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CRM System Transformations

Getting to the heart of things: Atria Designs goes up a level – thanks to JHC Consulting and WorkflowMax

Before JHC Consultants & WFM

  • Reactive processes and difficulty with timekeeping
  • Data deficiencies and ineffective software implementation
  • Reporting lacked accuracy and clarity

Top priorities for the transformation

  • Understand business processes, streamline workflows, and implement accurate timekeeping
  • Get software stack up to date and correctly implemented to reflect business needs
  • Set up accurate data flows in accurate, clear business performance dashboards

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Atria Designs' story

Migrating software systems can be tough. Reinventing your business operations is even tougher. But with the right software, and the right consultants, you can get it right the first time.

A lot of midsize businesses have the same problem: it’s hard to see around obstacles to better performance – especially from an inside perspective. What’s often needed is a fresh vision, a way to see around the corners. And this is the case even for firms, like Atria Design, who specialize in fresh visions and off-the-wall solutions.

Atria Designs founder & CEO Samuel Kassis started off in the building design industry back in 2005, and after 11 years, he judged the time was right to start his own firm. Atria Designs has since grown to a team of 10 doing interior design, along with a sister company called Fallow Landscapes that does landscape design. Today, Atria Designs are a passionate, innovative, multi-award-winning business who do building and interior design for some of Australia’s best builders and developers, across both commercial and residential projects.

Like many businesses that grow rapidly from small beginnings, Atria hit some speed bumps. Luckily, Samuel was well aware of them. “I guess one thing I’ve learned over eight years is trying to be a proactive rather than a reactive business owner. The more proactive I can be, the smoother the process is going to be for growth. I knew I was going to hit a fork in the road where if I want to continue to grow, I really need to get the right people alongside me,” Samuel explains. “I’d rather start it now and then enjoy the benefits later, than just continue what we’re doing.” It was the perfect time to explore new directions, Samuel says: in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic, Atria had a “bit of a staff shift.” With a mix of new and old hands aboard, Samuel was ready to take the time to explore what would really work for the business.

To do this, he turned to James Hickey, of JHC Consulting Group.

Designing a relationship

“I met James at a building designers conference, towards the end of last year” Samuel says. James had been doing a talk about the best way to go about change management in established businesses, which “really triggered an interest for me. I knew we needed somebody like James on board to help us tailor where we needed to go in order to achieve the goals we had for the business.”

Samuel had two main goals for Atria Designs’ engagement with JHC Consulting: he wanted better business data, and more actionable reporting. In the building and design service space, this is more easily said than done. When working with physical products and a range of other specialists, it can get complicated very quickly. Materials become unavailable or more expensive, builders have to juggle their own commitments and clients, and then there’s always the weather. A certain amount of flexibility has to be built into a building design firm’s business practices, and this can make time-tracking and reporting particularly difficult to nail. But it has to be done, or a lot of money can slip through the cracks. JHC’s approach was making sure that the right people were using the right processes – and that Atria had the right software to power them. That’s why he suggested they continue with WorkflowMax.

There were a number of reasons for this, James says. WorkflowMax is familiar software: the Atria team had been using it since it was owned by Xero. And with the transition to new owners BlueRock, James was sure that good things were in store for new and old WorkflowMax users alike.

“The new WorkflowMax by BlueRock shows significant promise,” James says. “The improvements in the tech stack and integration capabilities have been particularly impressive. The ability to link with platforms like Power BI enhances the reporting and analytics functionalities, which is a big step forward for users. What’s more, BlueRock has improved WorkflowMax by enhancing its integration capabilities, providing more robust reporting options, and streamlining the user interface. These improvements make it easier for businesses to manage their workflows and access critical data in real time, which aids in better decision-making and efficiency.”

People, strategy, systems, software – in that order.

Migrating software isn’t always as easy as it should be. Problems often arise less from the actual migration process than by having old workflows baked into out-of-date or just plain wrong data. For the migration to work well, these errors need correcting – but at the same time, historical data needs to be preserved. For Samuel and Atria Designs, this was very much the case – but the situation was complicated by the fact that the Xero edition of WorkflowMax had been set up wrong.” I’ve had consultants in the past that came alongside WorkflowMax, who didn’t understand our business and what we were trying to achieve – or even how we actually bill and invoice.” Their work, he explains, is a bit different from the typical architectural firm, and that was crucial.

Luckily, they had JHC on hand to understand their business processes before encoding them in software.

“James was the first one who fully understood how we flow, how we function, and what we’re all about,” Samuel says. “He came in, met the team, and they opened up to him very easily. We told the team to just be as blunt and as honest as they could, because the only way you grow is when you’re brave enough to listen to criticism.”

