On the journey to work this morning, I noticed a wonderfully phrased advert for a National Bank announcing “It’s what you were meant for”. Of course, the attempt at “association by empathy” was cleverly placed on a billboard at a major railway station: after all, who would not want their own business and the images emphasized what a fulfilling and rewarding life it might be.
At 6 a.m. on a dull Tuesday morning, it got me thinking about what “our software was meant for”. The “Parent” in me feels that it sort of has a life of its own – I was there at its birth and I know exactly why it was conceived and, just like any parent or carer, I feel I have helped it on its journey to some extent and influenced its maturation. Now, just as with “grown up children” it seems to be delivering exactly what it wa designed to deliver. Perhaps, just like our “grown up” children, that does not always happen?
Confirm helps people save money, lots of money. The conversations before conception were all about what Local Authorities actually do, how they constantly re-organise their internal structures whilst the need for their ever more efficient services persists. I kept an image in my mind of a Frontier Town in a Western movie and thought of how the services provided by the seedling Town Hall staff were providedand then how they evolved through the years. In 1991, it was clear to me that the image kept changing, kept evolving and that each year brought new and sometimes unpredicted demands for increased efficiencies. So we predicted that the situation would never change and we have yet to be persuaded away from this viewpoint by evidence in Government life.
So, in conceiving Confirm software, as well as the software we had to conceive of the environment in which it might exist, the supporting strctures and processes that would keep it in touch each day and every day with a world that could not be predicted, but could be predicted to change in an unpredicatble way.
We resolved to lay the foundations for User Groups, Consultancy staff who were domain experts and a domain-led CPD programme, Software developers who did not work in an ivory tower but WITH every-day front line users and support that provides quick turn-around answers to users who either “did not know” or had simply “forgotten” which buttons to press. We laid foundations that were solid and would cope with our own organisational changes as well as the more frequent changes in our users’ organisations. And we architected software that delivered real value to our users, whilst “architecting” processes that would sense what additional functionality the marketplace would value.
Confirm exists in a working environment where the users lead the way, where the new challenges that are thrown at our users by our new UK Government force them to see new opportunities within Confirm and how it can play its part in helping them and their departments achieving these mammoth savings without degrading services.
If I could talk to Confirm, I might say “It’s what you were meant for”.