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Posted: 4/8/2013
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Pennsylvania DCNR State Agency Revolutionizes Business Processes to Fulfill Conservation Mission

Employees at the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources have long sought ways to fulfill their core mission despite resource constraints while demonstrating fiscal transparency and responsibility. The agency has achieved new levels of success by giving employees software applications that consolidate information, streamline everyday business processes, improve visibility and insights, and ultimately help them live out their commitment to conservation.

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* Rather than running our business from spreadsheets on people’s desktops, we now have a common, easily accessed database in Microsoft Dynamics CRM that is continually updated and reliably authoritative. *

Stephen Aux
CIO
DCNR

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The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) won awards three years in a row for having the best managed state park system in the nation. These awards showcase the passionate conservation mindset that helps DCNR employees succeed in the face of challenges, such as responding to invasive species amid budgetary constraints. DCNR continues to fulfill its mission to manage and conserve Pennsylvania’s natural resources including 120 state parks and 2.2 million acres of state forest land.

To manage engineering and construction projects for its vast infrastructure (such as roads, bridges, and buildings), DCNR relied on three disparate systems, with data stored in standalone databases and spreadsheets. DCNR sought a solution that would close the information gap and improve responsiveness and transparency.

Tools that Empower People, Powered by Microsoft

To meet this goal, DCNR is developing the Facility, Design, and Construction Project and Funds Management System, a solution built on Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The application presents complex data on a project dashboard that can be customized by role. By accessing reports through the dashboard, engineers, project managers, and others can make timely resource decisions and keep projects on track. The application also helps executives segment funds and respond to fiscal inquiries from legislators and other stakeholders. The application went live in December 2012 with 20 users, and grew to about 80 active users shortly thereafter.

Choosing Microsoft Dynamics CRM

DCNR chose to build their solution on Microsoft Dynamics CRM for several reasons, including that it works well with other Microsoft software the agency uses and has a user interface that its employees find similar to familiar Microsoft Office programs. In addition, DCNR staff, experienced in the Microsoft application development environment, could efficiently learn to develop business applications based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

“As we talked with business users across program areas, we identified about 20 business processes that will benefit from Microsoft Dynamics CRM,” says Stephen Aux, CIO for DCNR. He and his team are repurposing portions of existing Microsoft Dynamics CRM-based business applications to create other applications that streamline and simplify the work that their colleagues do every day:

A solution for snowmobile and ATV vehicle registration and renewalsthat is expected to automate a manual, paper-based process, making registration available online to more than 2,000 dealers as well as vehicle owners across the commonwealth, in 2013.

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* Microsoft Dynamics CRM has a variety of features that have helped us to increase productivity and ease of use. The range of features such as dashboards, enhanced familiarity, and role-based security enable our users to work more efficiently. *

John Giordano
Deputy Secretary
DCNR

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A legislative contact management system that helps DCNR executives manage email communications with members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, matching audiences with topics or areas of interest (for example, conservation or environmental issues). This application served as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM proof-of-concept, and will be upgraded to add new functionality in the next few years.

Staying Focused on Conservation

It’s too early to measure all the actual business benefits, but a successful proof-of-concept indicates that by equipping people with the right tools, DCNR can help its employees better deliver on the agency’s core mission: providing accountability, transparency, and reporting. “Microsoft Dynamics CRM has a variety of features that have helped us to increase productivity and ease of use,” says John Giordano, DCNR Deputy Secretary. “The range of features such as dashboards, enhanced familiarity, and role-based security enable our users to work more efficiently.”

Better Planning

Program offices will be able to use the Facility, Design, and Construction Project Management System to instill performance measures and perform planning and allocation for future projects. “Microsoft Dynamics CRM gives us one more tool to help us show the impact we are making with the funds we’re managing today and demonstrate our operational improvements over time to further validate the state’s investment,” says Aux.

Greater Efficiencies for More Conservation

DCNR is employing innovative means to improve efficiency. “No longer managing data in multiple systems and from individual desktops, we'll reduce errors and avoid the cost of duplicate data entry,” says Aux. Microsoft Dynamics CRM also puts the power of reporting into the hands of users through dashboards, for greater efficiency and transparency. “Executives can run the reports they need without relying on an engineer,” Aux continues. He also expects efficiency gains in Snowmobile and ATV registrations,. “I estimate that CRM will automate 70 to 80 percent of the Snowmobile and ATV registration process, enabling staff to support other important initiatives that fulfill our mission.”

Aux and his team have taken advantage of existing IT investments, in-house developers, and interoperability among Microsoft tools and technologies to help minimize the total cost of ownership.

Extend Existing IT Skill Set

Efficiencies extend to the IT organization. Familiar with Microsoft .NET development, Aux and his team had a firm foundation on which to build applications based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM. “Efficiency gains in engineering haven't happened overnight,” Aux says. “But we are re-using a lot of what we developed for one application in new applications we're developing. So we are achieving an efficiency improvement and cost and time savings in code re-use.”

Delivering the Information People Need to Make an Impact

Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps rationalize, centralize, and present data in a way that is helpful to executives and other stakeholders. “Rather than running our business from spreadsheets on people’s desktops, we now have a common, easily accessed database in Microsoft Dynamics CRM that is continually updated and reliably authoritative,” says Aux. “The business intelligence that CRM provides empowers people to do their jobs, make decisions, plan for the future, and make an impact.”

Next Steps

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.

Document published April 2013

Solution Overview



Organization Size: 1300 employees

Results
  • Improved transparency
  • Better planning
  • Greater efficiencies for more conservation

Software and Services
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

Vertical Industries
State and Regional Government Agencies

Country/Region
United States

Languages
English

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