Get to know our team
Developing our people, come rain or shine
Come rain or shine, people are our top priority at Entec Si. Keeping up our commitment to our team’s development, 21 employees from across the organisation have gained professional qualifications or completed training courses over the past few months.
Charlotte Stanyer, Eilis Garton-Marrows, Anita Devi, Megan Evans and Zoe Eccleston have gained PRINCE2 or Agile qualifications. Tamara Pleasant achieved an Agile BA Foundation and Practitioner qualification in Business Analysis. Charlotte has also been awarded a BSc Foundation Certificate in Business Analysis.
Investing in personal growth
As well as a focus on sharpening up our team’s professional skills, we’ve also invested in their personal growth. 14 employees got involved in the Leading by Nature programme, to improve their communication and leadership skills through interaction with horses. Similarly 12 more employees undertook training sessions at Little Bird, that focus on leadership skills and personal growth.
Our junior project manager, Megan Evans, commented:
“I was keen to do my Agile PM course, to help me broaden my armoury of project management tools. Making use of the extra time on my hands during the pandemic to gain a new qualification was a really rewarding experience. Entec Si’s dedication to growing its people is clear to see. If your team comes out of a pandemic stronger than they went into it, you must be doing something right!”
Speaking about her professional and personal development experience during the pandemic, our senior consultant Julie Smith added:
“My first week of furlough was a strange week. It took me from a busy working schedule to a much slower pace of life. I soon realised that for my mental health, I needed to add some structure back into my day. Embarking on some focused training courses allowed me to develop new skills that have benefitted me on my return to work.”
Meet the consultant…
Put simply, what does a business analyst do?
There are lots of different elements to business analysis, so it can be quite hard to explain in just a few words. Ultimately, I make way for positive changes by getting under the bonnet of organisations and identifying which parts already work well, and where there’s room for improvement. I then work closely with a variety of stakeholders to arrive at a solution. This can be in the guise of capturing requirements or working through processes.
What made you choose this area of consultancy?
Some people would probably describe me as a bit of a ‘data nerd’, as I’ve always enjoyed thinking analytically and questioning ‘why?’ I’ve even been known to take pens apart and put them back together again to see how they work.
I think this is a good analogy for what I do day-to-day as a business analyst; I use my curiosity to learn as much as possible about businesses and how to make them better. This helps me to use lessons from past projects to take into future work.
Your top tips for a successful change project?
Regardless of the type or scale of a project, effective communication is key to bringing everyone involved along on the change journey. Managing expectations is also important, so that no one feels left behind or that the project hasn’t fulfilled what was promised.
While you should always approach projects with a plan, things don’t always go as expected, so building in flexibility is equally as important.
What’s your advice for aspiring business consultants?
Be open-minded, as there are lots of different roles under the wider umbrella of business consultancy. No two days are ever the same; a lot can vary depending on who you’re working with and the type of the project you’re helping to deliver.
Anyone who is interested in the field should take the plunge and see where it takes them; you won’t know until you try.
Any professional or personal goals for the next 12 months?
I want to keep on learning; both to be the best that I can be professionally and to help clients adapt to the new normal for their sectors.
I’m quite an outdoorsy person and am still really proud of the fact that I completed the 3 Peaks Challenge when I was 14, so I’d like to have similar adventures this year, perhaps even running a marathon, but this might be getting a bit ahead of myself! Other than that, having just welcomed a little one, I look forward to making memories with my family.
What does work-life balance mean to you?
Work life can be very fulfilling, but to avoid burning out you need take time to do what makes you happy personally too. Work often comes in peaks and troughs, so it’s important to be flexible. Personally, spending plenty of time with my loved ones helps me to reset and to bring my best to whatever the day brings. For me, exercise helps me to blow off steam and to reset ready to go again.
Who would be your dream dinner party guests, dead or alive, and why?
It would have to be Jim Carrey and Steve Jobs – two very different personalities! Jim Carrey would be great at hilariously breaking any awkward silences during the evening. On the other hand, Steve Jobs would be a really inspirational guest and must have some fascinating stories to tell.
I can’t say how a dinner party with these two would end, but I think it would be unforgettable.
Turning data into a valuable business asset
As organisations adapt to the ‘new normal’, it’s important that they don’t overlook data. Disorganised internal data can hinder business growth, making it more challenging to gain a holistic overview of the company. So, how can businesses solve this issue by creating a ‘single source of truth’?
