Q & A with Square Systems Service Delivery Director, Alan Cleaver

  • What did you do before setting up Square Systems?

I worked as a Software Development Manager for a contact centre. I started my career as a Civil Servant at the Met Office.

  • What’s a typical working day involve?

My job involves responding to clients' needs, handling queries and progressing clients' specific software requirements. Alongside this I try to progress the overall strategic and tactical product development of Opinion8.

  • What parts of your job do you find most challenging?

I find balancing the day-to-day minutiae of my job with the necessary investment I need to make for the future very challenging. It's easy to focus exclusively on the workload which comes directly from the clients and neglect the bigger picture so I work hard to make time to ensure that Opinion8 is moving with the times and continues to be a relevant and useful tool for companies.

  • What are you most proud of?

I am very proud of our client list. We count some huge multinational companies amongst our clients. I'm also proud that in recent troubled economic times Square Systems has continued to grow and employs more people now than it ever did. This gives me faith in the robustness of Opinion8 and reassures me that the service we offer provides companies with valuable information to help them navigate the difficult economic climate too.

  • How would you describe the corporate culture at Square Systems?

I think we have a real can-do attitude at Square Systems. Staff are encouraged to invest in their skills and supported in that. We take training seriously and believe that the most effective training is tailored to the needs of individual employees. Courses our staff members have attended range from Google Adwords training to English lessons. We expect our employees to take their work seriously but insist that everybody at Square Systems has a good work/ life balance. Home working is offered to all employees and the company participates in the Cycle 2 Work scheme in the belief that a healthy workforce benefits everybody.

  • How do you think surveying will change in the future? What’s the biggest factor affecting feedback collation?

I am concerned, considering the ubiquity of feedback collation and the lack of action that follows a poorly run survey, that participants will not engage successfully with it in the future other than to rant. Promoting well-written surveys which encourage action is my attempt to combat this. I still passionately believe that learning directly from your customers gives you unmatched insight into how to run your business and hope that what Opinion8 does will counteract some of the damage done by bad surveys.

  • If you weren’t Service Delivery Director of Square Systems, what do you think you would be doing? Or what else would you like to do?

I fear I would be doing some boring software development job in a huge IT team. I would hope that I would be doing something similar to my current job though. I really enjoy working in technology. I love its ever-changing nature and find the constant learning involved with it really mentally stimulating. I'd also like to be a doctor but not sure I'm prepared to invest the money or time required to retrain for that!

  • If you could give one piece of advice to anybody setting up a business, what would it be?

Just do it!