Kaizen, n.: a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices and personal efficiency
In the consulting world, most work focuses on providing excellent client solutions. And Praecipio Consulting is no different in that regard. Specializing in the Atlassian suite, they consult on IT, DevOps, and several other areas to ensure client success and provide a great ROI. Praecipio Consulting began in 2006; in the past eleven years, they’ve evolved from a startup into an established consulting firm. In 2016, Atlassian awarded them the Atlassian Innovation Award for their work with the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the firm also produces its own add-ons for the Atlassian Marketplace. These add-ons include a DocuSign and Confluence integration, additional security layers for Confluence content, and a Docusign-JIRA integration. They also are a Workato Consulting Partner.
But Praecipio Consulting is also distinct for applying kaizen to its internal operations. The firm seeks to continually improve its own processes, so it can work more efficiently and provide better client solutions. Automation has become an important component of the firm’s kaizen, allowing them to onboard customers and complete projects smoothly while conserving resources.
Seamlessly Connecting Salesforce and JIRA
Praecipio Consulting uses Workato to connect Salesforce and JIRA. The firm’s Business Development team uses Salesforce to manage the entire sales cycle. The Services Delivery team, meanwhile, uses JIRA to manage projects but frequently needs access to information stored in the CRM, which serves as the system of record for customer data. “Rather than give them SFDC licenses for this narrow purpose, it made sense to sync Salesforce data to the program they use all the time: JIRA,” explains Michael Kuhl, a Principal at the firm.
Initially, these information silos didn’t exist. “Prior to adopting Salesforce, we used JIRA to manage the sales cycle. It was okay, but JIRA isn’t made to be a CRM. As we scaled, we needed to graduate to a real CRM,” Kuhl explained. The transition was challenging, however, because many of the firm’s business processes still relied on customer information being accessible via JIRA.
The road to integration wasn’t entirely smooth at first. “We tried using a popular Atlassian Marketplace add-on to create this integration, but it wasn’t a flexible tool,” Kuhl remarks. “It was focused on one use case — connecting customer service teams and development teams — and that’s not what we wanted. We needed a more all-purpose solution.” After experiencing its versatility first-hand at the Atlassian Summit, the firm settled on Workato.
From there, the firm quickly implemented the platform. Kuhl estimates he set up the first simple integration in about two hours. And the return, he says, has been multifold. The delivery team has all the information they need to work efficiently, and the sales team can focus on closing deals instead of answering questions about customers. Instead of waiting to have a conversation, the delivery team can just check JIRA; it’s a smooth, self-service workflow. Kuhl says the firm also appreciates the complete peace of mind the integration affords. “We know the delivery team has all the info they need. Once we built the integration, we just turned it on. It just runs in the background; if there’s ever a problem, it informs JIRA Service Desk, so our support team can address it. It all happens invisibly.”
Marketing Automation: Sending the Right Emails, Right on Time
The firm also automates their marketing with Hubspot and uses Workato to add extra muscle to their email campaigns. “When someone downloads one of our add-ons from the Marketplace, we wanted to automatically send an email that thanked them for downloading,” says Erin Jones, a Senior Marketing Analyst who handles the firm’s product and email marketing. But the Marketplace doesn’t have event-based integration built in, so Praecipio Consulting uses Workato’s scheduling trigger. “On a daily basis we query the Marketplace’s API to get the set of new downloads. If we find any new downloads, we then call the Hubspot API and create a Hubspot contact,” Erin says. The firm then sets properties on the Hubspot contact to define the sort of support they receive. “If there’s an existing Hubspot contact who then downloaded an app, they need to be tagged appropriately so we can email them with relevant updates or Marketplace information. In other words, we need to tie that contact to a specific product, so that their email says ‘Thank you for downloading Product X; here’s how to get started.’”
Erin explains that the firm used to do this process manually, but sought ought an automated solution as they expanded their product offerings. “Towards the end of last year, our product number increased, and we wanted to make sure that we were sending out the right emails–it’s important that people have an easy time using our products! Before we started using Workato, a marketing intern had to manually download the report from Atlassian marketplace, identify new users, and manually send emails from Hubspot. We are always trying to optimize our internal processes, so this was something we decided to automate,” she says.
A Seamless Transition
Praecipio Consulting appreciates the quick implementation Workato provides. “With Workato, we set this all up in under four hours. A team member–who had never used Workato before–picked it up almost instantly. He was very familiar with the integration at the end of those 4 hours. And we saw results immediately,” Erin says. “At the end of those four hours, we were kicking off the workflow. It was instant.” Though they didn’t try any other solutions before selecting Workato, the firm initially considered writing custom Python code for the integration. “That definitely would have taken more than 4 hours!” Erin laughs.
Improved ROI: No Interns Required
The firm has seen benefits beyond the initial quick implementation, crediting Workato with saving them thousands of dollars every year. “Automating a task that would otherwise require manual input saves us resources and time,” Erin explains. “Overall, the automation saves us five hours per week–which adds up to six weeks of labor per year! That’s about $5,000 we would have spent paying an intern, plus the invisible opportunity costs of responding more slowly to a new download.”
And responding quickly to downloads is key to making the new user experience wonderful, directly impacting the firm’s marketing ROI. “With Workato, our customers get this thank-you email sooner, so they can immediately install the product and use it to the best of their ability,” Erin says. “Having our customers instantaneously receive that email helps them onboard more smoothly and gives them a better feeling about adopting our product.”
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