Last year we saw unprecedented amounts of people working remotely for the first time, and it looks like that’s coming with us into 2021. For that reason, we spoke to our clients to see how technology has aided them in this shift to a different type of working.
We built Everglades for Heron Financial, a UK mortgage broker, before the pandemic began, with the goal of automating as many time consuming processes as possible for Heron and to ensure that all of their teams, plus their clients, could collaborate and work together on the same platform, cutting out the need for multiple programs and needless email chains.
Matt Coulson, Director of Heron Financial, had this to say:
"During an unprecedented year with so much more remote working, Everglades has been a vital part of our business for many reasons. The ability to communicate quickly and effectively with colleagues and clients, as well as safely share information and documents has been so important for us. Because the software is totally designed around our needs, everything about it is intuitive and efficient - it’s no exaggeration to say that we can’t operate without it! "
We started developing The Depositary, a SaaS platform, back in 2016 with the goal of transforming the way agents, landlords and tenants interact during the end of tenancy process.
Mission Commander at The Depositary, Kristjan Byfield, gave us some insight into the creation of The Depositary, as well as the platform’s role in keeping agents operating throughout 2020:
"When we first started to form The Depositary and look at its infrastructure, we made a decision early on (back in 2015/6) to build the business around a remote-working infrastructure model. I have never been an advocate of flashy and expensive Head Offices especially in startups- whilst some form of 'hub' might be nice, a single large commercial space just never made sense to me. What is more, as a nationwide offering, it made sense that we would (and should) one day have staff dispersed across the UK or globally. Instead, in our original business model, we allocated a co-working allowance per team member. Interestingly, this approach (at that time) caused complicated negotiations with our strategic partners at the time who found it very hard to understand a business with no 'HQ'.
Another foundation we were passionate about was to practice what we preached: where a human adds no value to a process- automate it! As such, throughout our development, we have always looked at ways to automate our internal operations (through our own bespoke dev as well as utilising integrated solutions).
Whilst face-to-face selling and demos is 'nice' it's inefficient- our intention was to always, where possible, demonstrate, set-up and train online. Again, this approach/intention was heavily questioned by partners in our early stages. Going forwards we would like to retain a blend of the two but expect 80-90% to be conducted online for the foreseeable future.
Fast forward to 2020 and what we had actually built was a company perfectly structured for the 'new normal' of pandemic life! This was a huge validation of what we had aspired to create from the offset but the events of 2020 have also forced people (and by that I fundamentally mean clients) to adopt to this new way of business. One of our fears early doors was how well would agents adapt to online demos? Would they have the set up (cameras, screens, speakers, etc.) in place to accommodate the way we intended to work. The events of 2020 have forced that evolution and the use of tech in this way has advanced 5-10 years (from a consumer adoption perspective) in the last 12 months.
The Team at Sprint Innovations embraced this from day one and has played a key role in helping us develop a company and platform that works in this way."
Overall, it’s clear that software has played a key role in allowing businesses to continue running throughout 2020 and into 2021. The more intuitive the software, the easier transitions to remote working become.
As it looks like we’ll be continuing the ‘new normal’ of remote work for the foreseeable future, we recommend assessing your current technology setup as a business, and reaching out to experts if you feel there is any room for improvement.