How CRIF Reduces Multinational Collaboration Challenges During High-Growth Stages


Every business wants to grow, but often growth comes at the expense of collaboration. See how CRIF keeps employees connected all over the globe while increasing productivity and employee satisfaction.

Fast growing multinational corporations face unique challenges. With employees spread throughout the globe, real-time collaboration often means expensive flights and time wasted traveling. At CRIF—a provider of credit bureau and business information, outsourcing and processing services, and credit and risk management solutions to support banks and financial institutions in every phase of the customer relationship cycle—we’re no stranger to growth, or the collaboration challenges that accompany it.

You don’t have to sacrifice collaboration for growth.

Over the last several years we’ve expanded into 27 countries, and as the IT operation manager, it’s my job to support our production teams as well as to provide our 3,700 employees with the tools they need to be successful. In my office, we must constantly be on the hunt for new technologies and operating methods that will increase CRIF’s competitive edge and ensure we are delivering the best products and services to our customers. 

For us, it’s extremely important that every team member is engaged and equipped with the tools they need to be successful. This employee satisfaction drives productivity, and without it, we would not be able to deliver on our promises to our customers. For this reason, we spend much of our time looking for ways to simplify and streamline the way our company works. One very important aspect of that duty is collaboration.

Multinational Collaboration Challenges

Before, when we were strictly an Italian company, working together meant simply walking down the hall or jumping on a phone call, but now that we have offices on every continent except Antarctica, face-to-face teamwork and collaboration is both costly and time consuming.  

Traveling for meetings is more expensive than just an airline ticket. It’s costing you opportunities.

Integration & Usability

To meet these collaboration challenges, we began searching for a technology partner. During our exploratory phase, we prioritized two requirements: integrations and usability. Like many large enterprise companies, our network and infrastructure relies heavily on Cisco hardware and software, so we knew we needed a solution that would seamlessly integrate into our existing technology. 

As far as usability, it was important for us to offer employees a single, internal global voice communication system that turned confusing and complex international telephone interactions into a simple process the entire company could quickly and easily use. We also wanted to give employees the ability to chat in real time and share and search for files without clogging their inbox, all with high-definition video quality and secure end-to-end encryption.

In the past, if a non-centralized team was working on a project, they would travel several times each month to have in-person meetings; now, we’ve been able to cut that by two-thirds, resulting in tens of thousands of Euros saved every year. But cost is just one part of the equation. The opportunity costs associated with missed work incurred during travel can result in missed business opportunities and decreased customer satisfaction due to a lag in response time. 

Prioritizing User Adoption

The success of our collaboration initiatives is, in large part, due to the tremendous adoption rates we’ve seen. Purchasing and implementing a new solution is pointless unless people use it. That’s why we prioritized communication to maximize internal adoption and facilitated the usage of these new tools through internal training and customized documentation, in collaboration with the Cisco Customer Success team. To support employees as they became familiar with the new technology, we created a team within our office of automation whose focus was ensuring user success.

Want to increase #productivity and #EmployeeEngagement? Start with #collaboration

The reason we focused so much effort on adoption was due to a previous failed attempt to introduce collaboration tools like video conferencing. Many years in the past, we purchased similar technology from a Cisco competitor, but we did not create the culture necessary to encourage and educate employees on remote working. We learned from that misstep that education is a crucial component of any organizational change, so when we implemented Cisco, we applied on those previously learnings and now in just one year have achieved over 30 percent adoption. Our goal for the next year is to have every employee at CRIF taking advantage of these solutions.

As the IT operation manager, it is inspiring to hear firsthand accounts of the enjoyment my colleagues are receiving from my efforts. More than 85 percent of employees surveyed after the rollout of Cisco’s Collaboration Solutions noted high satisfaction with these new tools. Equipped with the consistent, reliable technology Cisco provides, it’s our goal to increase that to 100 percent satisfaction for each and every employee—and that, to us, will be the definition of success.