I’m a business analyst here at Bespoke. My role involves working with clients to design a solution that will meet their unique business requirements. I need to document these requirements clearly so that the developers can build a tool that accurately meets their needs.
I’m also responsible for ensuring that the final product is a match to what the documentation outlines.
I’ve only been in this industry since I’ve been with Bespoke, so about 18 months. I graduated university with a degree in economics in 2018. After graduating I took a year out and went travelling around Australia and SE Asia.
In terms of my professional background, I’ve worked in quite a few different fields over the years including hospitality, construction, and farm work so I’ve managed to have quite a broad range of experiences which I think has helped me a lot with getting to grips with this industry.
I was interested in working in data as the industry is constantly evolving as new technologies emerge which makes it quite exciting and fast paced. On a personal level, I think it is an industry where I can learn loads of new skills and really grow.
I would say my favourite part is delivering the final solution to clients. It’s very satisfying seeing the final product after weeks or months of planning and development.
My favourite project (I suppose projects is more accurate) would have to be Heaton’s. A major project commenced with them about a week or two after I joined Bespoke, and has continued throughout my time here. We have gone from building them a simple estimating tool to completely redesigning their business processes, from acquisitions through to sales. In the coming months we’re looking at moving more of these functions onto the Power Platform.
My toughest challenge would have to be adjusting to the impact of Covid. I had only been with Bespoke for about four months before we went into the first lockdown, so I had only just started to understand the processes and structure of working in an office before that was completely thrown on its head and I was working remotely.
My days are pretty varied. They usually involve some combination of working alongside the developers, meeting clients to discuss potential or ongoing projects, writing documentation and testing the final tools before they are released.
I think in 10 years the industry will look very different to how it is now. More or less, everything will be cloud based and run by smaller, external teams. There will be a much greater emphasis on analytics across all companies as data insights will become more accessible to everyone.
Hopefully, all manual and repeated processes will have been automated making businesses much more efficient and freeing up workers for more creative tasks.
A virtual assistant or something that could automate the testing process would be great. It can be quite time consuming to test a large tool. Something that could load data, check the functionality against the documentation, and correct any issues would be a lifesaver though I’m not sure what I would do with all the free time.
It’s quite generic but I’d love to be able to play a musical instrument. I had drum lessons growing up but quit when I realised becoming a rock star wasn’t likely (after 5 years I still couldn’t keep a beat). I’m not too fussed what instrument I would be able to play, even something like a tambourine would be fine with me.
If I could travel anywhere, it would be Antarctica. When I was younger I had a slight infatuation with penguins. It’s been a dream of mine to see them in the wild ever since.
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It is my role to manage the relationships with our major accounts.
At the age of 20 I did my degree in Computer Science. After which, I went on to work in various sales supporting roles for the likes of NCR and ICL before joining Matthew Hall Engineering as a Senior Systems Analyst. My career here saw me progress to Project Manager, Senior Project Manager and then Business Development Manager. It was at this point that I was put in charge of opening a site in Manchester to support the northern based companies, which involved recruiting and developing an IT team to support this.
Following a successful career with Matthew Hall, I decided to set up my own software house with a colleague. Our initial focus was to help manufacturing businesses with their batch traceability, but we soon broadened our offering and created specific packages for the steel industry. This then led me to work for British Steel as a consultant for a number of years before becoming the IT Director of their distribution division. Following numerous mergers and acquisitions, I became European IT Director for Tata Steel, responsible for all their Supply Chain systems. My last role at Tata Steel saw me manage an 800-strong IT team to deliver a supply chain digital transformation project which involved moving all the European companies onto SAP.
I then retired, but became bored quite quickly and was in need of something to get my teeth stuck into, so started working as a Development Manager on a major transformation project at Nottingham University. Following this, I retired again for a brief spell before the opportunity for Account Director at Bespoke arose.
At school we had a teletype link to Harris College (now the University of Central Lancashire) where I did some Computer Programming, and this really sparked my love for the industry. It’s fast moving, continually evolving and I’m always learning. The constant innovation within the tech industry means that you always have to keep up to speed with the latest advancements to ensure that we’re at the forefront and able to provide the best for our clients.
I really enjoy working closely with our clients and ensuring that we deliver projects that I am truly proud of. When it comes to our clients, I believe in looking after people as much as I would like to be looked after in that situation. It’s this approach that epitomises partnership working for me. Continually building our client relationships means that we’re able to understand our clients’ business ambitions and objectives – this insight means we’re well placed to provide the best digital transformation solutions for them.
There are two projects which spring to mind; Airbus being the first – it was a phenomenal project to work on. We were asked to create a tool which built up the ability to track the cost process chain for aircraft materials. It was such a challenge and we broke down every obstacle that was put in our way to ensure they got the best solution. They are now able to optimise costs and time by using the tool to plan various scenarios. It’s super rewarding when you get feedback to say that the tool we have created has surpassed the clients expectations.
