In a digitally transforming world, the speed at which integrations must happen has accelerated exponentially. That places a big burden on IT staff and integration specialists, who face a much higher demand for agile integrations as companies adopt more and more SaaS apps. On the other hand, lines-of-business users face long wait times to get their integrations built out, which can damage productivity.
Menzies, the the leading chartered accountant firm in the UK, is no different. With six offices spanning England’s southwest—and roughly 420 staff members—they offer high-quality consulting services. To ensure it delivers the best services possible to its clients, Menzies maintains certification with ICAEW, a professional membership organization that promotes and supports chartered accountants around the world.
Maintaining its certification is a paperwork-heavy process, however. ICAEW is responsible for ensuring that chartered accountants are held to the highest ethical and professional standards. To ensure compliance, every staff member must affirm that they are ethically equipped to do their job by completing an ICAEW form. Just filling out the form involves a lot of administrative work. Employees must first download a Microsoft Word document, fill out the form—and add any relevant comments—print it, sign, scan it, and submit the form via email. As a completely manual process, it called for a lot of employee involvement and was notoriously error-prone.
Streamlining Content Management with Integrated Cloud Apps
In its search to streamline the process, Menzies consulted with Neocol, a content management consulting firm with over 15 years of experience. After assessing the problem, the firm reworked the process to harness the power of best-of-breed SaaS apps.
But SaaS apps present another problem altogether: silos. When critical information is stored in different programs—or when a workflow involves steps that must be completed in different apps—it can be difficult to construct a truly coordinated, seamless experience.
To solve this problem, Neocol suggested using Workato, an intelligent automation platform. “Workato allows us to quickly prototype and integrate, allowing our clients to identify new ways to automate work and case-centric workloads,” said Ryan Lott, CEO of Neocol. “We are impressed with their pre-configured ‘recipes’ to kick-start and bring standards to any organization.”
Using Workato, Neocol orchestrated a comprehensive, automated workflow for collecting submitted paperwork and storing it securely. For example, Neocol replaced the original Word document with an online form powered by Formstack. The online form helped reduce completion errors by applying additional controls, like mandatory comment fields. Whenever a Menzies employee submits the form, Workato turns it into a digital document by sending it to WebMerge, which captures the form’s information and generates a PDF file based on a template.
But a document without a signature has no value, so Neocol also uses Workato to move new forms into DocuSign. Because the app allows for digital signatures, employees no longer waste time printing, signing, and scanning the completed form. Workato monitors the document and triggers the next step in the process once it’s been signed.
After all the required signatures have been collected, Workato automatically moves the signed document into a Box folder for secure storage. The folder is organized according to name and timestamp, so it’s easy for managers and other staff to find the correct documents. Box’s metadata feature also allows users to search by other characteristics —like office or signature date.
Throughout the entire process, information must be properly stored in order to monitor every form’s submission status. On Neocol’s advice, Menzies implemented a NoSQL MongoDB database to store forms’ most recent positions. The database is queryable so staff can ascertain a form’s status at any given point. This behind-the-scenes data collection process is invaluable because it allows Menzies staff to take action if a form is delayed or if there are inconsistencies.
Finally, Neocol uses Workato to integrate a data visualization tool (Qlikview) into the workflow. The tool extracts documents from the MongoDB database, massages them, and displays them in an easy-to-understand dashboard format. Menzies can use the dashboard to identify anomalies and mistakes, such as missing signatures. They can also readily identify which staff members have not filled out their forms or which answers require additional comments from the process owner.
Workato: The Glue That Holds Content Management Together
Orchestrating this complex workflow would have been impossible without an agile integration tool like Workato. “In my opinion, Workato is the most important player in this scenario,” says Oscar Guggiana, a Business Intelligence Consultant at Neocol. “With Workato, we are able to make the different apps communicate by mapping data and applying logic to the process, avoiding a lot of manual work and further software development. It also allows us to monitor technical errors during the process by sending notifications so we can correct errors as soon as possible.”
Most importantly, Workato allowed Neocol to create a robust solution for Menzies quickly. Neocol reworked the entire process in just a few weeks—including the time it took to build the integrations using the Workato platform. The integrations are also scalable so Menzies can adjust if volume increases or if they decide to refine the process further.
“Good quality music should sound seamless, and the maestro definitely plays an important role making this happen,” says Tom Rieger, Vice President of Customer Experience and Strategy at Neocol. “As a sort of ‘solutions maestro,’ Workato works to make sure your orchestrated processes will run smoothly when requested.”
With this truly comprehensive automated workflow, Menzies reduced the time it takes to fill out and sign crucial paperwork. They also have access to a secure, organized way to store and monitor files. Not only does Menzies save precious time, but they also reduced compliance risks—all through intelligent automation.