NZ Immigration Advisor’s Journey From 90s-Style Work Habits To The Digital Age

Think about the number of things you do to convert a lead into a client, prepare a case for that client, and then submit a Visa application. Now imagine completing that process in half the time – and in a more organised and efficient way.

My background and experience is in Human –Computer Interaction, so I always approach the task of designing new applications by getting involved with the people who do the tasks we are trying to improve.

Ezymigrate is the perfect example – we met with immigration advisors at all levels of the industry, from very large firms to those that are small and agile. We demonstrated prototypes and early versions of the system but most importantly we watched them use it, identified the issues, listened to their stories, and got an understanding of their needs and values. Some of the most valuable insights came from the smaller immigration professionals, as the pain points they experience with paperwork and businesses processes are often more acute.

I watched them using tools like MS Office – the same tools they have for 10 years or more. Tasks like searching for a client’s email record in MS outlook, or going through folder after folder to find a particular document, are all common. Maintaining separate dairies for to-do lists and keeping file notes is normal too. The common thread through all this is few of the processes are interconnected.

I used the information gathered from these hundreds of hours spent with immigration advisors – those at the sharp edge of the industry – and used the knowledge to craft and mould the features and functionality of Ezymigrate. The Harvard Business Review call this design thinking. It requires “empathy with users, a discipline of prototyping, and tolerance for failure”.

                   Digital Transformation of NZ Immigration Industry

With Ezymigrate we did not set about designing new ways of doing business for immigration professionals. Instead we redesigned your current processes to make them easier, better, faster, more rewarding, and more efficient.

It had to be done in a way that focused on business needs and human values however, as much as it was focussed on tech.

  • Human values: – an easy to use and beautiful system that doesn’t require training or maintenance. The system cannot be painful to use, and it must reduce the administration burden on staff.
  • Business Needs: – meeting Immigration Adviser’s Authority (IAA) requirements, sales and marketing needs, accounting needs, central database needs, internal office communication requirements, and employee needs
  • Technology: – utilising the latest technology by creating a Microsoft Azure cloud based system that is cheap, secure and can be operated from any where in the world. Ultimately, it must bring an immigration professional’s complete office into the palm of their hand.

The result of our design thinking is the state of art product called Ezymigrate. It brings Immigration Consultants 1990s-era business processes up to the cutting edge of technology.

      NZ Immigration consultant sitting at Cutting edge of Technology

To borrow an analogy: we didn’t design the wheel – we put a big engine on top, luxurious leather seats, and satellite navigation to make the wheel better.

 Here are some practical examples of the journey: 

  1. Immigration consultants enjoy a centralised database system, where their client’s complete file is easily retrievable. That includes emails, notes, SMS messages, documents, and checklists.
  2. We developed an automated email system to adhere to the IAA rules about keeping clients informed. Client emails are automatically stacked in their file with zero administrative effort.
  3. We automated the record keeping of invoices and payments after observing how time consuming that process currently is. We enhanced the invoice and receipt system, and we integrated with Xero so invoices can be processes there too.
  4. After watching several immigration advisors go through the laborious process of downloading, saving and emailing in order to send documents to clients, we created a separate client portal. Clients can now quickly and easily access and update their own files. 
  5. We care about your sales targets so have incorporated a potential client feature with reporting system.
  6. Through reminder system you can reach out to your old clients and bring them back. In addition, PPI letter dates are no longer your headache, as Ezymigrate looks after them for you.
  7. You can operate your office from anywhere in the world, as we understand the importance of access and communication.

And the best thing about the system is that it is always evolving. We never stop listening, observing and learning to make Ezymigrate better. That’s how you move an industry from 1990s-era business processes to the cutting edge of technology.