How TechQuarters Overcame Tribal Knowledge By Creating Effective Business Processes and Procedures
TechQuarters’ CEO Chris Dunning and Operations Director Mark O’Dell are committed to helping small- to medium-sized businesses leverage opportunities in the cloud. With over a decade of experience under their belts, they have mastered the art of planning, moving, supporting and training users as they migrate their IT online.
But it wasn’t always so easy.
As their business began to grow, they realized that tribal knowledge was causing more harm than good to their organization. It was a no-brainer that they would achieve better results if they had all their business processes and procedures in a central system accessible to everyone on their team.
In their search for the right tool for the job, they found SweetProcess. Not only were they able to distribute knowledge among their team members evenly, but they were also able to create a more efficient workforce.
Chris and Mark tell us all about their experience in this case study.
TechQuarters is an IT company that helps businesses take advantage of cloud solutions to meet their IT needs.
A leading supplier of Microsoft Solutions, one of its core products is Microsoft Cloud Solutions. TechQuarters guides businesses on how to use each function of cloud technology to their benefit with well-crafted training solutions and a dedicated customer support team on the ground.
Rather than offering this service from a top-bottom position, the company levels up with businesses to better understand their services and works with them to achieve their goals.
Based in London, the company currently has over 43 employees.
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The Biggest Pain Point
Every startup hopes to grow. But in the absence of a strong system to manage that growth, it becomes a pain in the neck. Each process needs to be taught over and over again as new employees are onboarded.
The team at TechQuarters had a first-hand experience of this. And as Mark reveals, it was one of their biggest pain points.
“Scalability is something that we’ve had to deal with. And I suppose all small companies, as they grow, do. We’ve grown every year, year on year, you know, in terms of revenue and staff, and doing so brings challenges. From being a few people sitting next to each other with a few customers that you all know to one new person becoming ten new people.”
With more customers to cater to, TechQuarters found that documenting their processes and procedures manually became inadequate. They needed a workflow software that would help them streamline their operations to enhance their employees’ efficiency in catering to more customers.
Choosing SweetProcess as the Best Option
The many moving pieces in their operations pointed to a need for a systemization tool. As the operations director, Mark took it upon himself to find the best software on the market. He used Google to search for check listing software that would give him many options and after sampling a few, he knew that SweetProcess was the one.
The flexibility of SweetProcess was hard to ignore. It gave them the opportunity to bring several items that were all over the place together for better operations.
“It allowed us to bring different types of media and different bits and pieces into the system. It wasn’t just a simple checklist thing. It allowed us to nest inside it. This task needs to be done and now you can build a down button and here’s how to do it in a procedural way, which could then include further questioning or further information.”
Employees had to look in different places to check the procedures for every task, which was tiring. It was more convenient for them to do things their own way, so they abandoned the documents and the outcomes weren’t always the best.
How SweetProcess Raised the Performance Bar at TechQuarters
An effective software shows results almost immediately. With a pressing operational need at hand, the team at TechQuarters was eager to see positive results when they signed up for SweetProcess. And from what Chris and Mark say, they weren’t disappointed.
1. Effective Documentation
Documenting processes and procedures manually using spreadsheets and Microsoft Word documents was the standard at the organization initially. However, typical of manual documentation, the documents were hard to access and update.
SweetProcess helped the team document usable processes and procedures. With an array of documentation features in the system, they could create comprehensive and easy-to-use processes and procedures that employees were happy to use because they made their jobs easier.
“What you find is that something will go wrong, and we look back then and one of the teams will say, could we add this to SweetProcess? Because if this had been done, I wouldn’t have had this problem further down the line, and each individual would look at it and go, ‘oh yeah, great.’ And the next time around, problem solved, because we do this extra step in the process.”
2. Centralized Knowledge Base
There is always the employee or group of employees who are very knowledgeable about the tasks in an organization. While this is great, it becomes a problem if their knowledge isn’t distributed to others.
The organization suffered some setbacks when new employees had to work with clients who they hadn’t worked with previously. Simple tasks seemed complex to them because they hadn’t executed such tasks before.
