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Five things to remember during a tender process

Avoiding disruptions to daily business processes when putting IT or other third-party services out to tender can be difficult. It’s vital that the right provider is chosen and that changes are communicated as early as possible. But how can this be done effectively?

Here are the five things that will make your tender process as seamless as possible.

Clarity

Clarity is key when putting services out to tender. Businesses should start by clearly defining the scope of their requirements. This will ensure that the third-party provider understands what is expected of them. Once this is achieved, it’s easier to gain an understanding of cost expectations and which suppliers the business should be targeting.

Find the perfect match

It’s important to assess potential service providers by their:

  • Culture
  • Capacity
  • Capability
  • Track record

Discovering whether they have experience in the relevant field and if there is a good culture fit is often a good place to start.

Compare cost and quality

Scoring potential providers against their responses to the tender requirements can help establish value for money. At this point, it’s also worth checking whether there’s scope for contract flexibility. In the long run this can save precious time and money as business requirements develop.

Communicate

The smooth onboarding of a new provider requires excellent communication. Developing a comprehensive internal communications plan keeps the current workforce up to date. However, it’s also important to ensure that third parties are making use of similar technologies. Subsequently doing this can have a huge impact on communications between the organisation and the provider as the project progresses.

Acknowledge it will not be an isolated change

Although external providers may be introduced for one specific reason, there will always be wider changes to be made. Consequently this often creates a snowball effect, with one change triggering the need for others. Being prepared for any extra alterations is an important in keeping the tender process seamless.

For more information or to discuss change management solutions further, please contact Eman Al-Hillawi or Peter Marsden.

Smoothing the transition: A modern approach to HR solutions

Employee self-service (ESS) is dramatically changing the world of HR. But for those organisations that are still using entirely manual processes, a digital transformation can seem like a daunting prospect. So why should businesses make the change and what are the benefits?

What is ESS?

ESS is software that enables employees to carry out their own HR processes via an online portal or app. These processes can include:

  • Checking and updating personal information
  • Booking leave
  • Reporting absence
  • Claiming overtime and expenses
  • Coordinating appraisals

Why is it so beneficial for employees?

A self-service model can dramatically speed up processes and optimise efficiencies. For instance, leave can be requested and approved online, meaning staff can work remotely and don’t have to be in the office.  By including payroll information, employees can access key documents and the business doesn’t have to print and send paper copies.

And for the business?

By giving managers greater visibility of data, self-service can promote stronger ownership of data, and more proactive management, while also creating an audit trail. This could prove crucial when it comes to compliance with equal opportunities and gender pay laws.

A transformation to self-service could also provide business leaders with the opportunity and motivation to update and streamline policies and data. For example, employee contracts may have different terms and conditions depending on the date they joined the organisation. Taking the chance to review inconsistencies such as these could help to highlight and eliminate these discrepancies.

How to prepare for ESS implementation

Any change can be met with resistance from some individuals, especially where this can involve more visibility and accountability of sensitive HR and payroll information. It is crucial for any businesses undertaking a transformation to factor time into the project to allow for planning, communication and both employee and manager training.

Final Thoughts

Switching from manual processes to an ESS model may seem like an intimidating task. However, it is increasingly important for businesses to embrace digital innovations, to remain ahead of the curve and stay competitive. In turn they may also unlocking a host of internal benefits, from more efficient and proactive processes to buoyed employee morale.

For more information, please contact Eman Al-Hillawi, Tamara Pleasant or another member of the team.

Airports get to the front of queue management

Long queues at UK airports have recently made headlines, with a Which? report finding that around 1.3 million passengers suffered delays of at least 3 hours in the 12 months to June 2018.

With the increase in low-cost flights having led to more passengers at terminals, this trend is only expected to escalate. Operational and systematic changes will need to be put in place before more long-term problems are caused. But how can this be achieved?

Undertake accurate forecasting

Capacity forecasts can inform which changes should be at the top of the agenda and whether planned investments still make commercial sense. For instance, if passenger numbers are projected to drop, delaying more capital-intensive work may be a shrewd move. A capacity planning team should be implemented to oversee this, as well as to monitor performance and drive change.

Implement a PMO

Establishing a project management office (PMO) can add real value. It provides board members and decision makers with overarching visibility across the project pipeline, guaranteeing that work is being undertaken in the optimal order. In helping to establish where the passenger journey can be improved, a PMO can inform budgets and ongoing strategic decisions.

Consider external transport

A passenger’s journey actually begins at connecting transport interchanges, such as rail, bus or car. Wider transport issues are often caused by seasonal changes and national holidays. They can have serious knock-on impacts on passenger numbers and delays. Therefore it’s important to be aware of these and communicate expected issues ahead of time.

Balance the queues

Airport managers should aim to make wait times as balanced as possible. Simply pushing queues from one place to another should be avoided. A 10-minute queue at check-in and another 10-minute queue at security is likely to be preferable to one 20-minute wait at security.

Communicate effectively with staff

Airport staff often cite a lack of internal communication as their biggest problem. However, it can also seriously affect passenger experience. Subsequently, airports around the UK have begun to trial a system that communicates real-time information to its staff and contractors. In doing so they are able to keep passengers aware of any issues and reduce frustrations.

For more information or to discuss airport management solutions further, please contact Eman Al-Hillawi, Matthew Garrett or another member of our team.

