Looking For A Breakthrough? Take A SIIC Day!
Fostering innovation through company-wide collaboration typically conjures up images of dry team-building exercises that feel like a waste of time rather than an impactful way to create change.
That’s why Sara Weber, Operations and Product Manager, decided to turn the idea on its head, implementing a brand new way to encourage collaboration and bring about real change within the company.
Enter SIIC Day: Sockeye Innovation, Improvement and Collaboration Day.
The premise of SIIC Day is simple. The entire company was given a day off from work-related duties, to instead focus on a challenging task: develop an actionable idea that can make Sockeye better. The following day, team members presented their ideas at a company-wide meeting, where the winning idea would be chosen to implement.
The result was an exercise that generated swift, impactful innovation but an unexpected outcome, as Sara calls it was “one of the biggest boosts to company morale.”
The winning idea was presented by Brian Aarhus, Applications Developer, whose objective was to fix a commonly encountered pain point with clients: making file exports in Sage Intacct faster, easier, and more seamless. “A lot of our clients have web portals that require custom file uploads based on their specifications”, says Eric Ward, President of Sockeye. “Until now, it has required custom code to create those files, and custom export tools for each client.”
One 10-hour coding sprint later, Brian demoed a file export tool that addressed the problem with an efficient solution. “It used to require 20-40 hours to create a custom developer solution on top of our existing export service. So instead, we created something that’s instant, on-demand, and custom-formatted to fit the data the users are looking for, completely eliminating the need for costly development,” says Brian.
Perhaps even more interesting, Brian developed the tool as a progressive web app, a type of web application that uses the latest technology to deliver a seamless, cross-platform user experience right in the browser - no download or installation required. “The demo of this application shows how Sockeye can leverage the latest web technologies to improve our customer’s workflows”, says Brian. Not only did Brian’s file export tool win SIIC Day, but is a tool that many Sockeye customers have expressed interest in.
SIIC Day was an amazing opportunity for team members to take a break and focus on ways to improve areas they aren’t involved in on a day-to-day basis; but more importantly, it also revealed immensely important insights into organizational communication as well.
“A big thing we learned,” says Sara, “was the importance of mutual understanding between the accounting team and the development team. All too often, accounting can’t see the depth of certain areas of development, and vice-versa. SIIC Day opened both teams’ eyes to this, and has created major synergies in ways we never anticipated.”