Imagine assembling the best talent and resources from around the world to identify innovative opportunities for your business. That’s the driving force behind digital transformation services provider Kin + Carta.
Kin + Carta goes beyond the typical agency model by bringing together more than 1,600 expert technologists, strategists and creatives across four continents and 12 offices. Its mission: help clients produce next-generation products and services for consumers.
Headquartered in London, Kin + Carta works with leading organizations in industries ranging from health care and agriculture to financial services and retail. By collaborating with clients using Slack, Kin + Carta’s global network of employees provides top-notch collaborative services while optimizing client experiences.
“With Slack, we can enable the growth of our culture at the same time we enable the growth of our business.”
Creating a cohesive, high-performing digital consultancy
Kin + Carta originally consisted of nine loosely associated digital consultancies and agencies operating autonomously. That meant clients would often end up working with four or five different parts of the business, many of which were using different tools to share documents or host internal stand-ups.
“Before we all started using Slack, there were several times where I had to go online and download a single version of somebody else’s platform in order to look at one document,” says Graham Halling, director of consulting at Kin + Carta.
Over the course of 18 months, leadership pulled together the skillsets of all its digital consultancies and agencies across the globe, coming to market as one consultancy: Kin + Carta. And Slack played an integral part in bringing everyone together, bridging time zones and breaking down silos in the process.
“Since these groups were working and collaborating in multiple different tools, one of the first things we did as we brought the businesses together was bring in Slack as the common collaboration platform across all of Kin + Carta,” says J Schwan, CEO of Kin + Carta.
With the support of Slack, Kin + Carta was able to establish its digital headquarters and restructure the business into three arms:
- Kin + Carta Advise: Front-end strategists who use a technology and data-led approach to help clients identify opportunities and growth strategies for the digital age
- Kin + Carta Create: Designers and engineers who help companies accelerate innovation, deliver business-critical products and grow internal capabilities
- Kin + Carta Connect: Marketers with deep expertise in the selection and implementation of customer data platforms, digital experience platforms and commerce platforms
“Because we’re on four different continents, we need real-time communication globally, but we also need a framework that provides freedom for people to create different topics or areas of interest that were important to them, both work- and non-work-related,” says Schwan.
“Every project, every client and every team has its own Slack channel for collaboration, ensuring we’re delivering on the promise we give to our clients.”
Optimizing a client-first approach using Slack channels
Kin + Carta’s most valuable measure of success revolves around the results it delivers to clients. But when colleagues are left off emails or enter a project midway without context, that’s value lost for the client. Slack allows Kin + Carta to operate as efficiently as possible by ensuring that coworkers and clients are kept in the loop via Slack channels—a place for teams to share messages, tools and files.
“We’re a people business, so our people are our product—our clients are paying for our expertise,” says Schwan.
Kin + Carta is also able to work with customers directly in Slack using Slack’s multi-channel and single-channel guests feature. Not only does this make collaboration with clients easier, it also cements relationships Kin + Carta develops with clients.
“We often collaborate with customers directly in Slack to make sure we’re all aligned, because we treat our work like we’re all one team,” says Ben Pitman, Kin + Carta’s head of engineering.
“Slack channels ensures we’re providing the best experience for our clients by enabling our collaborative efforts.”
Establishing a connected team and ecosystem
Kin + Carta’s engineering team has eliminated the high cost of context switching by working directly in Slack using app integrations.
“What our engineers really like about Slack is the ability to automate and improve our workflow,” says Pitman. “As soon as something happens, an event is fired and we get a message in Slack that we can act on immediately.”
Kin + Carta’s engineering team has also created custom integrations to boost automation for tasks. For example, a custom onboarding integration allows anyone from Kin + Carta’s IT department to spin up a new hire’s Slack account and other corresponding accounts in G Suite, Greenhouse, Zoom and other programs by typing a “/new-hire name” command in a private Slack channel.
For the company’s annual innovation summit FWD, Karl Hampson, director of artificial intelligence at Kin + Carta, worked with a cross-functional team to build an experience called ConnectLive, a real-time internal knowledge management tool that sits on top of Slack. ConnectLive allows employees to see a filtered version of what different teams at an organization are discussing and working on within Slack, driving smarter decision-making overall.
“In effect, Slack represents the connectedness across Kin + Carta,” says Hampson. “So we took the idea of that connectedness to another level. Anybody attending one of our summits could be dropped into ConnectLive and experience Kin + Carta through the lens of interest that they have within technology and innovation.”
It’s custom developments like this that demonstrate the power of the cohesive ecosystem that Kin + Carta has created, and the solutions that they can bring to market for its clients.
“Whether it’s machine learning, artificial intelligence or other areas of ownership centered on product and strategy, we’re able to connect our communities of practice around the world in real time thanks to Slack,” says Pitman. “We’re able to make sure all of Kin + Carta is as good as the best of us.”