Business Strategy Director, Brookson
Industry: Financial Services
Department: Business Intelligence
of thousands of pounds saved
Observing that contractors and freelance workers were underserved by traditional accounting firms, United Kingdom-based financial services company Brookson saw an opportunity be a leader in this sector. With a digital platform providing a variety of services including range procurement, payroll, and accountancy to independent workers and freelance contractors, Brookson sought out a way to accelerate innovation in a traditional field.
“We want to be a leader in our space,” says Brian Milrine, business strategy director at Brookson. “In today’s age of digital business, everything starts with data, and we’ve always been data literate. We understand what data we have, and it’s always been about breaking down walls and barriers with data, and bringing a can-do attitude to all of our analytical processes.”
“We have implemented a complex algorithm built using Alteryx that provides a full health check and personal tax advice that underpins core service,” Milrine says. “We are now automating the financial and tax advice being provided by our accountants, and we are effectively providing real-time advice that is a capability beyond the reach of traditional accountants. We can now touch more customers more frequently, with our accountants focused on advice delivery, not the underlying creation of advice. We have 15,000 customers being supported in this way.”
Business Strategy Director
We are now automating the financial and tax advice being provided by our accountants, and we are effectively providing real-time advice that is a capability beyond the reach of traditional accountants.
“We faced a number of issues when trying to think of a way to really break into our space,” Milrine says. “We needed to find a better way to engage with our customers and give them better experiences, and to move away from mundane and repetitive tasks. We also needed to find a solution that could help us automate our processes to free up more time for us to focus on other initiatives.”
Brookson identified four must-have criteria for a technology solution that would help them deliver innovative services to customers:
We needed to find a better way to engage with our customers and give them better experiences, and to move away from mundane and repetitive tasks. We also needed to find a solution that could help us automate our processes to free up more time for us to focus on other initiatives.
Getting a quick win from a small investment and then having the ability to scale informed Brookson’s criteria around the licensing model. “When I was researching the space of augmented intelligence and self-service business intelligence, the providers were all focused on big businesses, and their licensing models were too. I had to find technologies with the right licensing model. Something that facilitates rollout, while proving your business case.”
Brookson also needed to democratize access to data and analytics, giving access not just to developers, but to business users and leaders. They looked to Alteryx APA workspaces that allow developers to create and test analytic workflows, then share out with the larger business for secure, governed collaboration.
“Alteryx was the standout platform in this area,” Milrine says. “We recognized that we couldn’t teach our traditional developers accountancy, but knew that through Alteryx, we could get experienced accountants to execute advanced analytics.”
Ease of use, variety of features, scalability
Licensing model of the Platform
“We have been an Alteryx customer for over four years,” Milrine states. “We started our journey by rolling out Alteryx into the operational areas of our business with the straightforward remit of ‘have a go and see what you can do.’ Quickly, the star users began to emerge, improving processes and creating business value. This led us to creating a dedicated internal Alteryx development team, now of seven developers who have all come from within the business, and have all been trained up on the Platform.”
“With this dedicated, ‘hacker mentality’ team, we’ve been able to automate a workflow that includes financial and tax advice from our accountants directly to the customer. It allows the accountant to not only target customers, but become analysts themselves and customer engagement experts, rather than spending their time in the background having to talk about calculations or bookkeeping,” he says.
With the data cataloging capabilities of the Alteryx Platform, the Brookson team was able to go beyond automated bookkeeping to providing automated advice. The algorithm generates targeted SMS messages and emails to customers and outputs them to their CRM system for delivery. “It’s crazy that we used to spend about 80% of our time bookkeeping and 20% of our time engaging with customers. But now with Alteryx, we’ve reversed that and have become an 80% customer advisory company with just 20% spent on bookkeeping,” Milrine says.
“Through this process, it has enabled us to give our customers better experiences. That’s why successful leaders at our company do more than their job description. They roll up their sleeves, learn new technologies, and work across departments together to solve problems and to help us scale. The individuals working on this project were so focused and energized that they broke down walls to continuously improve business process. They overcame resistance from both IT and data traditionalists, and continually delivered workflows saving 10s of thousands of pounds at velocity that was simply too compelling to argue against. It became clear this was a capability where we needed to invest more.”
“It is not just the developers’ employee journey that has changed,” Milrine says. “The wider business can leverage Alteryx apps and workflows to make data-driven decisions as part of their day – job without the analytics expertise. It takes away repetitive Excel-based processes, and the apps deliver insight and advisory information to better serve the customer. And since Alteryx is inherently transparent, everyone in the organization has seen the level of complexity and velocity you can reach within the Platform.”
“Alteryx has transformed the careers of so many individuals at our company,” Milrine says. “I believe they have one of the most exciting roles in the organization delivering high-velocity digital transformation, and what they do is recognized as golden at all levels of our organization. Alteryx will be a fundamental solution for them to use going forward and they will become rock-stars of business.”
We recognized that we couldn’t teach our traditional developers accountancy, but knew that through Alteryx, we could get experienced accountants to execute advanced analytics.
When discussing what’s next for their initiatives with Alteryx, Milrine says moving away from traditional and mundane tasks to fully automated processes will continue to be their focus in their business procedures. “We’d love to be invisible and be more just behind the scenes when it comes to people and their accountants,” Milrine says. “We want to have layered processes and have Alteryx connect to all our different systems and move away from a traditional portal-based system. You either have to enter that information in a portal yourself or ask your customers to do it, and with Alteryx we hope to automate that process away.”