Caroline Lewis featured

Inspirational Woman: Caroline Lewis | Sales Director, Tiger

Caroline Lewis – sales director at Tiger

I’m Caroline Lewis, and I’m the sales director for Tiger – a workplace data analytics organisation.

I’m proud to be the company’s sales director – driving forward an eight-strong sales division. But while sales is my specialism, I also work closely with all of the different teams and departments across the whole of Tiger – working collaboratively to ultimately grow the business and build upon our strong reputation within the industry.

I have over 20 years’ experience in the industry, but my passion for tech started when I decided to study a computing and informatics degree at the University of Plymouth.

After graduating, my first job was in a customer tech support role at Tiger. I then swiftly progressed into the sales area of the business, due to my combined business and technology skillset. Tiger is a company which really fits with my own personal values. Aside from the inspiring technical developments, it offers lots of support and development for its people, which makes it a positive and rewarding environment to be part of.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Honestly, no. When choosing my A-levels, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew I enjoyed STEM subjects, and I liked the idea of working in business. Looks like I was on the right track after all!

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Flying the flag for women in a predominantly male-dominated industry has its challenges!

In my early twenties, I remember sitting down in board meetings – where the c-suite representatives were all men – and having to demonstrate my ability to not only hold my own in the room but to understand technical discussions.

I quickly discovered the importance of having confidence in your own skillset, but also knowing when you do and don’t need support from colleagues with more experience.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

There have been several key milestones for me.

Of course, I’m proud of being Tiger’s sales director, but not because of the desire for seniority, rather it’s about all the years’ positive experiences, successes, wins, and hurdles overcome which have got me here. Being able to use this knowledge and experience within my own team to help them develop, grow and ultimately be more successful, is a hugely rewarding process.

Also, a specific achievement that springs to mind is having been awarded Tiger’s ‘Salesperson of the Year’ title for four consecutive years. This is given to the team member with the best revenue performance for that financial year – something I’m extremely proud of.

However, alongside being recognised by my fellow colleagues, it’s always very rewarding to see how our technology makes a difference to our customers – helping them to interpret their data so they can make better decisions, improve efficiency, and reduce costs.

Ultimately, I’m proud of the reputation Tiger has in the marketplace and the relationships we have with customers, partners, and the wider UC&C space. We don’t stand still – which makes it a great place to be!

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Great parenting – mine have been a big influence in my life.

I inherited my passion for STEM subjects from my dad, and my self-belief and drive – stubbornness! – from my mum.

From an early age, my parents encouraged my brother and I to enjoy learning and developing an interest in a plethora of subjects – there were never any barriers or boundaries to what we could do. And this confidence in my capability to do anything I put my mind to has stayed with me.

However, finding a company which possesses this same ethos has also played a pivotal part in this success – it was fate.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

To believe in yourself, be determined and surround yourself with people who have this same positivity – don’t listen to the doubters! Finally, find a job that interests you – it’s important to retain your passion and excitement for your chosen field.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

The barrier is often other people’s mindsets. That’s why it’s important to work with, and learn from likeminded colleagues, coaches and role models plus look for a company which has the same ethos you do.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

Ultimately, this has to come from both sides of the fence – the company and the employee – with women being confident and believing in their capabilities.

However, the firm should have a level playing field and open mindset when hiring new candidates – they need to be conscious about how they’re presenting themselves. For example, are the culture they promote and the job descriptions they write authentically inclusive? If so, this may go a long way in attracting more female applicants.

There is currently only 17% of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

The change has to come from an early foundation. I’d push the importance of STEM subjects in education and ensure that all schools and colleges had positive role models with encouraging attitudes towards women in tech careers. I always remember my maths tutor laughing at me for wanting to do a computer science degree, and that shouldn’t happen.

What is your favourite thing about working in the tech sector?

The ability to be part of an industry that can challenge the norm, influence change quickly and inspire everyone with new ways of working.

What do you think will be one of the biggest tech trends in 2021?

While 2020 saw businesses having to react quickly by setting up remote workforces or accelerating their home-working capabilities, this year it will be all about those same companies catching up with where their tech investments have rapidly propelled them.

All this will take place alongside analysing what worked well and not so well – to inform future business decisions, regarding people, productivity, and efficiencies. And workplace data will play a vital role in achieving this.

Last March, Microsoft Teams’ users increased by 12 million in one week, while Cisco reported 6.7 billion minutes of meetings on one day. And one of our clients had voice data volumes increase over threefold between February and March.

Now, companies will be figuring out how to harness all this intelligence.

In the age of ‘dispersed workforces’ – all sat remotely behind a webcam – business leaders will want to know more about how line managers are looking after their teams, whether employees are engaging with the new tech, and if there are any staff wellbeing issues, and more.

But having the data to know if staff don’t have their cameras on for every video call or send high numbers of instant messages to colleagues, can help to identify any issue and remedy it. Whether it’s because they’re lonely, they’re having technology issues, or there’s a training need – organisations will need this insight at their fingertips.

But crucially, everyone needs more access to the data that’s relevant to their team. This will be the key in helping individuals to better help staff, collaborate and enhance productivity – benefitting the entire company.


