Netlife started using CV Partner in 2016. Netlife use CV Partner for both keeping track of internal resources and competence, as well as creating tailored bids for public and private clients. We asked them about what they did before, how they got started and what they use it for today. We also challenged them to quantify the time saved by using CV Partner instead of a legacy solution.
Netlife Design is a user-experience consultancy based in Oslo with additional offices in Bergen, on the west coast of Norway.
Netlife offer a full range of digital consulting services to optimise the user experience. All the services complement one another in understanding the complete context of the user journey on a digital platform, but each element requires a slightly different set of skills. The agency has a team of just over 85 experts.
● User insight & analysis
● Design & branding
● Technology / development
● Innovative solutions
● Strategy & concept development
● User testing & evaluation
● Content production
● Courses and seminars
Netlife work with some of the largest brands in Scandinavia, including Norwegian, Nortura, Coop and Telia.
Netlife’s consultants work on a large selection of projects across a number of different industries, whilst the management team has to oversee putting together a large number of proposals at the same time.
Before the used CV Partner, the management team were using an ad hoc approach with several steps, using multiple tools to combine Word and PDF files with a traditional file server. The processes for storing and retrieving the
files they were using to build proposals were not really connected to the proposal process itself, with CVs managed, edited and imported manually for each new proposal.
Old approach included multiple tools and manual steps
“It was close to impossible to find exact qualifications for the consultants, whilst being very difficult to search for individual CVs. Not only that, but it was a major hassle for everyone to update their CV” Netlife’s Client Manager, Jørgen Nygaard Andreassen
As the management wasted a great deal of
time searching for individual CVs and the consultants would lose valuable time trying to update their CVs, any system needed to provide a solid framework for ensuring these processes could be improved.
They needed a system that was both easy to
use, but provided rich data about their teams and the projects they worked on.
"For a new system to prove its worth and persuade us to invest, it had to demonstrate how we could simplify or enhance three critical areas: our CV database searches, more optimal usability for consultants to update their CVs and finally, offer a more in-depth, overview of our company knowledge. CV Partner had everything we were looking for." Netlife’s Client Manager, Jørgen Nygaard Andreassen
As Jørgen explains, “The CV Partner solution had everything we were looking for”. The User Interface (UI) would combine intuitive search functionality (both free text and fixed fields) with an automated index for storing and retrieving CVs. Each search action could process and filter CVs to produce more relevant results when searching for relevant CVs.
This feature would function much like a search engine, helping to refine searches and narrow down results by using either the free text option for unique searches, or using the defined search fields provided in the UI. For Netlife Design, this would allow the management team to focus in on specific skills or qualifications during a search.
With the previous system, Netlife had struggled to get a full overview of the skills in the company. But now they would have a place to search and store all the relevant data to better answer
questions about their internal knowledge. They would no longer have to make rough guesstimates of what project experience existed in the company. To create new proposals, they could replace the painstaking manual process of searching and collecting the right information from multiple CVs and locations, that may or may not be updated, with an automated process based on customised search queries for a particular proposal.
The management team researched several options towards the end of 2015 and felt that CV Partner’s tool offered them everything they were looking for. At the end of January 2016, Jørgen contacted the CV Partner team. After a face-to-face meeting in Oslo during February, Netlife decided to go ahead with a trial of the tool.
As CV Partner is a cloud-based solution, there was no need for the Netlife team to prepare any network infrastructure or install new software. Jørgen led the implementation project on his own from Netlife’s end and a trial period was commenced, lasting approximately four weeks. Although the Netlife management team felt sure that CV Partner had the potential to offer them everything they were searching for on paper, the four-week trial helped them see the tool in action, within the context of daily operations. The pilot period helped them to evaluate the true value of the tool in helping to save time and money, alongside seeing how it would improve the data used for creating new proposals.
As the pilot period was drawing to a close, Jørgen, supported by the CV Partner team, presented a business case to Netlife’s executive management. In it, they analysed exactly how much time could potentially be saved by the company, both by introducing an optimised proposal workflow and by individual consultants spending less time on updating CVs. After the business case report was completed, “the decision for giving the go ahead for the full-scale roll out was very easy” explains Jørgen. From the first email in late January, the tool became fully operational across the company by the end of March.
