The whole remote working experience is very different for Howard. Typically, he spends half or more of his time out of the office visiting customers, prospects and attending industry conferences and events. But suddenly from the middle of March all that came to a shuddering halt. On 17th March (St Patrick’s Day, an important consideration for our Irish Sales Director), armed with a large monitor under one arm and a few other bits and pieces in a Sainsbury's plastic bag, Howard headed for home.
Setting up the office at his house and getting connected remotely to Altus internal systems was easy thanks to sterling work by the IT Team. But working remotely when you are in Sales can seem like a bit of a contradiction. If you’re not on the road (or the train) meeting customers, then what do you do? Well, Howard has actually been busier than ever!
When he first started working from home, Howard had a lot of daily internal meetings to try and replicate the formal and informal communications he’d got used to in the office. That quickly changed and he was able to settle into a more productive routine, which involved a brand new series of customer meetings being arranged. From Teams, Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting to a whole range of Web meeting/video conferencing facilities, Howard has been talking his throat raw!
Doing pre-sales demonstrations over the web is nothing new for Howard, but last week he took part in his first ‘virtual’ implementation workshop for one of our more complex products. And it was a complete success, with the sales process moving forward as he would normally expect. He’s also had a lot of calls negotiating terms, agreeing contracts and even signing new customers. The marvel of DocuSign has kicked in to simplify and speed up the whole signing process. And that’s not counting the additional phone calls that Howard is making to keep in touch with customers and get an idea of how well the industry is coping with the new normal.
So how well IS the industry coping? Most Altus customers across platforms, wealth managers, pension administrators and fund providers have managed surprisingly well with the remote working transition. The operational people Howard deals with have obviously had to focus efforts on maintaining service levels, and some have had a scary few weeks, but things seem to be running at a steadier pace now. Some customers have suspended non-critical change projects to focus resources on BCP, BAU and regulatory change projects, which is understandable in the current situation. However, there are customers with large change programmes and extensive resources who continue to move forward on other projects too. Howard tells everyone how impressed he is by the determination and dedication of the people involved in these programmes. Their ‘keep calm and carry on’ approach while adapting to the new ways of working have ensured that these projects have, for the most part, stayed on track.
Closer to home, Howard has seen no interruption to the services Altus provides to customers. All updates, including all mandatory new Tax Year upgrades, took place over the past couple of weeks. Howard has had no calls or emails from customers to suggest they noticed anything was different. Everything happened seamlessly, with the development and support teams working remotely from home.
If you would like more information, or would like to speak with Howard about any of the points raised in this article, please get in touch with a member of our Press Office team.