Local users reap benefits of new CRM systems

At Kordia, Microsoft Dynamics has improved visibility

As Kordia transitioned from broadcast to broadband after rebranding itself from BCL, the business change forced a need to develop a different sales process. As well, the company wanted to evaluate the success of its marketing programmes.

“CRM was a totally new initiative in Kordia, and is a cornerstone of our customer-centricity strategy. It doesn’t replace good old-fashioned people-based relationships, but it does ensure that process type things don’t fall through the cracks,” says Kordia general manager of sales and marketing Drew Gilpin.

Kordia implemented Microsoft Dymanics CRM 4.0 last July, going live in September, and says Microsoft CRM allows Kordia greater control over its destiny and data.

“We wanted to be able to easily configure and support basic functionality ourselves and we are required to keep our customer data in New Zealand. It was a very pragmatic process and the decision process was relatively simple,” Gilpin continues.

The implementation went well, with user compliance being helped by embedding some core processes into the system.

“For example, the assignment of high-demand pre-sales resource is done via CRM as part of an Opportunity Management system. If a salesperson wants a pre-sales engineer to look at a new opportunity, the only way to get one assigned is to put the opportunity into CRM. We’ve looked at a number of key processes, embedded them into the system and as a result we’ve had excellent reporting and compliance,” he says.

Kordia also found it better to start pragmatically and leave the tweaks and add-ons until later.

This has seen more functionality being rolled out over time, giving cost effectiveness and higher levels of visibility in reporting than Kordia has ever seen.

Looking back, Gilpin says he is happy with the system and would not change a thing.

He advises IT bosses to be pragmatic when implementing such a system and allow for refinements and changes.

“Define the outcome you want and treat your vendor as an expert — let them tell you how best the product you have chosen can deliver that outcome. Change your internal process to suit the system as your first position to ensure the product is as ‘out of the box’ as possible. This keeps costs down, drives process change and ensures support and upgrades are easy,” Gilpin concludes.

Another company to go down this road, Quest Serviced Apartments, is also a Microsoft Dynamics CRM user, though it employed Gen-i to install the system.

CEO Stephen Mansfield says his business was rapidly growing and needed to better communicate with its stakeholders — the clients, franchisees and landlords.

He says Microsoft Dynamics was chosen because the look and feel is similar to Microsoft Outlook, meaning minimal formal training for franchisees. It can also be configured easily for changing needs and allows users to write their own reports in the familiar Microsoft Excel.

“We were also looking at an OPEX Model for our CRM solution and since we run very little server hardware, we were very keen to go for a cloud-based solution,” Mansfield says.

“Our implementation partner Gen-i has provided us with technical expertise and thought leadership in how to tailor our CRM solution, so that we reap the greatest amount of value for our business,” he says.

The system replaced Excel and paper-based systems, where information was kept in silos and important data was overlooked.

“With the CRM system, we now have our information linked to each other and we also have information transparency over our entire business,” Mansfield says.

Implementation began last November and is still underway. Gen-i warned of potential issues, though none of the expected problems integrating the CRM with other systems have happened.

Head office started the pilot and extra functionality, such as online guest feedback, will be integrated in the next few weeks.

“That will give us greater information consolidation, which will give us better tracking against our strategic goals and make it easier for us to run reports,” he says.

Mansfield advices IT bosses looking at CRM to plan and prepare, so they know what they want, why, and who will be using it.

“The key is not only to focus on the reporting requirements, but to ensure the integrity of the information entered into the system. Because without it, the CRM is pointless.”

“With Gen-i’s cloud-based CRM offering, we’re paying for our system just as we would pay for a utility,” he says. This has made the overall investment more affordable and increased our return on investment.

“We remain a client focussed company, not a technology company.”

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Tags KordiaSpecial IDmicrosoft dymanicscrm

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