Here’s what we’ve been up to

Enabling the third sector to keep on giving

The not-for-profit sector has had to quickly adapt its practices during the pandemic. With a growing demand for charitable services, it’s important that organisations embrace continuous improvement, modernise their processes and use new technologies to achieve efficiencies.

Look to the future

In order to overcome COVID-19-related challenges to services and fundraising, organisations should consider adapting their operations in line with guidelines, for example, switching to virtual fundraising events. Charities should also consider a forward-looking culture of continuous improvement, focusing on sector pain points and consistent impactful changes to prepare for the future.

Three ingredients of effective change

When considering change on a small budget, the golden triangle’ model, consisting of people, processes and systems, can provide a roadmap for successful implementation. With help from external experts, charities can become more efficient and benefit from improved access to fundraising. However, for successful change to happen, people must buy into new processes and technology.

Remember that change is personal

By building on the lessons learned during the pandemic, not-for-profit organisations will be in a better position to embrace positive change. As part of this, leaders should remember that change affects everyone differently and ensure employees feel supported at every stage of the transformation process with consistent and honest communication.

An attitude of ongoing improvement

Charities must focus on continually improving in order to become more resilient and continue their crucial work. Although large-scale change may be the ultimate goal, through minor shifts in the right direction and by keeping people at the core, change will allow charities to support their communities for years to come.

Email Jack Considine for more information.

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.”

How to transform traditional training methods

Remote working looks to be the future, with many UK businesses planning to make it a core part of their company culture. However, this will create new challenges when it comes to upskilling employees, particularly for larger teams. So, how can leaders make the most of a switch to remote training?

1. Consider the benefits of a remote training approach

Remote training brings with it a number of benefits, including:

  • Being easier to manage and organise
  • Having the capacity to train more people at once
  • Eliminating the need for employees to travel to a particular location

These aspects also make it a more cost-effective choice for businesses, enabling them to bring their workforce up to speed on core skills and industry developments in one fell swoop.

Upskilling employees using remote working technology solutions also makes training sessions easier to navigate and absorb. This is especially true if they are recorded for people to access at any time.

2. Assess the IT infrastructure needed

The infrastructure required to support remote training will vary depending on company size. For example, although it is technically possible to carry out a remote training session with over 500 people, the IT infrastructure of both the business and individual employees may struggle.

Smaller companies may be able to rely on traditional broadband alone, whereas larger teams might need to invest in fibre internet to make the remote switch a success.

3. Support employees throughout

Every person differs regarding their skillset, understanding and resources. Therefore, businesses should consider this throughout any form of transformation to ensure that nobody is left behind.

Making sure that everyone is on board with any changes will make for a smoother transition to remote training methods. This can be achieved by training people in groups which cater to their unique requirements and gaining employee feedback to allow for the improvement of future training sessions.

Traditional training methods will always have a place in business. However it’s time for a more digital approach to take the stage. By providing the right tools and tailoring training around the workforce’s needs, companies can make upskilling a more efficient process than ever before.

For more information contact Ben Brown here

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.”

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