KordaMentha sees its future as a technology company that provides professional services in restructuring, real estate, investment and forensic. It believes that this subtle shift in focus and operation is crucial in delivering new solutions to old problems across industries.
Microsoft’s modern workplace solutions are proving critical in being able to deliver organisational change internally so that the firm can now focus entirely on its clients and the challenges they will experience with technology disruption.
With eight offices and almost 400 staff across Australia and Asia Pacific, KordaMentha has developed a strong reputation for the work it does to help clients grow, protect and recover value. It offers a broad range of corporate, forensic and investment services.
The challenge in the past has been those services have tended to exist as silos within the business. It has taken concerted effort to share information and insight across the groups and throughout the business.
Ryan Wadsworth, chief information officer explains that the organisation wanted greater transparency and the opportunity to leverage insight between employees and across the business. “At a high level we wanted to know when people in Melbourne and Sydney were working on the same opportunity – was there something Sydney did that Melbourne could learn from? Was someone in Melbourne trying to engage with someone that Sydney had already spoken to?”
Craig Shepard, KordaMentha partner and head of restructuring notes that while KordaMentha has always been pretty nimble, it would be even better if there was a; “Platform for getting everyone on one page. To combine the power and have everyone pulling in the same direction sharing information live, sharing files live.”
KordaMentha understands that information is of greatest value when it’s not hoarded by individuals or in offices – but shared widely. That way best practice can be identified and promulgated. At the same time, it means there’s no need to continually reinvent the wheel because one office’s innovation is transparent and accessible to everyone.
The company was one of the first Australian businesses to adopt the cloud-based communication and collaboration platform Microsoft Teams. By February this year it was the most prolific per capita user of the platform in Australia with around 75 per cent of KordaMentha employees using Teams regularly.
While the new way of working was an instant hit with millennial employees who are comfortable with real time information and communications, it took only a short amount of time for all employees to recognise the potential of the platform.
Microsoft Teams has broken open the silos of information across the business. A Team is established for each client and within that there are multiple channels that allow information sharing and collaboration.
Besides overcoming geographic and service line borders Wadsworth has also ensured that Teams has been deployed to be able to aggregate into those channels multiple different data sources that support employees as they work a project. “Analytics, financial platforms, CRMs, news feeds – all this data becomes very messy. Teams allowed us to aggregate all that information in one spot – that’s been a real benefit.”
Channels typically have 6-10 data integrations, for example ASX news feeds and share prices, to ensure everyone has access to real time information right within their collaboration platform. The IT team also uses Microsoft Teams, using connectors to Atlassian, while some of KordaMentha’s real estate teams are using Power BI to bring in additional data.
Shepard says: “We live in a world with an enormous amount of data – to have it on one platform at one click, to integrate it and get rid of the noise, we find it unbelievably powerful.”
It’s also a world where employees value flexibility and mobility – Shepard included. He regularly checks in on projects via Teams from his smartphone during the morning commute. When he arrives at the office he’s up to speed.
Wadsworth says that today Teams is ingrained with KordaMentha’s workflow. “It also speaks to the modern workplace. Everything lives inside Teams – people don’t recognise they are leveraging Skype or SharePoint, or Word or Excel, or Power BI. They are organically using the platform, discovering new ways to do things … new analytics, new visualisations to deliver to clients relatively easily.”
Shepard remains an important executive champion – if he receives an email about a project, he’ll copy it back into Teams to ensure everyone is up to speed.
“Win the work, do the work, manage the practice – we use Teams for each of those,” says Shepard.
There have been savings because it’s no longer necessary to fly people from office to office to work on a project, because everyone has equal access to information and insight, and the opportunity to communicate and collaborate through Teams, regardless of location.
But there’s also competitive edge says Shepard. “We are an early adopter and I think we have the competitive advantage right now.”