This empathetic, people-and-systems-first approach not only worked – it paid instant dividends. JHC’s strength, Samuel says, is in data management and presentation. After understanding the people, systems and processes, data can be ingested, cleaned, and put to work.

James Hickey, Founder, JHC Consulting

“One of the benefits of having James on board through the migration from the old WorkflowMax by Xero to the new WorkflowMax by BlueRock is that he really understands data,” Samuel says. “James discovered we weren’t really using the old WorkflowMax to its full capability, but he was able to say ‘this is the best program for you guys, because we can see all the benefits of where it’s going to go.’ So we kept with it, and had him help us through the transition process, which was really beneficial.

Samuel and James agree: this careful approach meant that the pain of migration was minimized, and benefits were realized sooner than they’d otherwise have been.

“Overall, the integration project with Atria went quite smoothly,” James says.  “We successfully migrated data from WorkflowMax (WFM) by Xero, to new WorkflowMax with integrated Power BI for advanced reporting, and streamlined several operational processes.”

Key milestones, such as understanding meeting structures, linking Google Analytics to the website, and finalizing the migration checklist, were completed on schedule. The collaboration with PlanRight and SyncHub for improving integrations was particularly crucial, and the team at JHC ensured all tasks were aligned with project deliverables.

“If we didn't have James, I could tell you now, we would be bashing our head against the wall,” Samuel says.

“It all makes sense. It all works smoothly.”

The results have been huge for James and the entire team at Atria Design. They now have clean, clear data with which to make business decisions. They’re getting precise measurements of time, jobs, and finances. “As a business owner, it’s made it a lot easier to forecast, and answer questions like ‘Do we need another staff member? What’s our average turnaround time on jobs? Does the team need help to be more efficient, or do we need another set of hands?’ All that sort of stuff,” Samuel says. “And it’s been really good seeing that data in a very simple way.”

“They can now access comprehensive data insights through Power BI, which was not possible before,” James says. With new WorkflowMax, they have a unified workflow for managing quotes and invoices, linked with their sales processes, and they can generate real-time reports for better decision-making. “Additionally, the marketing calendar integration with Canva and enhanced training materials for new systems have improved their operational efficiency and strategic planning,” James says. “The team is now really well-equipped to use the new systems effectively, and the ROI for Atria is substantial.” The team, he says, will see significant time savings across job management and project delivery timelines, thanks to the streamlined workflows and automated processes. There will be quantifiable savings where it’s most visible, James adds – the bottom line of the balance sheet.

“Financially, they can expect increased revenue from improved strategic decision making, while cost savings will come from optimized operations, as well as reduced need for additional software solutions,” James says. “They’ve quantifiably reduced the time spent on job management tasks, improved project delivery timelines, and they’re increasing sales and revenue from having better strategic alignment across the business.

Meanwhile, Samuel says that with WorkflowMax by BlueRock fully implemented in the business, it’s finally approaching its full potential.

“The thing I do love about WorkflowMax is the sync with Xero,” James says. “For the job scheduling side of things, sending your invoices through to Xero, it all makes sense. It all works smoothly.”

If they didn’t have WorkflowMax, it’d be a different story, he notes. There’d be a huge amount of manual workarounds for job tracking. “It’s great for our team to track their time, and input time data straightaway. For job tracking, it’s really great.

For both Samuel and JHC, a big positive of the migration from old WorkflowMax to WorkflowMax by BlueRock is that the user interface has, at long last, been polished to a bright shine.

“Migrating across to the BlueRock WFM has been a bit of a shift because things look a little bit different, but it’s a lot more user-friendly. It’s a lot prettier, let’s be honest. It looks really nice and efficient, and you can tell they’ve put a lot of effort into making it cleaner and better.”

Transform your business operations with WorkflowMax – and the right consultant

With the move to the new WorkflowMax complete, and the first phase of workflow and process transformation concluded, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was time for Atria Designs and JHC Consulting to down tools – but it’s not. In fact, it’s just the start.

Samuel is keeping James on board as a consultant because, as he says, “We’ve got the keys to the car. Now, teach me how to drive the car. To read and understand the data — and make sure that WorkflowMax is up and running the way it needs to be, and to be as efficient as it can be for my business. I’d be cutting myself off at the legs if I didn’t continue the journey with JHC.”

In fact, Samuel’s only regret from engaging JHC is that he didn’t do it sooner. Atria’s staff are thrilled with the change in operations: not only are they more efficient, but they’re happier in their jobs. The investment has paid off in spades.  “After what I’ve been able to do now, I wish I’d engaged someone like James sooner. Being able to really understand your business, your output, and being able to track data well, I wish I’d had those tools earlier,” Samuel says. “I can tell you now, there would have been a lot less heartache with both staff members and clients.”

