- Who are smart/tasking?
Smart/tasking are business improvement experts. Originally founded in the UK, and now launched in the US, the firm is totally focused on helping businesses work smarter, be more efficient and grow faster. Their outcomes-focused approach and collaborative way of working means they take full ownership of clients’ projects from Day One: shouldering burdensome tasks, identifying ways of streamlining or automating activities, and accelerating the journey to greater profitability.
- What are your specialisms?
Our three core areas of expertise are:
– Smart/hands – supports businesses who want to deliver tasks or projects themselves, but who don’t have the right skills or people in-house.
– Smart/consult – our strategic advisory service is popular with firms who have clear objectives and goals, but who feel they need specialist advice as to how to achieve these.
– Smart/task – our most popular service, in which we insource our clients’ troublesome, time-consuming, repetitive activities and take full ownership of these, giving clients more time to focus on other important activities, and giving smart/tasking the opportunity to identify and recommend clever ways of streamlining and/or automating these activities, into the future.
- What do clients get out of smart/tasking?
In a word: results. With client results regularly hitting numbers such as an 80% increase in customer satisfaction (for a communications technology client), a 100% increase in customer numbers (for a flight solutions company), and a 48% reduction in escalations (for a global software company), smart/tasking’s ability to deliver high-value, low-cost business improvement techniques simply cannot be challenged.
When we work with a client, we’re seeking to create change for the better, for the long-term – so we make it a priority to transfer knowledge and capability back into our clients’ businesses, leaving a legacy that keeps on delivering value, long after our initial engagement has completed.
- What makes you different?
Our working style, our expertise and our outcomes-focused approach to projects and our impressive track record of resultssets us apart from other firms offering similar services. Smart/tasking works as an integral part of a clients’ team, witnessing and experiencing challenges first-hand, then using our experience to build and implement more effective solutions. We have an extremely wide range of skills and expertise among our team members, all of whom have many years of experience in their field. Perhaps most important of all, however, is our ability to listen, to empathize, and to see the world through our clients’ eyes. The saying “walk a mile in their shoes” is totally appropriate for the way smart/tasking works with clients.
- Why have you chosen to launch in the U.S.?
Over the years, smart/tasking has established a very good client base in EMEA. Many of the firms we work for either have US operations already; or are seeking to set up a US arm. We wanted to give our clients the opportunity to have complete consistency across their operations, rather than a region-by-region approach, which can sometimes create tricky or even conflicting work practices and systems. By having a strong presence in the US and in EMEA, we can ensure complete consistent ways of working and harmonious systems and processes, at a truly Transatlantic level, for our clients.
Additionally, the large body of work that smart/tasking has delivered for the UK government has created within our company a drive to deliver this type of support to other governments, too. We have a notably large contact base in Homeland Security and in Washington, and we aspire to increase the support we can deliver to US citizens by providing our services to the country’s government.
- You do a lot for telecommunications and technology firms in the UK. Will this continue in the States?
It is very true that much of work falls within the telecoms and technology sector, as well as public sector (Government). Naturally, our ever-expanding network means that we are more likely to secure work in this area, as our delivery success is demonstrably good, and the technologies are very transferrable. We are already speaking with several tech and telco firms on the East Coast of the US, and we look forward to exploring more of these over the coming months.
- You are enhancing your PMO offering too, aren’t you?
Project Management and Program Management are of huge interest to us, and we’re having lots of conversations with our contacts in this space. We believe that a firm’s ability to manage and deliver projects quickly and cost-effectively plays a huge role in its success and its growth. Many firms – in particular, younger companies who are finding their feet in the market, and/or firms who have recently undergone significant change – struggle with efficient project management. Our PMO (Project Management Office) offering is totally bespoke, completely configurable, and as flexible as our clients need. The component parts – including management dashboards, reporting tools, administration tools, automation and even project communications – can be cherry-picked to suit our clients’ needs and can be scaled up and down at will.
Atop all of this is the move towards OpEx models of working, rather than CapEx. OpEx is actually creating a space for us to implement great PMO practices – it’s a more favorable operating environment, and if used correctly, it can deliver significant advantages to firms.
- What will ‘good’ look like for you?
Launching in a country as big as the US takes a lot of consideration, and of course we must build our network over here carefully and considerately. Relationships are hugely important to us, as they enable us to develop trust and gain genuine insights into our clients’ business. So, we’re aiming for steady growth, built on solid foundations and trusting, respectful relationships. This is much the same as our UK model, which has been very successful.
The other thing that we are very keen to achieve is a reputation as an honest, transparent, and supportive group of experts. ‘Consultancy’ as a field can sometimes seem a little “smoke and mirrors” to people, and certain practices have undermined its reputation. At smart/tasking, however, we all pride ourselves on being very down-to-earth, straight-talking, and transparent. That sort of reputation takes time to build; trust cannot be rushed. But the hard work, the focus on relationships and on earning our right to offer advice will be well worth it.
- Who is in your leadership team?
Our Founding Partners, who are based in the UK, are Niall Anderson, Paul Bibby and Gary Gamp. In the US, Smarttasking Inc. is led by Franck Cormier (President), and Danny Lacey (Director of Operations and Global Head of PMO).
- Who does smart/tasking work with?
We really work with a wide range of firms, but a lot of our clients are in the technology or telecommunications space, and also in Government. This does not limit our ability to support a wide range of firms and sectors; it simply gives us a lot of insight into these particular areas.
Our initial engagement is often with Senior Leadership and Management – for example, CTO, CMO, COO, and of course CEO. Our PMO activities are placing us on the radar of Program Directors and Project Managers. Additionally, our Program Health Recovery offering is being picked up by Heads of Division or Departmental Leads.
In terms of size – we actually work with companies of all shapes and sizes, although it is quite often the medium-sized enterprises who find our services the most useful for them. This is often because these firms have grown very successfully, but are finding further growth difficult because existing processes and operations are no longer efficient for them. Once we have provided support and advice, these companies often grow extremely quickly.
- The word ‘Optimizer’ is used a lot on your UK website. What does that mean?
In the UK, we use the word “Optimizer” when we are speaking about our expert team, all of whom are absolutely committed to making a process or activity run smoother, faster and more efficiently, with less manual intervention and therefore less room for human error. Each of our “optimizers” has their own particular skillset, so each one knows how to improve the way something is being done. When that all comes together on a project, we can say we have “optimized” – or IMPROVED – the way a business (or a division) is working.
“Optimizer” = “Improver”.
- If I went for a coffee with smart/tasking tomorrow… what could I expect?
The smart/tasking team loves great coffee! More than that, we love what sitting down with someone really involves: listening, being genuinely interested, asking lots of questions, and being empathetic. When we first meet with a new client, we listen far more than we talk. We create space for someone to offload, to explain what they’re excited about, or worried about, or hopeful for. We probe; we ask lots of open-ended questions. Sometimes we share experiences and reflect what has been said, so double-check we have understood the situation. For us, these initial conversations are all about creating rapport, establishing a level of trust, and building a picture of what’s going on. We never jump in feet-first – we’re the ones watching, listening, and always asking.
Oh, and you can expect us to pay for the coffee!
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