We met with Glyn Albrow and Elisabeth Albrow, Process and Delivery professionals at Openreach, for a free-wheeling fireside chat on a wide range of topics – from championing change with colleagues, contractors and customers to business transformation and more
Vyn met with Openreach professionals Glyn and Liz Albrow for an online FireSide Chat.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself, and what makes you wake up in the morning and feel excited about work? Ladies first, Liz?
Liz: I’ve worked for Openreach in multiple roles: From a clerical assistant 29 years ago to now as a Delivery Manager in the Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) space. What makes me excited about work is my team and our togetherness. It’s about everyone’s contribution to make a difference, and making sure that my team is energised.
Glyn: You’ve probably noticed we’ve got the same surname. We met at work and I’ve been working for 22 or 23 years now with BT / Openreach. As for what makes me tick, I like to fix things that are broken, break things and then put them back together in the right way.
It is said that digital transformation is not about technology alone, but much more than that. What’s your perspective on this?
Glyn: If I go back to the start of our journey with Vyn, the problem wasn’t with understanding the technology, it was the mindset of the people. When we’ve done things a certain way for 30, 40 years, and we try to bring in a new technology, it makes no difference how good it is, unless you’ve got a workforce that’s willing to make it work for them.
Liz: You’ve got to support your people and engage them in that change journey – give them the confidence that they can grow with the technology. When they’re not sure how something would fit into their way of working, the important thing there is listening to their needs and concerns.
Clockwise from top left: Rakesh Mattoo, Liz Albrow, Glyn Albrow and Mala Morris on a video call.
Can you share any examples of how you’ve been able to empower people to build the confidence to grow with new technology?
Glyn: What we got initially from our contractors and auditors were lots of different questions such as ‘You can’t necessarily determine on a video if a screw’s tight’, ‘if the spanner’s been tightened correctly, you don’t know if the power is on’, etc.
We quickly found that we could ask the questions differently: If you can’t see something on a video, what could you do to show it? All of a sudden, people had ideas like using audio to check: If you can hear someone clunking the spanner, then you know it’s taut enough. We found ways to answer those initial questions, which made people more confident that it would work for them.
So it’s about taking people along and about problem solving. Is that what makes a digital technology stick?
Liz: Yes. I think the most important thing is listening to people’s concerns, because this involves them in the decision-making process. We had to make the people who would be using the technology part of the project team right from the beginning.
Glyn: We were the first within Openreach to do some form of video auditing, it had never been done before. So we started small, bringing Vyn into a smaller area within the group, and engaging the right people within that group. That allowed us to expand it out into the field.
Using Vyn’s Smart Summary, the Openreach team can complete same-day remote audits for every new installation.
You’ve been using Vyn for your install audits and to do remote auditing. How has that changed how you work?
Glyn: We used to send someone on-site to audit after every single install. With Vyn, we’re still auditing 100%, but we’re auditing remotely now: We’re not physically sending the auditor. For some of the more remote island locations that can save an auditor travelling for 2 days or more.
Considering we’ve now cut handover time down to zero, that saves us at least 10 working days for each audit, because the audit can happen remotely on the same day that it was installed.
Liz: We’ve actually had some fantastic feedback from one of our clients saying that they’ve started to see the best installs ever from us, installs where Vyn was used to do the audits, so it’s definitely had a massive improvement on quality, and the volume of our snags have gone down.
Glyn: We’ve gone a lot further than we thought we would in a very short period of time. The audit used to comprise pages upon pages of spreadsheets, and there was very little accountability. Using a Vyn Storyboard and giving that to the contractor has put ownership back in their court.
Vyn Storyboards and Audit Dashboard make it easy to capture and review work progress.
It’s also driven performance in ways I did not expect. Now we have contractors installing a product, checking around them and noticing a scratch on the door, and they easily raise it as a snag themselves. They’ll recognise the problem and then say how they’re going to fix it. Before, it would have taken us weeks to get that information back and sorted, but now it’s being done in real time. Introducing Vyn, our errors and snags that we have to follow up later have gone down to literally nothing.
Incredible. Have you looked at the before-and-after numbers?
Glyn: We haven’t really compared the numbers but I can tell you now there’d be a massive drop in a pie chart if you had one.
Finally, what advice would you give other businesses who are on a similar journey to digitally transform their field based audit processes?
Glyn: Be very open-minded: Just because something hasn’t been done in the past doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Generally it’s about asking the question in a different way, and you come out with a different answer.
Liz: My advice would just be repeating what you’ve already said, Glyn, absolutely agree.
So as a final word, at our company we are very passionate about encouraging and empowering women in business and technology roles. Liz, what advice would you give them as a leader in your industry?
Liz: I would say just have confidence in yourself, believe in yourself, be open-minded. You can do anything that you put your mind to, and don’t be put off if you don’t succeed the first time. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself down, and try again, and just be patient and kind to yourself because at the end of the day, the world isn’t a perfect place, but what you put into your work you’ll get out of it, from both a personal and professional point of view.
Charu Madan, in her role as Customer Success Architect, helps clients’ re-imagine their current Business Processes by harnessing the power of human intelligence and smart technology + AI. If you are looking to change to remote video auditing & improve supplier collaboration, please get in touch with her at [email protected].