An inward look over the past year

Magnifying glassIt seems to be a commonly used phrase that it’s been “a tough year” (a lot of people will say it’s been used for a few consecutive ones!). It’s also been prevalent in the Government that we all have to pull together and work with each other to get through the difficult times. George Osborne has revised his estimated exit time from the recession a few times and I think I’ve decided there are two camps of people. The obvious one is that this Government is failing to deal with the issues and what I have observed in people is the weariness of hearing similar things time after time. As a population, we become tired of hearing bad news and the typical British response of Keep Calm and Carry On does seem to prevail – what does this mean? We ignore it and carry on.

I can’t help but feel that we as a business are going, and have gone, through some similar pain. Granted, we have grown this year thanks to some significant projects. More importantly (in my role as a Client Manager) I have seen a growth in new clients joining our way of thinking – I see them as being on my list of successful people!

That being said, we have had systems issues. We have had people problems. We have had logistical nightmares and we have hosted events (early in the year) which, basically, were non-events by the lack of people showing up.

I’ve said this many times to people but we are growing and developing the business dynamically. Whilst we may be 17 years old now, we still have to teach the old dog new tricks and we have to look inwardly for this. We are discussing new systems and processes that will make us more efficient. It’s necessary as we have seen a marked increase in our consultancy engagements this year, which means we need to engage far more closely with the customer and earlier than we used to. We don’t get it right every time, it’s impossible too, but the feedback this year and the references and case studies we get back are telling us we’re doing it well most of the time.

How did we do this? We identified faults and issues and became good at putting systems in to fix them; the prime example of this is our Marketing. Alice came on board in June and since then, was responsible for pulling together a seminar that had one of the best attendances ever experienced by Foundation as a business, and for that matter, any company I’ve worked for.

On that note, I’m interested in identifying what people want to see at our events and round tables. As we mature and learn as a business, we need to take into account our clients’ views and identify what challenges they are experiencing. Are you weary of hearing the same things? Seeing the same stuff and not learning anything new?

I don’t have a clear answer to this yet, I talk to my peers in the industry and a lot of organisations seem to have shrunk this year and cite the economy, buying processes changing and just a general frustration in the way things are done with their customers. But is it because you, the consumer of this is changing? Technology can be a wonderful sector to work in but you must also get bored of seeing the same emails arrive in your inbox with a different logo, and attend the same events with minor differences.

An article we published a few weeks back titled “Ignore features and focus on solving pain” has hopefully generated some thought for the readers of our blog. But we need to know the pains that you’re going through, because if we don’t, we can’t fix them!

We are also looking at solving similar issues across the business including revamping our own internal SharePoint platforms, our CRM capabilities and we have already made significant investment in new connectivity and telephony platforms in the office in Newbury.

A lot of people feel uncomfortable when you talk about spending money during a recession period but at some point, you will need to make an investment as a recession isn’t just a six month event! So I would ask that you consider what the nagging issues you’re experiencing are and identify what they cost. That cost can be material, personal, perception or any mixture of the previous. That cost will give you a measurable and obvious point at which it makes sense to make that investment. If you need help with this, let us know.

I’ve had a very productive year at Foundation IT, we’ve engaged with some fantastic clients who have put their trust in our way of doing things and we have learned a huge amount about us, about our clients and the best way to do things. Let’s move into 2013 with the mind set of fixing problems and pain rather than just ignoring them.

Dan Parsons, Account ManagerAuthor: Dan Parsons, Client Manager
Dan is responsible for business development and client management. He has been working in the IT industry for nearly ten years, delivering solutions that help clients to benefit from the data centre and end user computing. In particular, Dan is passionate about helping companies in the education, charity and government sectors.

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