One of the most important steps we ever took as a business was to automate our processes. Of course, we agonised over the decision for some time before we took the initial steps. How would our clients respond to having system generated reports? Would our staff see their jobs being threatened? Would everything we did become too clinical and lose a human touch, something we had become well known for? So we took some baby steps, hired a full-time developer (now our CIO) and started digitising our manual processes. How quaint that initial foray into automation now seems! It didn’t take long before we saw the first benefits – Scale. Projects that would require countless hours individually writing hundreds of reports were transformed into processes where we could push a button and do 80% of the work. Highly qualified psychometrists with a post-graduate degree who had given the bulk of their time to admin were freed up to consult and spend more quality time with clients.
Did we lose the human touch? On the contrary. We gained the quality touch. This allowed us to spend more time with clients discussing results instead of hours and hours just producing results. We were always careful to make sure that the automation left space for human sentiment and integration. Every report was vetted by a human being, but they could spend their time interpreting data and reflecting on the content rather than just drearily reproducing many in succession. In short, our staff could start using their intelligence for a higher purpose and this helped then flourish and helped our clients benefit accordingly. The technology we created and continue to create adds massive value to our business. We spend time working with our developers to deepen the intelligence that comes out of our reports and our systems. It is a thrill for me to see the psychologically trained in our business having lunch with our developers and describing their best hopes for what our systems should do in the future. These conversations allow us to dream big. They allow us to play with ideas and fantasise what outputs we’d want to see that would thrill our clients. They allow us to look for bottlenecks in our processes and build systems around them. Work has never seemed so creative, and our services have never been more in demand.
I cannot imagine where we’ll be in 10 years, 5 years even. Every year our systems grow in functionality, intelligence and purpose. We have more ideas than we can keep up with, but those that make it through the debates and into developer specs are always thrilling. We love seeing ideas transformed into hardcore functionality, the delight that our client’s experience, and we love the quality that we can produce through the push of a button. Our team of developers grows every year, but so does our team of Organisational Development specialists. And those lunch dates? Wouldn’t you want to be a fly on the wall.