MAXIMUM Solutions Corp. (MS Corp.), a Manila-based IT/Manpower Solutions company, was founded in 2001 as a two-person company. From its humble beginnings, the company has grown into a full outsourcing firm with a team of over 200 professionals.
Like many other long-established companies, MS Corp. had operations and infrastructure based largely on offline systems, such as paper printouts and spreadsheets that were physically distributed to managers and the accounting team. They managed to muddle through until the pandemic, when it was time to look for digital solutions to update outdated workflow management styles. Unfortunately, the available solutions were either too expensive or had too steep a learning curve for employees to quickly learn and implement.
Enter Kintone whose low-code workflow platform enabled MS Corp. to develop its own solution, automating much of the work it previously had to do manually. In an online discussion with The Manila Times, Yoshihisa Aono, chief executive officer of Cybozu, the parent company of Kintone, and Paolo Alcantara, head of sales and accounts at MS Corp., explained the keys to better and faster digital transformation.
The Manila Times (TMT): What is the business of MS Corp.? Who are your main customers?
Paolo Alcantara: Maximum Solutions Corp. is an IT/Manpower Solutions company. We provide end-to-end permanent or temporary staffing and provide you with the latest technological advances in both hardware and software. We have been in the business for over 20 years and have grown year after year. What began as a two-person company has grown over the years into a team of over 200 professionals.
TMT: What have been the challenges for the company during the pandemic?
Alcantara: We continued with this paper-based workflow management because we believed it worked for us and there was no reason to switch. However, when Covid hit and we were all forced to work from home, a number of challenges began to arise.
For example, we will send emails to our manager, who will then send them to the accounting department. This works well with a small team working together in an office, but with everyone spread out to work from home in different locations, there was just too much email going around. This is a typical challenge we would face. Also, with emails, it was hard to go back and see what changes people made, comments, timestamps, etc.
TMT: How did you face these challenges? How has Kintone helped you on your digital transformation journey?
Alcantara: My team (sales) was one of the first to implement Kintone. We needed to be in constant contact with each other and I, as a manager, needed to be in contact with all my reps across the country. Kintone helped us do that and basically replaced our old process with a whole new and more efficient one.
The Kintone platform has a number of features that work well for my team. It has an instant communication capability that allows all of us to communicate in a clear and organized manner. The dashboard gives all of us an overview of what’s going on, the status of tasks, etc., and this really helps management keep things on track and move forward.
There is also a digitized approval process, which allows us to submit documents for approval which could then be done digitally, instead of manually signing forms as we previously did. There are other examples, but this one gives you an idea of how many mundane, repetitive, rule-based tasks have been automated and made our lives much easier and more productive.
TMT: What is Kintone’s business?
Yoshihisa Aono: Kintone is a customizable work platform that organizes your team’s data, workflows, and conversations in one centralized place for a streamlined work experience. Leveraging proprietary software that requires no coding, meaning users don’t need a deep technology background, Kintone is set to give organizations the flexibility and agility needed in today’s digital age to manage their workflows .
TMT: How do you manage client relationships and how do your consultants work with clients to understand their pain points and create workflow solutions?
Aono: Our consultants have been selected and trained to gain a deep understanding of client needs. They have in-depth knowledge of customers’ products and could guide our customers through customized solutions. We also select consultants who are geographically diverse, able to speak local languages and understand local customs, so that the client feels a greater sense of connection and can freely discuss pain points.
Finally, because our consultants are already working in a particular region, they have experience implementing solutions for companies facing similar problems, giving them a wealth of experience to use in delivering a high quality service.
TMT: How were you able to quickly develop viable solutions for MS Corp. that was forced to work remotely in a short lead time, “while also providing cost effective, flexible, agile and timely responses”?
Aono: We started providing our solution to the sales team, as they were the ones who needed it the most at the time given their need to communicate and coordinate with each other. We were quickly able to replace their current paper-based system with our digital platform and connect their field sales consultants. We then helped create custom apps that enable them to have a digital workplace that maximizes their team’s performance with greater transparency and easier communication.
Our dashboard even allowed their management team to digitally approve the necessary documents, instead of spending time on manual signatures as was done previously.