Going for growth: how Cezanne HR is helping Sagacity flourish

Data is of vital importance to any business, and Sagacity have been helping their clients make sense of complex business data since 2005.

Dedicated to helping organisations solve complicated business challenges, Sagacity is a provider of tech-enabled customer data management solutions. Founded in 2005, the company offers three core solutions within the lifecycle of its clients’ customers: reducing bad debt, improving revenue & margin and optimising customer value.

Sagacity generates impressive ROI for some of the largest utility, telecoms and financial services corporates across territories all over the world. Their tailored approach has won them legions of high profile clients; including Sky, British Gas and TalkTalk.

Their ongoing success in the data and analytics industry has led to a period of growth and expansion. This has led to more employees joining the business and also the acquisition of other businesses: meaning their HR function has had to rise to the challenge of looking after a rapidly expanding hybrid workforce.

We sat down for a chat with Jamie McKeenan, Sagacity’s HR Manager, to discover how the implementation of Cezanne HR has supported the growth of their business and bring crucial clarity to all aspects of their HR functions.

Hi Jamie! Tell us a little more about your role with Sagacity

I’m the HR manager here at Sagacity and I’ve been here for about 7 and a half years now – it’s been quite the journey!

When I started, there were only five employees and we were very contractor and associate driven. Instead, we were keen to bring in young and talented individuals who could grow with the business and we could also help develop – I’m happy to say this has gone very well.

We now have a significant employee headcount – and we’ve plans to grow that even more in the next months. In fact, we’re hoping to double in size.

What led you to investing in an HR system?

We decided to invest in HR software to help support our growth. As we grew, we recognised the fact that we needed more robust HR systems and procedures in place.

We had so many spreadsheets containing lots of different and disjointed information. As a business, we knew this wasn’t a sustainable way of doing things. We had individual employee files that had certain elements that others didn’t… it was just a bit all over the place. And, of course from a GDPR perspective, data security is incredibly important, and our previous processes just weren’t up to scratch.

Lastly, we wanted an HR system that would also help us to streamline our core HR processes, such as recruitment and onboarding.

What modules do you have with us?

We have People Management, Performance Management, Onboarding and Lifecycle, Absence Management and we’ve just brought back in Recruitment.

Did you have all those modules to start with?

We launched the system we have now in January this year, but we were very conscious of trying to run before we could walk. We began with a very soft launch and that was with the People Management module. This meant that our people could go in, take a look at their profile and subordinates etc…

Once we were happy everyone had become familiarised with the system, we then rolled out Performance Management. That tied in really nicely with our company’s annual review process, so with the module, we found it all very easy to manage. I also have a complete overview of all the reviews and appraisals going on within the business as they all go through the [Cezanne HR] system.

I could see who was doing their review, who was lagging behind as we all know, a lot of people don’t like the prospect of annual reviews. Luckily, the system allowed me to keep on top of it all and chase where necessary. After that, we then launched the Absence Management and Onboarding & Lifecyle modules. The reporting side of things for both those modules works incredibly well for us – especially for holidays and sickness absences.

We also signed up to the Recruitment module to start with, too, but at that time, we were going into a managed relationship with a recruitment partner who had their own system which potentially wouldn’t be compatible.

However, we now have our Talent Manager and we’ve been able to take everything in-house. In fact, we’re getting everything set up with the Recruitment module this week and have already had some training from the Cezanne HR support team.

We’re really looking forward to the Recruitment module helping to make both our recruitment and onboarding efforts very streamlined: there’s a really easy transition from going from a candidate to a full-time employee. We know the modules can be adapted to fit our tone of voice in terms of the comms that go out to candidates and new joiners, and they can create their own unique profiles – it’s all great stuff.

How did the launch go?

To be honest, I was expecting some teething problems when we implemented the system – it’s kind of expected with this sort of thing to be honest! But it was very quiet – I wasn’t getting any queries about things not working, people not sure how to do things, you know the usual things… it was great, the launch went very well.

Did you look at any other software solutions on the market?

