Business Impact Article
Posted: 5/1/2012
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City of Buenos Aires Investor Service Center City of Buenos Aires Launches Initiative to Support Investors, Reduces Requirements Time by 65 Percent, Helps Generate Jobs

Following a change in the city government of Buenos Aires, Argentina, officials created a new department dedicated to working with businesses that want to locate or relocate in the city. To support the department’s operations, the city deployed a custom solution based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM. With this solution, the department has streamlined processes, reducing the time needed for a project to meet formal requirements by more than 65 percent, and created a more transparent working environment. This eases the way for developments that generate jobs for citizens, boost tax revenues, and revitalize neighborhoods.

Summary
In 2008, to help sustain and expand the economy of Buenos Aires, home to nearly one third of Argentina’s populace, city leaders mandated the creation of the Investor Service Center (Centro de Atención al Inversor [CAI]), under the jurisdiction of the city’s Ministry of Economic Development. And to help ensure the CAI could accomplish its objectives, its leaders set out to find and implement a business management solution. “We needed a single, centralized system for managing data and workflows in an accessible and easily customizable fashion,” explains Damian Specter, General Director of CAI. In 2009, the city deployed a customized solution based onMicrosoft Dynamics CRM with the help ofAccendo, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network with Gold competencies—and did it in two months. Since then, CAI team members have used the solution to streamline exploration, development, monitoring, and analysis of projects representing investments of some 34.7 million Argentinean pesos (US$8 billion).

Specter describes the efficiencies of the new solution. “Without this solution, registering a new project would take 20 minutes; it takes 4 minutes now,” he says. “Completing the administrative tasks associated with meeting governmental and legal requirements for a new project took 90 days in the past, and now takes 30 days. Researching and preparing a report for public and private entities involved with a given project might take three days without the solution—and with it, one. Performing an analysis on the cost/benefit impact of a completed project could take up to a full day before, and now we have that data immediately.”

With these efficiencies, CAI employees are free to focus more of their energies on building relationships with business investors—whose projects are projected to bring thousands of jobs to the citizens of Buenos Aires and to generate tax revenues that help fund education and other vital services.

The Full Story
The Success Factor of 2,300 Investment Projects
In addition to being the largest city in Argentina and that nation’s capital, Buenos Aires is an autonomous federal district, rather than being part of a state or province. Consequently, the mayorship of Buenos Aires is considered the third most important political office in Argentina, and when there is a transition in that office, as there was in 2007 with the election of Mauricio Macri, big changes are in store.

One such change following Macri’s election was a greater emphasis on the role of private business investment, and to that end the city created the Investor Service Center (Centro de Atención al Inversor [CAI]) in 2008. Under the jurisdiction of the city’s Ministry of Economic Development, the CAI was chartered to support businesses throughout the process of locating or relocating in the city: from approval to development and beyond.

The city renewed the CAI mandate in 2011, thanks to the success of the center’s efforts up to that time—including the completion of 2,300 investment projects in the strategic districts that were established as part of the CAI’s charter. That success, according to Damián Specter, General Director of the Investor Service Center, resulted in large part from a technology decision that he and his colleagues made shortly after the center was established.

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* Completing the administrative tasks associated with meeting governmental and legal requirements for a new project took 90 days in the past, and now takes 30 days. *

Damián Specter
General Director, Investor Service Center, City of Buenos Aires

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Prototype to Production in Two Months
At that time, Specter and his colleagues knew that they needed a comprehensive business management solution to achieve CAI objectives. “We needed a single, centralized system for managing data and workflows in an accessible and easily customizable fashion,” Specter explains. “Many people who joined the government with the new administration were familiar with customer relationship management [CRM] technology from their work in the private sector, and they recommended a solution based on that.”

To help select and implement a CRM solution, the CAI engaged Microsoft Partner Network member Accendo. Accendo is a local solutions provider with a solid record, including the implementation of the largest CRM solution in Argentina at that time. After viewing a prototype solution developed by the Accendo consultants, the CAI decided to adopt the technology on which the prototype was based: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 business management software.

Building on the prototype, a team of five Accendo developers, led by Accendo President Joan Vila Baltá and assisted by two staff members from the CAI, began hands-on work in early 2009. They delivered a production-ready custom solution to CAI staff members in two months—tailor-made to the unique needs of the CAI while relieving the city of the costs and aggravation of a long development process.

Maximizing Efficiencies, Minimizing Papeleo
With the help of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution, CAI team members are automating and expediting processes surrounding business-investor exploration and planning, development and implementation, and follow-up monitoring and analysis. To gauge the advantages of using the solution, Specter compares how CAI team members would need to handle typical investment-project tasks if those individuals were forced to rely instead on the department’s traditional management tools—spreadsheets and ad-hoc databases.

Specter says that using the solution makes it faster and easier to complete many essential tasks—with far less papeleo (red tape), than before. “Without this solution, registering a new project would take 20 minutes; it takes 4 minutes now,” he says. “Completing the administrative tasks associated with meeting governmental and legal requirements for a new project took 90 days in the past, and now takes 30 days. Researching and preparing a report for public and private entities involved with a given project might take three days without the solution—and with it, just one. Performing an analysis on the cost/benefit impact of a completed project could take up to a full day before, and now we have that data immediately.”

A Greater Focus on the "Human Side"
As Specter explains, between 2009 and early 2012, CAI team members used the Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution to manage more than 2,300 projects representing investments of 34.7 million Argentinean pesos (US$8 billion). And they did so with such success that their colleagues within the Ministry of Economic Development are clamoring to use the solution as well.

“Employees in other departments of the Ministry of Economic Development have seen how well the solution has worked for the CAI and are eager to bring its efficiencies to their own areas,” Specter reports. By that time, the city also will have upgraded the solution from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, under the leadership of Vila Baltá and his team.

What this means is that CAI staff, as well as employees in a number of Ministry departments, will be able to spend less time on administrative tasks and more time working directly with business investors and related constituents. “With such efficiencies, we have more time and energy for building and maintaining successful relationships with the investors and the other entities, public and private, involved in these projects,” Specter says. “We can focus on the human side of the process, where investment decisions are made, and made real, for the people of this city.”

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Microsoft Tag


Solution Overview



Organization Size: 30 employees

Organization Profile
Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and home to nearly 13 million people in its metropolitan area.

Software and Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

Vertical Industries
Government

Country/Region
Argentina

Business Need
  • Business Productivity
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

IT Issue
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Document and Records Management

Languages
English

Partner(s)
Accendo S.A.

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