Markus Felber is 49 years old. He takes care of the financial needs of medium-sized customers at BDO, a leading Swiss financial services and accounting firm. Markus Felber knows everything about the finances of his customers. "Trust is our top priority", says Markus Felber. Trust in people; Trust in the handling of data; Trust in BDO's service.
"In the past, this meant: trustworthy, personal advice, physical archives and regular availability over the phone. Today, it’s different. "Short-term inquiries, often outside office hours, highest security requirements and everything digital! To rely on your fiduciary means much more today!
BDO Switzerland already addressed the digitization at an early stage. They started with themselves. The workplace of their employees. "Before we offer customers something new, we must have tested it ourselves," says Markus Helbling, Head of the accounting division at BDO Switzerland. In 2010 BDO introduced CoffeeNet alias BDOnet based on Microsoft SharePoint: An Intranet+, and a digitally-oriented collaboration, communication and document management.
The BDOnet was the first step in our digitization strategy
With the introduction of the BDOnet, employees were sent to the digital age. "It took some time for us, for example, to familiarize ourselves with the tagging of documents and saying goodbye to our beloved folder structures," Helbling recalls. But the time we gained by finding information simply entering a word in a Google-like window, compensated our efforts quickly. "The BDOnet made us more agile as an organization, which enabled us to respond quicker and more reliably to our customers’ requirements."
From using it ourselves to offering it as a customer service
Some services require 24-hour availability. Hence a further step in the BDO digitization strategy followed in 2014. Customers also had to be integrated and linked to the organization via a secure infrastructure and managed in a controlled environment. The internally tested CoffeeNet (BDOnet) had now to become an extranet for the digitization of customer relationships as well and, in addition to a web-based accounting software, be part of the so-called Internet-trustee. Every customer had to be able to login to their own area with their personal details and access or work on meeting minutes, tax documents or insurance policies at any time.
"In the morning, when I come to the office, as a trustee I see, whether my customer has recently commented on the minutes. I can immediately take on his feedback and continue the work. If I have to involve colleagues on a topic, I can share documents, in the same workspace, but in a library accessible by the internal team only, finalize it with my colleagues and then drag it back to area reserved for my customer”, explains Markus Felber.
For the regionally distributed specialists the user-friendly and standardized layout facilitates their orientation across their various customer accounts. And, trustees can open up a new customer area without IT support. They only need a few clicks. And thanks to the standardization, the site is all set within minutes.
"We were familiar with the features of the Internet-trustee from the BDOnet and so we were able to fully concentrate on the onboarding of our customers and the further development of our service," Markus Felber adds.
Since 2014 CoffeeNet, as an extranet, is an integral part of BDO Internet-trustee. "Today I can offer a modern service, especially to younger clients. Offline I already had great customer relationships – but now, thanks to CoffeeNet, I can say the same for the online world" says Markus Felber proudly.