Johnson Partners (AESC Member – Australia)
I’ve already recommended FileFinder to other firms in the industry. It’s not just a database, it’s a true practice management system. Everything we do is dependent on it. We are delighted with our decision to switch to FileFinder.”
Sydney-based retained executive search firm Johnson Partners is led by Jason Johnson, recognised as one of the most successful and influential search consultants in the world. A former Global Chairman of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (the AESC), Jason spent five years with Highland Partners (then one of the top 6 firms in the World), before founding his own business – Johnson Partners. The business – which relied on a legacy version of FileFinder – grew to be one of Asia’s leading firms with 12 partners and 50 staff in offices across Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Jason’s firm was acquired by CTPartners in early 2014, with Jason becoming Asia Pacific Managing Partner for the NYSE-listed corporation. He left in mid-2015 and subsequently launched a new business – again under the Johnson Partners brand.
Jason’s new firm initially chose to implement the Invenias executive search software platform. Jason explained: “I was keen to run the new business in the Cloud. I knew FileFinder of old, and had always had a good experience with it. However, I perceived it as being a product that was ported to the Cloud, rather than one designed for the Cloud. I felt this would hold us back – Invenias was Cloud only, and so we went with that”.
By late 2016, however, it was apparent that the product was not meeting the needs of Jason’s new firm. Operations Manager Elly Scales explains: “We actually quite liked Invenias. It was a ‘sexy product’ and it does some things well. But it’s more superficial. It doesn’t have the sort of depth we need.”
Asked for an example, Elly explains that a major part of the Johnson Partners service offering is the reports they produce for clients. These can include extensive market maps, sometimes extending to hundreds of pages.
“These reports are an integral and significant part of what we do. It was taking us – literally – days of work with Invenias. We explained what we wanted to achieve and were told it was impossible – but the FileFinder product was able to produce what we needed quickly and easily. A report that took me three days to produce on Invenias takes me a couple of hours today. It’s changed my life.”
In its short existence, Johnson Partners has already become one of the best regarded Search firms in the region and is growing quickly. Jason explained “It’s all about efficiency and operational excellence for us. We work with several of the region’s most significant corporations and are expected to deliver results quickly. Being able to reduce our turnaround time allows us to complete more searches in less time and more efficiently. It makes such a difference.”
With hindsight, switching from Invenias to FileFinder was clearly the correct decision, but there was some initial concern about the upheaval associated with making the move. “We couldn’t risk a failed project; we couldn’t risk lengthy downtime. We needed the implementation to be delivered right first time, and we needed it done to a very tight schedule.”
To achieve this, Ikiru People provided a dedicated project manager and an engineer with extensive experience of converting data from Invenias to FileFinder.
Elly explains: “We are very demanding users of databases. The fact that Ikiru People had previously converted data from Invenias to FileFinder made it much easier for us – much of the mapping was done. However, where we did have custom demands, the Ikiru People team were able to implement them. The process was swift and painless – it was done very professionally.”
Johnson Partners went live on the new system on time and on budget. Elly explains: “On live day, Jason came in and asked me how we were getting on with the process. I was able to tell him it’s all done, we are live on FileFinder. I think it’s fair to say he was pleasantly surprised!”
The product has proven to be everything the firm expected – and more. Elly comments: “There were some areas – like reporting – where we knew that we’d see improvements. But there have been other benefits… subtle ones. Parsing for example. It’s more accurate. We spend less time tidying things up. It’s another small efficiency gain, but they all add up.”
Since going live, Elly has found the FileFinder support service to be excellent: “Everyone is so friendly and so helpful. It’s a real benefit to be able to pick up the phone and speak to someone… We never had that before. We feel like we are working with a local team, rather than having to wait for help from the UK. It makes a big difference.”
While Elly has been project lead, user adoption has been excellent throughout the firm. In an unprompted email sent to a member of the Ikiru People team, Rebecca Abraham, a Director of the firm, wrote “We think you guys and the system are great and it’s honestly a pleasure to use and a pleasure dealing with you guys.”
Jason agrees: “I’ve already recommended FileFinder to other firms in the industry. It’s not just a database, it’s a true practice management system. Everything we do is dependent on it. We are delighted with our decision to switch to FileFinder”.