Always Onwards Ltd has announced that its new software platform Method Grid is now available for public beta. The platform allows any company, not just professional services firms, to document their methodologies for their own use.
The platform allow companies to easily recreate procedures, process flows and supporting documents while tagging specific expert internal resources to key components. For example a company might have a methodology that defines its implementation process. A component of that process is the creation of a project plan. Method Grid allows the tagging of internal expert employees against that element. New users can then see who best to contact to help complete the project plan when they reach that point.
More than a year in gestation.
The platform is the brainchild of a small team led by co-founder Dom Moorhouse, MD of Always Onwards Ltd. Moorhouse has a long and successful history building professional services organisations. He founded Moorhouse in 2004, growing the consultancy firm over a 5 year period until its sale for around £20 million in 2008. He ran the firm until 2011 continuing to grow the company. He is an expert in building high performance teams but this new venture focuses on helping firms to leverage their often excellent methodologies.
Moorhouse explained further saying: “They are invariably smart people who understand the value of systematically building out their firm’s intellectual property … in order to deliver services consistently, facilitate team growth, support knowledge-based collaboration and win more work! Over time, however, I was intrigued by why so few companies actually translate this awareness into material action beyond, say, a few PowerPoint slide decks or a Sharepoint-type file dump.
“It occurred to me that what was missing was a simple, well-designed application in which the act of building out a methodology is fast and intuitive. Put this application into the cloud and you also enable centralised, whole-firm collaboration and knowledge-share. That idea was the genesis of Method Grid.”
The solution was tested by around 50 companies during its alpha phase. That included a virtual re-write as the original iteration was not well received. The latest iteration has drawn interest from companies outside of professional services, despite its original aims. Moorhouse demonstrated the product to ET back in August as the last major changes were being made prior to the beta launch. The solution was simple to use, yet able to capture the complexities that comprehensive methodologies sometimes require.
What is available?
The public beta is available free to any who sign up. Once registered, users will be able to use the solution free for a year. Method Grid will accept any feedback and will look to build further improvements into the platform prior to the planned launch in Spring 2018. The company has not committed to any definitive pricing yet but is looking to charge between $10-15 per user per month. It will offer a 30 day free trial period for new users after the launch date though.
One of the interesting features that we discussed with Moorhouse, but which is not yet available, is the ability for companies to share their methodologies for a fee. This is an interesting proposition as it will allow companies to share their intellectual property and receive revenue for it. For companies looking to expand or do one-off jobs in specific industries this could be very useful. Companies could also take advantage of comparative methodologies used in other geographies as well. Method Grid has already created a store within the system for this. However, at the moment only a free template for “How to build your first Method Grid!” is available. There is another due soon but with no launch date for Project and Programme Management (PPM) Methodology though. It will be interesting to see whether it creates other standard templates for use by users.
How much of a difference will it make.
For a start-up that is not yet fully live Method Grid has already attracted some ardent users. Steve Morrissey, founder and managing director of the PI group said: “Method Grid for us has been an absolute game changer. From an internal perspective it’s proved vital when training new employees or doing continuous professional development of our current employees. “
He is not the only one Mike Hampson, MD Bishopsgate Financial commented: “We have found Method Grid to be an excellent tool for documenting both client facing propositions and internal processes and procedures. The ease with which we can adapt a standard process to create a bespoke client solution enabled us to clearly communicate our innovative Managed Bench resourcing service for change management organizations and close a major new client.”
Early adopters have thus seen the value both internally and as part of their sales process. It will be interesting to see whether Method Grid is able to capture any metrics from these firms after they have used the solution for a few more months.
What does this mean
What is interesting about Method Grid is that it is not just applicable to professional services firms. It provides a platform that goes beyond what Visio does for many organisations. This is a tool that does not replace professional services but it does supplement it. What will be interesting to see is the direction that Method Grid goes in. There are grounds for integrating it to both HCM and PSA solutions. The question is how quickly can they grow?
The software is a perfect complement to PSA and it is likely that once proven Moorhouse will receive offers for his new venture. It is a big market though and Moorhouse would do well to stay the course. This is a company with software that is worth keeping an eye on.