Simon Bishop, Business Improvement Manager, DRS Data Systems Ltd

DRS is a data capture company and they specialise in capturing data from paper, that is, transferring the data from hard copy to electronic format.  For example for the educational market with various  exams DRS captures the paper data and shares it online with markers across a number of geographical regions.  They also do census work, designing and printing the census forms, scanning the census forms, carrying out analysis and presenting results.  DRS was responsible for all of the data capture, analysis and reporting for the Scottish parliamentary elections in 2007 and the Greater London Authority elections in 2006 and 2012 – borough and mayoral.  The company manufactures its own high
volume, high through-put scanning hardware and software.  They also do specialist printing, for example they produced over 33 million forms for the Nigerian population census.

DRS has a specialist sales team to grow its business.  These people are experts in their fields and turn highly challenging customer requirements into workable projects on an ongoing basis.

DRS engaged Business Thinking to help them develop practical and sustainable processes within their sales structure.  Although the sales team was successful, there was a feeling in the organisation that their approach to business growth was unstructured.  They believed there was a possibility for it to become even more successful, but were not sure of the best way to achieve that.

The project was about identifying the issues that were an obstacle to growth, creating a bespoke solution to remove those obstacles and building competency within the team that would endure into the future.  Business Thinking took DRS from where they were, to a different future, and the impact has endured for nearly ten years.

In the first instance the Business Thinking team spent time with all levels of staff in DRS, from the board members to administration staff.  Discussions were held with senior execs to understand what was perceived as the problem.  They applied a survey online, for all staff across the business to get a perspective from different areas.  Form all those insights they provided a detailed analysis of where you were as opposed to the capability within the organisation to be better.

Programme of work to address specific areas of e.g. the bid process – responding to tenders, went through a storyboarding exercise, its still in place. Identify the risks, then give it a go/no go review.  Identify whether should be bidding at all, as opposed to bidding for everything.  Conversion rate has increased.  International growth is in the education market.

The people within a business often believe that they know what the issues are that are an obstacle to growth, however, when Business thinking spend the time to understand the business and its strategic ambitions, and then how the individuals in the business operate, they very often identify a whole lot of different obstacles.  This then allows them to present to that business what the issues really are, and go about fixing them in a tailored way designed specifically for that business.

Simon Bishop from DRS said “lots of people think they understand what their problem is.  Business Thinking didn’t just offer a solution; they offered a mechanism to understanding the problem.  Business Thinking said ‘let’s find out what’s broken and then design a solution’”.

The solution that Business Thinking devised for DRS was based around building the capability within the DRS team to follow the processes they developed and to use their business intelligence smartly to grow their business.  Business thinking not only designed and proposed the solution, they worked with the DRS team to coach them through the adoption of the new way of working, and embed the capability for the long term.

Business Thinking create bespoke teams of specialist for each project and at DRS they provided specialist project managers to manage specific areas, for example sales processes, so each business area had a dedicated Business Thinking resource as programme office manager working with the DRS teams and doing the tracking to show results.

Simon said ‘it was a very exciting very high profile piece of work.  Lots of people thought highly of the project and individuals benefited in their areas of the business.  DRS still has processes today that are a direct result of the programme we undertook with Business Thinking so we are still getting the benefits almost ten years on.  The entire project was very well thought out. It was an impressive piece of work and I would recommend Business Thinking to other companies seeking to use their business intelligence wisely and build competent teams.”