Meet our customer hero
The need to grow without losing control
Stars and Stories is based in Amsterdam area and facilitates authentic customer reviews generated by real consumers worldwide. The scale-up runs review and influencer campaigns for a diverse slate of products, ranging from technology to toys to toothpaste. It is highly innovative, a trailblazer in terms of its new business model and is scaling at unprecedented pace. But in 2020 there wasn’t time to sit back and reflect on all these achievements. Quite the opposite. In its rise to success pressure had started to mount on all sides.
Firstly, Stars and Stories was working to transform from an agency-oriented model to a SaaS model. This involved a complete reimagination of their business landscape, empowering customer self-service and establishing an enterprise culture founded on meeting SLAs, speed and efficiency. Its almost non-existent processes—limited to complex documents stored in rarely opened files—were rife with opportunities for human error. The company identified that there was a high need to design its processes end to end. The processes cover activities like receiving initial requests, allocating campaign managers, selecting reviewers, dispatching products, capturing reviews and dashboarding results, as well as logistics, finance, IT and HR activities.
On top of all of this, the company has the challenge of scaling. So not only was it expanding in 2020 through a recent new acquisition but it was effectively nurturing three different business models including one in ecommerce. Complexity had started to become this startup’s number one challenge.
Was choosing to do nothing an option? You can’t scale multiple exceptions. But you can standardize, streamline and scale if you have the right process architecture. And Stars and Stories knew it. It needed to get back to its roots and establish a clear end-to-end process architecture, powered by a robust. enterprise management platform. And it knew just the technology.
As chance would have it, the company’s Senior Process Architect and the VP of Operations had both worked extensively with Software AG’s ARIS before. They needed a tool that could not only illustrate processes, but also provide a gateway to a single source of truth exposing all aspects of the organization—from its workflows, systems, documents, roles and responsibilities—in a multi-layer way. ARIS Advanced, with its access to powerful design and reporting options and organization-wide collaboration, was the only tool that fit the bill.
I have a lot of experience with ARIS and I know what its potential is. It has a good logic behind it. You can understand it quite quickly because the methodology is always the same,” says Michiel Overeem, Senior Process Architect.
So, in November 2020, Stars and Stories began the process of using ARIS to set up a future-proof, five-layered, detailed structure—incorporating roles, responsibilities, conventions and capturing who should see and do what at each level.
“I know that any process is only ever as good as the effort that goes in to setting up its foundations. We had this done in just one month with ARIS. And we soon started to see the value..”
With its functional business domains mapped, the company now had a whole new perspective on its business—and one that could grow with it.
Since implementing ARIS Advanced, the effects on operational efficiency and organizational excellence have been phenomenal. Not only has Stars and Stories seen a 80-150% increase in productivity but it was able to acquire another company and integrate it into its new process architecture with zero disruption to the business. That’s a boost to efficiency and a motor to scale.
But the effects are felt deeper under the surface too. With almost all process steps now documented and available as a reference for current and future employees, single points of failure have been virtually eliminated. Process objectification has led to a healthier company culture less focused on individual glory and more focused on structure, transparency and collaboration.
During the global coronavirus pandemic, ARIS was also instrumental in making it easier for employees to work remotely. Ronald Veerbeek, Vice President of Operations, says, “In a busy operational team, a lot of information is shared at the spur of the moment. When you are more isolated in a home office, you can’t rely on this input. The processes have to do the talking”.
Finally, and most alluringly for this ambitious scale-up, total process transparency enables potential investors demanding evidence of a smooth and seamless operation to have access to it at the touch of a button. Great for boosting confidence, credibility and incentivizing a healthy new round of investment.