Our Academy Practice

Career development is the process that forms a person’s work identity. It’s a significant part of personal development and spans the individual’s entire lifetime, beginning when they start their employment journey.

At Entec Si we’re passionate about career development and investing in our own people. This also helps with succession planning and talent management. To help progress this we have developed the Academy Practice which is led by our very own Julie Smith.

Welcome to the Academy Practice

The Academy Practice will support individuals on their journey through continual review and coaching. Alongside these reviews we will use assessment tools to recognise strengths and areas for development.

Using the classic T-Model for development, we believe that individuals will widen their range of proficiencies, adding a specialism to their skillset. These are in either project support/coordination, project/programme management, business/data analysis or consultancy.

Our core values

By developing our core values, key behaviours, soft skills, core/business knowledge and business skills, our colleagues will become more rounded. Similarly this will allow for more flexibility within the company.

We’ve recognised through continual career development that quite often career paths change. As a result this model will provide flexibility, so that individuals get the support they need to make these changes.

Training and development

Training and development also provides benefits in a number of areas:

  • Job satisfaction and morale
  • Employee motivation
  • Efficiencies in processes, resulting in financial gain
  • Capacity to adopt new technologies and methods
  • Innovation in strategies and products

My role as practice lead

When I was asked to develop the Academy Practice, I didn’t have to think twice. Passionate about people and their development, this was a match made in heaven for me.

I see my role as helping to fundamentally assist in our success. In addition to coaching and developing our people, I’m also helping to establish our needs as a company. When continuous learning is supported employees feel valued, helping boost their engagement and retention.

Why a data warehouse is crucial for your law firm

Consolidation is a trend within the legal sector that shows no signs of slowing. Indeed mergers and acquisitions (M&As) allow law firms to reap the benefits of economies of scale, expand their areas of expertise and access a larger pool of talent.

However, firms should be wary of unintended consequences. With information spread across various platforms, M&As can reduce the visibility of internal data. This makes it difficult to identify potential risks and opportunities. To avoid this, it is essential that firms implement a consolidated data management approach. At the heart of this sits a centralised ‘data warehouse’, acting as the hub for all internal data and business reporting.

Why is a data warehouse vital?

Using multiple platforms to store off-system data is not just a drain on manual resources. It can also reduce the accuracy of information – which can quickly become outdated or fall foul of GDPR legislation.

A data warehouse can help firms to avoid these pitfalls. Manual processes can be reduced, the data can be made more accessible and a ‘single source of truth’ can be established. What sits behind this is one central platform, which incorporates automated feeds from different business systems.

The ability to build dashboards and reports also supports strategic planning across key sectors. This level of analysis enables decision-makers to thoroughly inspect particular areas.

How to implement it

There are number of questions that need to be considered when choosing the most appropriate IT platform for a data warehouse:

  • Who requires access to data?
  • Which area of the business do they work in?
  • Which systems will they need in order to source the data?

Firms may need to transfer off-system data to new applications or remove redundant systems. Similarly data cleansing or classification may be needed. Assigning responsibility to a member of internal staff to oversee the entire project can also speed up project delivery and boost the chances of success.

Before you begin…

Firstly, it is vital that law firms seek out the right professional advice. This can be sourced both from specialists and by utilising ‘blended teams’ who can assist the firm’s team to increase the efficiency of the project. With support from a variety of advisors, law firms can make sure their data warehouse implementation is a success.

To discuss data centralisation strategies and discover how your business can benefit, please contact Peter Mardsen or another member of our team.

M&A: How to achieve a successful culture integration

UK merger and acquisition (M&A) activity is fast becoming known as the go-to method for achieving diversification, market growth and increased profit margins. However, in an effort to focus on these areas, the integration of the two separate company cultures can be forgotten. This can lead to significant problems in the future. So, what can businesses do to ensure that culture is protected?

Identify a target culture and plan to achieve it

In the wake of M&A activity, organisations should identify their ideal company culture. They should then decide the actions that need to be taken to achieve it. This starts with an initial evaluation of the current culture as well as a business health-check of key markers such as employee motivation. Once an assessment has been made, it is then possible to determine how the planned changes will affect the business’ four key areas:

  • People
  • Processes
  • Systems
  • Infrastructure

Satisfy the workforce

Failing to consider company culture during M&A activity can leave employees feeling alienated from the organisation. As a result it can have a direct impact on performance and wellbeing. With this in mind, HR teams must ensure that employees are engaged in the process of change and understand its trajectory. A happy team will ensure that strategic targets are met, and employee turnover doesn’t skyrocket.

Manage the project

Culture change, like any other project, requires clear and decisive management. The support of a Portfolio Management Office (PMO) can provide stakeholders with increased visibility across initiatives. It can enable them to quickly address any potential HR issues that may arise. Furthermore, it can also help to drive effective communication. This means that everyone is aware of any developments or changes to working practices.

It will take time

Organisations need to appreciate that it can take it can take up to 12 months to fully integrate a new company culture. Getting the process right the first time is critical. In order to prepare for this, organisations should provide an appropriate buffer period and seek external advice at the earliest opportunity.

 To discuss how to make the most of any M&As that your company may be planning, please contact Peter Marsden, Debora Marras or another member of our team.

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