“Microsoft Dynamics CRM has helped us deliver cost savings, time savings and improvements in the consistency of contract management. It’s been a significant benefit to DEEWR staff.”
Stephen Moore, Group Manager, Employment Systems Group, DEEWR
The Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) is the lead government agency providing national leadership in education and workplace training, transition to work and conditions and values in the workplace. Through Job Services Australia, the Department provides employment services to increase employment participation and address skills shortages. These services are delivered by organisations that are contracted by the department. An important task is to manage contracts with hundreds of employment service agencies and to record feedback received by job seekers. However, the systems the department used to manage these agencies provided insufficient consistency, visibility or risk management oversight. In 2007 DEEWR introduced Microsoft Dynamics® CRM, to run three separate contract management and employment services feedback applications. As a result, the department streamlined its processes and operational workflows and improved service levels to agencies and job seekers.
||“During the project, Microsoft worked with the Employment Systems Group staff to transfer knowledge and train staff on systems. As a result, we have further enhanced our capabilities to deliver system solutions to meet Departmental needs.”
Group Manager, Employment Systems Group,
The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) has over 6,000 staff working across Australia and overseas. They help the department develop policy and advise government, deliver programs and services, and provide information and guidance on a variety of employment-related matters, from early childhood education through to employment and workplace relations.
In 1998, the DEEWR outsourced the delivery of employment services to privately owned employment service agencies. Its objective was to reduce operational costs and improve performance. There are 9,500 employment service agencies located in each state and territory, helping Australian job seekers find gainful employment.
Policy and program management activities for these agencies were coordinated by a team of 200 DEEWR staff from a national office based in Canberra. Account and contract management activities were managed from a network of state-based offices.
A web-based software system called the National Policy Clearing House (NPC) was used by contract managers to submit enquiries and receive answers related to the agency contracts. However, the system was externally hosted by a third-party vendor for an annual fee, could not be easily customised, and bespoke reports needed the assistance of specialist technicians..
In 2005, an internal review identified that action should be taken to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of DEEWR’s contract management processes. The ways that state offices managed contracts was diverging. In particular, locally developed spreadsheets and databases created data incompatibility issues between state offices and head office in Canberra.
In addition, the NPC system was not aligned to any single set of work processes, nor did it provide contract management reporting, or the ability to monitor the agencies’ service level agreements. Consequently, there was increased risk of contract mismanagement, while employees gradually stopped using the system.
“We needed a customisable system that helped contract managers apply consistent standards to all agency contracts,” said Stephen Moore, Group Manager, Employment Systems Group, DEEWR. “It also had to give senior management visibility over all the state offices and their contract management policies, preferably in a way that helped them manage some very complex processes.”Solution
In early 2007, the Employment Systems Group engaged Microsoft® to identify and resolve issues relating to the existing NPC system. The year-long process resulted in the Employment Systems Group identifying three separate customer relationship management (CRM) systems as the best solution to DEEWR’s contract management issues.
Two of them – Contract Manager Assist and Question Manager – both based on Microsoft Dynamics® CRM, were implemented when NPC was retired in 2008.
||“It’s cheaper to manage it ourselves and it's also more secure.”
Employment Systems Group Architect,
Contract Manager Assist is a centralised repository for the storage and retrieval of information about contract management actions and activities on every employment services agency in Australia. Question Manager is used by the local employment services agencies and contract managers to submit questions and receive answers on policies and processes.
Following these successful implementations, the Employment Systems Group then introduced a third CRM-based contract management system – the Employment Services Feedback System – using Microsoft Dynamics CRM. At the same time, DEEWR migrated Contract Manager Assist and Question Manager to latest release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
The Employment Services Feedback System is used by the DEEWR Customer Service Line to process feedback received from job seekers and agencies. Standardised templates mean the information can be rapidly entered by the department and users can quickly find information on feedback received and actions taken relevant to job seekers and agencies through customisable views.
In addition, the Employment Services Feedback System’s advanced search features mean managers can drill down into all data elements and create ad hoc reports using Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s reporting capabilities.
“During the project, Microsoft worked with the Employment Systems Group staff to transfer knowledge and train staff on systems,” says Moore. “As a result, we have further enhanced our capabilities to deliver system solutions to meet Departmental needs.” Benefits
DEEWR’s staff now works with simplified management processes, while their clients – job seekers and the employment agencies – benefit from consistency and faster response times to queries and feedback.Cost savings and data security
The Employment Systems Group has made a substantive saving in the cost of ongoing annual third part fees through the deployment of the in-house Dynamics CRM based systems.
“It’s cheaper to manage it ourselves and it’s also more secure,” says Jeff Kitchener, Employment Systems Group Architect, DEEWR. “Because the NPC was hosted overseas, we had concerns around data security, but now we manage it in-house it’s no longer an issue.”
By automating workflows and using email templates in Dynamics CRM, the Employment Systems Group estimates it has saved at least 454 working hours.
“In addition to these time savings, the process of creating and formatting ad hoc reports has been reduced from days to less than 30 minutes,” adds Philip Siu, Director, CRM, Risk and Activity Management Project Team, Employment Systems Group, DEEWR.Consistent standards
The automatic routing functionality built into the Question Manager system has cut by half the average time taken by contract managers to respond to queries – from 4.6 days to 2.6 days. This has dramatically improved the department’s record for meeting its service level agreements.
“We really focused on tailoring the Question Manager functions to meet users’ needs,” says Moore. “By helping people respond as promptly as possible, staff work well within the time constraints of service level agreements.”
A single set of standards is now applied to the management of all employment agency contracts, and as a result, there is now a substantially reduced risk of contract mismanagement.Greater visibility with standardised workflows
Lastly, the Employment Systems Group can maintain better oversight, because it can track exactly what is going on.
“The workflow engine in Microsoft Dynamics CRM is suited to support our environment,” says Moore. “The reports generated from Dynamics CRM provide senior management with visibility of key business metrics and performance..”
“Dynamics CRM has helped us deliver cost savings, time savings and improvements in the consistency of contract management,” says Moore. “It’s been a significant benefit to DEEWR staff.”Microsoft Dynamics
Microsoft Dynamics is a line of integrated, adaptable business management solutions that enables you and your people to make business decisions with greater confidence. Microsoft Dynamics works like familiar Microsoft software such as Microsoft Office, which means less of a learning curve for your people, so they can get up and running quickly and focus on what’s most important. And because it is from Microsoft, it easily works with the systems that your company already has implemented. By automating and streamlining financial, customer relationship, and supply chain processes, Microsoft Dynamics brings together people, processes, and technologies, increasing the productivity and effectiveness of your business, and helping you drive business success.
For More Information
For more information about Microsoft Dynamics Products and services, call 1800 197 960.
For more information about Department Education, Employment and Workplace Relations products and services, call 1300 363 079 or visit the Web site at: www.deewr.gov.au.