The second was working with a Manchester-based milk distributor to create a solution which has taken what was a monthly process, to a weekly process initially, then daily and now due to the advancements in the tech world, can now be refreshed every two hours if needs be.
Transitioning to a much smaller company meant that there weren’t as many processes in place as I was used to. In order to ready the company for growth, I had to spend a significant amount of time working and improving processes to ensure that we could scale efficiently. This was crucial, but difficult, because working hard whilst carving out time to break down processes and procedures and assessing which were the best ones to adopt for this size of company, was hugely time consuming.
My day is generally a mixture of keeping in touch with clients and being on top of the work schedules to ensure everything is on track. I also spend a significant amount of time talking to the developers and analysts to ensure they are up-to-speed with the clients’ requirements at all times. I see myself as the interface between external clients and internal teams. Crystal clear communication is the key factor here.
I think there will be a gradual move away from businesses having such large IT teams which they are generally overly reliant on. The advancements in technology will allow employees to be far more self sufficient and in turn empowered.
More solutions and apps will be built because the traditional process will change. I see that the components of a solution will become more readily available, like building blocks which are ready to be easily stitched together, rather than having to code and create every single one from scratch. This means less risk for businesses in terms of time committed to digital transformation projects. I think in just a few more years there will be very little in the way of traditional ‘on-premise’ systems, as everything will be migrated to the cloud.
I would love to instantly automate the workflows for everything we do. Take moving house for example, it’s a time consuming exercise having to call every single one of your providers and inform them of your new address. But wouldn’t it be great if you only needed to do this once? You could inform your bank of your new address, who in turn would assess all of your direct debits and notify each company of your new details. It would be so much simpler and save people an awful lot of time.
To learn and fluently speak another language. I feel incredibly ignorant at times that I can only speak English. If I had to choose which language – I would say Spanish, mainly because it is widely spoken. Although if I was feeling the need to up the ante when it comes to the difficulty factor, then I would say Mandarin.
South America is somewhere I have never been, but I have enjoyed hearing many stories from friends about their time there. Peru stands out as somewhere I would like to visit.
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My role is extremely varied but ultimately it is to ensure the smooth and successful delivery of all our projects, from initial customer engagement through to project management and technical/development consultancy. I also work as a Senior Project Manager on large, key accounts as well as manage our development/technical specialists and projects team in terms of resource management, staff performance and training.
I have worked in the IT industry for many years and my previous roles have been in Service and Project Delivery including PMO, Project Manager and Service Delivery Manager within software and hardware deployments, including hosted migrations, upgrades and new product platforms.
Having the opportunity to work with amazing technical and non-technical specialists in their field inspires me. There is always something new to learn when surrounded by a team of passionate and creative people!
Bespoke may be a small company but with a huge personality and this shows in the team chemistry.
Managing a team that work so well together and watching those technical sparks fly when a new project gets started. Knowing that everyone is committed to deliver a quality product and that they not only support each other, but all pull together when the pressure is on.
Engaging with clients at the beginning of each new project and watching their vision come to life throughout the duration of their project and the successful result and client satisfaction with the finished product.
The successful delivery of multiple excel-based projects to a global audience for STEM Healthcare and now on a digital transformation journey with them using the Power Platform.
Initially I found transitioning from a large formal company a challenge, but I soon saw the benefits of working with less red tape, fewer people, and departments to consider. There is far more flexibility in terms of project deployment and when working with a small team, as decisions are made faster and communication, as well as the team bond, is stronger.
Keeping staff and projects going through the pandemic has been incredibly challenging.
My day starts with a meeting with the team to communicate the work to be delivered that day and to check in to make sure everyone has what they need to have a successful day.
The remainder of my day is split between project meetings both internally and externally, following up on project actions and planning, resource planning and staff management.
Now more than ever businesses will have a greater need to save on time and costs and they will continue to look at ways of reducing and simplifying manual one person tasks or processes.
The next 10 years will definitely be an exciting time for technology, as it will continue to be as fast paced as it is now, but with even more on offer, especially around Data Analytics, AI and Cloud computing, and who knows maybe even a robot as a team member!
A personalised virtual help seeker/assistant! A bit like Siri but better! Something that could be dropped in and deployed into any system (regardless of the system) and could help find supporting documents, reach out to a team member or client, create meetings, make notes as well as help clients troubleshoot quickly and easily on our products, make suggestions, and recommend who to contact etc.
Personal – learn a new language or learn to play golf (the number of times I have been asked how I can originally be from St Andrews ‘the home of golf’ and not play) Work – something technical – code or Power Apps development.
Borneo as I would love to visit the orangutan’s sanctuary!
Spanish as it is widely recognised/spoken in over 22 countries across the world and that has got to be a good excuse to travel (when we can!)
Read more about the team and Bespoke’s story here.