Nothing is more important than listening

“When I’m talking to an employee about his activities and he tells me he has to press a button every two hours to update a certain file, I immediately think: ‘Is there a way to automate this?’ Because if there is, that employee can focus on more meaningful tasks,” says sr. consultant Koen Clement when I ask him what it is that defines his work. For him, listening is the most important part of it.

Koen collaborates with various clients to automate business processes wherever possible. “It’s a little more challenging now because of the distance we have to keep, but usually I’m physically present with my clients. This is when you really get a feel for what business processes they are dealing with, and how you can improve them. Because people don’t really have a clear impression of what you can do with automation. Why would you repeatedly press a button, when you can get a computer to the same thing? I think this is the most common question: ‘Can it be done automatically?’”

“When we finish a project and people see what is possible, they suddenly want to automate everything. There have been a few instances where I thought I was only going to work with a client for a few weeks, and then saw it turn into a few months,” Koen laughs. “Technically there are a lot of possibilities. But it has to be the right solution. That is what we focus on.”

Because automating processes can have a great impact. “One client had a certain department with multiple people printing lists and manually checking for specific mutations. They were doing this on a daily basis. After automating this with Automate, a part of the people who were doing that every day became redundant. This is something an organisation has to take into account, what this may mean for those people. The impact it can have. We definitely include these aspects in our sessions.”

Does Koen spend that much time with every client? “Every client is different, and so is every project. Sometimes we only automate a single process, or we only provide training so the IT department has the tools to get started on their own. But with other clients, you really become part of the team for an extended period of time.”

“It all has to do with listening: listening to the client, determining what they want or what they need. This is why I enjoy my work. I visit a lot of different clients, where I often hear and see new things. I can learn from that, too,” Koen concludes.

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