By: Ernst Renner, CEO and Managing Partner
I am excited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of NEOS this year, surrounded by a talented team of people. Throughout our history, the company has changed and adapted to market conditions such as the dot com era and the financial crisis, each bringing us to the point where we are now: providing high-quality strategy and delivery services for the insurance and financial services industry.
Through the years, I’ve come to learn a few things that I don’t think I would have appreciated without experiencing them. When you read these, you may say, “well, of course!” But, living them and reading about them are two vastly different experiences.
1. People are our most valuable asset. Table stakes you say? Maybe. But I will say that 20 years ago I would somewhat shrug this off and figured hiring the brightest people would change the game and that our work and our mindset of “think strategically and act practically” would just materialize and people would be happy. That is only partially true. The combination of brilliance with a strong team mentality, a feeling of home, and dedication to excellence is what changes the game. To the best of our ability, we support each other in our client work, through training and education, and in our communities.
2. Focus is required. Many years ago, one of my advisors told me that we had to find a focus. We were trying to bootstrap our Vgo software company (tools to re-engineer and modernize software apps) and provide consulting services to everyone. In 2009, after the financial crisis, we took the opportunity to play to our strengths and build a consulting firm that is laser-focused on the life, annuity, retirement, and group benefit market. This focus has given us the ability to build a deep team of industry experts and to provide services that are timely and relevant to our client partners. Our focus has also allowed us to become a well-recognized name in the industry as we continue to grow and expand our services.
3. Quality, value, and service are always a priority. Our standards for delivery are always very high. Attention to detail and practical usability are one of our key differentiators. Our consulting deliverables are always customized for each client partner. We go above and beyond for our clients with the aim to exceed expectations. In today’s market, there is no room for a lax view on quality, value delivery, and service. This has become an integral component of the NEOS DNA.
4. Your friends and connections are an essential aspect of any career. Taking the time out to build and maintain real relationships is singularly the most important function you should do, regardless of where you are on the corporate ladder.
5. You control what you can control. This means that we focus on delivering the most value and highest quality for our client partners. We can’t control the economy, business climate, or internal workings of our client partners; but, we can control how and what we deliver.
As we close out our 19th year of business and move into our 20th, we have had some tremendous experiences: we are an Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Privately Held Company, earned a Best Places to Work in Connecticut designation, and continued to grow our NEOS team across the U.S.
We have delivered some fantastic projects for our clients ranging from new products and distribution models to data lakes and governance supporting actuarial, investments, and sales data, and cultivated a practice focused on transformation, agent experience, and pre-sale process optimization. 2020 will be an important year for NEOS as we look to continue to grow our team, expand our geographical reach and, of course, continue to delight our client partners. I look forward to working with our team and our partners to make it a year to remember for countless reasons.
Cheers to 20 Years and Happy New Year!