Having been established in Edinburgh in 1854, ICAS (The Institute for Chartered Accountants of Scotland) can boast the title of world’s oldest accountancy organisation.
They’ve come a long way since their beginnings of serving an all-male, all-Scottish customer base, now engaging with a diverse and inclusive membership of 20,000 business professionals that work in over 100 countries worldwide. Their global reach too, is represented in the diversity of memberships, 50% of which reside outside of Scotland.
ICAS provide professional qualifications to their members and train the next generation of business leaders using a range of resources and channels including traditional teaching methods and digital content.
Like the majority of businesses globally, ICAS have seen their customers change. The rise of the ‘Millennial’ and the evolution of technology mean that customers’ demands have changed and they expect different types of resources.
This example is displayed fittingly by the closing of the ICAS library. Historically ICAS would serve their customers through print-based collateral, invitations to live events and by stocking a library full of literature that members could purchase or borrow from. In 2012 however, out of their 20,000 members, only 40 borrowed a book. Members wanted access to digital resources, on-demand, from wherever they are in the world.
ICAS were also quick to realise that they were not just competing with other accountancy firms on digital experiences. The younger demographic of customers are comparing their experiences on icas.com with all other engagement across the web and are quick to avoid poor design and usability.
Businesses must change to serve shifting user behaviour. Failing to do so results in your organisation falling behind in the customer-centric arms race, something no one can afford to do in today’s buyers market.
For ICAS, becoming truly customer-centric meant closing the gap between what they offer, and what customers expect. Revolutionising icas.com meant changing far more than just the website, it was about transforming everything from operational processes to staff training, whilst bringing the whole organisation on the journey.
To go forward in their project, ICAS first took a step back and listened to their users and staff to outline where the old website, though fit for purpose, was left wanting.
Finding the resource you were looking for needed to be a simpler process; articles were hidden behind layers of information architecture. Multiple gateway pages made the user journey longer than necessary.
Internal processes, or the lack of them, exacerbated the issue of finding content. Little workflow governance, no SEO strategy, and a devolved web author model to 40+ staff members resulted in hard-to-find content being uploaded to the site.