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group of young multiethnic diverse people gesture hand high five, laughing and smiling together in brainstorm meeting at office, company culture

Can data analytics drive employee engagement and company culture?

group of young multiethnic diverse people gesture hand high five, laughing and smiling together in brainstorm meeting at office, company culture

Big data. For many of us, it’s one of those buzzwords that is overused, but not understood.

And yet, workplace analytics represents a crucial part of the puzzle for any company that’s committed to fostering a collaborative culture and creating a team that’s driven to deliver the best service for its customers.

This is a trend that’s only set to grow. Remote working is on the rise, which has led to the accelerated adoption of collaboration tools – especially video. This means we’re all generating more data than ever before. So how do we make use of it all, exactly?

Caroline Lewis – sales director at workplace data analytics business Tiger – explores the power of insight in driving employee engagement and a positive office environment.

A fear of the unknown

When it comes to how an employee feels about data analytics, they usually sit in one of two camps – they either love and embrace it or they’re really wary of it.

But no matter which side of the fence they’re on, their chosen stance often stems from how business owners have communicated the concept with them in the first place.

Those who are more ‘on board’ tend to have been informed about the ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind its implementation – hearing how it can be used as a company-wide efficiency tool. Whereas, on the other side of the coin, those who are less familiar with its usage usually have a more negative perception of what benefits it could possibly bring to an organisation – believing it’s solely a mechanism for identifying job cuts or people who need to work harder.

And it’s this lack of clarity from management which gives way to this ‘Big-Brother-like’ cynicism.

Perhaps it’s because the term ‘data’ is commonly associated with ‘exams’ and ‘tests’, that we’ve naturally shied away from it – being fearful of the end result. Put this in a workplace context and the prospect of introducing data analytics into the fold can quickly make colleagues feel uneasy – especially if they’re left to wonder why it’s being applied.

With no steer or messaging from management, it’s easy to head straight down the avenue of negativity – worrying it’s because people are performing badly and it’s a tool to keep a close eye on staff performance.

However, this really isn’t the case. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Maximising efficiencies and empowering a workforce

When communicating what data can do, it’s important to stress its role in supporting and engaging colleagues with their day-to-day jobs, and that it’s not there to test or trick them.

The role of workplace analytics looks different for every company, as it’s ultimately down to what a particular enterprise wants to achieve. That said, on a granular level, it’s all about looking at bottlenecks within an organisation – promoting better use of collaboration tools both old and new, creating efficiencies, optimising staffing levels and improving KPIs. In addition, its purpose is to equip workers with the ‘evidence’ to make, or complement, informed business-critical decisions, that positively impact not only their department but the organisation as a whole.

However, the above is only possible if this data is made accessible to ‘the masses’ – aka the whole labour force. If dashboards are disseminated solely on a c-suite level, this is when it can quickly feel like results are being scrutinised and the data is nothing more than a surveillance instrument.

Instead, if everyone has oversight of the detail, they can see exactly what’s going on and utilise this knowledge to empower their team to make individual improvements which contribute to achieving a greater business-wide objective. And it’s when all employees have visibility over the enterprise’s performance, that a culture of trust and autonomy naturally develops.

What data organisations want – or need – a view of depends on what they’re keen to achieve. It could be anything from tracking how long call-wait times are, which employees repeatedly suffer with a lack of connectivity or technical issues, the seasonality of call volumes, or looking at whether or not more staff are needed and break times need staggering etc.

The possibilities really are endless, but what’s pivotal to remember is that when the intelligence is there acting as an ‘enabler’ – helping employees to carry out their day job more efficiently – engagement levels increase and everyone feels like they’re working towards one common goal.

The domino effect

Interestingly, if workplace data analytics are used in a transparent and collaborative way, this will also, by its very nature, lead to happier customers – and staff who feel fulfilled and proud of the job they’re doing.

It’s all one big cycle – one element cannot exist without the other.

That’s because detailed insights often highlight the pain-points or bugbears clients have too – no matter how big or small, such as long call-waits at a certain time of day. When this is identified and addressed, neither the workforce nor the customers have to deal with the other’s frustrations over a call or via email.

In short, when employees are engaging with clients for positive reasons, this quickly closes the loop and positively impacts company culture too. Workers feel less stressed, aren’t dreading awkward conversations, and feel empowered to confidently interact with their accounts.

Data for the future

Additionally, as a result of having more insight into how an organisation works, this allows teams to make more intelligent forecasts.

For instance, if managers can see what ‘issues’ are seasonal and which are day-to-day concerns, they have greater flexibility to adapt and make decisions for the long-term good of the business – instead of knee-jerk reactions.

Additionally, while real-time stats are useful, the value of analysing historic information shouldn’t be overlooked. Companies can learn from what is happening – and has happened – to ensure operations run as seamlessly as possible, with maximum employee engagement and productivity.

And it’s arguably this level of informed collaboration that forms the basis of any workplace which values and wants to retain its people well into the future.

Caroline Lewis About the author

With over 20 years’ experience in the tech industry, Caroline Lewis is the sales director at data analytics business, Tiger. She first joined the company’s customer support team in 1999 after achieving a BA Hons degree in computing and informatics, and it was her love of people and tech which soon saw her develop a keen interest in the commercial side of the business.

 

 


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