Samuel Kassis, Founder & CEO, Atria Designs

For his part, James and the team at JHC say they’re very happy with how the project went with Atria, and they’ll continue to recommend the new WorkflowMax to clients. WorkflowMax, James says, can help businesses like Atria by providing a comprehensive solution for job management, time tracking, and reporting. It streamlines operations, enhances data visibility, and integrates seamlessly with other tools like Xero and Power BI, leading to improved efficiency and better strategic decisions.

“And from meeting the leaders, I can see a major commitment to continuous improvement, which is essential for staying competitive,” James says. By integrating with tools like Xero and Power BI, WorkflowMax offers a comprehensive hub for your tech stack, enhancing reporting and analytics capabilities. It streamlines your workflow and saves you time and money. Whether you're in engineering, architecture, or professional services, WorkflowMax helps you manage your projects efficiently and make data-driven decisions to drive growth. “Plus, with the right consultant, you can customize the setup to perfectly fit your business needs, ensuring you get the maximum ROI,” James adds.

“WorkflowMax is a cost-effective, all-in-one job management software that can transform your business operations.”

Atria Designs finds a way to
work smarter with JHC Consulting

Results of implementing Workflow Max with JHC Consulting

  • Better processes across the business, happier and more productive staff, and more proactive leadership
  • Correctly-implemented modern software stack that helps keep the business on track rather than hindering it
  • Accurate timekeeping with WorkflowMax, better workflow planning with PlanRight, and powerful, accurate reporting with Microsoft Power BI

Overview of the new
fully-integrated system

workflow max

Project Management

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Project Planning

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Accounting

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CMS

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Connectors

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Office Suite

Software advantages

  • WorkflowMax
    WorkflowMax by BlueRock is your new home for job management. Boost your productivity, profitability and performance. Do it all from anywhere – quotes, jobs, scheduling, time tracking, invoicing, reporting, and more.
  • Xero
    Xero is accounting software for thriving businesses. Xero’s online tools have all the financial insights to make better decisions and simplify business admin.
  • PlanRight
    The smart, simple way to plan your business. Get full visibility of your scheduling and future-planning confidently with PlanRight – the powerful add-on for WorkFlowMax by BlueRock.
  • Microsoft Power BI
    Visualize any data and integrate the visuals into the apps you use every day with Power BI, a unified platform for self-service and business intelligence.
  • Sync Hub
    SyncHub connects your cloud software with popular business intelligence tools like Power BI and Tableau. Start making business decisions on real business data
  • Wordpress
    One of the most popular, powerful, and customizable CMS systems in the world
  • Microsoft
    Atria Designs uses a market-leading Microsoft suite, including Microsoft Teams (for sharing PowerBI), Outlook Templates and SharePoint

The major contributors to
this
project's success

James Hickey
James Hickey Founder, JHC Consulting

Founder, JHC Consulting James Hickey

  • James Hickey is an experienced business consultant and software implementer
  • James took the time to analyze Atria’s processes and talk to the people to design a comprehensive solution
  • With James’ expert assistance, timekeeping is better, data is cleaner, and with deep, accurate reporting on key metrics, Atria is better positioned to make crucial business decisions

“WorkflowMax can help businesses like Atria by providing a comprehensive solution for job management, time tracking, and reporting.”

Areas of contribution

  • James Hickey is an experienced business consultant and software implementer
  • James took the time to analyze Atria’s processes and talk to the people to design a comprehensive solution
  • With James’ expert assistance, timekeeping is better, data is cleaner, and with deep, accurate reporting on key metrics, Atria is better positioned to make crucial business decisions
Samuel Kassis
Samuel Kassis Founder & CEO, Atria Designs

Founder & CEO, Atria Designs Samuel Kassis

  • Samuel Kassis is the founder and CEO of Atria Designs, an innovative interior design company
  • After meeting James Hickey at a conference, he engaged JHC to reinvent Atria Design’s processes and fix an old, less-than-ideal software implementation
  • After engaging JHC, Samuel finds he can be a more proactive business owner, with clean data, better processes, and business information at his fingertips

“I’d be cutting myself off at the legs if I didn’t continue the journey with JHC.”

Areas of contribution

  • Samuel Kassis is the founder and CEO of Atria Designs, an innovative interior design company
  • After meeting James Hickey at a conference, he engaged JHC to reinvent Atria Design’s processes and fix an old, less-than-ideal software implementation
  • After engaging JHC, Samuel finds he can be a more proactive business owner, with clean data, better processes, and business information at his fingertips

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