“Driving Process Efficiency for Stellarmann”
If there’s one group that would be appreciative of the need for effective technology, it would be a company that delivers major IT transformation projects.
Wellcombe Group is a company with two divisions: an IT recruitment business, “William Alexander” and a consultancy arm, “Stellarmann”. With a turnover of £25 million, the latter has a track record of providing support to major projects for FTSE 100 clients and public sector organisations like HMRC.
It was the consultancy side of the business, which only launched three years ago, that faced the problem that many new companies have faced: keeping their processes functioning smoothly as they rapidly scaled.
According to Scott Davies, Stellarmann’s Head of Consulting, the company started by utilising Excel and Word documents stored on SharePoint.
That worked for a while but as Davies explained, “We were expanding rapidly, recruiting staff quickly and we found that we needed to improve our workflow. We were struggling with finances and billing and how we could best serve our clients.”
The company examined the possibility of moving to Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics but quickly realised that these were not going to be the way forward. “We’re not a big company and these products are aimed at much larger businesses.” His experience in dealing with major projects came in handy here. “I’m an IT professional myself, so I know how they work. These big systems are designed to work in large corporates and are very configurable to address the unique needs of those types of organisations.”
Stellarmann was a much smaller operation with just 40 users and needs its IT strategy to reflect that. Also, they needed to consider the 150 associates who were working on client sites and whose contracts and billing needed to be managed accurately and efficiently.
Keeping a cap on budgets, Davies couldn’t justify the cost of these types of software, so he started looking around for other options.
The company was recommended to engage Information EXP, a SharePoint consultancy, as the best option for implementing process automation. What attracted Davies to Information EXP was that it was a firm that had a real appreciation of what a smaller company needed. “They didn’t talk about all the shiny extras but were focused very much on what we could achieve at reasonable costs,” he said.
The implementation went smoothly, so much so that Stellarmann was wary of proceeding too quickly, although the temptation was great. “It was us who were throttling back,” said Davies.
There were some pain points along the way, but Davies acknowledged that these were down to the way that Stellarmann had initially been set up. “We should all have thought of migration of data, there was a bit of work for us on cleansing the data, it was a natural pain point,” he explained.
Although the implementation went smoothly, there were still further changes to be made to the system. “We wanted to improve some of the aspects in Power Automate flows,” said Davies – “we experienced some fantastic support from Information EXP, and the team did some great work sharpening power apps to our specific needs.”
The new solution has completely changed the efficiency of the company processes, decisively speeding up operations. “The Information EXP team have built a Power App to use with our 100+ associates who need to report on their delivery.
The clients require our project managers to make consolidated reports based on the agreed monthly deliverables. They make the reports by mobile Power App, which is integrated into SharePoint, so we have a single source of the truth.
It’s not only monthly reporting that has improved. “In the past,” said Davies.
And there’s more to the system than efficiency improvements. “The system came at the right time to stop us from hiring more people to deal with the paperwork. More importantly, it stopped the flight risk of our associates who didn’t want to spend the day completing timesheets,” he added.
The new system has worked so well that the company is now taking everything a step further. Davies said that Information EXP is now building a system for the recruitment side of the business. “It will be very similar to the Consultancy division, although the workflow will be slightly different – we’ll be looking forward to similar productivity gains on that said of the business.”
Bedding in a new system can sometimes take a long time but the file migration happened swiftly and with minimum training requirements, the consultants were soon up to speed.
“We certainly made the right choice to move our business forward,” said Davies. “From a commercial perspective – all project costs were fixed in advance, and the operational costs were clearly laid out with no additional Microsoft Licensing required.”
The division has now started with the Information EXP’s Policy Express solution.