By David Gillespie, Service Improvement Manager, Bravura
I’ve recently hit my fourth anniversary at Bravura. Unlike many of my colleagues, this was my first foray into the fintech industry, which has been eye-opening and a great experience overall.
At Bravura, I’ve worked in several roles within Service Management, primarily Incident & Problem Management, as well as Service Improvement.
I’m also passionate about our Diversity & Inclusiveness programme. I’m in fact heavily involved in different initiatives aimed at supporting and improving our global colleagues’ mental health. I now lead the organisation’s Neurodiversity pillar with the goal of supporting Bravura to build on the progress made by the business since our D&I campaign was launched three years ago. Bravura’s D&I endeavours were recently recognised, as we were named Large Employer of the Year, at FT Adviser’s Diversity in Finance Awards 2023.
My career has been varied so far, with roles spanning from service delivery, service management, to a melange of industries, including retail, manufacturing, higher education and security. This broad experience has allowed me to find a niche area of specialisation around process management, problem-solving and improvement, which may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but we all have our quirks!
The key learning from working across multiple sectors is that, whilst each is obviously unique with its own set of challenges, the processes that govern the way we work do not have be unique.
It is a common misconception that Service Management processes ‘have to be done’ in a certain way because of the specific industry. When it comes to service delivery, problem-solving and governance though, this is not always true. Many of my ideas are based on things I learned in the manufacturing sector, where root-cause analysis and continuous improvement are part of everybody’s role. We could all learn something from this mindset.
On the theme of problem-solving and root-cause analysis, I was introduced to an organisation called Kepner-Tregoe (KT) in 2014, by a former colleague in manufacturing. KT is a global consulting company specialised in problem-solving and decision-making, with a process that has been refined in 60+ years. Its methodology is used worldwide by leading organisations in numerous industries and even by the Apollo 13 space mission!
I received my certification for the KT methodology in 2018 and have implemented its principles into two organisations. One of the most common mistakes made when trying to solve problems is to rush into finding a solution before defining what the key issue is and reaching a complete understanding of it. The KT framework places fact and evidence-gathering at its core.
How have we implemented this at Bravura?
We have around 20 people at Bravura who are certified in the methodology, although the use of this process took a while to take off. Some analysts may think that we are unnecessarily lengthening investigations and that we could rapidly find a solution for our clients. By gathering all the facts before investigating, however, we are significantly increasing the chances of success when developing a solution.
To counteract this, we have tweaked our client portal to ensure that clients provide us with the information we require when they initially log an incident with us. We certainly have much more work to do to embed this process globally and I am sure that we can make positive progress.
Ultimately, the best outcome for our clients is that we solve their challenges properly. As a service-focused organisation, we should be aiming to provide a consistent and predictable level of service. Following a tested process, such as KT, would allow us to achieve this, considering that we consistently go through the same investigative steps each time.
One thing I love about the process is that it puts an emphasis on solving problems as a team. Our analysts have different specialisations and often it requires a combination of these to unlock complex issues. We encourage our teams to hold group problem-solving sessions where several challenges are presented and worked on together. For complex issues in particular brainstorming and collaborating as a group is much more effective than leaving analysts to struggle on their own.
As many of my colleagues know, I was recently named Kepner-Tregoe’s Coach of the Year for my efforts in implementing the framework at Bravura. One thing I am particularly proud of is that some of the work I conducted, in order to adapt the framework used in a software environment, has now been adopted by some of the KT consultants and embedded into their training programme.
Thinking outside of the box and helping our clients solve challenges, in the tightly regulated financial industry, is something we pride ourselves on at Bravura. I’m therefore extremely proud that Kepner-Tregoe has recognised my work in implementing their world-class problem-solving methodology into the dynamic and innovative software sector. I look forward to continuing the effort to develop our problem-solving capability, ultimately leading to faster delivery of higher-quality solutions, and improved customer outcomes in the future.