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Acorio Spotlight: Paloma Fuente on Designing Service Portals and Working Remotely

Acorio Employee Spotlight

We like to say that we’re building a once-in-a-lifetime company at Acorio, and while we’re proud of our accolades and CSAT scores, none of that would be possible without our brilliant team of consultants and ServiceNow experts. If you’re looking to learn more about the people that make Acorio so special, today’s blog is for you.

This month’s Acorio Spotlight shines on Paloma Fuente, a Senior Technical Consultant who works in our UX practice. We’re excited to give you an inside peek today into Paloma’s top 3 tips for designing service portals, along with her advice for working remotely on a team spread across multiple time zones. (Did we mention she’s part of our Spanish office, working in Avilés, Spain?)

Ready to meet Paloma? 

The Elevator Pitch: Paloma in 30 Seconds

Paloma was part of the initial team of Acorio Spain, joining as a Technical Consultant specializing in Service Portal and CMS. Since she joined Acorio, Paloma has been directly linked to the UX team and has led various portal projects and workshops. Now as a Senior Technical Consultant, Paloma remains a key figure in our delivery team, working to help clients with their ServiceNow implementations.

How long have you worked at Acorio? 

I started in May of last year, so I’ve been on the Acorio team for a little over a year now. 

When did you get involved with technical consulting and the ServiceNow ecosystem? 

I got involved with the ServiceNow ecosystem about 7 years ago. Before that, I was working as a web developer, and my husband, Pablo (now Acorio’s Country Manager for Spain) was working predominantly with ServiceNow implementations. He saw that there were a lot of UX and portal-related projects, and he asked me to help with the web development side of things. After the first one, projects kept coming until there were so many that I decided to move over and focus completely on ServiceNow. 

What does a typical work day look like for you? 

Before COVID-19, every day was different, but with quarantine I have really been trying to keep a routine. I like to wake up very early in the mornings so that I can get some work time without any distractions, while my son is still asleep. Because I live in Spain and work seven hours ahead of most of our US-based team, I can get through the morning without any meetings and focus almost exclusively on development work. 

 

My mornings are usually centered on technical work; I always start my day by prioritizing my projects so that I can start with the most complex issues and work on those first. Then if I have any questions, I write them down so that I remember to ask the US team once they are online for the day. Later on in the afternoon, I tend to have a lot of meetings because that’s when the rest of our team is awake and working. Between meetings, I’ll try to do as much technical work as I can – I don’t like to leave anything pending when I log off for the day or else I tend to focus on those remaining items even after I’m done working. 

You’ve won quite the reputation for your design skills on the service portal team, even earning yourself the internal nickname “Paloma Picasso”. What are your top 3 design tips for clients working on implementing a Service Portal? 

  1. Keep everything as neat as possible, if you put a lot of information or too many graphics on a portal, it can overwhelm your user. Too much content makes a page look cluttered, and then your users can’t find the information they’re looking for.  
  2. Ensure that the portal is right for your team. Even if your consulting partner voices certain content or design preferences, it’s important to remember your opinion as a client comes first. The portal is for your team, so you get the final say. 
  3. The client needs to ensure that the real needs of the user are covered. If the portal is missing information, or the layout is difficult to navigate, then people won’t use it. It doesn’t matter how cool a portal is if its interface isn’t easy to understand and navigate. Make sure to talk to your team and see what information they want or need, and then tailor your portal to their feedback. 

You were one of our first employees in the Spanish office. Was there anything that surprised you when you joined the Acorio team? 

One of the biggest changes moving to Acorio is that my previous roles weren’t part of a specific practice. Now, as part of Acorio’s UX practice, I get to work closely with people that are experts in the same area of the platform as I am. I really enjoy this structure because it helps me learn every day and grow professionally. 

 

When I first joined the team, I was also really impressed by the partnership that Acorio establishes with our clients. I feel like the client is truly part of Acorio’s team while working on a project, we work hard to form a great relationship and really work together to ensure each project is a success. The same thing can be said for Acorio internally too. When we first joined the team, every time we ended a call, Olga, Noe and I would tell each other “this person is SO nice” – it soon became a joke that every single call ended with that same conversation. Honestly, we don’t feel the distance so much. Even though we’re working from Spain, we know that Acorio is truly one single team working together. 

What characteristic do you think is most important for consultants to model

I would say that the most important trait for a consultant is to be open-minded. It’s impossible to know everything. Even if you think your approach is right, it’s really important to remain flexible and listen to others’ opinions. Especially in regards to designing a portal, flexibility is key because trends change over time, so we are always looking for new ideas. By remaining open to new design or technical approaches, we minimize the risk of limiting the quality of our work. 

Do you have a work ‘mantra’ or phrase that you live by? 

Try to learn as much as you can everyday. This can apply to all areas of life and work, for example, the Spanish team is always looking for ways to improve our English speaking skills. Additionally, as consultants, we’re always learning new ways to improve how we work and collaborate within our Acorio team and with our clients. 

Since the start of COVID19, you have had to work from home. What was that adjustment like and how has your work routine shifted since then?  

It has definitely changed my work routine, like I mentioned earlier, now I wake up early in the mornings to focus on technical work. One of the other big changes is that when I was going into the office, we had a nice habit of grabbing coffee together as a group every day, but obviously it’s a lot harder to recreate that interaction virtually. Our Spanish team does our best to host calls so we can all still keep in touch while working from home, but it’s not the same. We really miss seeing everyone and working together in person every day. 

What tips do you have for people who work on teams that work across multiple timezones? 

Communication is key. At the end of every day, I always send a status update on each of my projects, so that the U.S. team can pick up exactly where I left off. Then when it’s time for them to end their day, they do the same thing so that I know where to start working when I log on the next morning. This communication ensures we consistently maintain a seamless focus on the project, and means the client essentially has 24 hour work being done on their project, which is a great benefit for them. But again, in order to make this style of collaboration successful, communication has to be a priority – you can’t work alone. 

What is your favorite Acorio memory? 

I was definitely looking forward to attending my first Acorio all-company summit earlier this year, but unfortunately that was cancelled due to COVID-19. That said, my favorite Acorio memory would be the entire summer of 2019. At the time, we had just opened our Spanish office and Acorio’s Leadership Team began an exchange program with our U.S. team, where two American Acorians would move to Spain and work from our office for three months at a time. This exchange allowed the employees in our Spanish office to get a much better sense of Acorio’s company culture, and in return, we got to show American members of the Acorio team around Asturias, Spain and share our culture with them. It was so much fun getting to know different Acorians through this program, we would travel and share our favorite restaurants, historical sites, and beaches with them! 

 

Acorio Spotlight is an ongoing series that highlights A-team members across platform areas who are doing extraordinary ServiceNow work. Stay tuned for our next piece to see which employee we’ll be covering next!
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