Collaboration Out Of Adversity Can Generate Best Practice

As COVID-19 continues to impact Workforce UK, companies big and small, across multiple sectors, from high street through to the likes of conferences at Silverstone, are facing a range of challenges.

Naturally, in these “unprecedented times” the instinct is to look after your own business, calculating what the impact could be on colleagues, turnover and perhaps even its very survival. When this happens there is an all too understandable tendency to not think about suppliers and clients and hide behind a safety net of protocol, process and situation.

There has been criticism of organisations not working together in this current climate of uncertainty, meaning that companies could be missing out on developing deeper, more fruitful relationships and showcasing best practice, which in the long run would benefit both sides.

Cambridgeshire-based technology leader eacs has been looking to buck this trend in its efforts to reschedule its industry-leading Optimise event held at Silverstone racing circuit.

Originally planned for mid-June, the IT showcase for the mid-market, now in its 19th year, has been moved to November, rather than being cancelled altogether. Following honest and open conversations at the very start between eacs and Silverstone, the home of British motor racing, both sides put their future relationship ahead of any thought of personal advantage and quickly came to a sensible and pragmatic resolution which will benefit both businesses in the longer term – very unusual in the current climate.

“Rather than cancelling Optimise we have worked closely with Silverstone to produce an event that will not only showcase what we can both do for potential future customers and therefore continuing to increase our the awareness of our own individual brands , but perhaps more importantly highlights the importance of collaboration and best practice during these challenging times,” says Kevin Timms, CEO at eacs.

“As the expert in the delivery of IT services to the mid-market, there was the option to put together a virtual event, but we felt that this wouldn’t be as engaging or be of the same value to attendees, exhibitors and speakers. The feedback we have had historically is delegates really value the opportunity to speak directly to the diverse number of partners eacs is able to bring together under one roof in one day – something than would be nigh on impossible to do virtually.  In addition, Silverstone as an organisation and its Wing facility in particular are cutting edge in both design and form of thinking and therefore compliment exactly what Optimise 2020 is about, so it was a no brainer that we wanted to do everything we could to keep the event at such a historic location and continue to build on our longstanding relationship with them.”

This approach has meant taking a longer-term view by both sides as well as showing an unusual level of appreciation for what each side is able to offer the other, which in return has not only energised the relationship but made it deeper and more collaborative.

“Losing at least 12 weeks of conferences and events at Silverstone has really challenged us and our clients, “said Head of Corporate Sales, Hayley Smith. “Working through the implications of cancellations and postponements has given us many headaches, but working with companies such as eacs, with their positive mindset and collaborative approach, has really helped us to reach the right outcome for both organisations.

“Moving Optimise was the sensible action to take in the current climate of uncertainty and by making the decision early both Silverstone and eacs could work together to focus our efforts on planning for the event on its new date. The strong leadership and professionalism at eacs have made rescheduling this event a smooth process, it’s at times like this that you value honest client relationships and constructive collaboration strengthens them, which can only be a benefit for both.”

By rescheduling Optimise for November, rather than cancelling it, both eacs and Silverstone believe that the event will be a step change over the previous year. It will give people time to settle back after the shock and impact of COVID-19, as well as bringing people together who will have interesting stories to tell, something that is difficult to achieve remotely.

“We believe that our collaboration with Silverstone shows best practice and highlights what can be achieved when personal interests and red tape are put aside in exchange for building a longer term relationship.  As a result our two organisations have successfully  worked through what could have been a difficult and potentially tense situation in an atmosphere of cohesive partnership and have quickly and effectively set a benchmark that could be the template for others going forward,” added Kevin. “At eacs we actually have 98% of the staff working from home, something we achieved in an incredibly short amount of time. We’ve been testing continuity, staying strong and being clear, decisive and calm – all important attributes in our current situation.

“At the moment, however, we also need to be thinking in terms of not just the country, but our people and families that need looking after and make sure that they are treated properly.”

The 19th Optimise is on the 24th November 2020 at the Silverstone Wing, Silverstone Circuit, Towcester NN12 8TL