The Red Cross desperately needed a centralized and consistent system across all of its offices to act as hub for information, and would enable all of the locations to speak to one another for increased visibility and cohesion across the organization. The Red Cross chose to implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM to manage its first aid courses. The return on investment has been phenomenal, with significant cost savings made in a short timeframe. The system has improved efficiency, connection and consistency across the various locations, and automated manual processes, allowing the Red Cross to better to meet client needs and retain business. Business Needs
New Zealand Red Cross is part of the largest humanitarian organization in the world, helping people in crisis wherever it may be. Besides relief work and various community support programs, the Red Cross is a major provider of first aid education and training courses. It has 27 Red Cross offices and 62 training locations across New Zealand, with approximately 70,000 people a year completing one of its courses.
Outdated systems were handicapping the Red Cross.
The administration of the organization’s first aid courses, which bring in millions of dollars of revenue for the Red Cross, was in serious need of an upgrade.
National Education and Training Manager Graham Wrigley says there was a serious lack of consistency and connectivity across the various branches, and the whole education and training operation was not running as well as it should have.
“For an activity that was bringing in a seven-figure sum and our biggest source of revenue from scores of national customers, it was being run in an ad hoc manner with outdated systems. The lack of consistency was handicapping the organization.”
“There was a range of systems varying from pen and paper to Access databases which did not provide visibility of resources and operation in the other locations. We desperately needed one consistent system across all locations that acted as a central hub for information, and enabled the various locations to speak to each other to give connectivity and visibility.”
“My view was we needed to organize the business the same from one end of the country to the other, so that when we dealt with national clients we were working in the same way,” says Graham.Solution
Graham and the Red Cross team chose Magnetism to help them develop a solution to improve the efficiency of the systems used to administer their first aid courses.
As a Gold certified Microsoft partner, Magnetism rose to the Red Cross’ challenge. Magnetism built a solution for the organization using Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, extended to an xRM solution using custom asp.net pages, plugins and workflows, as well as integrations into NZQA and AccPac (accounting system). Microsoft products were chosen because of the tight integration with other Microsoft products already used by the Red Cross.
Gayan Perera, the Magnetism senior developer who tackled the project, says it was one of the most complex he has worked on, because of the large number of variables involved.
“We had to take numerous variations of courses, locations, customers and contract rates into consideration. We’re talking about a massive shift, from 15-year old and older systems,” says Gayan.
He says the fact Dynamics CRM is hugely customizable made the job much easier.
The implementation was phased, taking place between October 2009 and January 2010.Benefits
The main benefits the Red Cross has seen since implementation of the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM system include:
Graham says big savings gained from the way the organization now manages the first aid business is one of the greatest benefits of the new software.
“The return on investment has been phenomenal – there were great savings made in a short timeframe. What has also been highly beneficial to us is creating efficiency, connection and consistency across locations and the automation of manual processes. This allows us to better to meet client needs and retain business.”
He says the system is far more efficient, and the booking system and qualification (certificates and credits) delivery is much quicker due to the automation of processes. The organization also now has a streamlined and connected payment system, along with better resource allocation.
Graham says faster bookings with a confirmation email are now automatically generated and sent to clients. For individuals who successfully complete a training course, a certificate is automatically created and sent out, and NZQA is immediately informed.
“The new system has provided us with a strong marketing advantage when preparing tenders and proposals. Our clients like the fact that we can manage their staff records and track them throughout their employment. The improved system also allows us to redeploy administrative staff into roles in other parts of the organization, such as the Red Cross’ shops, the ‘Meals on Wheels’ service and Breakfasts in Schools programs.”
He says the organization has recently added the full management of payments for the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal and will shortly interface with the newly proposed online learning options.
“The results I’m seeing already are meeting my needs better than I thought they would. I’m over the moon because it’s been a long time coming,” says Graham.
The Red Cross now has a fully automated, centralized system to manage its first aid courses, which has increased efficiency and led to greater customer service and satisfaction.