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Appen is a leading digital, audio and video transcription specialist offering a range of transcription and recording services, with expertise in secure transcription solutions. Formerly Mendip Media, the company has been established for nearly 25 years is now a leading transcription company with an international and legal focus. The company can access expertise in 150 languages, with more than 50 experienced staff working from offices in Exeter and 40 freelance transcribers across the UK. Each year, the business produces more than 12,000 transcripts and attends hundreds of meetings, inquiries, depositions and hearings.

Caroline Williams is the Operations Director and has worked at Appen since 2001 during which time she completed a BA in Business Management at Exeter University. She has worked in all areas of the business and has a wealth of knowledge in both transcription and audio editing. Currently, she is responsible for the high-security areas of the company, recruits all on-site transcribers and researches and implements digital innovations to help move the business forward. Caroline has a geeky affection for Excel and has completed PRINCE2 Registered Practitioner, Advanced Excel and Microsoft Access Level 2 courses.

Being in the Digital Leadership programme resulted in Caroline being able to closely review the juxtaposition of existing business and legacy structures, with the opportunities offered by the parent company Appen, looking to increase value propositions for key markets and sectors.

As Caroline explains, “I’ve been in a position to utilise the learning and the project I completed during the programme to inform and support developments throughout and following on from the acquisition. I’ve also been able to use the learning and my better understanding of digital leadership to encourage and embrace change and innovation. Currently we are now working with colleagues in Sydney looking at the systems they have in place and how we could possibly redevelop these to suit our requirements here in Exeter. We are in the process of drawing up customer personas to work out the customer journeys and how we can improve on these. We have mapped out our gold-plated system and we are currently undertaking research around each part of this, especially to make use of digital development where possible within the business.”

The business is now transitioning to a new HR, project and financial management system. Caroline is acutely aware of the further opportunities now to develop effective systems, their use by staff, and the integration with the workflow system.

Impact: having produced and agreed an action plan and roadmap for digital transformation the aim is to reduce the manual inputting of data for incoming jobs and work allocation as well as enable our clients to have greater visibility and tracking for their work (we hope to save approximately one third of a person). At the same this will enable us to futureproof the business for growth via tenders and sales opportunities that stipulate digital client portals and digital profiles in their bid specifications.

This course has given me the tools and stimulus to address the challenges facing our business. Engaging with others and viewing what is possible has equipped me to drive these changes forward and explore opportunities with our global parent company.