Lessons from our digital transformation

5 min read

Now I know what you are thinking, not another article that lists the new tools they have started using during lockdown. So what? Well thankfully you are in luck, and this is not that kind of article! Instead, we are going to explore how we used the remote working situation to look for digital transformation opportunities to better serve our clients.

It’s fair to say that 2020 has been a challenging year all round. Regardless of what industry or profession you are in, we have all been affected in some way. Like many businesses back in March, Granite 5 had to quickly make some internal adjustments to ensure the business could function from the new remote working style.

After the initial adjustments of setting up employees to able to carry out their jobs from home, we then set about looking on this as an opportunity to see what other digital changes could be made to better serve our clients and so the digital transformation began.

Step 1. Internal communication

We started with incorporating Slack a communications tools which helped the team ask those quick one liner questions that you used to be able to just turn round and ask a colleague. This has now become a necessity within the agency and allows for quick and easy communications, cutting down pointless and timely emails and allows for more time to be spent on delivery. Yes, there is the odd GIF but that all adds to one of our company values of passion and fun!

We reviewed how we used Microsoft SharePoint, which is a system we had been using for some time. This gave us the opportunity to fully embed this system across the whole agency and tweak filling systems to make sure they were fit for purpose.

We switched to using Zoom for all internal meetings which has been invaluable to keep in communication internally but also to maintain regular client meetings too.

We implemented an online HR software, Breathe HR which allowed us to share documentation digitally and greatly aided our remote onboarding process. The new system also allowed us to give ‘kudos’ amongst team members by leaving a comment for them which could be shared amongst the team. This is a great way of showing appreciation for the work of a colleague who has gone above and beyond and really boosted morale amongst the team.

We also moved our usual Friday face to face company stand up to email, to ensure all team members were kept up to date with what was going on in the business and felt connected even if working remotely.

Step 2. Project delivery

We reviewed every aspect of our project delivery process from initial kick off session to ongoing service contract delivery, for ways we could incorporate digital to better involve and delight our clients.

Kick off and planning sessions were moved to zoom calls with the aid of Miro boards and Figma to capture and conceptualise ideas. These are then shared with the client so they can see the results of the session and make edits. Feedback from clients overall has been positive on this process and has also provided additional benefits for the clients. It has meant they could involve more internal staff as overhead cost of travel etc are removed, and it means they can see the outcome of the session being created before them and can input directly.

Google documents were quickly adopted for clients to provide information such as test plans, content management system manuals, and ‘client bibles.’ These can be shared with clients and can also be easily updated as systems and projects change ensuring documentation is always up to date.

The final change in this area of the digital transformation, was the introduction of PandaDoc for electronic signatures. This has drastically simplified the sign-up process for clients to accept quotes and statements of work. The tool also links straight into our HubSpot CRM saving precious admin time of scanning those documents in.

Step 3. Talent acquisition

Attracting and keeping the best talent at Granite 5 is always crucial to ensure we can deliver the best service to our clients. We were in the fortunate position to need to expand our team during the pandemic, which meant we had to review our recruitment process to ensure we got the best people but remained in line with the current government guidelines.

Recruiting remotely meant an adjustment to our internal systems to ensure we could uphold the same rigorous process. All interviews were of course done remotely, however, tools such as Miro boards were used for candidates to show their creative flair during the interview. Personality profiles were also used prior to interviews, to get a good understanding of a candidate’s traits and skills, and to see if they would be a good team fit.

As new candidates joining during this time would all be home-based with no in-person contact, the onboarding process was also reviewed to ensure they had all the support they needed. Before new starters joined, we sent them a Kudo board with personal messages from each member of the team sharing a bit about themselves. This broke the ice and meant they knew a bit about their colleagues before they started. Once they started, time was planned with each team member so they could meet colleagues, and regular virtual team building activities meant they certainly felt part of the team from the word go!

Step 4. Ongoing client support

The final stage of the digital transformation for Granite 5 was to look at new or development of existing tools to provide better ongoing support for our clients.

Google data studio is one of the tools we looked at. It’s a great tool and one we have used and championed for some time. We saw an opportunity to adapt the monthly reports we create for existing clients to include additional data that was relevant to their current business situation. Data such as additional keyword information and trend data gave more insight to support them in making accurate business and marketing decisions.

We also took the time to transition our CRM over to HubSpot as it was a better fit for the agency. This now provides us with greater reporting, CRM functionality, and marketing automation options which will mean we can be more relevant and supportive for our customers. As a HubSpot approved partner, we are also able to offer clients support in onboarding to HubSpot, and ongoing guidance on how to maximise the system and integrate their existing tools to maximise return on investment.


Every business has been on a digital transformation of some sort during this time. However, it’s critical during this process to keep in mind the foundation of any digital transformation is, strategy, culture, and capability.

We have learned through our digital transformation, that it’s still the core values that underpin the company, and digital is the tool to maximise these and to support your business to be better. We are always looking for new ways to innovate as a company, and if you ever need support with your digital transformation, feel free to reach out as we would love to see how we could help.