We built Spencer as a unified interface for large companies’ critical tools, to make any employee’s workday happier and more efficient. Today, he's on a mission to improve the way we all work.
KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID
We have several large enterprise clients, and we noticed they all ran into similar issues: their processes had become over-complicated, and it impacted their employees’ productivity. The first concepts for Spencer were aiming to fix those problems and streamline the workday.
ENTERPRISESARE OVERSATUREDWITH TOOLS
November Five’s Strategy Design team started mapping out possible demands, infrastructure and tools. We looked for frustrating roadblocks companies’ workflows, and soon noticed a pattern: overtooling.
The many tools enterprises use to streamline complex processes are costing employees time and causing them headaches. They create value by making complex matters manageable – but simple, everyday tasks have users digging through countless menus.
Employees don't like using these tools, and many people avoid 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.
DEALING WITHMILLENNIALS’HIGH EXPECTATIONS
The digital revolution has already happened – we all use a full arsenal of digital apps and tools in our personal life. Companies like Apple, Google, and countless others have shaped our expectations for digital products' user experience – and expectations are high.
Meanwhile, the millennial generation is entering the workforce in large numbers. Employers are working hard to attract them, but struggle to meet the high expectations these digital natives have for enterprise tooling.
IDEATION SESSIONSBROADEN PEOPLE’SMINDS
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.
From our research and ideation, we defined the four key values that would form the backbone of Spencer.
Taking critical functionality from existing tools to bring it together in one interface.
Focusing on the most common, day-to-day actions and making them quick and easy to perform.
Eliminating all the clutter and presenting only relevant info to each individual’s job.
Bringing all important information and actions to employees’ fingertips, no matter where they are.
DIGITAL ASSISTANTSCAN RESTRUCTURETHE MODERNWORKPLACE
When the first feature set was defined, 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 every employee's mobile workplace assistant.
The fact that companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple are all focusing effort on their “digital assistants” is proof that contextual intelligence is gaining traction: people are looking for smarter tools to help them plan their lives. Spencer brings the same approach to the modern workplace.
HOW CANSPENCERHELP YOU
We designed Spencer’s feature set around six categories: HR, communication, organisation, facility, hospitality, and finance. Spencer’s modular approach allows him to handle a wide variety of tasks and information.
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’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 client companies' infrastructure.
We also create an isolated Spencer cloud for each company, based on industry-grade, encrypted VPC and VPN infrastructure. Another aspect was securing the communication between the Spencer cloud and the mobile app, which adheres to industry standards to ensure data is secured at rest and in transit. And of course, Spencer also supports two-factor authentication.
AND NOWINTO THE FUTURE
Hatched and nurtured at November Five, Spencer is ready to fly! Early this year, Spencer was launched as a separate entity next to November Five, with a dedicated team ready to take the product to the next level.
Meanwhile, our team has gained the confidence of a few great client companies – and we're not about to stop. Telenet, Proximus, and DEME Group have already hired Spencer to improve their employees' office life.
We’re only just getting started with Spencer – we’re currently preparing a whole slew of new features and modules. And of course, there are a lot of wild and useful ideas on our backlog, waiting for the right opportunity to make Spencer the perfect assistant.
Spencer is the missing link between large-scale enterprise tools and the employees that use them, and just want to keep moving. No roadblocks, no learning curves – just clear information and quick actions. We’re convinced Spencer can make a difference in the way a business runs. Do you agree? Go to spencer.co and leave your company data to get up close and personal with Spencer.