Introducing Hayley McMinn, the new DRAMS Product Manager. Recently promoted from within the DRAMS team, Hayley has a clear vision for the future of the DRAMS system and the ongoing development of our product range.
Having settled into her new role, Hayley shares some details of her experiences with the company, along with her views on the direction of the DRAMS product range in a Q&A session.
You have been with DRAMS 18 months now, and for 14 months of that you were an Implementations Consultant. How have you found your time at DRAMS?
I have enjoyed working with the customers, and the variety of processes and projects so far. Although there are many similarities within Scotch, Bourbon, Rum and Tequila, it seems that with each implementation that there a few processes done in a slightly different way. It means there is always something new to see and learn!
I have a massive appreciation for the mature spirits industry and craft. For an industry which is very old, I am impressed at the level of innovation and green initiatives, particularly the constant reuse of casks across the different spirit sectors.
The DRAMS team were very welcoming and helped me get up to speed very quickly and I am amazed at the level of passion, experience, and industry knowledge within the team.
I joined the DRAMS team when the country was in lockdown during the Covid 19 pandemic which, at the time, made trying to learn about the industry challenging as I am a firm believer in getting out to site to see the processes for myself and to build working relationships with users. However, as restrictions have eased, I have been lucky to get the opportunity to visit a good number of sites and to finally meet our customers!
You came to us from an IT Coordinator role at Don & Low (an industrial textile manufacturer), how do you think your experiences there have benefited you in your time at DRAMS?
Throughout my time at Don & Low, I had the opportunity to work on ERP and key business system implementation and upgrade projects in varying roles, from end user, through to key user and finally to a project management level. My experience in a customer role has definitely helped at my time at DRAMS – I have a good understanding of what the customer expects as I was once in that position myself!
Although I managed to get good business experience across the board: from finance and sales to logistics, my passion has always been in supporting the planning and production functions, within a process manufacturing environment – once you get over the change from square metres and grammage to bulk litres and lalc, there are a surprising number of common themes and challenges where I have managed to bring in previous learnings to a solution or system development.
You’ve recently been promoted to Product Manager, congratulations. How have you found the transition?
Interesting so far, and I am excited for the projects and changes to come! My experience in implementations has set me up for a successful start to my new role. The most challenging aspect so far is taking a balanced view on system development within DRAMS – I have always worked as per customer requirements but taking that requirement and assessing its impact in other customers, market areas and existing functionality is both interesting and challenging.
You’re now a few months into your new role, what do you hope to achieve in the Role?
DRAMS is a great product, but we should always be striving to make it better. A Product Manager’s role is so important to ensure that there is a steady stream of system enhancements which takes into consideration, both, our vision as a company as well as what really matters to our customers.
Coming into this role from the Implementations side of things and having worked closely with our existing customers, I feel like I have a good number of experiences which I can draw upon, especially when identifying what types of things will really matter to our DRAMS users.
Additionally, I also have experience in software support and development activities, so I have an appreciation for how system enhancements may affect key activities within our development and customer care team. This understanding will ideally make the experience of developing and rolling out new functionality to our customers a smooth one for both our teams internally, and our customers externally.
Over the longer-term, I want to make sure that we are continually providing our customers with an improved user experience and additional functionality in their existing DRAMS investment as well as releasing a wider variety of new modules.
Having been appointed as the DRAMS Product Manager, I want to make sure that our customers can see that their voices are being heard and that their feedback is being used to create constant enhancements to the product.
What are your first priorities in the role?
My main focus is to continue with the planning phase of the redevelopment of the existing DRAMS interface to a new web-based user interface. We first announced this project at the 2021 DRAMS User Group when we presented our initial concepts of the redeveloped interface.
Now, I am looking to progress these initial concepts by gathering feedback directly from our customers in one-to-one user group sessions. During this feedback process I am aiming to work directly with users of the DRAMS system to explore how they interact with the concept interfaces as well as to have detailed discussions around existing DRAMS pain points or potential enhancements to be considered as we move the project forward.
More generally, I will also be implementing further change control processes, ensuring that any ongoing system enhancements, module development and DRAMS processes will benefit the most customers possible and provide a great user experience for users. I plan on promoting underlying technical system change too, to make the product easier to setup and easier for our Customer Care Team to provide more efficient solutions to helpdesk queries.
How do you think having a dedicated product manager in the DRAMS team will benefit our customers?
As a Product Manager, although I represent DRAMS Software, I am also representing the voice of our customers.
DRAMS users are in the best position to help shape the product’s functionality and usability going forward – we already benefit from an active customer community and good communication between customers and the DRAMS team, but I would encourage all customers to keep in touch and to be involved in future customer engagement activities.
I would love to see more of our customers attend our annual user group event and taking part in our new module implementation projects through special interest groups.
DRAMS has potential to provide even more industry leading functionality and user experience, however, if we don’t get this invaluable feedback from our customers, I consider this as opportunities missed.
We, at DRAMS, would like to thank Hayley for her contributions to the team and product so far. She has done a fantastic job in her role as Implementations Consultant and has already amassed a great deal of knowledge about our products and has developed excellent relationships with our customers. We look forward to seeing what she will achieve in the role of Product Manager and have no doubt that there will be great things to come. Congratulations Hayley.
For more information about any of the items discussed in Hayley’s Q&A session, including details on how you can participate in any of our product feedback sessions, reach out using the DRAMS Contact Us page.