Intelligent Pathways CEO Peter Robertson reflects on an interesting and challenging year, and talks about what to look forward to as we head into 2022.
What’s your mindset going into 2022?
I think in general I’d like to say we’re staying positive. We’ve been very lucky up in Queensland especially (although it’s become obvious in the past few weeks that we can’t make too many predictions!) but many of our staff and our client base in other states have had a very tough year. We’re incredibly fortunate to be heading into 2022 with recurrent work booked with some of our new and longer term clients so certainly in that regard, I’m looking forward to seeing what the new year brings.
We’ve been working in a pretty flexible remote-or-office situation for about a year and a half now, how has that been going?
I would say it’s actually been a pretty positive experience for us as a company overall. At the moment our office is an open space for those who want to and feel safe to come in, while those who prefer to work from home are continuing to do that. We’ve completed some really big pieces of work this year despite our team being spread all over the place, and we actually did an employee survey recently that had really positive results, particularly on things like sense of belonging despite the majority of our staff working largely from home. So I think it might be the nature of our industry and our people (and our business) that they’ve already formed strong relationships with their team over time, they’re very comfortable working through digital means.
Are there any drawbacks you’re seeing with working from home? What are you keen to rekindle by working in person again when possible?
My personal view and observation is that working remotely is quite good because you can really focus, knuckle down and get things done. But I don’t think anything can replace the innovation that comes from having everybody in the same room together. So I think productivity can run well in remote circumstances, but I also think innovation can be stifled. When the time is right and it’s appropriate, getting everybody in a room together just to spark that innovation side of things… I think that’s where we’ll see improvement in that area.
What have been the main challenges IP faced in 2021?
Lack of travel has been a detriment, certainly. We’ve been missing being able to check in on customers or past clients or people in my network. A face-to-face catch up does a lot to keep relationships strong and shows you’re really present and engaged, and it also does wonders for forming new connections too. You’d be surprised at the number of people I have met on a plane, or getting in line to go somewhere, or at conferences or through a friend of a friend.
As a business we’ve been exploring areas for continual improvement, always keeping our customer at the centre of it, and really it’s just about being able to understand and validate and serve their needs despite the changing operating environments they’re finding themselves in. Project delivery we’ve always done extremely well, but searching for even more ways to make that process more efficient and keep delivering outcomes at the pace that people need.
What are you excited about for 2022? What things are on the horizon there?
I think it’s the nature of our industry and our world right now that there’s a lot of change, a lot to keep us busy. The cloud services ecosystem is certainly an area of interest for us going forward, we’ve been able to build enterprise grade solutions for clients that previously couldn’t afford that type of capability. We’ve also been doing a lot of work in the ERP transformation space, particularly around Human Capital Management and Customer Experience. As always, integration plays a critical role in these programs and we’re looking forward to working in the space more as businesses look to technology to drive better outcomes.
Another thing I’m really pleased about is the renewed interest and momentum in organisations managing their environmental impact. Having developed our Eden Suite product many years ago to assist organisations with their data and reporting requirements in this space, it’s really pleasing to see how adaptable it’s proving to be for a broad range of industries and how it’s helping our clients meet those requirements more easily.
Any final comments to close out the year?
I’d just really like to thank our staff, my leadership team, our clients…we’re really a people business – they’re at the heart of what we do and why we do it – and without the great work that our staff have put in this year, and the strong relationships with those great clients, we wouldn’t be weathering this storm half as well as we are. It’s been a big year, but I’m really pleased with what we’ve managed to achieve and I’m looking forward to steering us into an interesting and challenging new time.