IABC Silver Quill Winner: We Put Our Head in the 'Cloud' and Got Our Best Customer View
For any business, whether it's a small firm or a large enterprise, tough economic times can either make or break a company – and Dulye & Co. is no different.
The change management consultancy specializing in communication and collaboration solutions was facing one of its worst years since it was founded in 1998, but instead of giving up, the company took the opportunity to reinvent itself.
The result was a program that earned a 2011 Silver Quill Award of Excellence from the International Association of Business Communicators (Heritage Region).
"The bad news was we had the time to devote to this effort. The good news was that we had time to focus on how we could improve as a firm," says Dulye & Co. founder, Linda Dulye. "We knew we had to change how we worked as a team – our filing system in particular was cumbersome. Everybody was frustrated, but we just never had time to fix our systems."
The firm, which works virtually, uses a team-based model, typically engaging two or more team members on a project. This approach provides the best possible support for clients; it also requires effective information sharing and document-management tools.
The problem was Dulye & Co. did not have a communal "filing cabinet," and work documents were being stored on team members' computers – making it very time consuming to share and retrieve information.
At the same time, several clients had smaller budgets and insisted on more streamlined and cost-effective solutions. Soon after, the "Dulye Cloud" began to take shape.
The team indentified a suite of commercially available, cloud-based services that could be configured and integrated to meet the unique needs of the firm and its virtual team – with a clear goal to deliver superior client service.
The result was a customized solution that was integrated over a three-month period.
"The way we streamlined in the cloud, and how we organized where files were kept, which includes things like presentations or a work effort we did five years ago – you can now find in a couple of minutes. Before it would be a couple of hours," Dulye says. "Now we have opened up the access to the team on everything we do."
Since implementing the system, productivity is up 25 percent, based on revenue per consultant. Sharing work practices has also forged a stronger team ethic and camaraderie.
"The number-one thing this program did was changing the way people on this team collaborate," she says. "The fact that we won an award is really, really great. The fact that our client's say 'you've really made it easy to work with you' – now that's when you know you are winning."