Circle Opinion

Lessons learned: three ways we help our clients pre-empt their challenges to be more proactive 

James Maw

In any competitive market, being proactive can make all the difference. For example, developing new application features that make your processes more efficient can save time and free your team to focus on more challenging tasks.

Change isn’t easy if you’re going it alone. You need the right processes and skills in place from the off. While this isn’t impossible to achieve, it doesn’t happen overnight. Even for the best organisations, it can take time, effort, and significant resources.

There is another way: working with the right partner with the right expertise to help you drive meaningful change.

At CACI, we’ve spent decades helping clients navigate and pre-empt shifting markets. Here are three ways we’ve helped them to be more proactive.


While it can be tempting to stick with the old ways of doing things, this will almost certainly breed unnecessary complexity and manual processes.

Take a crowded public place for example. One of our clients is required by health and safety law to monitor and record footfall. It’s a critical part of the company’s understanding of congestion at its sites – and how it can make changes to reduce it.

But when the standard method of recording this information was pen and paper, submitted periodically, our client found that its staff were spending so much time filling out paperwork that they struggled to carry out their other daily routines.

Our solution was simple: a digital app that replaced paper forms and allowed staff to upload a variety of supporting documents – removing tedious, manual data entry, and freeing valuable people to focus on other tasks.


In healthcare, preventative treatment can catch potential issues before they become bigger problems, helping people live healthier lives. What’s more, a healthier population means less pressure on the NHS and more evenly distributed budgets.

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundations Trust (UCLH) identified that without appropriate screening, some of the most vulnerable groups in the UK were at risk of contracting TB – a disease which can be a significant challenge to treat if not discovered in its early stages.

So we worked closely with UCLH to develop its internet tele-radiology information and communication system (ITRICS), which helps to identify, manage, support, and treat patients while they wait (a particular advantage for those without fixed addresses who are hard to track down).

By identifying cases more quickly and with greater accuracy, UCLH is now able to provide effective treatment on the spot. This reduces the pressure on its outreach teams and helping them serve more people when they need it most.

Bringing new applications to market quickly is not just helpful in healthcare. It’s also helped Waitrose & Partners deliver a more seamless customer shopping experience.

We worked together to consolidate the retailer’s multi-device ecosystem – including providing comprehensive ongoing device support – and now it’s easy for Waitrose to develop a wide range of applications for any customer mobile device.


Understanding upcoming changes that could impact your operations – and taking proactive action to mitigate those effects in advance – can help you avoid potential problems and stay ahead of the competition.

In the retail sector, a sudden change to something seemingly straightforward, like the VAT rate, could have huge legal implications, literally overnight. And we helped Waitrose & Partners to prepare for exactly this.

Changing product prices to reflect a tax change sounds simple in theory, but the reality is hundreds of thousands of products that each need updating at once – with no room for error.

That’s where batch processing comes in. By making these price changes in sensibly sized batches (usually overnight to limit point-of-sale disruption), our client avoided painful database errors that could have risked non-compliance and customer dissatisfaction.

We also helped Waitrose & Partners to prepare for the food import challenges posed by Brexit. By using stock smoothing techniques where the locations of the most buying were analysed and supplied accordingly, the retailer has been able to reduce the impact of perishable food disruption – and it now uses the same technique to deal with adverse weather events that threaten suppliers both at home and abroad.


Often, change is out of our control. But what we can do is be proactive about how we prepare for it – so we’re ready when it happens.

What’s more, being proactive can also help you be more innovative and responsive to your customers’ needs – opening critical revenue-generating opportunities for you.

In the next blog in this series, I’ll focus on a tactic many of our clients use to optimise their processes and technology. I’ll also look at how they hone their ability to execute test and learn programmes.

If you haven’t already, read the first entry in this blog series – How three major organisations used challenges to drive digital change.

Contact us now
James Maw