1. Bring processes up to date
Outdated business processes, such as the use of multiple spreadsheets for recording information, can cause valuable information to become fragmented, with only a few key individuals knowing where and how to access it.
2. See the potential in internal data
By maintaining and updating data, it can support leaders’ objectives and deliver value, unlocking its true potential as a business tool.
This process should include adopting a consolidated data management approach, in order to improve reliability by creating an all-important ‘single source of truth’. For example, data warehouses incorporate feeds from different business areas, acting as a hub for all internal data and reporting.
3. Consider the end goal
Once an end goal for data improvement activity has been identified, this will then determine the questions that need to be asked to achieve it. In turn, the correct processes and solutions can be chosen to integrate internal data in line with the business’ goals.
Data improvement should be a gradual process. Breaking down the task into manageable pieces, while keeping employees in the loop at every stage, can help businesses to complete it smoothly, one step at a time. Delivering valuable information quickly – even if the value is modest – is better than waiting for a huge gain and running out of time.
Ultimately, treating internal data as the valuable asset that it is can lead to an organisation that thrives, no matter the external situation.
For more information, contact Tim Powlson here.
Versatility is in our DNA
Versatility is one of our core business values. Our team’s ability to to adapt to any problem means we always deliver for out clients, whatever the challenge.
Janet Smith, Programme Manager:
“Versatility is important for Entec Si as it enables us to pivot towards the many differing requirements that a client may have for support, without needing to look elsewhere.”
Megan Evans, Project Manager:
“Versatility ensures we can best meet the needs of our clients and can approach situations from different angles if required.
“I attribute much of my versatility to an 8 year career as a primary school teacher. Planning, project tracking, presenting, mapping processes, analysing data, producing reports and policies, comms creation and dissemination, minute taking and action chasing … all these were skills used in teaching that I have continued to develop since.”
Courtney Brooks, Business Analyst:
“Versatility is shown at Entec Si with every piece of work we do and with every client. Our blended team approach means working with client teams to complete the task at hand.”
Peter Marsden, Principal Consultant:
“Since Entec Si was established this value has been an integral part of our DNA. It is what we bring to the fore when faced with new and different challenges – our ability to adapt quickly to changing situations and demands – nothing phases the Entec consultant. Our ability to rapidly shift our thinking and approach, explore new ways of doing things and involve others in the process.
“The very first Entec commission in 1996 was to put right a failing finance system implementation at Dublin University – three months later it was fully recovered.
“This would not have been achieved without applying a versatile approach to identify the issues, resolve them but through engaging with the various stakeholders IT, business and suppliers. Our versatility isn’t just about finding solutions but how we effectively facilitate and manage others to make things happen. The tougher the challenge the more ready we are!”
Shaun Richards, Project Coordinator:
Versatility – the ability to adapt and thrive. Just about sums up our year!”
Tamara Pleasant, Senior Business Analyst:
“We always demonstrate versatility in delivery, flexing our approach to suit the client and objectives. This year it’s stepped up – our staff and partners have gone above and beyond throughout the Covid-19 crisis.”
The meaning of integrity
Honesty and integrity are second nature for us. We believe it’s vital to treat our clients and ourselves with decency and fairness. That’s why integrity is one of our core values. Our team reflect on how they bring integrity into their work.
Charlotte Stanyer, Project Support:
“I view integrity as being comprised of three key aspects: taking pride in your work, the ability to generate trust in others, and consistency.
“I believe I show integrity in the way that I take a huge amount of pride in my work, whether it be something for Entec Si Consulting or Solutions, or work for a client. My work ethic is built upon a great sense of enthusiasm and a passion for success. I am always looking for ways to improve the work, the process or my own knowledge and skillset. I ensure work is completed and presented to a high standard, consistently and despite any external factors.
“I also demonstrate integrity by fostering strong rapports with colleagues and clients through regular engagement and realistic expectation-setting, delivering with high quality work. I work autonomously and drive progression to ensure work is complete as expected and this strengthens others’ trust in me and my abilities.”
Sue Johnson Gregory, Principal Consultant:
“To me, integrity is bringing the best you can be, to make any initiative or change happen. It is having an innate sense of what a successful journey looks like – and pushing to go that extra mile to get there. It is admitting when you got it wrong, and it is being human. My amazing former colleague and friend, Zoe Eccleson, once said “We do the right thing”. I truly believe doing the right thing is the best we can do.”
Pete Britten, Project Manager:
- “Honesty: I’m always honest when things aren’t going well, and provide solutions rather than excuses
- Leadership: I always try and lead teams by example, rather the do what I say but not as I do
- Sympathetic: I think I am approachable as I am always sympathetic to people’s needs. I believe this is due to my integrity, but it also builds on it.