My brief when I joined the business was to go out there and source the right solution for us. I spoke to four companies in total and had demos from all of them. Each one of them was good, with Bamboo HR standing out: but mainly due to how ‘American’ they were!

When I began speaking with the team at Cezanne HR, I really liked the approach the sales team took. The people I spoke to were very, very good and understood our challenges but, it was the look and feel of the system that really stood out to me.

Everything just felt right with the Cezanne HR solution – it really was the right system for us. The fact it was totally configurable for our needs and could also be adapted and changed depending on how our requirements shifted was a real key selling point for us.

Another thing that I really liked was the pricing plan you have. Unlike some of the other suppliers, the Cezanne HR pricing was totally transparent, very straightforward and simple.

How has the Cezanne HR system helped with your HR team’s day-to-day operations?

The level of overall control we now have is excellent, as is the level of security we now how with people’s documents and data. All our HR data is safe and secure in one place and available to the right people at a touch of a button.

Being a data analytics company, the HR data reporting side of things was of critical importance to us. When one of the company partners saw the reporting facilities available in Cezanne HR, she fell in love with the system virtually instantly!

We have a board who request a lot of information from HR and from finance. A lot of the time before Cezanne HR, I’d be scraping around spreadsheets and pulling information from here, there… all over the place! A job that took a couple of hours before now only takes me five minutes.

Is the Cezanne HR system helping you to manage unplanned absences effectively with a hybrid-working workforce?

Yes, definitely.

Because we’re a client-facing company, a line manager may not have seen one of their individuals on their team for weeks or months on end – especially if they’re working client-side. As a result, there were times [before Cezanne HR] when line managers wouldn’t know whether staff were off or available, or whether they were in the office or off-site with clients. People just weren’t in the habit of updating their Outlook calendars, which was the only reference point we had.

Now though, you can go into the Absence module and check where everyone is. Employees find it really easily to log absences, and that in turn means things like holiday balances or sickness levels are easily accessible. It gives our managers a lot more control and they can easily let me know if HR need to step in to help nip things in the bud sooner rather than later.

Now, I can go into Cezanne HR and within minutes, I can get a greater understanding of what’s going on with a person. This means I can have better conversations with them and can help them create better solutions: helping them feel better about what might be going on and how we can help.

Are there any features you find particularly useful?

Definitely the absence management reporting – I love the reporting side of things. Also, the [Cezanne HR] system just gives the whole company a more professional image. We’re not making do with spreadsheets or paper-based forms but investing in a system that helps employees connect with each other and the business. When you go into the system and can see employees’ own personal profiles, their timeline with the business, who their line manager is… you get to know the individual, not just the data.

For new starters who may be working remotely, it’s great they can look up their colleagues and managers. They may not get the chance to meet people for weeks, so having the profiles means they can put a face to the name and settle into teams that little bit quicker.

How has the system been received with your staff?

Cezanne HR works really well for everyone. I rarely receive reports of any issues or problems from staff using it – which is obviously a good sign. If people didn’t like it, I’d hear about it. If people are having problems, I’d hear about it – and I don’t hear anything, which is great!

One of the reasons we chose Cezanne HR – and the Absence module in particular – was the fact so much of the functionality matched our previous system, Edays. The process functionality is so simple to use, and that’s exactly what we needed.

How have you found the support from the Cezanne HR account management team?

Really very good: from the initial contact with the Sales team all the way through to the Account and Support team. Rob (Cezanne HR’s Product Manager) and Nazma (Product Support with Cezanne HR) in particular have both been brilliant. They’ve always got time to help with questions I might have or willing to jump on a call if they can help. They’ve always been really proactive when it comes to organising training, too.

Would you recommend Cezanne HR to others?

Yes! Funnily enough, I actually put together a little presentation for a private equity firm we work with as they were very interested when they heard about our experiences with Cezanne HR. If anyone ever said to me ‘we’re looking for an HR system’, I’d definitely recommend you guys, 100%!


Jamie McKennan, HR manager