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February 22, 2021

How Warren Averett brings real-time collaboration to remote engagements

Warren Averett (WA) is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, and has brought a progressive mindset to client services for close to 50 years. Their core focus is to serve as a dependable sounding board, offering solution-based ideas that enable clients to thrive. As practice leader of the Security, Risk & Controls Group, Paul Perry has seen the industry change rapidly over the last few years. More clients are demanding risk and controls projects to help clients comply with a wide range of cybersecurity frameworks, including SOC 2 and NIST CSF. Keeping up with this kind of demand has meant that WA must optimize their workload efficiency, eliminate manual processes, and minimize non-value-add activities.

The Challenge

Before using Fieldguide, most engagement work performed by the Security, Risk and Controls Practice (the Team) took place in Microsoft Word and Excel, a document manager, and email - an approach that had been consistent for years. Upon receiving data and information from clients, the professionals processed client-provided files, tested documents in traditional Microsoft Office programs, and then copied and pasted results into a single document so a final report could be issued. The practice’s largest pain point centered around the manual reporting process, which involved dozens of staff and partner hours and complicated version control and change management.

The Team had been looking for a reporting automation solution. When introduced to Fieldguide, Paul realized that this was the only solution he found that intuitively automated the reporting phase of an engagement workflow.

”We found several applications that could make and receive requests for information, but nothing like Fieldguide’s reporting functionality. This is what drew us to the platform.”

To compound existing pains, the era of remote work brought on by the pandemic pushed the Team to find a modern software solution. Previously, the practice would work in close proximity and constant conversation. In 2020, this live collaboration was difficult to replicate, exacerbating already-inefficient parts of the engagement workflow and disrupting critical communications.

The Solution

Fieldguide’s reporting functionality was what first caught the Team’s eye. The ability to generate reports that updated automatically when underlying data and documentation was changed, alleviated the manual change management and version control his team had previously been forced to perform. Beyond the reporting functionality, Fieldguide’s flexibility is what hit things home. Flexible templates allow WA to customize services to client needs and assist at any stage of the compliance life cycle.

“Fieldguide opened possibilities to get things done more efficiently, so our team can do what they do for more clients.”

Moreover, Fieldguide brings back live-time collaboration to WA’s teams. It allows the Team to collaborate in real-time via a digital control matrix. When team members have questions, they can pose them to each other directly and contextualized them in an engagement workspace. The Fieldguide environment offers a collaborative platform for the entire engagement team to work concurrently. Warren Averett anticipates there will be lasting “remote-ness” to teamwork going forward, and the Team is looking to Fieldguide to be the collaborative space for the future.

“Reporting is what we came for, but what’s kept us is the flexibility and the unexpected ‘live-ness’ to teamwork that you miss when you’re in a remote setting. Fieldguide helps us feel like we’re next to each other in the office, despite not be physically next to each other.”

Through implementing with Fieldguide, the Team has found the process to be swift and responsive. Fieldguide’s hands-on onboarding, online training library, and live support enabled the Security, Risk and Controls practice to get started quickly.

“We are coast-to-coast working here, and knowing we can quickly get someone to help via chat or the phone just makes things a whole lot easier," said Paul. "If our team has a question, they shoot an email or send a chat message and have a solution quickly. Plus, they also get a training video on how to do something better.”

The Results

Fieldguide has enabled the Warren Averett team to utilize its professionals to their highest and best potential by automating time-consuming activities in the review and reporting phases. With Fieldguide’s Reporting and Workplan features alone, the Security, Risk & Controls practice has seen 5-10% increases in project realization. Having a single source-of-truth in testing and automating reporting means that the Team can focus more on helping clients thrive in hitting their security and compliance goals. These benefits have been so impactful that Paul is already envisioning how Fieldguide can power other engagement types at Warren Averett.

”Fieldguide gives us both the flexibility and ease-of-use necessary to review, supervise and report on our client engagements.”

Learn more about the services Warren Averett provides to clients at www.warrenaverett.com.

Katrina Lyter

Business Development @ Fieldguide

Climber and outdoor enthusiast.

Katrina LyterKatrina Lyter

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