Introducing Gillian Thom, DRAMS Implementation Consultant. Having recently joined the DRAMS team, Gillian answers some questions about her time so far with DRAMS.
Gillian, welcome to DRAMS. You’ve had a few months to settle into the role now, how have you found it?
I’ve been on a steep learning cover over the past 3 months but all the learning materials that DRAMS has made available to me has provided me with the information I needed to support my learning of the spirits industry, DRAMS and my role as an implementation consultant.
Everyone in the DRAMS Team has been super helpful in providing me with support and sessions on the software to get me up to speed with various aspects of the DRAMS product range.
The dynamic between DRAMS and Volaris – the corporate operating group DRAMS belongs to – has also been interesting to learn about. Volaris provides a number of e-learning packages which – as an employee- really enables you to understand what they are looking for in each of the different business departments and to benefit from the best practices shared across the group. Across DRAMS and Volaris, you get the best of both worlds in terms of working for both a small business and a large corporation.
You came to us from a software testing role at NHS Education for Scotland, how has the transition been?
I had been undertaking a secondment to NHS Education for Scotland in a software testers role and gained lots of valuable experience in various testing methodologies, Azure dev ops and Git. However, my substantive post was an Implementation Facilitator at NHS Fife where I spent 5 years working on implementations for large scale projects and delivering systems training to staff. I have been able to use the knowledge gained there in terms of project management, gathering user requirements and training.
Having no knowledge of the spirits industry when I joined DRAMS has been a challenge but there is lots of information available to upskill in this area. Being on site at distilleries has also helped me to build up knowledge of how they operate and their processes.
Now you’re settled into the role what types of projects have you been getting involved in?
The main project I have been involved in so far is DRAMS Scan and EMCS for one of our existing customers. As part of the project kick-off I visited the customer site with Hayley – our Product Manager – and Katie – a fellow Implementation Consultant – to do a process review of their warehousing operations. This process review allowed us to really understand the customers’ processes, how the DRAMS modules should be configured to align with these and to document the ways in which DRAMS could enhance their current ways of working.
The site visit was a real learning experience, and, personally, I was able to leverage the knowledge within the team to gain a broader understanding of how our customers work and the types of challenges they can be facing.
The EMCS (Excise Movement and Control System) part of this project involved a third-party supplier whose system DRAMS connects to via a webservice for customer data to be passed to HMRC for approval. The involvement of a third-party supplier always adds a layer of complexity to any project and throughout the EMCS implementation, it was important for the DRAMS team to work closely with all stakeholders involved.
Going forward, I have another site visit lined up to provide support for Wood Management User Acceptance Testing. The Wood Management module is one I have been focusing on a lot recently, I’ve been spending time shadowing Pat, one of our Customer Care team members who has a lot of experience with this module, as well as doing some independent learning. This project excites me as with my background in testing, I think it will be a good opportunity for me to bring some of my previous experiences to the role.
Supporting the DRAMS Account Management program and building customer relationships is another key area of your role, how has that been going?
I really enjoy the account management part of this role and building rapport with our customers. In my previous role as an implementation facilitator, I did this to some extent with internal customers which was a bit different in that I wasn’t working in a commercial environment.
Speaking with customers really helps to build up my knowledge of DRAMS and the type of issues our customers are facing.
By engaging with our customers and having regular conversations, I’m able to make sure we are providing a satisfactory experience by resolving any issues they might have or by working with them to understand new ways in which DRAMS could improve their processes or bring new benefits to their operation.
So you and Katie, started here at DRAMS at the same time, do you think that’s helped you adjust to the role?
Absolutely! No-one likes being the newbie, so it was good that I had someone to share the same experiences with. We did a lot of learning together initially and still catch up to discuss our projects and share knowledge.
Beyond you and Katie, the DRAMS Professional Services team has grown this year, what do you think is next for the team?
Glen has also recently joined the team in a Technical Support role and I think that having a dedicated person in this type of role will be really beneficial. Glen has lots of experience and will really enable us to improve the services we offer our customers.
Hayley moved out of the Implementation Consultant role and into the Product Management role, but she has been providing lots of support while Katie and I upskill and try to get to her level of expertise. Hayley’s new role is key in driving forward the new web-based UI and gathering feedback from customers to shape the future of DRAMS software. This is an exciting area and something I would be keen on getting involved in from a testing perspective.
As well as working on the projects we have, we are always busy reviewing the processes we have in place to improve the support we provide to our customers. That’s not just the Professional Services team, that’s the whole DRAMS team!
We, at DRAMS, would like to welcome Gillian to the team and to thank her for the contributions she has made so far. Its been great to see both Gillian and Katie settle into their new roles and into the DRAMS team. We can already see the benefits they have brought to the delivery of our products and services and hope our customers do too.
For more information about any of the items discussed in Gillian’s Q&A session, including details on any of the services offered by our Professional Services team, reach out using the DRAMS Contact Us page.