Our latest apprentice!

We recently appointed Alex Harker (21) in the role of social media and marketing apprentice.

Alex, who is the second apprentice to be recruited by fissara, was matched to us at an apprenticeship ‘speed dating’ session held by The Juice Academy in Castlefield. She will be working to raise our on-line presence from our offices at The Millbrook Business Centre in Wythenshawe while studying for her City and Guilds in Social Media Marketing for Business at The Juice Academy.

Commenting on her appointment Alex said: “I met Jon from fissara at an event which helps to match apprentices with appropriate employers. Although a software company was not my first choice of employer it soon became clear that fissara is a dynamic, fast-growth company where every single person has the opportunity to make a big impact on the direction of the company and to play a part in its success. It struck me straight away that this is somewhere that I can really make a difference and you can see the results of your work put into action. You are part of a tight team of people where every person is valued and important.”

Alex’s appointment brings the fissara team to 11 and she will be working alongside fissara’s first apprentice, software developer and tester Josh Leighton, who joined the company in 2015.

fissara is a revolutionary field force management system which allows businesses to manage people, processes, stocks and schedules. It is designed to deliver greater operational efficiencies and reduce costs as well as to improve customer service and productivity.

Since our launch fissara has already won contracts with companies including Motorola, AMCO Engineering, O2 Telephónica and Scanlans Property Management and is gearing up for a rapid expansion into the civil engineering, utilities, telecoms and facilities management markets.

Commenting on Alex’s appointment Jon Holttum said: “We established our base in Manchester because we knew this area would give us access to great people who have the right digital and technology skills to help us achieve our growth ambitions. Alex is a fabulous addition to the team and has already made a big impact delivering a social media campaign to support our recent attendance at the All Energy Exhibition in Glasgow. We look forward to her helping us to spread the word about fissara.”

10 Important Tips for Effectively Managing Your Mobile Workforce

Appreciate Your Workers

Notice your engineers are smashing their KPI’s? Maybe they’re getting the job done quicker than everyone else? Has a customer left a stunning review? Let them know! Away from the limelight of the office remote workers may feel like their good deeds go unnoticed, making them feel appreciated will not only create a happier, more valued workforce but it ensure they are motivated to provide continuously great service.

Establish Clear Goals and Objectives from the Get Go

One of the biggest problems companies face with remote workers is sometimes they end up in a situation where neither know what to expect of each other, it’s difficult to gauge someone’s expectations if you’re very rarely in contact, be firm from the beginning and let your workers know exactly what you expect from them. Also, make yourself accessible for advice, make your employees feel welcome to ask questions if they are unsure of the tasks set.

Don’t Always Rely on Reports

Reports are great for keeping in check with what’s going on in your business, however, don’t become an invisible force within your business. Make visits to sites, visits to your workers and show them you’re not just sat with your feet on the table waiting for them to do all the hard work. Also, don’t leave the impression that you’re not interested at all, this can create an environment for laziness to breed. Whilst the cats are away the mice will play.

Visit Your Workers on a Predictable Schedule

On the flip side to this, whilst you should ‘keep an eye’ on employees don’t make them feel overwatched. Workers should feel motivated not like a character in George Orwell’s 1984. Make visits natural and generally, unless necessary, a non-formal occasion, intimidating surprise visits may come across as a tyrannical micromanagement approach which can create bad blood between workers and management.

Look Out For Warning Signs

Unhappy employees aren’t always vocal about how they feel, especially when they work remotely. It can be hard to pick up on the signs of an unhappy remote worker, however there are a few tips to take note of: short, blunt answers through email or text may be the first indicator, sure, sometimes a concise answer is needed but if their replies seem unnecessarily cold maybe it’s time to check in on them and check they’re okay. Avoid phone calls or important meetings, a decrease in productivity or perhaps an uncharacteristic dip in attendance. Don’t assume your employees are always happy, and if they seem a bit off then check. A happy worker is a much more productive worker.

