Like the quintessential Jack of all trades, James Bond – having multiple interests can actually prove advantageous in business.
When joining Sensei Project Solutions in June 2017, my professional mandate was to directly contribute to the success of the organisation. Being a non-technical, non-billable resource, “earning my keep” needed to be demonstrated in greater depth than ‘billable hours’ or ‘utilisation’.
During my first month on board, I talked with members of Sensei’s Finance, Delivery, Management, Marketing, Solutions, and Customer Care teams. From there, a series of key business “pain points” were identified. This gave me clarity to identify success measures, both for my role and for the business.
By virtue of a diverse professional background (hospitality, recruitment, I.T. and professional services), I’ve been considered a jack-of-all-trades – that is, depending on what the business requires, I can fill a variety of different roles. Where the business has struggled to dedicate time or effort to a certain undertaking, this presents an opportunity to show value.
Some of the key areas of responsibility thus far have included:
- Financial streamlining: helping Sensei’s finance team operate with greater efficiency, especially around expense claim reimbursement.
- Presales: not only formalising an internal process by which presales documents are reviewed appropriately before being sent to a client, but communicating this internally and executing on it in timeframes that are always tight. Contribution to tender responses has also been front of mind.
- Legals and contracts: review of all terms and conditions for new customers or new pieces of work, as well as expanding our existing contract portfolio to encompass our developed IP.
- Resourcing: updating national resourcing requirements utilising some, at times, complex internal systems. Taking this on board can decrease the overhead on state delivery managers, and give greater visibility of the ‘state of play’ in the national delivery team.
- Process improvement: identifying potential efficiencies in our annuity (subscription) revenue model, gathering the requirements of the business, then documenting and communicating a process to handle this moving forward.
- Recruitment: locating the right people who represent Sensei’s values, while also contributing to the success of the business, can be incredibly time consuming. Interviews, feedback, recruiters, networking and job ad creation has all be centralised.
- Office management: by virtue of an expanding team, the relocation of our Victorian office to a larger environment brings with it a host of administrative tasks, the bulk of which can be handled by a dedicated operations team member.
- Chief Fill-In Officer (CFIO): both literally and figuratively, this role should be seen as one that can play many parts, and – when team members take much deserved holidays – can step up and backfill where required. Since joining the team, I have filled in for our Marketing Manager, CEO and Victorian State Manager on a number of different tasks.
The above list represents 3 short months of dedicated effort in the Business Operations space and, while it certainly can’t be done without assistance and buy-in from other members of the team, the Business Operations role is one that can keep every plate spinning where necessary, while also keeping an eye on all longer-term goals and strategies of the business.
While the focus on new team members should always be on the way they can contribute to the bottom line, businesses should consider how an operations operative with a License to Fill–In can skyrocket efficiency in the way your employees interact with each other and their customers and launch you ahead of the competition. After all, what business doesn’t want to successfully carry out their long-term mission?
By Ashley Braybon, Business Operations and Project Consultant at Sensei