Tuesday, 9 December 2014

KordaMentha looks to tomorrow

At Microsoft, one of the things we care deeply about is helping people do the things they care about anywhere, anytime, on any device with the help of cloud services they can trust. That’s a key reason behind the step we are taking to start delivering our cloud productivity suite – Office 365 – and cloud business application – Dynamics CRM Online - from data centres in Australia by the end of March, 2015.

Customers tell us that locally-hosted services are important in helping them take a step into the cloud, with reasons ranging from better performance to managing data residency considerations. As importantly, customers and partners also see the value of our platform in building innovative solutions and approaches that are helping deliver new ways of working, better efficiencies and growth opportunities. Ahead of today’s announcement, we spoke with Mark Korda, Partner, and Ryan Wadsworth, Director Technology, from advisory and investment firm KordaMentha to learn what CRM means to their business, and how it stands to benefit from the local service


Established in 2002, KordaMentha has since grown to become one of Australia’s foremost advisory and investment firms with prominent forensic, real estate, corporate turnaround and restructuring practices. However, as the business has grown beyond insolvency and the market has evolved, one challenge KordaMentha frequently encounters is advising the market on its whole host of offerings.

“The issue we have internally is telling new clients that we’re not just insolvency. Our traditional and loyal clients who we have a lot of contact time with understand our full suite of offerings, but our new clients are less familiar. We think we’re a great alternative to the big four accounting firms in Australia, and if we’re going to maintain this position it’s critical our clients have the information they need to take full advantage of our services,” said Mr Korda.

Rapid Adoption

With KordaMentha looking to better share information internally and to enable employees to effectively introduce clients to other parts of the business, early this year the firm rolled out Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online following a competitive tender process. A big driver behind their decision, the pair told me, was the total cost of ownership, user understanding of Microsoft’s products, and the inevitability of the opening of the local Azure Geo – something not all providers were able to offer.

“The uptake of the technology has been significantly quicker than I thought it would be, due to the fact it’s easily usable and to our existing knowledge set of Microsoft Office products. Everyone now has insight across the whole firm, rather than individual offices and services lines, and it’s rapidly come to fruition,” said Mr Wadsworth.

Enhanced Communication

Like many companies, KordaMentha is using Microsoft Dynamics CRM to manage a broad range of business functions, including tracking their marketing, including events and digital publications, opportunity management as well as KPIs within their client service teams. The enhanced communication channels encourage better collaboration across the whole business to grow deals and better serve future and current clients.

Mr Korda went on to add: “One particular area we’ve seen success with Microsoft Dynamics CRM is when it’s integrated with SharePoint. On this platform, our knowledge management system – KMnet which stores information such as reports, business processes and credential packs – is as good as any firm has in the world. In fact, we’ve shown some of the big firms and they’ve been blown away.”

“KMnet drives the business, and the CRM offering on top of the SharePoint foundation ensures staff have access to the information they need to introduce clients to our whole range of offerings,” he continued

The Local Touch

With Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online service now being offered locally in Australia, KordaMentha is looking forward to benefitting from reduced latency and the ability to access the services quicker, which will enhance the client experience, while giving clients peace of mind that their data is only kilometres away.

“One of our main value additions is using SharePoint to provide a real-time dashboard for clients. Having the products locally will allow us to work quicker, and we’re confident that when the offerings are live we’ll be able to offer clients solutions in days, rather than weeks and months,” said Mr Wadsworth.

Connect & Collaborate

During our conversation, Mr Korda told me that to be the best, you’ve got to keep offering the best solutions. As such, it was incredibly rewarding to see KordaMentha using a range of Microsoft technology across the business empowering staff to work smarter and enhance the services delivered – and the firm is planning to deploy Office 365 next year too.

“Last year, we rebranded the IT Team to just Technology – we want to be seen as driving business solutions instead of a being utility service. The firm embraces technology and always wants to be better,” added Mr Wadsworth.

“For instance, 50 per cent of KordaMentha’s workforce is out of the office at any one time – working onsite with clients or out of state. To accommodate this, we deployed Lync, and staff tell me the collaboration it enables, from screen sharing, video conferencing and voice, is critical to their day to day activity. They love it.”

Mr Wadsworth concluded: "Long term our cloud strategy is to leverage Australian Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online datacenters across all our devices, services and platforms – regardless of OS. We tie ourselves to the product that we think is the best for our jobs, and we will dovetail along with the Office 365 strategy: accessing services anywhere at any time.”