Top Training is Essential

For anyone to feel comfortable in their position at work they need the correct training, even more so when you’re going to be in an often solitary position where it can feel like there’s no one around to help. Not only this, be supportive, on the rare occasion you do see your mobile employees remember to be as welcoming as you can, your employees are already physically distanced from you don’t make them feel emotionally distanced from you too. A workforce who feel open talking to their manager, whether mobile not, is a much more productive workforce than those who don’t.

Encourage Face to Face Communications

How can you tell if remote workers are unhappy if you can’t see them? Avoid your workforce losing their team morale, arrange as regular as possible face to face meetings. Working as part of a mobile workforce can often be isolating, workers can often feel like they’re working alone rather than as part of a larger team, this can cause them to lose motivation as they feel the only person they effect with bad performance is themselves. Face to face meetings and encouraging ‘water cooler’ conversation and out of work activities will help to ensure all of your employees feel like part of the team even those you don’t see every day. Maybe start out of work activities for people to join such as a group sport or a fantasy football league.

The Right Communications

In the case of not being able to arrange face to face communications make sure you use the right form of communication. Communicating without seeing the other person’s face or the tone and mood of what they’re saying is difficult enough, especially from someone you might not see on a regular basis who might not have your personality just quite figured out yet. If it’s short, to the point and doesn’t require much explanation then yes feel free to send a text or a quick Slack. However, the more detail they need to know, the more personal you should make the communication. Trying to explain a detailed plan to an employee over a short uninformative email will not only potentially come across as rude and impersonal but it also lacks the opportunity for your employee to ask essential questions that they may feel conscious about emailing. Similarly, phoning to ask them a simple non-urgent ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question can come across as overbearing.

Right Tools, Right Skills, Right Person

Ensure you have an efficient scheduling system, sending remote workers out to jobs they don’t have the skills or tools for is a waste of your business’ time, fuel, and money. It’s also a waste of your workers time, if workers feel they aren’t adequately being managed and their time is being wasted they can become demotivated and therefore productivity will drop or they might opt to seek employment elsewhere. Save bad feeling, wasted fuel and wasted time by efficiently scheduling your workers.

Invest in a Workforce Management System

We might sound bias for saying this, however, workforce management systems make managing workers who may be miles apart so much simpler. WFM software gives you and your workers the ability to automatically capture, share and access data wherever you or they might be. Less messy and frustrating forms for your remote workers and less tedious hours translating illegible handwriting for your admin staff. , WFM software makes keeping an eye on how smoothly your business is running much easier and not only that it makes your business run smoother with a streamlined scheduling process, access to all your data instantly, a simple forms system, a paperless nature, a route planning feature, asset management and reporting for auditing purposes.

World Environment Day – Decrease Your Carbon Footprint

This week, in light of World Environment Day, we have a new release on the fissara website showing how we’re the number one software to support sustainable business. How do you ask?

We thought we’d put together a new blog post to explain exactly how we could help you and your business massively reduce your carbon footprint, a huge key goal for any successful business in 2017.

Firstly, our software allows your company to go completely paperless, not only can you collect your data paperlessly with fissara’s cutting edge forms system, which allows you to design and create forms and instantly deploy them to your workforce for completion, but the cloud-based nature of fissara allows the data you collect to be accessed anywhere removing the need for printing and copying; fissara cuts the amount of paper you consume massively. So far over 210,000 electronic forms have been completed using the current version of fissara just think of all the forms you and your employees complete on a day to day basis?

Following on from this, not only do you save on paper with fissara you save on the copious amounts of admin hours needed to process all of that data. Less admin? Fewer wages spent on hours of tedious paperwork allowing your staff to spend their time more proactively. When using our software customers see up to 50% reduction in their contract and admin costs. Not only are we saving trees, we’re saving you money.

fissara can also save you huge amounts of money on fuel and drastically reduce your company’s carbon emissions. Our app will calculate the distance between jobs or appointments and will also calculate which remote worker (with the correct skills and/or equipment necessary for the job) is most suited to do the job based on his current schedule and distance from his home.  Removing ALL wasted journeys. This means that your teams are at their optimal productivity, ensuring more efficient work is done in the same time frame, substantially reducing operating costs, vehicle wear and you guessed it, resizing your carbon footprint.

