If you’re a business owner trying to transforming your business, sometimes there’s no challenge more daunting than transforming the minds of people who work for you. But that’s exactly the challenge Varese-based accounting data services provider Media faced recently when they wanted to harness the power of data automation to revolutionize the way the 35-year-old company did business.
I sat down with owner Giulio Broggini and IT director Mauro Monti over a pizza recently to let them tell their story, including why they came to Moskito Design to help them rebrand the company, a project completed at the end of last year.
Barriers to innovation
Media is a specialist in invoicing and accounting services for SMEs but until recently they worked with traditional clients, using traditional methods by traditionally-trained employees (some of whom have been with the company since the beginning).
But Mauro told me that for years he and Giulio had been thinking up another way to do business by bringing in data automation. “We knew there was a real need out there in the market,” Mauro said.
Mauro, an IT specialist, worked to develop the right tools to provide more complex services and improve efficiency. But with the instruments in place, they saw little uptake from employees or clients.
“It’s like there was a psychological barrier both internally and externally that stopped us from really believing in this,” said Mauro.
The big break
But their big break came they won a pitch with an UK-based investment fund looking to outsource its administrative activity to a local partner.
“The problem,” Giulio said, “was that it was that this was a much bigger job than we were used to handling,” ― with the client needing fulfillment capacity 15 times greater than a typical client. Something that would only be possible through automation.
To manage the client, they created a special team of three employees ― including two new hires ― to work in a separate office and trained them in the new tools Mauro had developed. And it allowed them to do in 3 what would have taken 7 to do before.
“At that moment we put in a motion a vehicle that up to that point was pretty much stuck in park,” explained Mauro.
Spreading the word
Now that their system was working, they had another problem. With the team of three working in virtual secrecy, “nobody knew what we were doing,” said Mauro. And when Giulio and Mauro tried to explain to the rest of the office, they met pushback. “They said that it worked but only because of this or that particular condition.”
The real problem, said Giulio, was that the new system fundamentally challenged not only they way they’d been working for years, but their very notion of what it meant to work in accounting services. It was a barrier that was threatening to develop into an entrenched opposition.
“It was clear to us that although the attempts we’d made internally had failed, we still had to try and convince our staff that this worked,” said Giulio. “But we didn’t know how to do it ourselves.”
The new gameplan
With the pizza finished we walked over to the Media office on Via Dondolo where Giulio and Mauro explained ― and showed me in person ― the new approach for bringing the rest of the office on board. They told me that they decided to come at the problem from three different angles.
The first was to get the staff working on the project to start talking about it. “If we’re the ones saying it, then they’ll keep saying its the wrong thing,” said Giulio. “So we wanted the people involved to do it.”
The second involved outside help and opinions. A team of coaches was brought in to train the employees. But Media also invited employees to meetings and events with other business leaders so that they could learn about current trends and hear what business world wanted.
The last was a transformation of the company brand. As Giulio said, “We thought: we’re a great company. Now we’ve got to show our employees that we are, and make our people proud to work for a company that’s changed.”
Enter Moskito Design
Media tasked us with creating a corporate identity, including a logo, letterhead, electronic newsletter templates and formatted business presentations. We also consulted them on refreshing their physical space to include common spaces for collaboration and an exchange of ideas.
It’s helped contribute to the feeling of working in a new company, and shown, in Giulio’s words, “that in reality something has changed”.
The rebranding project was completed late last year.
Return on their investment
Now Media is reaping the fruits of their investment in their employees and the brand.
“Certainly the step we took with Moskito Design was fundamental because it allowed us to describe this thing to our clients in a different way, and make it tangible, and it’s helped us sell this service,” said Giulio. “Bringing home more contracts for this type of service has been the engine that’s really got us moving.”
And Mauro added: “Now the long-time employees have realized that they can use these new instruments to get more done in less time and with fewer mistakes and dedicate more time to the clients. Our clients are much happier because they get their results much faster than ever before.”
From these first 3 people on the initial team now almost everyone can offer and manage these new services, “and what’s more,” said Mauro, “they want to use them. The mentality has really changed.”
“This is something that most of them had seen as utopian”, said Giulio. “But we made it real.”
At Moskito Design we help companies transform by helping them brand and rebrand for every stage of their growth.