An introductory goodbye

After a decision to make some changes in my life, and with a dash of pedantry, I’m finishing at dxw two years to the day since I joined.

If you’ve ever visited dxw, you might remember me as the loud guy trying to explain why linux containers should change the way we think about releasing software, having a philosophical debate on object oriented principles or maybe just the guy rocking a fluffy coat and white jeans.

I relocated from Stockholm to start work on the online customer services project for Thames Valley Housing here in London. We were helping them to transform the way they interact with their residents. Using research and technology to create the right thing for the right people, we wanted to create an experience good enough that people preferred to use it. The product saves time and money for Thames Valley, mainly by cutting down the number of calls to their customer service centre.

It’s not until now, when I’m out on the other side of two years, that I can confidently admit (to myself, most of all) that this project has been successful. Not just for Thames Valley, but for the part it’s played in building dxw as an organisation that designs and builds web services, not just websites.

The difference, while seemingly insignificant, is not mere semantics. A website tells people what service you provide. A web service allows people to access those services directly. Committing to building a web service is committing to automating functions of your organisation and making them accessible on the web.

If you want to design an exceptional service, first understand what your customers need and then work out how to meet those needs. Working with this mindset will make it much more likely that you provide the right thing to the right people.

The dxw team guided Thames Valley through this process and helped change the way they serviced those needs using technology. It’s been used to make just under 1000 general enquiries, request over 2000 repairs and pay millions of pounds of rent. And, as importantly, has reduced phone payments by half.

I hope Thames Valley Housing is in a strong position to further improve its services. And I know that the team at dxw now have the experience to take on even larger and more complex transformational projects.

Personally I’m happy I’ve got to be part of the journey.