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Unlocking efficiency: How FIRST uses BetterCloud to automate onboarding and offboarding

FIRST is a leading global brand experience agency providing Content, Creative, Digital Technology, Management & Delivery, and Data & Insights services.

Operating as a full-service agency partner or through embedding specialist talent into client teams, FIRST brings brands and people together through creative, connected experiences.

Challenge:

Jason Cosma, FIRST’s Global Manager of IT Support, manages a team of two who have their hands in a bit of everything. The small team’s daily workload encompasses numerous IT functions from managing the help desk that supports nearly 900 employees globally, to handling the onboarding and offboarding process that involves creating accounts across numerous apps, providing and revoking access to software, setting up devices, and more.

Prior to the adoption of BetterCloud, the IT team relied on manual processes for their array of tasks, taking up most of their time. Recognizing the potential of BetterCloud to streamline operations, Cosma’s first assignment when he joined the team was to attend BetterCloud training. With a strong commitment to automation, he learned how to harness the full potential of Bettercloud and within a few weeks, Cosma was able to build out the necessary workflows to address recurring pain points within the business.

Solution:

From that point onwards, Cosma has embarked on a journey to automate as much of the onboarding and offboarding processes as possible, ultimately reducing the significant time investment previously required for each user. By addressing the business’s requirements through automation, IT has effectively reduced the volume of support tickets and minimized the need for manual interventions.

“

BetterCloud has definitely changed the game for us as far as onboarding and offboarding,” Cosma said.

Onboarding

“Our process when I first started was unmanageable for me to do by myself because I would spend multiple days setting up multiple users at a time,” said Cosma. The organization’s dynamic structure, involving employees transitioning between different business units, presented a unique challenge. To address this, Cosma built customized workflows based on the user’s role and the specific business unit they were assigned to. This adaptive approach ensured that user accounts were provisioned and managed accurately, irrespective of their changing roles within the organization.

At times, IT needed to onboard about 15 employees per week. “If we had to configure all those accounts individually without automation, there’d be no time to take care of the business’ needs in any other way aside from onboarding,” explained Cosma.

The onboarding process evolved from a time-consuming and cumbersome task into a streamlined operation. Instead of spending days setting up multiple users, IT could now utilize BetterCloud to efficiently create accounts within a mere half-hour.

When a user is added to FIRST’s HRIS, BambooHR, an automated process triggers the creation of a corresponding ticket in ServiceNow. This ticket contains information about the user’s start date, enabling IT to place them in the appropriate groups to set up their user accounts. Once the user’s accounts are created, IT assigns a workstation, where all necessary licenses are already pre-configured and applied. This means that when applications like Outlook or Slack are launched, the user is instantly granted access since they are pre-licensed, eliminating the need for any further user action. The previous manual process for setting up computers, which consumed approximately five hours, has been dramatically streamlined to just about 45 minutes. “The best part is that onboarding a new employee is done prior to them starting. They can hit the ground running on their first day,” said Cosma.

Offboarding

In addition to ensuring efficient offboarding procedures, Cosma is focused on bolstering the security of sensitive information. As part of their offboarding workflow, licenses, such as those for Google, Dropbox, and OneDrive, are systematically revoked. Leveraging BetterCloud’s automation capabilities, the organization has implemented a seamless data backup system. When licenses are removed, user data is automatically transferred to a designated librarian account accessible to administrators. This automated data migration not only saves considerable time but also ensures the safekeeping of valuable files, particularly in cases where users have substantial data volumes. This approach eliminates the need for painstaking manual data transfers, offering a “set it and forget it” solution. 

Additionally, BetterCloud streamlines the management of licenses for various applications, including Zoom and Slack, ensuring cost savings and safeguarding the organization’s security posture by promptly deactivating user access when needed.  BetterCloud simplifies the process of account removal, ensuring that no residual licenses remain associated with departed employees.

Partnering with BetterCloud to ensure success

Cosma highlighted the invaluable contributions of BetterCloud’s services team, who have been instrumental in working through complex automations. The collaborative approach and the team’s extensive knowledge played a pivotal role in unlocking advanced workflows. The team’s dedication and receptiveness to Cosma’s suggestions ensured a successful project from inception to completion. The team also made substantial contributions through setting up custom integrations, like SAP Concur. The services team’s expertise in asking the right questions led to quick answers and the implementation of customizations within a remarkably short period. 

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It has been great to be able to partner with BetterCloud on working on these customizations. The team has been top notch. Truly some of the best in the business,” said Cosma.

Furthermore, the team’s proactive approach led to the development of additional automation ideas. “The team went above what was even asked and came up with some other ideas for how we can automate onboarding users. I had briefly mentioned it at one time and then the team went off and did a lot of research to bring that project full circle,” Cosma said.

While Cosma described BetterCloud as a “simple application to use,” BetterCloud’s customer support team was ready and able to assist in times he needed help.

“BetterCloud’s support is next level. Anytime you need somebody, they’re there for you and you can’t beat that,” Cosma said. “You could have a powerful tool, but if you can’t get somebody to help you or jump on a call with you, it serves no value to me at all.”

Work-life balance

The implementation of automation has had a profound impact on work-life balance and productivity within the IT department. Previously, time-consuming manual processes, such as offboarding users, often demanded late hours and substantial effort. However, BetterCloud has drastically reduced this workload, with offboarding now taking a mere 30 minutes and without requiring manual intervention. “Instead of me sitting at my desk at 5:30 pm on a Friday for two hours offboarding a user, I know that the workflow is going to run and work and have all the user’s information and accounts backed up and stripped of licensing,” said Cosma.

This transformation has not only improved work-life balance for the IT team but also created space for them to engage in other critical projects they didn’t have time for. The newfound efficiency translates into time savings while simultaneously affording the team the ability to focus on enhancing various aspects of the business beyond routine tasks.

What’s next

FIRST’s IT team, which operates without a dedicated InfoSec department, recognizes the importance of maintaining robust security practices. They envision leveraging BetterCloud to further enhance their security posture. The goal is to implement BetterCloud’s automation features, such as email notifications prompting users to approve files or links for enhanced security verification, to proactively ensure a high level of risk management.

Results:

Eliminated over 2,200 hours of manual work within a year

Executed ~33,000 actions through workflows in a single year

Reduced the time needed for employee onboarding by 85%

Enhanced work-life balance of the IT team

Reclaimed valuable time for the IT team to focus on business-impactful projects

Improved new hire productivity by ensuring successful onboarding on day one

“

Jason Cosma

Get yourself an onboarding and offboarding workflow. Those are things that are constant in every business. There’s always people that are coming and going.”

Jason Cosma, Global Manager of IT Support, FIRST

Use Cases

Application configuration
File security
User lifecycle management

Integrations

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