Mazars is an international, integrated and independent organisation, specialising in audit, advisory, accounting and tax services. The firm operates in 73 countries and draws on the expertise of 15,000 professionals to assist major international groups, SMEs, private investors and public agencies at every stage in their development. In the UK, Mazars has 19 offices with more than 1,600 partners and staff, and is ranked as the ninth-largest firm nationally.
Here, Alison Clack, Director, Business Transformation at Mazars tells us about the work the company is doing to streamline customer data processes, why this is so important, and what technology is being adopted to help achieve its goals.
- Tell us about the particular challenges Mazars is/was faced with regarding customer information?
Operating on such a large, international scale means we have a plethora of information to manage. Specifically, offering a range of specialist services to our clients can mean a number of different systems are used to deliver them and a key challenge is how to reduce multiple points of data entry. We needed a solution that gave us the capability to streamline our data entry process and provide our staff with a single data entry point. This frees up resource to focus on what is important – delivering a high quality service and contributing to our strategic growth plan.
- How has Mazars previously managed customer relationships? Why did this need to change? Why is customer relationship management so important to Mazars?
The business was in agreement that we needed to improve our CRM capability and replace our previous solution that did not meet our needs. We took the opportunity to incorporate an existing risk assessment process to improve the experience for our users. This was part of a wider plan to ensure we put in place the best core solutions within our business to build our future architecture around. The ultimate goal in all of this is to improve operational efficiency and maximise our customer and prospect experience.
- What kind of solutions did you consider to address the challenges? What solution did you end up investing in and why?
We looked to the market for the best CRM solutions available. We invested in SugarCRM’s solution because we needed technology that enabled our staff and partners to collaborate across extended teams and receive the administration and support services they require.
It has allowed us to improve our business processes, reduce the amount of time spent on data entry and begin to integrate our systems. We feel that the data quality across these systems is improving and provides visibility of existing relationships and interactions with our clients. It has also given us the capability to better monitor our pipelines and analyse bid losses and wins.
- How important was it to have a single point of entry for customer data? What are the benefits this brings to your customers and customer-facing Mazars staff?
Having a single data entry point for all client information is a key objective for us. Clearly it eliminates repetitive data entry and simplifies processes. Having one point of entry also means that staff know exactly where to look when they need to recall information on a customer.
By providing all client-facing staff with the information needed for a more complete picture of the client in question, they are empowered with the knowledge they need to personalise their approach and deliver a better client experience.
- How easy was it to implement the CRM solution?
Implementing a new CRM solution involves several milestones, such as configuring the technology, process automation modelling and inputting quality data into the system. A significant amount of effort went into training our staff, whilst the solution is intuitive it was important to ensure there was a consistent approach to adopting the new processes. Initially we prioritised the attention on these processes and now we are focussed on increasing adoption to maximise use of the extensive reporting available.
- How is it performing so far / what results do you hope it will bring in the coming years? What new information/insights does it provide you with and what is the value of that to the business and your customers?
While Mazars is still working on projects to further integrate Sugar into our business, we’re already seeing the potential for substantial returns on our investment. By working to deliver one data entry point and improved processes to ensure quality control, we have already witnessed a significant reduction in the manual processing time taken for data entry. We’ve also been able enhance our audit trail and improve our new business processes by integrating risk assessment forms and presenting through Sugar, providing a consistent adherence to our policies.
- What difference does/will these results make to the future of your business? What can you / will you be able to do better with Sugar? (if possible, please bring to life with metrics or real-life or hypothesised examples)
Having a single point of data entry across a number of integrated systems will allow us to create a number of straight through processes. This should deliver significant improvements in data quality and reduce excessive data processing times. We have already seen this since the integration of Sugar with our finance system where we have achieved a saving of over 200 hours of data entry time in one area alone.
Processing data more efficiently should provide a better user experience internally enabling our staff to concentrate their efforts on the things that matter. As we continue to integrate our internal systems we will also explore the opportunity to integrate to external data sources. With continued improvements to our mobile capability providing relevant, quality information to our staff at the right time will only serve to support the continued growth of our business.
- What’s next for Mazars when it comes to improving sales and customer service? What challenges are on the horizon and how do you foresee overcoming these?
The next step for us will be to further develop our integration with other systems within the business. We have delivered this successfully with finance technology already but would also like to maximise the interactions with other systems.
It’s vital that we provide effective technology solutions which are sufficiently flexible to integrate across the business and can accommodate change in requirements in a timely fashion. The pace of change is where the challenge lies and ensuring we maximise adoption of the new solutions we put in place.