Some say “eating your own dog food” but we prefer “drinking your own champagne!” –
So as a Microsoft Partner and a successful IT Consultancy it is paramount that we not only provide premium solutions to our clients but use the strongest systems internally to support them.
Keeping pace with change
The level of change within our market is at such an advanced rate it is nearly impossible to keep up with the various software solutions.
Starting on the right foot
When starting RedPixie we wanted to use a robust and reliable CRM (Customer relationship management). We needed a means to manage our Helpdesk and Sales contacts; and at the time the clear candidate was Salesforce. The benefits were;
We could buy licences per user and all our data was stored in the cloud, reducing the need for infrastructure. It was both highly scalable, versatile and while not a perfect fit off the shelf, with minor development, we automated the system to perform some really clever tasks.
We had implemented an Enterprise grade product which is now easily achievable through the Cloud with monthly billing. In the past this kind of application would have taken tens of thousands of pounds worth of infrastructure investment not to mention huge annual licensing fees.
We were bullet proof! We could manage our Sales Pipeline, arrange call backs and add data with the knowledge that it could never be lost. This type of productivity is an absolute minimum for any growing business. Added to this we run a Managed Service desk and it is imperative that all our customer data is logged efficiently and more importantly – reportable.
Introducing Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Fast forward two years – we are a completely different company and as you would expect so is the CRM market.
The reasons for this move were compelling: it would give us the opportunity to use another component from the Microsoft Cloud stack coupled with it being free after implementation (one of the many advantages of our Partner status)!
The vision was to be able to demonstrate the entire suite of Microsoft products from one central point – and with Office 365 this is a reality.
The main challenges for us were twofold: firstly to migrate our existing data out of Salesforce and secondly to integrate all the various products we were using into our new CRM. We engaged with four different companies and embarked on a 6 week Dynamics implementation which would finally bring our CRM system in sync with the other Microsoft products we were endorsing.
To say that this process was a smooth transition would be nothing short of fiction but given the timescales and complexity of integrations, what was achieved in such a short timeframe was nothing short of miraculous!
The net result is that we have a fully integrated platform that gives the Sales team a real competitive edge in terms of Sales Productivity. They are able to manage and report on all elements of the sales cycle whilst Management are equally able to take a holistic view of both individuals and the company as a whole.
Seeing is believing
Dynamics CRM provides excellent graphical displays, which enables users to slice and dice data allowing access to graphs on both desktop and mobile devices (see below). This is an important facet for any successful Salesman on the go!
On the Service desk we implemented an SLA driven module which shows the time needed for calls to be closed by our employees when they work on incidents for our clients. This has had a remarkable effect on our call closure rate and the service we provide in general. It is quite amazing what the subconscious effect of a ticking clock can have on the productivity of employees!
Overall the outcome has been a positive one. We have a new system that has improved the productivity of our business whilst in the long term reducing our costs. Would we have done anything differently? Certainly!
The lesson learnt is not to rush these projects. Always ensure you have ample time to plan and allow adequate time to test, this way there will be no hidden surprises at go-live! In this instance we were a victim of our own success. We had no hardware, no infrastructure and no capex costs which usually delay and eat into the initial planning of traditional IT projects.
Without these we were able to accelerate our migration and deliver a project which historically would never have been possible. That’s the beauty of The Cloud…