Brad Edgerlyis a business process expert, digital architect, and the founder of Creative Sparq, a Calgary-based consultancy dedicated to high impact digital transformation at businesses of all sizes. Brad explains, “Digital transformation is about leveraging technology to fill business gaps and introduce new capabilities. We identify these opportunities by developing a strategy, redefining businesses processes, and then implementing or reimplementing technologies that automate, reduce costs, and improve margins, so our client can scale exponentially.”
Brad completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Calgary, specializing in Operations Management and Management Information Systems before following his passion for business process improvement and digital transformation.
“We work with highly discerning customers, and we deliver results… like 5% conversion improvement within the first three months, 20% revenue growth in the first year, and funnel growth from $400 million to over $1 billion.”
See how Brad and Creative Sparq deliver big, positive impact at their website, creativesparq.ca.
FROM ENTERPRISE TO ENTREPRENEUR
Brad started his professional journey at PricewaterhouseCoopers honing his skills in optimizing complex business processes in a broad range of industries. The experience Brad gained in documenting processes under pressure laid the foundation for his career-defining role at Shaw Communications, where he ultimately orchestrated transformative shifts in business processes steering the company toward streamlined efficiency.
“When I was at Shaw, I inherited a CRM that was in bad shape. When a user had a problem, or when something changed, a band-aide fix was put in place and eventually it became band-aides stacked on band-aides. This approach complicated the business and stagnated growth,” Brad explained. “Group inboxes popped up, spreadsheets became key documents, employees rekeyed between systems, reports took a lot of effort to create, and nobody knew how it all fit together. Management had to keep hiring because more people equalled scaling, which is costly and ineffective.”
Taking charge of change, transformation, and the Salesforce CRM application, Brad amplified his impact on operations, user satisfaction, and outcomes. “The logical place to start was defining strategy at an executive level. Then we managed the CRM automation projects that fell out of the strategy.
“We developed a highly collaborative way of redesigning how work is done. Then we built out a database that would eliminate the need for group inboxes, spreadsheets, rekeying, and manual reports because it was all now captured in a central location that become the single source of truth.
Brad and his team’s commitment to positive transformation grew their sphere of impact from 20 people and one sales channel to an impressive 1,000 users across marketing, sales, order fulfillment, and billing. Brad adds, “We had a 96% user satisfaction score. The sales teams invited us to their kick-offs and celebrations. We’d high-five in the hallways. A director once said that in his 6 years at Shaw he hadn’t seen anyone push as much successful transformation as my team, and that I ‘won by a country mile’.”
Brad realized he had a uniquely effective approach for strategic execution and business transformation – skill sets often overlooked in small and medium businesses.
“I cut my teeth in digital transformation in the complex telecommunications environment and saw the potential for how valuable this work could be for other growing businesses. At that point, I was ready to apply my ‘creative spark’ to start a new consultancy dedicated to helping businesses achieve these same outcomes much earlier in their lifecycle and set them up with the tools that would enable them to grow quickly with less.”
FROM TECHNICAL MASTERY TO BUSINESS VIABILITY: BRAD’S LEADERSHIP JOURNEY
“Within our first three years, we became a high-functioning collective of professionals with a few large clients. We were great at business transformation, and we were great at navigating technology, but we had no shared vision or strategy for where the business was going,” Brad reflects. “This led to unnecessary tension on our team and I felt like I was being pulled in every direction. Every key decision was a wrestling match, and it was draining everyone’s energy, focus.”
Brad knew that he had gaps to fill but didn’t know what they were or how to fill them. “I was becoming a bottleneck and holding the business back from growing, and I needed help to change that.”
Serving a growing customer base would challenge Creative Sparq to become more efficient and to develop new capabilities to serve their target markets.
PATHWAY TO MENTORSHIP
Brad met James Frail, a TEC Canada Chair with a long history of enterprise-level business transformation experience himself, in 2019 and was immediately compelled to join James’ TEC 607 peer advisory group.