O2 using innovative software from fissara!

Telecoms giant O2 has implemented a new field-force management system created by fissara.

O2 will use our digital platform to tackle the complex resource planning issues faced by its management centre. The challenge lay in improving how shifts and rotas were assigned to staff and achieving greater control in holiday bookings and overtime working. Fissara’s software is managed through a mobile app and offers web-based access to rosters, as well as detailed analysis and reporting to help with future resource planning and business decision making.

For a global brand like O2 to select a relatively new platform like fissara is testament to the system’s unrivalled abilities. It is entirely adaptable and scaleable and can therefore be easily shaped to meet the specific needs of each different project. This was a challenging project with many complex scenarios and a wide variety of different user needs but the fissara system is designed to be easily adaptable and it is great to see the benefits already being delivered together with positive feedback from users across the company.

Rob Aylott, SPMC Operations Support Manager with O2, commented: “fissara has provided us with an easy to use planning solution which saves both time and money.It has helped us to automate complex processes and gives everyone up to date information in their hands. The system has been well received across the team and is already delivering cost benefits and greater efficiencies in resource planning.

To read more on fissara’s activity in the telecoms industry check our Motorola Network Services/ Airwave case study here.

Canal & River Trust harness latest technology to maintain historic waterway assets

Software developer fissara has been awarded the contract to provide its groundbreaking field force solution to engineering specialist AMCO, supporting its work with the Canal & River Trust (the Trust).

AMCO is working with the Trust through the Mechanical, Electrical, Instrumentation, Control and Automation (MEICA) Framework for the maintenance, renewal, upgrade and repair of all of the Trust’s almost 1,000 MEICA assets throughout England and Wales. The Framework contract will run for a period of seven years at an estimated annual value of £3.5m.

The fissara software system will be used by the AMCO engineer as they work on the Trust’s assets to schedule calls, log problems and manage maintenance issues including mechanical, hydraulic, electrical, telemetry, instrumentation, control and automation.

The Trust’s assets include swing bridges, lift bridges, lock gates, sluices, water level and flow monitoring systems and pumping stations. Also included are some unique and complex historic structures such as the Anderton Boat Lift in Cheshire, 3 Mills Lock in London and the Tees Barrage in County Durham which will require specialist services.

John Landreth, AMCO contracts director, said: “fissara’s software offered comprehensive functionality and versatility and was instrumental in helping us to secure this work with the Trust. The team understood the project challenges, objectives and values and were able to react quickly to deliver a superb tailored system which will support our engineers in undertaking a wide variety of maintenance tasks over the coming years. We look forward to working with the team on this project and delivering exceptional value for organisations such as the Trust”.

Jon Holttum from fissara commented: “This is a great example of the latest technology being used to service some of the most impressive early civil engineering projects in the world. We are immensely proud to be involved and honoured that fissara has helped AMCO to secure this important framework contract. We look forward to working with them to continue to develop a great system which will enhance efficiency, enable them to deliver a high quality service and maximise safety.”

Simon Bamford, asset delivery director at Canal & River Trust said: “The canals were the engineering masterpieces of their day and, while some of the technology has changed over the years, they still require a dedicated team of engineers to look after them. We’re delighted with the way in which AMCO has understood and reflected our values and we look forward to working with them. The contract will play a major part in what the Trust is trying to achieve: ensuring that our waterways are kept open and running smoothly and improving customer service.”

Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week

A lover of Japanese culture and known affectionately amongst his work colleagues as Banzi, nineteen-year-old Josh Layton has not looked back since starting his Apprenticeship with Manchester-based software developer fissara. 

Having toyed briefly with the idea of becoming a Deliveroo rider Josh decided to explore other options and did some research into the apprenticeship route, although we’re pretty sure he would have prefered the option of being the lead role in a remake of the hit TV series The Water Margin. 

Josh joined fissara in October 2015 on a two-year apprenticeship with The Manchester College and has rapidly become an integral member of the team of ten. fissara is developing a revolutionary field force management software platform and Josh is working in a team of developers, programmers, customer relationship managers and sales consultants.