- Standing by quality: I will always prioritise quality, even if it means going out of my way to move timelines, change budgets etc. to ensure clients/users get the best possible product”
Sarah Frost, Resource Manager:
“This is one of my favourite quotes and one I shared with Peter, Eman and Dave during my presentation for the role of Resource Manager in December of last year (seems a lifetime ago!).
“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; its choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy, and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them” Brene Brown
“This is something I stand by, live by, each and every day. For me integrity is about being true to you, and who you are. Core values and beliefs are so important, but also being authentic. I am the same at work and home, I am always striving to me the best version of me, all of the time.”
Jack Considine, Business Analyst:
“Even before joining, integrity was hard to say in words, but after a year at Entec it is clear that we all do the right thing at the right time, which describes this value perfectly.
“Whether internally or for our clients, I feel each member of the Entec family conducts themselves with integrity and it reflects not just in our delivery but most importantly in our relationships.
“Without integrity, we may be able to deliver, but we won’t be able to build lasting relationships, which I feel is at the core of this firm.”
Matt Garrett, Programme Manager:
“As much as possible I am open and honest with our clients. I try to keep them in the loop so they are always informed of any changes and rarely get surprised by project change or issues. It isn’t always my favourite thing to do but I have never been afraid to have the difficult conversation and put my cards on the table to discuss any issues that might arise.”
Meet the consultant… Tim Powlson
Describe what you do in a few sentences
Put simply, I help organisations to improve how they operate. This involves understanding the organisation’s end goal and then helping to tackle the obstacles standing in the way in order to deliver positive change.
How did you decide that business consultancy was for you?
You could say that I fell into it. I‘ve always been drawn to technology and started my career training people in how to use software, before moving on to implement IT systems for a software company.
I got my first taste of consultancy work when I started a role supporting the outsourced IT service at Birmingham City Council, where I was responsible for software quality assurance. This is where I first met Entec Si’s co-founders, Eman Al-Hillawi and Peter Marsden on the Library of Birmingham project. Five years on, I’ve come to realise that consultancy is the perfect fit for me. I love the variety of being involved in so many different, interesting projects and the buzz of working in such a fast-paced environment.
What are some of the tricks of the trade?
I think one of the most important tricks of the trade is always keeping the end goal in mind, regardless of the size or type of project you’re working on. When delivering a project, it’s really easy to get lost in the detail and become narrow-sighted, but remembering that there is a bigger objective is key. You need to keep popping up to scan the horizon every now and again – sort of like a meercat!
That being said, collaboration is also a vital skill. Digital tools such as SharePoint and Microsoft Teams have shone a spotlight on the importance of this during the pandemic. However, we must remember that collaboration is a behaviour not a platform.
The most challenging and best parts of your job?
The need to juggle multiple clients and projects is the hardest part of my role and is something that took me a while to get the hang of and remains a day-to-day challenge. On the other hand, this is also what makes my job so interesting.
While it might sound clichéd, the best part of my job are those ‘gold nugget’ moments when you’re able to deliver real value to a client, for example, I recently created an ICT dashboard for an organisation. It wasn’t hugely onerous but made a big difference to how they pictured their operation.
What makes Entec Si such a unique place to work?
It’s the culture and the people that set Entec Si apart. Everyone has been carefully selected, not just because they have the right skills to do the job, but because they fit into the Entec Si family. We are likeminded and believe that to succeed, we need to put people at the core of every decision we make.
This approach doesn’t stop with just our employees – we’re also careful about who we work with. From our clients to our partners in business, we all care about bringing our best to everything that we do.
What has been your top Entec Si experience to date?
My stand-out project has been working with Birmingham Airport, where we successfully implemented a project management office from scratch. The fact that it’s such a key part of their infrastructure today is a real source of pride for me.
As a Birmingham business, Entec Si also cares about giving back to the local community, so we get involved in a lot of charity projects. One of my favourite initiatives was helping to spruce up the garden of Birmingham charity, Thrive. Being able to bring about positive change for people with learning disabilities and ill health through gardening was a really rewarding experience.
What are your biggest passions in life?
It sounds a bit cheesy, but I’d have to say that my wife and children are my biggest passion in life and we’ve made some great memories from going on fun outdoor adventures. For example, I recently spent a day canoeing round the beautiful Devon coastline with them and I’d love to do more exploring as a family soon.
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