Building a new business comes with significant technical and commercial challenges and never more so than during an economic downturn.
From start-up to market-leader in just 12 months, Crystal Legal were able to accelerate their growth using Aquarium as a strategic business platform.
When Crewe-based Crystal Legal Services needed a business process system that ticked all the boxes in aiding the company’s exponential growth, Managing Director Tony Shields didn’t see why he couldn’t have everything. After all, if he was prepared to pay for the best, surely there would be a suitable solution available in the marketplace?
When Tony first started in business, he purchased three white boards and five coloured pens. This system of boardand markers was used to progress matters detailing key reminders and dates. After many hours of rubbing out and re-writing lists, Tony realised there must be a more secure, scalable and efficient way of running his business, so he started to look for a technology partner. Crystal was looking for a web-based, secure, adaptable, flexible and totally scalable solution. Not only that, the technology needed to be fully auditable and transparent, completely configurable to Crystal’s own requirements and – most importantly – Crystal needed assurances that it was compliant with the regulatory framework, in this case the Ministry of Justice.
From two men and a dog in a shed – literally – Crystal met its forecast to have 70 employees by the end of 2013, turning over £5Million in the legaland financial claims sector, and all in less than five years.
Crystal swiftly settled on Aquarium’s intelligent and intuitive software solution: successfully installed it now sits behind and effectively drives the business. Aquarium understood the importance of auditable and compliant business systems in line with legal regulatory requirements (Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA)), so they really understand the demands of the MoJ regulatory regime.
If something has to be manually performed more than three times within any procedure, it is now automated within Aquarium. Crystal manages its business by exception, with the appropriate people being emailed automatically on the occasions when things don’t happen – rather than being inundated when things do happen. In highly regulated businesses, you need to be aware of any potential breaches before they occur. Management information is the lifeblood of all businesses and Aquarium is configured to automatically email Key Performance Indicator (KPI) data to the Directorial team at the same time each week.
“I knew the business would grow and wanted a system to grow with it. It sounds so simple, we wanted a technology platform to drive and to help us grow our business, rather than hinder our plans; but before Aquarium Software, we just weren’t aware of anything that met our requirements or where to get it from.” “Aquarium immediately and almost instinctively understood what I was looking for. Ed (Shropshire) was my first contact at Aquarium and has almost been my own personal outsourced technical development team ever since. I realise Ed has a team of talented techies behind the scenes, but it is incredibly refreshing to deal with the main man who himself has a passion and vision for his business. I think Aquarium’s ethos is very similar to my own and to Crystal’s, which is why it all seems to have worked out so well.”
“We no longer just read the information, we action it, thanks to Aquarium. My business processes allow me to grow my turnover and – more importantly – profit, at a rate that far exceeds my overheads. A very rough guess is that Aquarium reduces my staffing overheads by 3:1.” “I know every inch of Aquarium and more importantly, precisely how my processes are defined and work within it. We hold regular internal operational meetings to discuss bottlenecks in processing and I can immediately make all necessary changes. Due to the core flexibility of Aquarium, we see the positive effects immediately. It’s the best decision I ever made for the business, and I can honestly say we would not be where we are today without Aquarium.”
Tony Shields, Managing Director, Crystal Legal Services
“Tony’s approach to the implementation was quite different from what our team had seen before. Tony was really quite unique in wanting to know how to do everything. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust us or his team; he simply wanted to be able to understand the innate power of the system.”
“Whilst in a massive corporate you would not expect such a hands-on approach, equally within an SME it shows that the management have not lost touch with what makes the business tick.”
Ed Shropshire, Managing Director, Aquarium Software
Consumer-based financial claims company
£5M annual turnover
Multi disciplined customer services delivered using single technical solution
- Support aggressive year-on-year expansion
- 300% reduction in operational overheads vs. manual solution
- Business automation reduced risk and ensured regulatory compliance