The implementation phase was also a learning curve for the CV Partner team, helping them to understand what steps should be taken in order to deliver the most efficient implementation strategy. As a result, the four-week implementation strategy was developed to better assist clients in migrating to the new system and has become standard procedure for new projects. This included preparing the client for the various actions they should undertake and which decisions or trade-offs they might face.
From the first email in late January, the decision for rolling out the tool across the company was taken by the end of March. As Jørgen points out, this led to probably the most challenging aspect of the project - how to migrate the CVs of roughly 70 team members onto the new system in order for each user to complete the set-up of their individual Master CV. Faced with a time consuming process of manually importing the data from old Word files, this was the biggest hurdle to Netlife getting the maximum benefit from the system in a short timeframe.
After working with CV Partner’s consultants to arrive at a solution, it was decided that CV Partner would perform a data scrape from the Netlife website. Each consultant had a profile page on the company website summarising their skills and project experience from which data could be extracted to form the basis for an initial import for each Master CV. The rest of the data was then manually completed by a consultant at Netlife who was about to take paternity leave and so had little ongoing project work and some spare time.
However, after the initial set-up and completion for each CV, Jørgen says that “it was plain sailing from then on”. The time of setting up the Master CV was paid off by the time the company clawed back later on, with consultants able to update their CV in a few short minutes. The Netlife management team were impressed by the fact that their consultants would never have to create another CV at the company, but simply keeping growing their Master CV. The Netlife consultants had no problems adjusting to the system, finding it incredibly intuitive to navigate the UI and execute new functions. To make the transition smoother, Netlife’s management utilised the ‘help-text’ function. This allowed the management to fill in text boxes offering guidelines on how to complete each section of the CV. The help text was displayed to each user as they began completing their Master CV, enabling greater consistency across individual CVs and achieve company objectives more easily. Because the feature was an internal part of the system, there was no need to develop a time consuming routine for sharing the guidelines with all 70+ staff and in both Oslo and Bergen.
In response to the challenges of earlier projects such as this, CV Partner has now developed an automatic parsing solution alongside data scrapes, allowing them to perform large data imports from old Word documents to import the majority of the data required.
Netlife’s consultants now spend considerably less time keeping their CVs updated - something they’re very happy about. And Jørgen points out that it provides the consultants a chance to build a richer CV, displaying more of their skills and qualifications in a way that is more visible within the search index. This has given Netlife’s consultants the opportunity to get involved with more exiting projects because their CV’s have greater depth and align more closely to project proposals.
For the management it has meant, quite simply, spending less time creating proposals for new tendering processes.
"Before, we could spend hours hunting for the CVs to include in a bid. Now, we spend at least 50% less time creating proposal documents and making sure CVs are up to date. This is a huge saving that has benefitted both our individual consultants and the organisation as a whole. We can deliver high quality proposals faster than ever before." — Netlife’s Client Manager, Jørgen Nygaard Andreassen
Of course, it was natural for Netlife to observe big changes inside the organisation with the introduction of the new system. But there has also been a strong positive reaction from external stakeholders. Indeed, the final point of the workflow on CV Partner is delivering a document for an external party. Netlife work with a combination of framework contracts and both large and small projects, and their clients have been impressed by the efficiency the system delivers.
In fact, during one meeting with a partner for a joint tender, Jørgen was asked to demonstrate how he was able to spend so little time dealing with consultant CVs. As he showed the partner’s team how effective and quick it was to find relevant CVs, they were convinced enough to order a trial for themselves. This led to them becoming full time clients as well.
Like many companies, Netlife regularly work with partners to create proposals for joint tenders. CV Partner has helped to enhance this process too. By getting both partners to use the CV Partner platform when creating the proposal, they could use a single template to ensure all the attached CVs from both companies shared the same format and structure. This has helped to add an increased sense of unity between Netlife and their partners during joint tender processes.
Overall, introducing CV Partner has made a big difference to how Netlife’s people work with CVs and bid for new projects. And Jørgen is pleased to report that the tool has delivered on everything it promises. But beyond providing a tool that has become integral to how the company manages and sells their knowledge, Jørgen has been greatly impressed by the outstanding service and support the CV Partner team have provided from day one.
"We want to highlight the great service and support which CV Partner provides to us as a client." Netlife’s Client Manager, Jørgen Nygaard Andreassen