Privacy and organization are a company’s top priorities when sensitive information is involved. This is the case for South Bay Financial Partners, a financial advisory firm. They specialize in financial planning and help their clients make money decisions, manage their debt, invest, pay taxes, negotiate insurance, and plan for retirement.
“Security was really my #1 priority,” said Tara Unverzagt, Founder & Chief Advisor at South Bay Financial. “We are tax preparers and the IRS has cybersecurity standards that are tough to meet in a growing company.”
When South Bay Financial Partners wanted to leverage Microsoft Teams to empower their client’s organizational structure, they turned to RooksDM for help.
Using the Diamond Model for Enhancing Employee Performance
The first and most important thing that South Bay and RooksDM had to tackle wasn’t even digital. They had to figure out the best organizational structure for South Bay Financial Partners’ clients and how to structure internal access to clients and client details.
For this, South Bay Financial Partners already had an interest in modeling their Teams environment to align with the Herbers & Company Diamond Teams®, a popular organizational structure for financial advisory firms.
“Moving to Teams was an important first step to moving to the Diamond structure,” said Tara Unverzagt.
With RooksDM’s help, South Bay Financial Partners created three client categories:
- Younger clients that are just beginning their financial journey.
- Clients with a good handle on their finances who want help managing details and finding new opportunities.
- Clients planning for their future and planning for their family’s future and security.
Once South Bay Financial Partners and RooksDM had the client structure confirmed, the next step was to integrate this structure into Microsoft Teams.
Concerns with Microsoft Teams Update
South Bay Financial Partners already had Microsoft Teams, which had positive and negative repercussions.
On the plus side, South Bay Financial Partners employees were already familiar with Microsoft Teams and had an idea of how they wanted the channels set up.
On the downside, a lot of information saved in Microsoft Teams was not structured or labeled in such a way to be easily reorganized based on the new structure. The new client structure also came with levels of confidentiality. Some information could be easily accessed by all employees while other details needed to be securely saved so only approved individuals could access it.
And the fact that South Bay Financial Partners was currently (and actively) using Microsoft Teams meant that the reorganization needed to happen quickly and effectively over one weekend so as not to disrupt business.
Data loss prevention and Microsoft Teams
South Bay Financial Partners needed to manually label client details and documents before RooksDM could map them into the new structure. This required South Bay Financial Partners to manually tag and organize a thousand documents.
Luckily the manual work was kept to a minimum.
While South Bay Financial Partners worked on labeling details and documents so they aligned with their categories, RooksDM built an environment that would seamlessly do this work moving forward. Without the tool that RooksDM implemented, it would have been a huge task to migrate South Bay Financial Partners’ information into the new system. And, it would have been a job to maintain that organization.
RooksDM utilized AGAT, an innovative software provider specializing in security and compliance solutions, to get all these documents where they needed to be for clients and for the new organization structure.
Using AGAT allowed RooksDM to easily:
- Migrate everything in Teams to the new structure, including chats
- Mapped where everything needed to live
- Change naming conventions
- Understand the alignment of each document
- Securely move over 1,000 docs move
RooksDM created all this reorganization in a staging environment, so they could quickly release the update over the course of a weekend.
Before the release, RooksDM helped South Bay Financial Partners sync all their files to the cloud, creating a cache of the environment so if any important information was discovered missing after the update, it was not lost permanently and could easily be retrieved by a developer. This happened a few times with a few files that were quickly recovered.
Microsoft Teams performance improvements
The update to Microsoft Teams took one weekend. After the weekend of implementation and testing, South Bay Financial Partners was working with a newly restructured Microsoft Teams by Monday morning. RooksDM set up training and created roles so certain employees could access certain categories and certain classified details based on their access level.
Access level did the following:
- Identified documents and details as private or public
- Made clear who had access to what
- Outlined private channel
- Set up roles that supported the org chart
The work creating roles and layers of classification allowed South Bay Financial Partners’ HR to use Microsoft Teams for recruitment and hiring! An added benefit of RooksDM restructuring Microsoft Teams for South Bay Financial Partners.
“I love how Teams helps me track my time,” said Tara Unverzagt. “ I can see who I ‘called’ on the team and how long I talked to them. Since we track all our time, that’s a helpful tool. We went from using Zoom, Slack, and Google for file storage to Teams which does all of it in one place, integrate. The ‘chat’ about a client or topic is where the files for that client or topic are located. Easy to find everything you need in one place.”
South Bay Financial Partners’ goal in restructuring Teams was in preparation for business growth. Already, it is saving them time, increasing security, optimizing organization, and helping them keep up with all the necessary documents, especially time-sensitive ones like client tax returns.
Use technology to your advantage
You know your business, and RooksDM knows the technology. South Bay Financial Partners had an idea of how to restructure their clients to optimize tasks and increase security. They even went so far as to research the school of thought that best aligned with their intentions. With RooksDM, South Bay Financial Partners was able to reorganize its internal structure according to the Diamond Model and then leverage Microsoft Teams to put that restructure into daily practice.
Already, that restructure is opening up opportunities and efficiencies South Bay Financial Partners didn’t anticipate. They have set themselves up nicely to scale.
“I would recommend it for anyone who is concerned about security, which should be anybody in the financial world,” said Tara Unverzagt. “For smaller companies, everyone has their finger in all the pies. As you grow, you need to separate responsibilities and access. Teams is the easiest way to make that happen.
If you have a project and need someone technologically minded to help you implement your idea into daily practice, schedule a consultation with RookDM today! As we did with South Bay Financial Partners, we can also help with the work leading up to the technical work so development hours are optimized for the task at hand.