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Making complex tasks simple

It is our tenth birthday next month and as a result, have been reminiscing about the last ten years.  We’ll be launching a new website in October to celebrate ten years of making complex tasks simple and thought it a good time examine the origins of our tag line.

Introduction

ten years of making complex tasks simpleFirst, I think it is worth pointing out that I did not come up with the tag line myself.  I was attending a pre-lunch seminar in Bristol – run by NRG Business Networks – and the topic was about how to explain what you do, primarily as part of your elevator pitch.  I wish I could attribute the phrase to the person that suggested it, but cannot, so if you know who you are, please get in touch.

During the seminar, each person was paired up with another business owner and asked to explain what their business did.  This is a challenge for any business owner and far harder than you might think.  Ideally you need to explain what you do and why you are different and this is when the person I was paired with said, “so essentially you make complex tasks simple”.

Making complex tasks simple

So, what had I said to prompt the response from our unknown benefactor?

We had developed a number of on-line applications and websites that encompassed events, including the NRG Business Networks website and back office systems that help them manage membership subscriptions, event bookings and the logistics of running a network group.

The example I gave him, however was a system we developed for Summit Events – who run a number of corporate summits within the Human Resources marketplace – in 2003 / 2004.  They were using a system developed in Microsoft Access, for a different sector when I first met them in 2003 and although it did a reasonable job, there was a lot that simply didn’t work. Having already designed and developed a website for Summit Events, I was able to ask them about the current system and suggested that I could develop a new system that would address their current issues as well as provide an on-line system that participants could access to help with the collection of their preferences.

However the bit that really impressed the person listening was how the system builds each participants itinerary for the event itself. The old system did something similar, but could take hours to process the preferences and the results were often far from ideal. We created an algorithm that matched one-to-one meeting requests made via the participants interface that  was able to achieve 100% meeting fulfilment (their primary objective) within less than five minutes. We then used any remaining meeting requests within the mealtime seating plans so that everyone had opportunities throughout the entire three day summit.

… if you break any business process down further enough, it becomes simple.

When our unknown benefactor asked how we did it, I said that “if you break any business process down further enough, it becomes simple”.  The concept of breaking things down is why we used Piet Mondrian as the inspiration for our logo. His approach to a visual and emotional statement was the objective that the artist was trying to achieve in his de-constructive work, removing all unnecessary and distracting elements from the core message.

Looking back …

Looking back the decision to use Piet Mondrian’s work for the inspiration of our logo and the creation of the subsequent tag line have stood the test of time and although our designer hates the use of primary colours – because it makes her job all the more difficult – it has become a recognisable brand that has stood the test of time and I am extremely proud of it.

As part of our tenth anniversary celebrations we are also unveiling our new website – intuitive-software-solutions.co.uk – which has sat beside our main corporate website for several years now.  The redesigned website will be launched on the 1st October and focuses on solutions, as it was felt this would enable us to present a different view on what can sometimes appear fairly abstract to potential clients. The new website is a result of real team work; Alex (our designer) came up with the look and feel, Grant (technical director) developed the functionality and turned Alex’s ideas into reality and Charlie (managing director) created the copy. The real magic happens behind the screens as the entire site is content managed and allows us to link related topics, news items and case studies to each page, improving the user experience.

Conclusion

We would like to thank our unknown benefactor and a number of other people that have been involved in the business over the last ten years: –

1. Sue Trousdale (Summit Events) for giving us the opportunity to develop their event management system back in 2004.

2. Jeremy Marchant who was our business coach between 2006 and 2008 and helped formulate our approach and inspired well formed outcomes.

3. Darryl Bates-Brownsword (Shirlaws) who is a business coach and has remained a firm friend (since I took him to Twickenham) and an invaluable sounding board and continues to challenge me to this day.

4. NRG Business Networks for providing a great environment in which to meet business owner / managers. It was the one day a month I used to look forward to every month (coincidentally, it was also whilst a member of the Bristol NRG  Business Networks where I met both Jeremy and Darryl).

5. Our unknown benefactor – who inspired our tag line – making complex tasks simple.

There are, of course many more people that we could thank, but this isn’t the Oscars!

Date: 20/09/2012

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