For many of us working in services that help people to improve their lives through supportive interventions, there is a recognition that systems can do much more to measure the impact of that delivery, and to complement and enhance their existing operations. Looking at this familiar situation, a decision was made by our senior management team that the approaching changes in our operating model as a result of the apprenticeship levy would be used as an opportunity to do just that.

A thorough evaluation of current systems soon brought us to the conclusion that there was no one system available that had the features we needed to enable the innovative new approaches that operational staff planned to develop; so we decided to build our own. . .

One of many considerations for our development work is to make sure that our new system should complement our excellent Learner Environment systems (e-portfolio and Virtual Learning Environment), with another being the facilitation of a service to our customers that exceeds their expectations – information we have gained through our customer feedback sessions. We wanted to fully meet the needs of the business with our design. As an example, one of the problems we identified and are solving through our design is something that many services face – efficient provision of geographically dispersed appointments.

In addition to bespoke CRM modules, we have also developed new features that prioritise opportunities and internal workflow, manage and evaluate our unique sales strategy and use augmented intelligence to promote excellent delivery practice. Alongside the development of our new system, we are working to show the benefits of a restructured and improved information flow, and to make sure that business intelligence informs decisions.

We have also increased the investment into the ‘people’ element of this work. We have encouraged colleagues to get involved right across the design, development and testing stages of the new system, and so far feedback has been fantastic, with many championing the changes and the agile approach that has been taken.

We still have much work to do in the next few months but the optimism from those involved is substantial and this feels good for the future.