Having initially studied a Creative Media BTEC with The Cheadle College Josh decided to choose the apprenticeship route and took up the role as software developer and tester with fissara. Commenting on his apprenticeship Josh took the opportunity to talk about his job during National Apprenticeship Week: “It was a really good move for me to join a small, rapidly growing company rather than a really big one where you feel like you are just a number.

 “fissara is a new, young company and every person in the team has the opportunity to make a big impact on the direction of the company and to play a part in its success. What I really love about the job is that you can see the results of your work put into action and you are part of a tight team of people where every person is valued and important.

 “The apprenticeship scheme opened doors for me which may otherwise have been closed because I had decided that I did not want to follow a career in the same field in which I had studied my BTEC.”

Following the success of recruiting Josh, the fissara team is working with Trafford College to find another apprentice to support the sales and marketing function. If you are interested then get in touch with us here.

Josh works for fissara at the company’s new offices at The Millbrook Centre in Wythenshawe, hardly “Liang Shan Po” but it does have at least one desk of which Lin Chong would have been proud….

More Space than Star Trek…

We are pleased to say we’ve opened new offices at The Millbrook Business Centre to accommodate the expansion of our growing business. Although we are only 10 people today we needed the space to grow, and boy oh boy do we have space, more space than the opening scene from Star Trek!

So much space in fact that we have decided to offer some of it  to tech startups and entrepreneurs who themselves want to get up and running. We are creating a new and exciting FREE Incubator Centre where individuals or small businesses can come and use our facilities for free, yep free! That’s because we want to help more dynamic young companies in South Manchester, just like your own, to get off the ground and start making an impact. We are going to reveal more on that in a later post so watch this space (there’s that word again….)

One of our Directors Jon (and Essex lad who is still acclimatising the the Manchester weather) explained: “We decided to plant our roots firmly in Manchester because it is the UK’s hub for digital technology development. We need access to great people who have the right skills and experience to help us achieve the rapid growth we anticipate as we roll out our product nationwide and we believe that those people are to be found right here in Manchester.

He continued (There’s no stopping him once he’s started to be honest!): “fissara is creating real disruption in the operations management market by totally changing the way companies run and purchase this type of software. It has had a strong early uptake because it is entirely adaptable to the unique needs of each individual company. It has helped clients such as engineering company AMCO to secure more tendered business, as they are able to demonstrate that they have embedded this sophisticated management software into their operations ahead of the competition and are able to deliver an improved service to their clients.

“Other systems just do not have the flexibility which fissara can deliver and we identified that gap in the market early on and set out to create and deliver a platform which we firmly believe will become the UK’s market leading product.” Yep you get the picture, Jon thinks fissara is great and to be honest, he’s not wrong!

More plans for the office are Paper Airplane racing, Dodgeball and a Double Dutch skipping competition. So why not drop in? We have tea, coffee and fun available on request!

You can view other press coverage on our move in the links below:






A Technology Product Award for fissara…

Manchester’s Best Technology Products

This city’s technology sector is, by all accounts, absolutely booming. Hundreds of technology start-ups have emerged in the last few years with a surprising percentage becoming very successful very quickly. It is an incredibly prestigious and exciting sector to be a part of with lots of outstanding products and companies.

We are mentioning all this now because it makes what you are about to read below even more incredible if not a bit surprising.

On December 1st, last week, fissara attended The Talk of Manchester annual business awards ceremony which, this year, was held at the Mercure Hotel in the City Centre. As one of the North’s most prestigious and glamorous business awards, lots of very different companies of all shapes and sizes entered the multiple different categories and almost 400 people turned out in their best evening wear to network, meet other successful Manchester entrepreneurs and ultimately to find out if they had won an award.

In what was already a huge achievement, fissara had been nominated for awards in 2 separate categories “App of the Year” and even more impressively “Best Technology Product”. Having watched a few other companies on our table win some of their categories and having not won “App of the Year”, when the announcement for the incredibly prestigious accolade of “Best Technology Product” came around we really had our fingers crossed.

And it worked!!

