IT Awards 2023

14 | SME News IT Awards 2023 Most Customer-Focused Digital Transformation Consultancy 2023 - Scotland Gunn Stewart Solutions is a Scottish-based customer service and digital transformation consultancy with more than 20 years’ worth of experience in leading, supporting, and delivering transformation within the public and not-for-profit sectors in the UK. We find out more as it celebrates a prestigious win in the IT Awards 2023. Founded by Esther Gunn Stewart, an experienced Local Government Head of Service with significant experience in transforming organisations and delivering improved customer outcomes, Gunn Stewart Solutions (GSS) understands that every situation is different, meaning that one 'standard' consultancy approach will not work for everyone. GSS has found that some clients want the consultancy to act as a critical friend, providing advice, guidance, and mentoring behind the scenes – some want it to lead projects as independent external facilitators, others want a mix of both. “We work with clients in the way that works for them,” explains Esther. “The absolute core to our ethos is putting our clients and customers at the heart of everything we do.” With more than 20 years’ experience in multichannel operational management and leading customer experience improvement projects in the private and public sectors, Esther has a proven track record of delivering the highest level of customer service whilst identifying strategic and operational initiatives to deliver efficiencies and improve the customer journey. Being totally committed to understanding its customers' needs and putting the right support in place to deliver measurable benefits is just one of GSS’s unique selling points. Another USP which differentiates the consultancy from competitors is that it has worked in the sector and has extensive hands-on experience of successfully delivering change and transformation projects. “We have qualifications in service design, project management and facilitation but also have the real-life experience to back up the theory that those qualifications provide,” elaborates Esther. “We are specialists at remote working with clients. We can provide a blended service of face-to-face and online tools, utilising cloud-based working to get the most out of people's time.” Integrity and a passion for delivering excellent customer service underpins the internal culture at GSS, with the entire team believing in creating value for its clients and their customers. Much of the firm’s work is in the public sector and efficient use of public funds is something that Esther is truly committed to. “Often, our role with clients is being the person in the room that says the hard things that nobody else wants to say,” she tells us. “To get real change within an organisation, uncomfortable conversations have to be had, but those uncomfortable conversations can be had with respect and support. We will step up and help facilitate those conversations, moving projects through to successful outcomes.” Gunn Stewart Solutions works with a network of specialist consultants and suppliers, allowing it to pull together teams that are tailored to its clients’ needs in data, IT, CCaaS, SaaS and communications. The IT industry is vast and complex, and, at GSS, the team always follows the principles of people, processes and then technology. It often see clients wanting to get in on the latest trends or technology and it failing because they haven’t addressed the people and processes first. This is why GSS is careful to always spend time with clients to first understand what their problem is and then working to solve them with a holistic approach that may or may not involve the latest developments. “If the culture isn’t right or organisations have terrible processes, those processes wont magically improve by buying in the latest thing,” says Esther. “Having said that, in the local authority sector in particular, we are seeing more councils working towards low-code solutions that can be managed in-house and with increasing budget constraints, many are taking a more considered approach to investing in trends in technology.” Key to keeping up to date with trends and developments is maintaining relationships with leading IT industry suppliers, which Gunn Stewart Solutions does through providing an advisory service to suppliers and other consultants on the local authority sector. The Scottish Local Authorities Customer Services Managers’ Group was set up by Esther and the two co-chairs when Esther still worked in local government. The group was created out of individuals overcoming similar challenges together. The group is now facilitated by GSS and addresses challenges such as assessing new developments, sharing best practice, looking for potential joint working and bench marking. This now offers regular learning events in collaboration with a technology provider and a case study of one of their clients in a similar area, working groups on topics such as robotic process automation and runs an annual conference looking at ways of addressing challenges facing the sector. Recently, for its commitment and dedication to its clients and their customers in turn, GSS gained notable recognition in the IT Awards and was presented with the impressive accolade of Most Customer-Focused Digital Transformation Consultancy 2023 – Scotland. A feather in the cap indeed for Esther and the team. Now, as a bright future beckons, Gunn Stewart Solutions has started to provide more and more advice and support to SMEs looking to access the local authority sector – something it hopes to do more of in 2023 and beyond. Contact: Esther Gunn Stewart Company: Gunn Stewart Solutions Web Address: