customer? I am actually involved with every question throughout the organization. As you can imagine, that’s quite a lot! ”
“My strength lies in connecting different parties"
“With the Developer Portal we offer developers tooling so that they are able to build on relatively independently, and according to the product specifications of our software. You can imagine that having our info and APIs available online saves us spending lot of time informing and guiding new parties. By directly including them in the development process on the Developer Portal, the consequence is that they become very enthusiastic about the possibilities. The more APIs we develop, the faster our partners are able to develop new solutions in Marketplace. It makes my job easier: I have more and more options that I can offer our partners, enabling them to become increasingly self-managing. This snowball effect will ultimately ensure that CCS solutions become progressively more valuable to our customers. ”
"A few years ago I registered myself through a volunteer organization to do more for the community. Last year, for example, I participated in Valentine's Day for older people. My date was an old gentleman with whom I had a very nice tour of the Nederlandsche Bank. My follow-up date is not planned yet, but I’m sure it will come! Although such an experience can be deeply affecting, it gives a great deal of satisfaction. There were people who were completely worn out, lonely and didn't really feel like socialising any more. They had built up a sort of wall. But, by the end of the day, they had completely blossomed. Such a response is lovely to see and it gives an amazing sense of reward!
I am always slightly envious of people who have a dedicated hobby on top of their work. I don't necessarily have that, but, instead, I do a lot of things that give me satisfaction, such as doing sports and travelling. I'm pretty attached to my job and travelling allows me to let go of everything for a while. When I am in a completely different place, then I can really let go of my sense of responsibility, and that allows me to take a step back and view life with fresh eyes. At home you quickly get swept up in daily life. It's nice to be somewhere completely different, to see how amazing nature can be and how wonderful the world actually is. It forces you to look at life differently, which also benefits my work in the long run. "