William Buck is a leading firm of chartered accountants and advisors with offices across Australia and New Zealand. Since 1895, the firm has provided integrated financial services to individuals, community organizations, and businesses, with a focus on fast-growing middle market companies.
William Buck employees are quick to embrace change and find new ways to better their customers’ lives and businesses. For the customer-facing side of the business, this has changed the way the firm communicates with clients. For instance, while previously relying mostly on one-to-one in-person interactions, customer-facing teams have begun taking many of these interactions virtual in recent years.
As the customer-facing side of the business adapted, backend, operational teams such as the IT department were similarly inspired to transform the way they operated.
The Challenge: Rebuilding IT Processes In-House
Ban Ch’ng, Senior IT Manager of the New South Wales arm of the firm, reflected, “At the time, many of our IT processes were outsourced. The first thing we decided to do was to bring them back in-house.”
Heading a team of eight, Ch’ng’s main task was to align the technology team’s strategy with the firm’s goal: to go faster and be more efficient while putting the customer first, in order to strengthen the firm’s edge in a hyper-competitive market.
At the same time, the business was facing urgent challenges around:
- Siloed IT processes
- Double handling of data, which made it difficult to ensure data integrity
- Too many touchpoints to onboard one client, resulting in bottlenecks
To drive productivity and efficiency in the business, Ch’ng needed to remove these barriers.
“The first two years were really about building that foundation, setting up a tech stack for the business. Now in the third year of our transformation roadmap, my objective is to improve upon that foundation. I’m doing that in two ways: data warehousing and integrations.”
Impact #1: Improving the User Experience
One of the biggest problems Ch’ng needed to solve was the duration it took to onboard a single client.
There were two main factors for this: an overly manual process, and challenges in ensuring data integrity.
Before Workato, processes revolving around client data were tedious, involving multiple apps and touchpoints (such as electronic forms) and manual data entry. To optimize these processes, Ch’ng’s team initially tried out a process management platform to automate parts of the workflow. Finding that it was not robust enough to serve as an end-to-end solution, they turned to developing the integrations manually. This however proved to be time-consuming and a strain on the already stretched resources of the IT team.
“We could do (the integrations) ourselves, but it would take too long to go to market, or we would have to hire more developers to shorten that turnaround time.”
In the end, the simplest solution was to buy these connectors off the shelf, or leverage a powerful enterprise automation platform to simplify and quicken the development process.
What makes a powerful enterprise automation platform?
- A rich set of connectors—Workato has 400+ pre-built connectors for popular enterprise apps.
- Ease of use—Workato uses plain English and drag and drop. No coding knowledge is required to use the platform.
During Ch’ng’s evaluation, Workato stood out for having a vast collection of pre-built connectors, as well as how easy it is to use. Ch’ng’s team is small, so the intuitiveness of the platform was critical because it meant that less training time was necessary. The availability of connectors also meant quicker turnaround times in building and rolling out the required integrations.
“It would take a developer probably 3-4 months to build and test each connector. When you have 10 platforms to connect, that timeline balloons to 2-3 years. But with Workato, we can build one integration in less than 2 months—that’s half the time.”
Impact #2: Ensuring Data Integrity
Using Workato, William Buck now handles client data more efficiently.
Workato seamlessly connects William Buck’s internal data warehouse with the key apps that are used by different teams across the business, including APS, BGL, Marketo, Xero, and Xplan. This facilitates better processes around data, chiefly in eliminating double data handling for better data integrity.
“From a data integrity point of view, it’s more sound to have a single touch point so information just needs to be entered once, and can be automatically replicated to other platforms.”
Any updates to client data will only have to be done once instead of requiring different users to manually log into separate platforms. The updated data will be automatically reflected everywhere else. This reduces possible errors that could arise from multiple manual data entries, and teams can be confident that the data they’re accessing will be updated and accurate.
Another clear advantage is the time saved by automating the data handling processes.
If done manually, Ch’ng estimates that it would take 15 minutes to fully update the records for a single client. With the process automated, it’s almost immediate. Instead of administrative work, business teams can focus on delivering better services to clients.
On the backend, it also eliminates the need for IT to run periodic reports to check for data accuracy, which is time-consuming and again, overly manual. With concerns about errors eliminated, Ch’ng’s team can focus on other more strategic aspects of their work in support of the firm’s goals.
Ch’ng’s eventual goal is to integrate all the cloud platforms that are used across the business.
“At the end of the day, we’re looking for the best way to support the firm. Enhancing the way we use technology, especially through automation, is critical to enabling the firm to go faster, be more efficient, and most importantly, be more competitive—not just now, but in the future.”
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