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Five-minute interview: Kit Kyte, Checkit

MicroScope talks to Kit Kyte, CEO at intelligent operations platform CheckIt, to discover what makes him tick and what his opinions are surrounding remote working and technology

Morning, Kit, tell us what you do for a living.

In 2021, I became the CEO of Checkit, an intelligent operations platform that helps leaders make smarter, faster business decisions by illuminating their “dark operations” and elevating their deskless workforce. Deskless employees make up 80% of the global workforce, yet have received just a fraction of the digital productivity tools bestowed on those of us who work at a desk. Instead, operational workers including cleaners, kitchen staff, maintenance engineers and nurses are left with paper checklists, clunky spreadsheets or DIY computer programmes.

It’s been that way for decades. These outdated reporting methods are the root of dark operations, where staff feel neglected and managers are deprived of the insight they need to make measurable improvements. Now is the time for change. I’m passionate about the potential of the new breed of technology (internet of things sensors, digital assistants and analytics, for example) to transform deskless operations. 

Why are you the right person for this job?

My career started in the military. As a former captain in the Royal Gurkha Rifles, I have operated in high-pressure environments, building a team, dealing with extreme risk and encouraging rapid decision-making. All of that depends on absolute trust, visibility, communication and accountability.

These are all qualities I wanted to bring into the business sector when I left the Forces after my third tour of duty. They are also qualities that need to be enhanced across deskless workforces. That’s why I seized the opportunity to join Checkit. I believe strongly in the mission that we are pursuing here – empowering leaders and their frontline workers.

I initially joined as Checkit’s chief commercial officer, where I oversaw the transformation of sales and marketing, driving significant growth in prospective revenue. Prior to this, I was vice-president of sales at Genpact, a business focused on delivering digital transformation, where I led European sales with an annual value of more than £100m. There is huge scope to help organisations work smarter.

What gets you up in the morning? 

There are approximately 2.7 billion deskless workers globally who largely haven’t had access to the digital tools most of us take for granted. It’s an issue that needs to be addressed, not only because these essential teams deserve to be empowered, but because technology can unlock their potential to deliver incredible value back into their organisations through productive, efficient, safe and sustainable practices. 

The potential for change to frontline services was underlined by the pandemic. The NHS, for example, is an organisation Checkit is proud to serve. As a mark of support, we deployed our engineers to the first Nightingale hospital, installing a medical monitoring system to help protect temperature-sensitive vaccines and other critical inventory.

Is it possible to get through an industry conversation without mentioning ‘digital transformation’?

Digital transformation has lost a lot of its meaning over the years. It has been regurgitated without thought, used as an umbrella term for all manner of initiatives, often incorrectly, and adopted as a slogan for promotional purposes.

Kit Kyte

 “I believe strongly in the mission that we are pursuing here – empowering leaders and their frontline workers”

Kit Kyte, Checkit

In our conversations with organisations across healthcare, retail, hospitality, life sciences and franchises, we hear too often about “digital transformation” projects that get mired in the complexities of deployment, get left on the shelf due to difficulties with integration or take years to deliver any measurable value. Too many leaders have suffered from over-promising and under-delivering.

It’s one thing we are laser-focused on at Checkit – upfront consultancy to understand pain points, rapid deployment and training, easy integration, fast time-to-value and continuous improvement. In one case, we trained more than 7,000 staff within four weeks and were delivering value inside two months. That’s the practicality people should be thinking about when they are talking digital transformation.

What does the next five years hold for the channel?

In the next five years, we want to continue our fast pace of growth and establish ourselves as a truly global enterprise. Most importantly, we want our technology to reach even more frontline workers to make their lives easier. We’re proof that growth needs partnership, and the channel has a great opportunity in the areas of dispelling dark operations and the ongoing, unfinished digital transformation for frontline workers.

Too many business leaders are still not aware that they are trying to manage teams, assets and buildings using practices that actively keep them in the dark. So much time in retail, hospitality, manufacturing, and healthcare is being wasted by the manual capture of information and activity; processes that are better served by digitisation and automation. The result is frontline workers attention is drawn away from the things that matter, such as delivering memorable customer and patient experiences.

We want this knowledge to become widespread in the next five years and for management staff to understand what dark operations are, why they are a plague to businesses, and why the deskless workforce needs a level playfield of digitisation compared to their knowledge worker counterparts. Partners will be key to scaling the message and bringing the technology into their customer organisations.

What is the best book you’ve ever read?

The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande explains how a focus on process helps everyone, from test pilots to critical care medics – no matter how many years they’ve done their job. Everyone is at risk of making errors. 

Today, organisations need to codify their knowledge and support their staff with real-time execution. The Checklist Manifesto goes so far as to describe how to reduce risk. But business leaders want and need growth. They need to inspire better ways of working, ways where better risk management is a byproduct of a continuous endeavour toward growth, goals.. Risk reduction is achievable through a static checklist, growth is not. Businesses change on a daily basis. We need more adaptable, proactive solutions that prompt and guide good outcomes, encourage autonomy and drive better decision-making at all levels.

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