Dixon Advisory is one of Australia’s leading independently owned financial advisory firms. Established in 1986, the organisation spent its first 15 years developing a small but loyal client base and a solid business foundation. In early 2000 management change saw Dixon Advisory embark upon a dramatic expansion strategy built around the delivery of family and self-managed superannuation services, financial planning, property and mortgage advice, estate planning and other related services. Within 12 years the company grew from three people to more than 350 employees.
Today, Dixon Advisory boasts a client base of more than 15,000 families with a combined asset base in excess of $4 billion. The firm has offices in Canberra, North Sydney, Melbourne and on Queensland’s Fraser Coast. Following the establishment a few years ago of a strategic property investment listed Australian company, Dixon Advisory also maintains an international office in New Jersey, USA. All offices are connected via a private network.
Adapting to growth
Dixon Advisory is a company of two distinct phases. There’s the pre-2000 organisation with three employees and there’s the turn-of-the century firm that has powered ahead. The earlier version required cost-effective yet professional support tools and systems suitable for a small business. Key among these were multiple Sage ACT! contact management databases and a small business finance package.
As Dixon Advisory grew, the directors were focused on ensuring that the personalised service levels provided to clients were not diminished by a larger firm – a client today receives the exact service model they did prior to 2000 (in fact now that Dixon has established economies of scale, clients receive even more personalised attention than in the past).
As client numbers and business complexity grew however, the small business solutions were no longer capable of meeting all of Dixon Advisory’s needs. Client relationships were the backbone of the firm’s business, yet with numerous databases, there was no easy way to achieve a single view of the customer or to quickly understand all recent interactions.
Andrew McPhillips, Director, Chief Technology Officer at Dixon Advisory explains, “As we started to get to 100 employees we found we had multiple people dealing with a client at any point in time across different services. To avoid duplication or inconsistencies with client communication, we needed an enterprise-grade CRM [customer relationship management] solution, one that would provide a central place for all client contact information, correspondence and documentation.”
A Sage decision
McPhillips began researching alternative CRM solutions. Out of all the options, one solution stood out: Sage CRM. Available through the cloud or for deployment as a traditional in-house solution, Sage CRM had the capacity, document management and workflow capabilities that Dixon Advisory needed.
“It was a good fit,” McPhillips admits. “Cloud was very new and scary at the time so we adopted the on-premise model. The ability to build in workflows was a big attraction. Plus we were at a stage where we needed to upgrade our document management system. When we looked at the Sage CRM document management functionality, we realised it could manage 95 per cent of what we needed without the need for us to invest in a separate piece of software.”
Other draw cards included a foundation of SQL Server, a technology that was already familiar for McPhillips’ team, and a web front-end which ensured the application would be easily accessible from all offices.
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