6 Lessons Learned from 6 Years of Using Bizagi at Stone Coast Fund Services

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Operating from the Maine coast in the US, the staff at Stone Coast Fund Services manage $119 billion in fund assets. They take pride in investing in technology and staff for the long-term, without distraction or impediment. 

Stone Coast started its journey with Bizagi in 2015 to digitize its financial processes for better operational efficiency. Their mission was to automate all labor-intense, mission-critical processes to focus on efficiency, risk mitigation and providing transparency to the organization. After successfully using the tools for six years they were ready to go deeper and integrate the tools in their existing custom application stack. 

David Gilligan, Development Manager and Justin Wood, Manager of Business Analytics, joined us at Bizagi Catalyst 2021 to share the lessons they have learned since deploying Bizagi’s process automation platform in their organization, and the success they’ve seen during that time. These are their top take aways when starting a process automation project:  


Create a dedicated process automation team

It’s important to have a process expert to lead your efforts. For the initial integration, Stone Coast hired a single person who was solely dedicated to building out the Bizagi tool. After a few years, as the number of users increased, it became too large of a job for one person to manage. 

Stone Coast re-assigned a few people from the development team in an effort to alleviate the growing pains. There are now six Business Analysts who not only perform all the requirements for gathering and testing new processes, but also help at the support level for other users in the organization.

“Bizagi was originally brought in as an operations tool to improve our workflows. We quickly realized how other departments could benefit from its use and it now permeates the entire organization. It’s one of our most critical applications at this point.” - David Gilligan.

Knowledge sharing is vital

Once you have created a small, dedicated team to build out the application, it’s time to transition your automation knowledge to the mainstream. Creating a Center of Excellence is an excellent (pardon the pun) way of ensuring that governance and guard rails are put in place, while enabling more people, such as citizen developers, to get involved with your automation project. 

“We went from a Center of Excellence type model with developers who knew .net and .sql to one that's more integrated with the rest of our technology team. Now Bizagi is just another tool in our belt and we no longer need the specialized resources.” - David Gilligan

Take an iterative approach and get support

The beauty of process automation is that you don’t have to build with 100% accuracy on your first attempt. Process models allow you to map out the process, identify bottlenecks and go back and make incremental changes as you get feedback. This could be advice from your colleagues, the Bizagi Professional Services team, or the wider Bizagi community through user forums: there are plenty of people to support you as you build your solution. 

“My advice to other companies in the Bizagi community is that it’s ok to not know what you don’t know. Reach out to the team. I have found working with Bizagi’s product team enlightening for advice on architectural best practices and industry-specific approaches.” - Justin Wood



Start small, then scale up

You don’t have to boil the ocean. Start simple with smaller, basic workflows before fully integrating with your existing stack. Ensuring that the process is well defined typically leads to a higher level of success. This also helps to get buy in from others across the business and provides clarity as you expand your project. 

“Instead of trying to enhance the processes during the conversion, emulate each process as it is done on paper as a like-for-like scenario. Otherwise, it can lead to speculative conversations and uncertain outcomes.” - Justin Wood


Enhance existing processes

Keep in mind that you may reap a better ROI by digging deeper into an existing process and enhancing it, rather than looking to create brand-new processes. Identify what your pain points in the business are and examine what the potential benefits of automation could be.  

“We have to carefully evaluate our data to decide where the most value lies when deciding on which processes to automate. Making a tweak on a process used daily could be much more valuable than a process that only has 20 transactions per month.” - Justin Wood


Visibility is key

Transparency and visibility of processes are not only essential to governance and compliance, but also for day-to-day work. Stone Coast’s set-up proved its worth when the pandemic hit, as their business-critical processes were already documented and automated, which meant they were easily able to transition to a work-from-home environment and thrive during a time when many corporations struggled with the transition to remote work.

“Stone Coast is heavily transaction-based so it’s important for a manager to have the type of transparency and visibility that Bizagi provides so they can know to where the work stands, especially in a remote environment. We were very fortunate to be well positioned to change our work model.” - Justin Wood

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Watch the full interview with David and Justin now to learn more about success seen with Bizagi as Stone Coast, and tips on how to deploy a successful automation initiative in your organization: