Single Cloud-based Platform Gives Base for Growth for an Institute of Directors

Mauritius may sound like an island paradise, where lounging on the beach is the main activity, but doing business is pretty popular there also, at least judging by the number of registered directorships – about 125,000 of them. The Mauritius Institute of Directors (MIoD) is also working hard, primarily to sign up more members. It was only formed early in 2008, but by the end of 2013 had more than 900 members.

Apart from tackling topics such as corporate governance and sustainability, the MIoD runs numerous training and education events for members and non-members. In 2013 it ran 43 public workshops for an average of 25 people each, and many other training courses.

However, until recently the ambition to boost membership to at least 1,500 by the end of 2015 was hindered by the dependence on a lot of paper-based systems, as well as a variety of open-source and proprietary software solutions used by the MIoD.

For example, it used a Vtiger customer relationship management (CRM) solution. “It served us really well when we started and had no resources,” says Jane Valls, the Chief Executive Officer of the Mauritius Institute of Directors. However, there were few digital links between the MIoD’s various activities and the members were unable to manage their MIoD activities or membership on-line. Also, the MIoD’s planned growth looked likely to strain the resources of its team.

Through Innovation to New Members
The MIoD therefore decided to build a new website and portal. “Our website was old and really needed updating, and that was our key priority when we started the project at the beginning of 2013,” says Valls. “One of the reasons for implementing this project was to sustain growth.”

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*Strategically it was right to move to a strong CRM, and it was probably the most cost-effective choice for us.*

Jane Valls
Chief Executive Officer
Mauritius Institute of Directors

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However, when the solution evaluation and tender procedure began, they realized that the more extensive and integrated front-end to back-end approach, proposed by the local Microsoft partner Geddion, would support growth better without extra resources.

The MIoD wants to attract younger members, who expect to interact on-line. “We want to encourage the younger generation to join, because they are the next generation of directors,” says Valls. “And they want these new tools and technologies.”

Giving tech-savvy members on-line access would also free up the MIoD to give more attention to anyone less keen on using IT. Valls stresses that, although the MIoD had the IT knowledge and experience to evaluate any potential investment technically, it primarily wanted business benefits, in order to sustain future growth. The Institute therefore chose a cloud-based system; an Umbraco open-source ASP.NET content management system and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 hosted by Geddion, which significantly reduced the investment.

Valls says that the MIoD achieved about 90% of its aims at the start of the nine-month project, with Geddion offering a very good price: “The two key drivers were going to be efficiency and cost.” The package now underpins the majority of MIoD’s operations, including managing the portal and website, membership applications and events and bookings, while allowing members to access their accounts and services online. “Strategically it was right to move to a strong CRM, and it was the most cost-effective choice for us,” concludes Valls.

Improved Services with the Move to Online
The system benefits soon became clear, primarily thanks to the switch from paper-based to electronic event bookings: “We are now much more interactive, and have really gone paperless,” emphasizes Valls.

Rizwana Eathally, the MIoD’s Membership and Marketing Officer, says that members have welcomed the online features. “It’s much easier and less time-consuming to update profiles on-line, and we have had much positive feedback from our members,” she says.

The MIoD team now has time for more high-value work, like improving the Institute’s database of about 3,000 people. “One of the things that we really want to do with this system is much more targeted and strategic marketing in a way that we couldn’t have done before,” says Valls. “Before, we were spending a lot of time inputting. Now we hope will be able to spend more time analyzing,” she adds.

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*We want to encourage the younger generation to join because they are the next generation of directors. And they want these new tools and technologies.*

Jane Valls
Chief Executive Officer
Mauritius Institute of Directors

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A further benefit is a significant cost-saving from no longer printing thousands of pages of membership application and event booking forms. “That has also helped us to reduce our ecological footprint, which is a definite bonus,” says Valls.

More Potential for Growth
The Institute has also already mapped out the next phases of its IT strategy, including more functionalities and more services for users. “The future will be about more interactivity in terms of what members can do,” says Valls.

In the financial year starting in July 2014 the MIoD has also planned a modest investment focused on improving document management. That should include allowing personnel or training managers in companies to more easily manage the documents they need for their in house records including statistics, training levies and refunds and Continuing Professional Development Points.

Because Mauritian organizations can claim refunds for employees who attend registered training courses, and in order to control their training costs, personnel or training managers typically control training bookings. The Institute has therefore rolled out a “super-user” status to ease their work. It has planned a similar approach for membership, taking into account data protection laws. The new system already allows members to check on-line their personal training record and CPD points earned on all past MIoD courses.
Customer Size: Small Organization
Industry: Membership Organizations
Country or Region: Mauritius
Solutions:
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011
Organization Profile: The MIoD is a not for profit organization that promotes good corporate governance, business ethics and best business practices among directors and managers. It began operations in July 2007 and is composed of over 1,400 individual members. Through training and certification programs, workshops and networking events, advocacy, research and thought leadership, the MIoD reaches out to both private and public sector enterprises.
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