Reconciling people, project and travel spend data to help Sapient i7 scale

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Kate Fletcher

June 4 ∙ 5 minutes read

Sapient i7 is a business with heart. A joint venture between Publicis Sapient and TQI, the company excels in helping clients radically enhance consumer interactions through the power of Salesforce. It prides itself on providing a human-centric approach to Salesforce consulting services; typically, a highly technical industry but one where it was important for Sapient i7 to put people at its core.

“We’re Salesforce people with our clients’ business at heart,” says David Gillard, COO at Sapient i7. “Being customer-centric to deliver exceptional client experiences is what we’re focused on as a business – and remind ourselves of on a daily basis.”

With a team of multi-cloud experts re-imagining digital transformation at start-up and enterprise organisations alike, the company has seen tremendous growth since its inception in 2017. But to continue on this trajectory, Gillard knew further efficiencies were necessary: “coming out of early stage start-up and into scale-up mode, improvements had to be made to mature the business.”

Identifying travel and expenses as a growth enabler

Given this stage of business growth, Gillard sought ways to tighten cost control at Sapient i7 by improving operational processes. Budget allocation, spending and governance of their business travel was an easy find.

“Our people are constantly travelling to and from client sites incurring expenses along the way. With a growing team and other business spend, controlling these costs whilst maintaining a lean operational team, where headcount needs to be kept at a minimum, became difficult. I needed to take advantage of the team already in place and so to make the necessary efficiency gains, we immediately identified travel and expenses as an area for automation.”

Previously, the company’s travel and expense process was time-consuming, for both its business travellers and management. Trip bookings and approvals had to go through multiple stakeholders, expenses were often submitted without the correct paperwork as travellers had no ability to scan receipts, and reimbursements were delayed as a result. Collectively, it caused untold frustration for everybody.

In terms of manpower, two days a month were entirely dedicated to processing travel and expenses at Sapient i7. “We couldn’t continue,” exclaims Gillard. “Two days of non-value time is two days too many not generating revenue for the company, whether directly or indirectly. As COO, I have a responsibility to plan and control spend in order to aid growth. None more so than for reporting to the Board and investing in our future through hiring and retaining new and existing talent.”

Gillard could no longer afford for travel and expenses to be a hindrance to business growth, it had to become an enabler. As a result, the company sought a solution to help and found SalesTrip.

Deriving ROI from business travel spend

By implementing SalesTrip’s travel and expenses system on Salesforce, Gillard now has complete control and visibility of the company’s business spend. Leveraging the Salesforce platform, as Sapient i7 know best, means that all trips and expenses are associated to revenue whether from sales, customers or marketing.

Laura O’Mara, Marketing Manager at Sapient i7, has seen an immediate benefit: “Now that my colleagues are booking trips and submitting expenses in Salesforce, I have complete transparency of total spend around my campaigns. I’m able to mobilise a team for an event for example, knowing the exact amount of spend required and not having to worry about unauthorised spend impacting my budget unknowingly.”

O’Mara is now able to calculate the true ROI from marketing investments given it sits with revenue data in the company’s CRM. “I can also have more data-led conversations with sales management about the performance of key lead generation initiatives and crucially, about controlling sales expenses around activities like events.”

Investing for the future and in our people

Marketing is just one example of the greater control and visibility that Sapient i7 has across its business. With SalesTrip integrated with Kimble, a leading professional services automation (PSA) solution, the company is now able to budget travel and expense spend according to forecast project revenues.  

“Now that I know how much we’re spending and the potential return, I can make better decisions on business spend, including travel, informed by data and not by gut instinct,” says Gillard.

By having an accurate view of spend available to invest in the long-term future of the company, Gillard can focus on driving the business forward – through people, culture and greater working experiences. Gone are the days of receipt duplication, inaccurate travel and expense data, frustrated employees and time-consuming processes.

 “Sapient i7 is a growing platinum Salesforce consulting partner, focused on customer and business value outcomes. SalesTrip has taken the power of this platform to turn business travel from a business hindrance into a growth enabler for companies like ours. And we’re certainly leveraging this to both our own, and clients’, benefit.”

David Gillard, COO, Sapient i7
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Kate Fletcher