Well…. We’re pretty certain that it was more our unique product, amazing team of people, this year’s huge growth spurt, our enviable client list or maybe even just all the hard work of our two enigmatic directors rather than the finger crossing on the night but it worked all the same!

It was an amazing night had by all and certainly not one we will forget in a long time but most importantly a well-deserved accolade for a fresh, young, exciting Manchester company and a lovely new trophy to go with our lovely new offices and this incredible new website.

This is an amazing accolade to have gained and a substantial achievement for such a small company but it is far from over…

Best Technology Product in the World here we come…

Largest Solar Energy O&M Provider in The World Signs up fissara for Their UK Operations

Adding automation to solar energy:

After what can only be called an incredibly slick and swift implementation (4 weeks from 1st fissara demo to go live) we are now happy to announce that the world’s largest Solar O&M provider is now happily using their configured fissara environment to control their total operation. This is a huge step for fissara and takes us into another new market sector with a that holds a vast number of companies that could seriously benefit from the ability to streamline their operations and provide a level of completely unrivalled customer service.

After a rather chance meeting at The RWM exhibition earlier this year our companies began a conversation that resulted in a visit to the Solar Energy Exhibition to demonstrate fissara to the senior management team.

Very quickly the team realised that although fissara hadn’t entered this market to date there was some significant benefits that our software could offer. Namely in terms of operational improvement, the totally customisable aspect of fissara to their current processes, a much larger part of their operation working under one roof and linking together, an SLA tracking system and the development of a listener for their smart monitoring system. This would see fissara automatically creating scheduled jobs based on the information it received from solar sites. Probably most astonishing to the team was that all of this could be done for the same monthly cost as their last provider.

fissara was constructed initially for the Telecoms market to allow Airwave (now Motorola) to reduce the amount of time spent scheduling and reporting and allow them to prove their work in terms of auditing. You can view the full case study here. Having built many more modules since then, fissara can now encompass the total operational aspect of so many different types of business and has been proved by this case completely. This can also be seen in some of our other case studies here and here

We are now working with some of the largest players companies in all of our target markets and are still seeking out new sectors where fissara can make a big business impact. So many businesses are seeing the benefits of how fissara can totally transform the task of managing operations from being a cumbersome and time consuming process using multiple systems and apps for different tasks to a streamlined, slick, automatic and productive part of their business.

Stay tuned for a full case study of the latest addition to the fissara family. In the meantime, why not see what fissara can do for you, Click Here, for access to our consultation Calendar to book a brief conversation with Ross (our James Bond lookalike/Sales Manager) and we can discuss just that.

Major upgrade successfully completed for Airwave

Team Work delivers major enhancements to the engineers who support the UK’s most critical communication network..

We are very please to announce the completion of a major upgrade of fissara for Airwave Solutions. Our “Triple D” teams (Design, Develop and Deploy) at fissara have been very busy over the last few months getting ready to release the most significant enhancements that we have ever done to fissara.

The new release features, amongst a long list of other great features, our powerful Proximity Scheduling that will provide a high level of automation when allocating engineering tasks based of skill, location and estimated availability. We’ve also added Asset Centre to this deployment, which provides an unparalleled monitoring, and management capability to the vast number of technical components and spares serviced, replaced and maintained by the engineers, giving instant visibility to stock locations and repair status through the fissara console.

Also notable in this release is the use of our “Hyperflow” driven workflow component which, we believe is the most adaptable and client configurable workflow solution available as a cloud service. Hundreds of different trigger events can be modelled to launch, new tasks, activities, emails, txt messages, alerts and even other workflows

About Airwave

Airwave delivers mission critical voice and data communications to organisations that provide vital public services – the police, fire and ambulance services, local authorities, health, utilities and transport providers.

Airwave has invested £1.4 billion to date to create the Airwave Network, which was purpose built to meet the needs of emergency services. The Network is totally secure, covers 99% of Great Britain’s landmass and is interoperable, meaning that for the first time members of different public service organisations can communicate with one another.

The Airwave Network is the first public service network in the world to offer secure, seamlessly integrated communications between emergency services and other emergency responders, and has made Great Britain a world leader in critical communication.

Click Here to view the full Airwave Case Study