With James’ guidance, the Creative Sparq team developed the vision, culture, and strategy that would pave a clear path forward and unify the team. Everyone’s roles and responsibilities were formalized, and everyone had a clear understanding for how they would contribute to the success of the business and its clients.
“James is great at generating high quality ideas, prioritizing what’s most important, and keeping us accountable. He works with us to commit and execute important strategies, regardless of how uncomfortable they are.”
“Our peer group is amazing, always engaging in mutual critique and professional development. We understand each other’s businesses so we can help each other apply what we learn together,” Brad explained. “James also continually pushes the peer group to expose their ‘edge’ — exploring challenges holding us back and exposing opportunities that will get us to the next level.”
For example, in a recent meeting, after spending an hour processing a Creative Sparq issue related to a market entry campaign, James suggested that the peer group help Brad go deeper and hosted a separate issue-focused “Tiger Team” workshop with four peer group members and Brad’s co-founder, partner, and long-time friend, Shadi Abuid, over a 2-hour pizza lunch.
“The conversation never stops. James and the team push us really hard to consider options that we never would have thought of on our own, and we leave with clear decisions, plans, and financial projections.” Brad adds, “There’s a lot of confidence you gain from support like this.”
LEADING IN HIS OWN WAY
Brad has become a lot more self-aware through his regular coaching sessions with James and psychometric assessments. “We’re working on developing my leadership strengths and managing my creative energy. We’re definitely more focused and I spend less time ‘pinballing’ and chasing shiny new ideas.”
“I’d say one of the unexpected benefits I appreciate the most is that I now have greater latitude to be involved in the creative side of the business, which I’m excited about. Now that we have achieved a level of operational excellence in how we run the business, I can sleep at night knowing that important responsibilities are being taken care of by the right people on our team.”
“James also has me working on my ‘executive presence’ by practicing in front of the group. I’m comfortable hosting networking events with partner organizations and I lead workshops on scaling businesses through digital transformation.”
“I can confidently say that I’m a significantly better leader because of James, TEC, and my peer group. I’m leaning into my strengths and I’m filling in my gaps. It’s been a rewarding journey of internal transformation.”
EXPANDING SERVICES TO INCLUDE DIGITAL STRATEGY
Creative Sparq, a trusted advisor to growing businesses embarking on digital transformation, realized businesses need help developing digital adoption strategies.
“We had enterprise-level strategy experience and success as Creative Sparq. When the Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) was announced, we became a Digital Advisor.”
CDAP aims to bridge the productivity gap for small and medium-sized businesses. Through this program, Creative Sparq leverages its expertise assisting businesses in securing grants up to $15,000 to develop digital strategies that enable businesses to adopt technologies that will resolve business challenges and make their offerings more accessible to their clients and prospects. Also available under the CDAP program, clients are then eligible for 0% financing up to $100,000 to implement their digital strategy.
“This starts our relationship off earlier in the client’s digital adoption journey and positions our them to execute projects more effectively, with more positive impact.”
Creative Sparq’s future is marked by geographically increasing across Canada and into the U.S. market, and expansion into new technologies. Their internal software development is poised to fill a gap in project management, order fulfillment, and billing processes, paving the way to move into subscription software offerings.
Reflecting on the legacy he wants to leave behind, Brad says, “When I’m done, I want people to say that their greatest years of growth and opportunity were their years at Creative Sparq.”
ABOUT CREATIVE SPARQ
Creative Sparq is a professional services firm that specializes in process improvement leveraging the Salesforce platform. They help businesses leverage enterprise-grade techniques to scale with maximum efficiency and minimum overhead – all while delivering exceptional customer experience.
Brad Edgerly, Founder and CEO of Creative Sparq, is among 1,900+ TEC members across Canada. What’s holding you back? Take the first step to becoming a TEC member today by filling out the short form below.