MWM is a boutique consultancy specialising in executive search for predominantly FTSE 100 clients. It recently made the switch from an Olympus analogue system to a new digital dictation solution from Grundig Business Systems. We examine the rationale for the move and the advantages it has brought to the company.

When dictation is a fundamental part of every working day, and there’s a critical volume of documents to be dictated and transcribed every day, then you need technology that’s reliable and easy to use. When MWM’s existing analogue equipment started to fail and cause them precious downtime, it served as a catalyst to review their options. After some initial research and consulting with suppliers it became clear that the purchase of new analogue equipment would be a retrograde step – and that a move to digital would bring them many new benefits that would impact positively on efficiency, productivity, workload balancing and resource utilisation. They finally opted to pilot a solution from Grundig Business Systems, and supplied by Grundig‘s partner Data Supplies, which would consist of both hardware - the portable Digta 415 - and software - the DigtaSoft workflow package.

Executive assistant Karen Chapman took the pilot scheme on in conjunction with partner Ian Butcher and both parties soon had our reasons for recommending it to the rest of the firm. The remaining deployment took place over two days and the smoothness of the transition owed a lot to the care Grundig personnel took in setting users up and configuring the systems. Without dedicated in house IT support, MWM were concerned that they might struggle in this area – they recognised that they needed some hand holding and were impressed by the very personal and professional service they received.

Critical success factors
Karen Chapman estimates that MWM have already seen sufficient gains to recoup their initial investment – the ultimate judgement on the success of the implementation: “Even if we save a couple of hours of partners’ time a week, then that is paying handsome dividends on its own.” It’s allowed partners, who spend a lot of time in meetings and on the move, to dictate and email the file immediately, rather than having to wait to get back into the office to hand over the tape.
Another key issue was the device styling. As they deliberately mimic the operation of the old style analogue machines, there have been no barriers to adoption – you just pick them up, move the slide switch and speak. In addition, they can exploit some of the new features such as directory storage, the ability to insert passages into existing dictations and the opportunity to annotate files with clear instructions as to priority, confidentiality etc. It was also important for the executive assistants to benefit. Going digital has improved life in the office – even in small ways that one might not immediately think about, such as the quiet, smooth operation of the new foot pedals. Then there’s the hugely superior sound quality which has greatly increased transcription accuracy rates; the fact that they have eliminated equipment from the desktop, with just the one discreet unit required; and, most importantly, the far greater control assistants now have over files and workloads. They can easily assess how much work they have on and its urgency and then allocate transcriptions to less busy colleagues if necessary; the workflow software also allows them to manage files more closely, with Inbox settings tailored to personal preference eg automatic deletion of files after 14 days. And Karen and her colleagues are delighted to never have to worry again about cleaning and wiping a tape while hoping it doesn’t break!

MWM were so impressed with the technology and the implementation that they would recommend Grundig without hesitation. As Karen herself put it: “The whole package works – the devices, the software, the implementation and back-up service – and even though we’re a small niche company, we have felt a valued and important customer. As for digital dictation itself, well, it’s one of those technologies that you really don’t know how you’ve managed without it!”

Karen Chapman
EA to Ian Butcher
MWM Consulting
Almack House, 28 King Street
London SW1Y 6QW

Article courtesy of Grundig Business Systems