THE BIRTH OF
THE MOBILE
WORKPLACE
ASSISTANT

Spencer
We built the mobile workplace assistant, later dubbed Spencer, as a unified interface for large companies’ critical tools, to make any employee’s workday happier and more efficient. This large-scale project started out when BASE company, one of Belgium’s leading mobile operators, was taking an in-depth look at its internal processes and wanted change.

KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID

Their main objective: simplification. BASE Company wanted to help employees be more productive by chopping away at their over-complicated processes. They knew this would make everyone’s office life easier and reduce their reliance on paper in the process. With this broad briefing, BASE Company and November Five got to work.

ENTERPRISES
ARE OVERSATURED
WITH TOOLS

November Five’s Strategy and Service Design team mapped out BASE Company’s demands, infrastructure and tools, using BASE Company’s own data and our methodologies. We looked for frustrating roadblocks in all stakeholders’ workflows, and soon noticed a pattern.

The many tools the company used to streamline complex processes were costing employees time and causing them headaches. They made complex matters manageable, but simple, everyday tasks had users digging through countless menus.

No one liked using these tools, and many people avoided them as much as possible. After extensive research into different enterprise staples, we realised we could build a tool to bridge the gap between large-scale processes and employees’ everyday actions.

Spencer tools

SIMPLE
MOBILE
PERSONAL
ACTIONABLE

Together with BASE Company, we defined four key values that we could take into our ideation session.
SIMPLE
Taking critical functionality from existing tools and bringing them into one interface.
MOBILE
Bringing all important information and actions to employees’ fingertips, no matter where they are.
PERSONAL
Eliminating all the clutter and presenting only relevant info to each individual’s job.
ACTIONABLE
Focusing on the most common day-to-day actions and making them quick and easy to perform.

IDEATION SESSIONS
BROADEN PEOPLE’S
MINDS

We believe in the philosophy of agile development, and also feel we should take the same inclusive approach earlier in the process, when first defining shape, purpose and features.

This is why November Five offers ideation sessions, where the most important stakeholders come together to generate ideas. Our own Strategy and Service Design team manages these sessions, using our own methods to get everyone's creative juices flowing.

We make sure everyone gets their say, gather ideas, and then sort and combine them until the skeleton of the final product starts taking shape. In this case, we focused on defining the optimal first feature set for the app.

Spencer ideation

DIGITAL ASSISTANTS
CAN RESTRUCTURE
THE MODERN
WORKPLACE

When this first feature set got the green light from BASE Company, development on the first version of Spencer could begin.

The application is an intelligent cloud layer that unites several industry solutions – SAP, Microsoft 365, Oracle, Salesforce – into a unified mobile app interface, where the user can find all essential information and actions. This way, Spencer becomes everyone's mobile workplace assistant.

Famous “digital assistants” like Siri, Google Now, Cortana and Facebook M are proof that people are looking for more intelligent tools to help them plan their lives. Spencer brings the same approach to the modern workplace.

WORK
FACILITY AND
COMMUNICATION

We designed Spencer’s feature set around three categories: Work, Facility, and Communication. The app handles project and task management and HR-related functionalities, but it can also help with office resources and employee communication.
Human resources

Employees can use the app to plan their holidays – checking how many days they have left and requesting their days off. Their manager will be presented with a card where they can safely and quickly approve the request. And when an employee is ill, they can alert their boss and coworkers, hand in their doctor’s note and set their out of office message with a few taps.

Human resources
Office resources

Spencer can also be an Office Manager’s favourite sidekick, allowing all employees to easily schedule meeting rooms or report hardware issues. Meeting with a client? Spencer can provide them with WiFi access and information. And when everyone carries Spencer in their pockets, notifying employees of the latest hires and company announcements becomes much easier.

Office resources

WORK
FACILITY AND
COMMUNICATION

We designed Spencer’s feature set around three categories: Work, Facility, and Communication. The app handles project and task management and HR-related functionalities, but it can also help with office resources and employee communication.

Employees can use the app to plan their holidays – checking how many days they have left and requesting their days off. Their manager will be presented with a card where they can safely and quickly approve the request. And when an employee is ill, they can alert their boss and coworkers, hand in their doctor’s note and set their out of office message with a few taps.

Spencer can also be an Office Manager’s favourite sidekick, allowing all employees to easily schedule meeting rooms or report hardware issues. Meeting with a client? Spencer can provide them with WiFi access and information. And when everyone carries Spencer in their pockets, notifying employees of the latest hires and company announcements becomes much easier.

Spencer example

SENSITIVE DATA HOUSEKEEPING

Spencer's method of working posed a number of challenges when it came to security.

Spencer needs access to potentially sensitive sources of data, making securing that client data a top priority. When developing the first version, we realized the only way to ensure proper, separated authentication and authorization was to work closely with BASE Company’s existing infrastructure.

We also create an isolated Spencer cloud for each company, based on industry-grade Amazon AWS VPC and VPN infrastructure. Another aspect was securing the communication between the Spencer cloud and the mobile app, which adheres to industry standards like HTTPS and oAuth2.0. And when necessary, Spencer supports 2-factor authentication.

AND NOW
INTO THE FUTURE

Spencer started out as a solution for BASE Company’s troubles, but it didn’t take us long to see those issues were universal for larger companies. When there are too many tools, with different structures and interfaces, they become a time suck – the exact opposite of what you want them to achieve.

Spencer is the missing link between your large-scale enterprise tools and your employees, who just want to keep moving. No roadblocks, no learning curves – just clear information and quick actions.

" Spencer helps us combine our critical applications into a single, easy-to-use, mobile interface. The result: fewer roadblocks to productivity and happier employees! " JOS DONVIL CEO of BASE Company, leading mobile operator
Spencer cards

We’re only just getting started with Spencer – we’re currently preparing a whole slew of new features, mostly focused on facility management. Building access control and parking space reservations are at the top of our to do list. But of course, there’s a lot of wild and useful ideas on our backlog, waiting for the right opportunity to make Spencer the perfect assistant.

We’re convinced Spencer can make a difference in the way a business is run. Do you agree? Go to getspencer.com and leave your company data to get up close and personal with Spencer.

GETSPENCER.COM