This month, we caught up with Proctors’ resident baker, Sallie Court, who explains how she puts her technical expertise into heading up the agency’s behemothic Panasonic project. With teams spread far and wide across Europe, North America and Japan, Sallie juggles budgets, time zones and region-specific requirements on a daily basis. It’s clear that the ‘all in it together’ culture at Proctors is what drives her; leading projects that exceed client expectations every time…
How did you come to arrive at Proctor + Stevenson?
I started off as a developer 20 years ago, when you always did a bit of everything. After working for an event and incentive management company, developing a variety of applications, I started working freelance running my own business. After many years and three children later, I was ready for a new challenge. This involved me moving to Somerset two and half years ago and starting at Proctors.
Now I work exclusively on Panasonic as the Project Team Lead overseeing three other project managers. Because I was a developer, I handle the more technical project management. I deal with the European, North American and Japanese regions. One of the major clients I look after is Panasonic Industrial who have a North American website and an EU website – the core of which are the same but both vary according to what they’re marketing at any given time. We have separate budgets and the extreme time differences to take into account, so that raises its own set of challenges.
Another major project we’re working on at the moment is developing a partner portal for Panasonic North America. We worked in conjunction with a company in Japan to develop a partner portal for all their resellers and now North America also want that. We have the core system in place but, as usual, different regions have different needs, and they need to integrate with their own systems. Our excellent relationship with the Panasonic teams across the world really help us to understand their unique requirements.
What projects have you enjoyed working on the most?
The best project so far has been the expansion of an existing application – the file management area of the Panasonic Specification Database System.
It’s a database of all of their products for each region. They’ll add a product and set whether it’s at the factory, or in production and so on, and within that system you also have all the marketing assets – from images to manuals to firmware to support documents. It was over four years ago when that system started – then Europe came on board and we had to expand.
The system changed; it became much more important, powering lots of other systems so we had to redesign the entire file interface, reassessing how they managed files. It was a very technical project that required a lot of thinking about how we were going to do it, how it was going to impact existing data and more. This system now powers several Panasonic systems around the globe. It was an amazing achievement to come up with a such a streamlined way to manage assets, and the feedback from Panasonic was brilliant – “The best work from Proctors yet!"
Tell us about something outside of Proctors’ work that you thought was quirky or cool…
I loved the Aldi campaign from a few years ago which featured a woman talking about her husband's penchant for a cup of char before declaring: "I don't like tea. I like gin." I know it may not be that cool but it was funny and memorable.
What do you do in your spare time?
Spare time, what’s that? When I do have a few spare moments, I spend them with my youngest daughter who is nearly five. She loves cooking and she makes cakes for the development team.
What do you think makes Proctors unique?
We get on very well here at Proctors. Everyone works very hard and there is real a feeling that we’re all in it together. Every day is different, especially a Monday when I bring in cake for the digital team.