The businsses advisory firm used Huddle to connect its international network and provide a standard portal service for client service worldwide
Baker Tilly International is a network of independently owned and managed accountancy and business advisory firms.
Every day, 27,000 people in 133 countries share experiences and expertise to help privately held businesses and public interest entities meet challenges and proactively respond to opportunities.
How do you collaborate quickly, easily and securely with a global network of independent firms, their employees and clients? That was the challenge facing Baker Tilly International, one of the world’s leading networks of independently owned and managed accountancy and business advisory firms.
In fact, the challenge ran even deeper. Baker Tilly International not only needed to collaborate seamlessly on cross-border projects, experience, expertise and best practices with its international network of 154 member firms in 133 countries. It also wanted to provide clients with a secure portal service for engagement.
“We’re a globally-minded organisation, with independent firms coming together across all four geographic areas – EMEA, North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific,” explains Ria Aird, business development manager, Baker Tilly International. “To bring this global network together and deliver exceptional results to our client base, we need to share knowledge and resources using one common, standard platform.”
Until recently though, that platform was talked about in a plural context, not singular. “Many of the firms across the network were using their own individual platforms to share content, such as SharePoint, Box or Thomson Reuters’ NetClient CS portal technology,” says Aird. “This reliance on a patchwork of different systems and processes led to potential delays and re-working. For example, a firm leading a tender or assignment would use their portal with all other parties involved. It not only took time for teams to learn these new systems, there were also barriers to sharing the content across the independent member firms’ firewalls.”
Baker Tilly International found what it was looking for in Huddle. This cloud-based content collaboration platform offered the security, ease of use and external content sharing Baker Tilly International was looking for – together with a vast array of useful features to create, edit, share and comment on content.
“Security and ease of use were our defining requirements,” says Aird. “In terms of data security, Huddle is a significant step above consumer file-sharing tools. The company has the necessary security credentials to work with many government agencies and its data centres are robust and reliable. The team that Huddle employs to ensure the security of this tool is significantly larger than their sales team. That really demonstrated their commitment to keeping ours and our clients’ data safe.”
Huddle’s ease of use also impressed Aird and her colleagues. “Huddle is very intuitive – it’s the ‘LinkedIn’ of collaboration platforms. When we work together on a project, no time is wasted learning the system; people are productive almost immediately.”
Baker Tilly International uses Huddle in two key ways. Firstly, as a tool to help manage assignments more efficiently and support its member firms coming together as one seamless team – regardless of organisational or jurisdictional boundaries.
Secondly, Huddle is used as a client portal for service delivery. Member firms can offer their clients a tailored portal that will allow 24/7 access for all stakeholders, including those who are performing the work, reviewing the output or monitoring processes. The portal is a secure repository for all information that relates to work being performed – giving clients simple, secure and organised access to key information. That information is available anytime, anywhere, from whatever device they are using.
Some 600 users in 30 countries are benefiting from Huddle’s fast, convenient and secure collaboration. The benefits speak for themselves. Aird again: “Huddle enables Baker Tilly International to build on its founding commitments – to have an open and transparent network and to foster teamwork and collaboration between member firms.” The member firms can work more efficiently – spending less time on administrative tasks and more on delivering exceptional services to their clients.
The Huddle portal is also helping Baker Tilly International to distinguish its services from competitors. When pitching for business, prospects are impressed by the features and flexibility of the portal; in particular its ease of use, security and rapid deployment. Clients can also take advantage of the mobile integration and the ability to log in from anywhere they are located. “Including Huddle in our tenders has been an influencing factor on several global deals,” says Aird.
With that in mind, Baker Tilly International is now looking to extend Huddle to underpin each step of Baker Tilly International’s bid management process – using the centralised view of content to work on each large phase, from that moment the bid opportunity is identified right to the mobilisation phase.
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