We get up close and personal with Natalie Ng, a Programme Manager in Certis’ Programme Management Office in Singapore where she’s in charge of cash monitoring systems. With her inquisitive mind and zest for life Natalie is big on learning and is always on the lookout for how work processes can be more efficient.
She might have graduated with a degree in public policy and global affairs, but Natalie Ng’s journey into the realm of technology is a result of Certis' dedication to developing talent through as part of the Management Associate (MA) programme.
“In Certis, if there is an available role for people to move into, Human Resource will link them up with the role. As part of MA programme, I shared that I had an interest in technical projects.” shares Natalie, who is a Programme Manager with Certis’ Programme Management Office (PMO) in Singapore.
“Certis is supportive. They were willing to bring me in, teach me from scratch and guide me... This is not what a lot of companies would be willing to do,” she adds.
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In her role, Natalie found herself conducting technological operations while concentrating on safe transportation systems (for the transfer of money) and cash monitoring. Her role entails converting user requirements into technological solutions.
“I focus on cash monitoring and securing the transport unit teams’ ATM Cash processes. Operational systems monitor the status of cash, and we will be alerted to any faults with the system, which we will then send somebody down to investigate. In planning and control, our systems track where the cash is at any time. From collection, transit to the cash processing centre, and when it goes to the cash services team. In addressing system issues, it may require discussion, development, and even revamps.”
“I often talk to users to understand their requirements, translating those needs into tech knowledge before outsourcing it to developers. I will have to ensure that timelines are met and within budgets, before pushing it out,” she shares.
Natalie's experience has seen her learn the craft of stakeholder management, much like traveling across unfamiliar territory. Although technical proficiency is important, mastering the complexities of effective communication was necessary. Her tireless focus on getting better at her job led her to enrol in project management and Amazon Web Services Cloud courses, embodying the Certis philosophy of lifelong learning.
“When I first joined PMO, I also had to help govern systems that were already live on top of running projects. I would be speaking with my supervisor, or asking the operations team what each system is for, what it does and slowly pick up domain and technical knowledge through this process. I was also able to pick up on how things are supposed to be done after enough chats with vendors, and it is still a long and steep learning curve,” she shares.
One of Natalie's achievements, the development of a client-monitoring site with an external interface, stands out as a symbol of her perseverance and pursuit of self-improvement.
“I recently finished the first project I worked on. It was very satisfying to have created an external facing portal for clients to monitor. We spend hours understanding both client needs, and the operational processes involved, to create a system that can serve its purpose. Stakeholder management is very important as you need to manage expectations and let them know where you’re coming from. While technical knowledge is hard, you can figure it out by asking tech experts,” she shares.
Natalie has realised that technology is more than just a tool; it's a constantly developing world of creativity. Every day there are always new things to keep abreast with.
“Tech is always changing daily. There’s always a newer and more efficient way to do things. As I moved from a non-tech to tech department, talking to, and learning from, different mindsets is enlightening. There’s always a new way to work and learn, constantly figuring out how to improve and make things differently.
“Being surrounded by tech individuals make me want to learn more, be more curious about asking why – the reason behind things. This helps me better understand how I could potentially suggest something similar. I would want to continue in a tech role,” shares Natalie.
A yoga enthusiast, Natalie’s perception of Certis has changed over time. She did not realise just how crucial and technical her role would be. She also feels blessed being welcomed into a family like environment – where everyone gets along and helps each other out.
“I didn’t expect Certis to have so many facets beyond the bread and butter of daily operations. I didn’t realise it was so integrated and incorporated. After joining I realised people don’t realise how critical it is in ensuring that the operations personnel show up in time when issues arise,” she shares.
“People are very willing to guide newcomers here. The MA programme might have given me a steep learning curve, but I've no regrets. The people make it a great place to work – I am very fortunate to have very nice supervisors, and teammates that help me through on-boarding processes, users who are understanding and are willing to sit down with me for hours to share how the system works and how they run their operations” she elaborates.
“I especially love that I’m playing a part to help ensure that our projects and systems are working as intended, so that operations run smoothly day to day. There are moments when I talk to our operations colleagues... about reports and thanking them for their hard work.
“On a grander scale, you don’t really notice but it’s these small things that matter. This helps to create a safer, smarter, and better world,” concludes Natalie.
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