“This new person hasn’t worked for that customer before. So how do we get it inside their head? And the answer is you don’t get it inside their head. You get it inside a system that doesn’t have to be inside their head. So when that new person becomes another ten new people, they just follow the same process.”
Thanks to SweetProcess, all processes and procedures are now documented in the system. As a result, both new and established employees can access any work instruction that they need to be efficient at their jobs.
3. Improved Customer Satisfaction
When customers sign up for your product or service, they want to be satisfied. Anything short of that is a breach of trust.
You find yourself explaining your inability to deliver when your business processes and procedures aren’t systematized. It’s even more embarrassing when the tasks are so trivial. This was a pain point for the team at TechQuarters prior to SweetProcess.
“We’ve been through some of that pain, and it comes and goes… What it looks like first-hand is explaining to a customer why X, Y, Z that looks like a really simple thing hasn’t been done, and that’s okay once. But when you’re explaining it to them twice or three times that this little thing of a process has been missed, and then they’re like, why? It’s so trivial.”
Now there’s no room for such embarrassing situations. Everyone has all the information to execute their job in the best way possible.
4. Employee Training, Onboarding, and Offboarding
Employees are as good as the quality of training they get. If you empower them with the information and resources to perform well, there’s a high chance for you to get great results. The reverse is the case when they don’t get adequate training.
According to Chris, SweetProcess has been a great resource for training new employees.
“When a new person starts, you want it to be seamless. You want everything to be there, and when someone is leaving a business, you want to make sure that they haven’t been left with some access to something that they shouldn’t have, or they’ve got a piece of equipment in their house that gets forgotten about.”
Mark couldn’t agree more as he sheds more light on how they use SweetProcess in their recruitment.
“In the recruitment process, we’re using this. Once we shortlist, we want to put all the candidates through the same shortlist process. We’ve got the template emails in there. So we send out an email. Here’s what we need next. Here are the details for a contract.”
Established employees also benefit from the training. When you want them to take on new roles or responsibilities, you simply share the documented processes with them and watch them perform seamlessly.
5. Document Versioning
You might need to create different versions of processes and procedures to execute similar processes in different ways. However, versioning can be confusing using manual documentation as team members could easily mix them up.
But with SweetProcess, each version of the process is clearly spelled out for easy access and tracking.
“SweetProcess makes it possible to have groupings in terms of having a root document and versioning. Versioning didn’t feel like it was important until we had it. We would start an instance of a process, and it’s this version. And we can trackback and go; well, version 1.2 was used. We can also go back and say, well, do we need to go back to everyone who had version 1.2 and fill in the gap that we just found, or are we okay to leave it.”
The Right Attitude for Streamlining Business Operations Successfully
If you are keen on streamlining your business operations, you have to ditch the idea of perfection. There’ll never be a perfect time to do it. Start small and go through it one step at a time.
“Pick something and say, ‘Look, I’m going to document it as best as I can quickly, and then we’re going to build on it…’ It won’t be perfect, but as long as you can follow it next time… And then the next time, even if you’re doing it yourself, the next time you run through it, just go, oh okay, that doesn’t make sense. I’ll just correct it,” Mark says.
Doubling Their Business in the Next Few Years
There’s so much ahead for the team at TechQuarters to achieve. Doubling their business in the next two to three years is top on their list, and they are going all out for it with SweetProcess in hand.
“We want to double up our business in the next two to three years. And there’s no way on earth we were ever going to be able to do that without a system like this to control that growth,” were Chris’ final words.
Take a Step in the Right Direction
You probably have been thinking about streamlining your business for a long time. As you’ve read from Chris’ and Mark’s experience, they were able to empower their employees and increase their customers’ satisfaction by implementing SweetProcess. Did you know that SweetProcess offers a 14-day free trial? Guess what? No credit card is required. Go ahead and sign up for it. And if you aren’t convinced by the end of your trial, you can simply take a walk. What do you stand to lose? Nothing.