Yesterday evening, a group of clients braved the cold and the rain and attended our networking event in Amsterdam.
Held on a canal boat, the event was timed to co-incide with the last week of the Amsterdam Light Festival. Despite the weather, the event was well attended, with plenty of lively discussion and a fantastic view of the stunning light installations along the way.
Guest speaker presentation
In today’s business environment, companies need to adapt and react quickly, or risk falling behind. How to manage change through the organization was the main theme of the presentation and discussion that followed.
Flip, our Finance Sales Manager, introduced Ruud Berendse, a highly experienced project leader, who presented his thoughts.
Ruud started by outlining the three types of change that needed to be addressed in order to control and manage change – changes in society, changing organizations and changes in the labour market. He talked about the pace of change in today’s society, where technology is constantly developing, and how the gap between the younger generations and older in terms of their understanding is widening.
Straight Through Processing (STP)
When talking about changing organizations, Ruud expanded upon the increasing introduction of STP in order to allow companies to keep up with the fast pace of change, using Agile methodologies. Companies often turn to STP in order to reduce lead times, cost and errors.
Some of the characteristics of STP were highlighted, including the importance of data quality, the cyclical process of defining, measuring, analyzing, improving and controlling processes, the challenges of integrating various systems and resulting continuous improvement.
He also mentioned that the development and control of processes and services are always continuous; the To Be situation also changes and evolves over time.
Ruud went on to outline two tracks to enable companies to achieve the To Be situation, the development track, using Agile scrum project management methods, and the operations track, a process focused approach.
He concluded by stating that for companies to move to an STP environment required a change in mindset from operations to control. He re-emphasised the need for measureable goals, dashboard control, the importance of bringing in highly qualified staff and an overall willingness by the company to improve.
Changing labour markets
Flip continued the presentation, and began by selecting a very pertinent quote from Charles Darwin to illustrate the need for people to embrace change:
‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.’
If an organization, and its culture, is going to positively embrace change and implement change in order to stay ahead, strong direction is needed from the top of the organization throughout the management ranks. Additionally, specialists need to add to their skill set, making sure they stay relevant and become as versatile as possible.
Round Table Discussion
Following the guest speaker presentation, the evening continued with a round table discussion. Topics were hotly debated by attendees, with lots of opinions and thoughts shared with the audience.
‘It was a very engaging evening with some great discussions, and I learnt about some new points of view. There was a lot of good discussion with peers, who have similar roles with similar challenges to myself.’ was the view of one of the attendees.
Once the business discussions were over, attendees were able to network with colleagues, peers and the Michael Bailey Associates host team.
‘I have heard of the Amsterdam Light Festival, but I haven’t ever been! So this was a great opportunity to combine business with pleasure, and it certainly delivered.’ commented one of our guests at the event.
‘I was really pleased that people made connections with new peers, and I know that many will continue to keep in touch after having met at the event. It’s always great to meet people who operate in the same field to share experiences and knowledge, and I’m glad that we could be a part of that.’ said Anasja, who organized and ran the event.
Flip, who chaired the session, said ‘Feedback was excellent! From the unusual venue to the topics on the agenda, all the people I spoke with enjoyed it, and also found it useful, which was our aim.’
The presentation from the event is available on slideshare here, and information about future events will be posted on our blog.