Three Keys to a Successful Custom Solution
Reflecting on our project with The Keyholding Company being named ‘Digital Transformation of the Year’ by Computing Magazine, we wanted to highlight a few elements outside of the traditional case study material that were fundamental to the success of this initiative.
A CEO with drive and vision
We first met The Keyholding Company’s CEO and founder Charlie Gordon Lennox back in 2013 after the work we had delivered for Addison Lee piqued his interest. Charlie could see the potential growth in his business but was held back by legacy technology and process; he recognised that if Haulmont could deliver similar levels of automation in keyholding as we had in taxi, it would be the key to unlocking the potential in his organisation.
During the course of the pilot project, Charlie made it his mission to learn everything he could from Haulmont’s past experience and previous custom solutions projects, with the aim of taking the best of each of the preceding projects and adapting it to his business. Consequently, the full system we specified together was one of the most flexible and powerful, built not just to The Keyholding Company’s current needs, but designed to accommodate its future expansion plans within the sector and elsewhere. Throughout the project, Charlie’s vision and support never wavered. It’s clear that having a senior stakeholder with complete confidence and buy-in is crucial in smoothing out the inevitable bumps in the road to digital transformation and ensuring the project never loses momentum or fails through compromise or lack of direction.
A willingness to embrace change, not just in technology
Dovetailing with Charlie’s dedication to achieving the vision of total digital transformation was the willingness of The Keyholding Company to change itself as part of this transformation. It’s not uncommon for a company we’re working with to create a solution plan that specifies technology for the company they would like to have, rather than the current reality. We have seen examples where the first six months of a custom solution implementation is actually a change process to revise the ‘ideal’ planned system functionality to reflect the real working practices of users on-the-ground, inevitably this is a compromise between legacy processes in practical use, versus the optimised planned process.
This was rarely the case as we rolled out Chase for The Keyholding Company; instead Charlie, along with Abi Shuttleworth, MD, took the opportunity to assess their current human resource, systems and business processes and make sweeping changes to discard inefficient, manual processes, adapting the whole business to the new digital-first philosophy. Most clients are not brave enough to make these changes, and whilst it was undoubtedly a tough period, the results are evident now that business processes, people and technology are all aligned and working in harmony.
Build internal expertise around external resource
An external team of developers with detailed business knowledge is a valuable resource in itself, but works best when combined with internal technical and operational expertise. As The Keyholding Company restructured around Chase, they recognised the importance of building up internal knowledge of the system and focusing on building their own skill sets to complement the developers. As a result The Keyholding Company’s own Technology teams are able to work closely with Haulmont developers, providing clear requirements, detailed specifications and detailed problem descriptions - all of which leads to more efficient development and more effective solutions. Additionally, Technology Director, Lucas Gundry, has built a team to capitalise on the potential of Chase - integrating best-in-class third party solutions and building an entire Data and MI team to capitalise on the platform.
This is a key learning we share with all of Haulmont’s future clients - to make the most of a complex enterprise solution, our development teams must work hand in glove with internal experts - the most successful projects depend on a high level of collaboration.