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Industry: Government and public sector
Today's issue: Digital transformation
Everyone who buys a new home in Ontario is entitled to a warranty from the builder. The provincial government established Tarion in 1976 to oversee those warranties, and since then, the not-for-profit organization has grown to support over 300,000 homeowners. A staff of more than 300 works to protect homebuyers and homeowners by ensuring they know their rights and responsibilities under the warranty and providing support in resolving claims. This, in turn, helps give them peace of mind.
But Tarion’s stakeholders expected enhanced digital experiences, including on-demand self-service options for web and mobile users. The organization was under pressure to evolve. And it saw significant potential in going beyond quick-fix upgrades of dated solutions by holistically transforming its front- and back-office operations instead.
Successfully implementing a new enterprise platform would not only help Tarion rationalize IT costs and simplify employee training, but would also form a foundation for Tarion to continually modernize how its staff serve Ontario homebuyers and builders.
The catalyst for change began in 2018 with a revised focus on longer-term operational efficiencies and stakeholder experiences. The following year, an assessment by Ontario’s Auditor General revealed additional growth opportunities. The assessment included good recommendations, but also highlighted the shortcomings of Tarion’s technology.
Tarion’s technology stack was nearly two decades old. Its third-party provider didn’t have a future roadmap for development—nor could it provide support for the existing stack, as Tarion had made thousands of functional customizations.
Delayed response times in Tarion’s Warranty Management System (WMS) were considered normal, causing frustration for staff and stakeholders during their 8,000–12,000 daily interactions. The outdated menu-driven system lacked navigation elements, which meant teams scrolled through reams of information and toggled between more than 40 screens.
Tarion needed to improve the everyday operations for its staff by ensuring infrastructure was in place to properly support homeowners, employees and builders.
Tarion named the initiative “Evolve” to capture the transformational spirit of the undertaking. It developed a phased approach to identify and implement a customer relationship management (CRM) system that could streamline operations, consolidate data and insights, and enable a 360-degree view of the business.
Despite the logistical and recruitment challenges presented by the pandemic, the executive team moved forward with their transformation strategy in 2020. They chose the Salesforce CRM to host the modernized WMS, and PwC Canada as the system integrator and strategic advisor.
PwC Canada and Tarion formed a unified project team that worked side-by-side using an apprenticeship model. The PwC team incorporated various upskilling opportunities, including shadowing and hands-on learning, throughout the project delivery life cycle to set Tarion up for success once the system launched.
Together, they developed a project plan that started with reimagining the user experience for employees and customers. They also outlined the system requirements, technical capabilities and future improvements their industry and regulatory environment would require. PwC Canada then worked with Tarion to create the necessary architecture, aligning with Salesforce and the industry’s leading practices.
The collaboration resulted in an agile roadmap, detailing a phased approach for implementing a solution that could scale with Tarion, adapt to changing government regulations and fulfill its mission of being more service-oriented for Ontario homeowners and builders. This involved migrating the WMS to Salesforce Service Cloud and launching updated and improved portals for homeowners and builders on Salesforce Experience Cloud.
Digital adoption and end-user training was an important focus as Tarion implemented the new system. PwC Canada facilitated interactive and immersive learning experiences that introduced and reinforced new business processes and ways of working. This approach built engagement, accelerated employees’ adoption of the new Warranty Management System and gave Tarion’s team the required skills to independently operate the system after it went live.
Rationalizing its IT infrastructure onto Salesforce, starting with its CRM, was a powerful first step in Tarion’s transformation journey. Internal navigation has been simplified, helping to reduce system response times from 45–60 seconds to less than three.
Services and processes are more accessible for internal teams and stakeholders. Through interviews, workshops and user experience analysis, PwC Canada helped Tarion understand the biggest pain points affecting users so the project team could identify and remove barriers. Now, homeowners enjoy a simplified mobile-responsive experience, and builders benefit from streamlined workflows and automated tools. Furthermore, 300,000 homeowners and all staff were transitioned to the new system with no downtime.
But one of the biggest benefits is how the digital transformation empowered Tarion’s people. Integration across the Salesforce platform allows them to track cases through multiple channels and expedite case resolution, while automation and analytics deliver the speed, reliability and data accuracy they need for servicing customers.
They can also make informed decisions quicker thanks to real-time data processing and synchronization across applications. Automated case assignment rules and reminders notify them of tasks and deadlines, while customized reports and dashboards allow them to monitor objectives, KPIs and workloads.
"If you want to truly digitally transform your organization, you have to invest in your people."— John Hynes, Assistant Vice-President, Information Systems, Tarion
Tarion’s digital transformation made this possible by streamlining internal operations, providing more accessible user experiences and building a system that will grow with the industry’s complex needs. By combining clear solutions with the right capabilities and talent, the organization is better positioned to support Ontario homeowners and builders as demand for housing increases province-wide.
Tarion is also set up to continually introduce new service improvements and customer-centric features, enhancing its ability to evolve and build trust with citizens, industry stakeholders and its staff.
Discover how PwC Canada’s Fit for Purpose approach is preparing government and public-sector organizations for a changing, digital-first future.