Endsleigh Insurance Services Limited, the independent United Kingdom insurance and financial products intermediary, has adopted a new business model. With 85 per cent of its sales originating from the Internet, the company has revaluated and realigned its business strategy by moving away from branch operations. It is reinvesting in enhancing sales through digital marketing and enhanced call centre operations. Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner CIBER UK implemented Microsoft Dynamics® CRM 4.0, together with a suite of integrated Microsoft technologies, to improve productivity, performance, reporting, and profitability of its marketing environment. As a result, the company has already boosted sales of a single insurance product tenfold by automating processes that were manual—or not done at all—before. Endsleigh is now using digital marketing more effectively to sell its services to customers.
As a leading United Kingdom specialist in insurance and financial services products for career people, Endsleigh prides itself on its status as an independent intermediary. Founded in 1965 by the National Union of Students, the company quickly expanded into offering financial services to graduates and career people. In 2003, Endsleigh was ranked one of the U.K.’s fastest growing businesses. The company has around 800 employees, with 30 relationship managers out in the field, and an excellent market reputation.
But reputation is not the sole guarantor of continuing success. With 85 per cent of new sales originating from the Web, Endsleigh wanted to make its business more digitally focused using multimedia touch points with a major target on students and recent graduates.
|By automating commission payments through Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we have increased one segment of business tenfold, without needing extra accounts people to manage the business processes.|
Head of IT
Peter Leahy, Head of IT at Endsleigh, says: “As a result, we will no longer operate as a branch-based business with bricks and mortar and leases to pay for at 119 offices across the country. We want to use these efficiency savings to support our relationship managers working from home or remote locations with new tools and faster access to our core business systems.”
Endsleigh has used Voice over IP telephony to network its branch offices, but with the company’s planned transition to two geographically based service centres, this is no longer cost effective as a communications channel. The company’s data was being stored in various fragmented systems with no uniform way of identifying lead conversion rates for the marketing team. Endsleigh had to spend excessive time and cost on setting up agents on various systems, the number of which also impacted security across the enterprise.
Added to this, Endsleigh needed better features to help develop client relationships in the face of changing regulations. In particular, it wanted to offer better service to trading partners, including travel agents, which are being regulated to sell travel insurance by the Financial Services Authority for the first time from January 2009.
Although Endsleigh has a substantial in-house IT department, its technicians were working on several ongoing projects and wanted to avoid tackling any large new development. Finally, the solution they required had to be multi-company and integrate with Microsoft Dynamics® GP for financial management and other business management systems, including its existing investment in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 customer relationship management (CRM) software.
The company uses an in-house CRM system for business-to-consumer clients that is integrated with its in-house policy administration system. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is used for business-to-business operations and integrates with Microsoft Dynamics GP.
In its search for a solution, Endsleigh worked with Microsoft Gold Certified Partner CIBER UK to upgrade its existing Microsoft CRM software to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, running on Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 communication technology. At the same time, Endsleigh opted for a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement for low-cost volume licences to provide a low total cost of ownership.
Leahy says: “We wanted to time the upgrade to the changes in our business model with the introduction of a cost-effective infrastructure for unified communications by investing in Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007. This was especially opportune in view of the integration we could achieve between Exchange Server 2007 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Previously, we had relied on local area network connections with variable reliability—in future our people will always be connected to our core business systems.”
Before Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0, Endsleigh had error-prone manual processes for managing contracts between partners and making their commission payments. It lacked any central repository to manage partners and prospects. Having started with Microsoft CRM 3.0, these improvements have been consolidated and further refined.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 helps each sales team at Endsleigh to view information relevant to its division without having to search an entire database. The upgrade provides a suite of powerful marketing, sales, and service features, all with a familiar and consistent experience based on Microsoft Office and Microsoft Office Outlook® 2007 for the client device.
Due to the integration with Exchange Server 2007, staff will be able to receive push e-mails, an always-on service in which users receive messages to their client device as if they were in an office environment.
Intuitive Business Intelligence System
Furthermore, Microsoft Dynamics CRM acts as a powerful and intuitive business intelligence system because it integrates information from multiple sources. The solution is also designed to operate with the company’s existing Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007 collaboration technology as well as other Microsoft technologies and services.
The new implementation also assists each team benefit from the seamless integration of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft SQL Server® 2005 Reporting Services. This provides interactive personalised business reports, which improve the productivity of staff, and, in turn, help them take on a new wave of sales prospects.
Features that are new to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 include simplified workflow and up-to-the-minute reporting, as well as multi-language and currency capabilities. Microsoft Dynamics CRM can be shaped to support the business and provide a robust environment for future growth. The product comes complete with sales, marketing, and customer services modules.
When the “credit crunch” forced most insurance companies to re-evaluate their businesses, Endsleigh was strongly placed to change its model due to its investment in Microsoft technologies. Its move into digital marketing has been fully supported by an upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, which has helped automate many more processes and integrated easily with the company’s new unified communications strategy. Leahy says: “This investment will help us to drive bigger, better, and more targeted marketing campaigns using new skills to attract business from our customer base.”
Automation Boosts Business Opportunity Tenfold Without Extra Cost
The CRM software is helping sales executives increase digital marketing successes in line with the company’s new approach to customers. Yet, at the same time, it adds no extra costs to the business or burdensome work for technicians. According to Leahy, this is all the more important now that Endsleigh plans to rely in future on more mobile sales employees backed up by two communications centres. He says: “With the previous systems, we had lost faith in the manual processes and did not feel confident in managing leads and opportunities. By automating commission payments through Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we have increased one segment of business tenfold, without needing extra accounts people to manage the business processes.”
|We wanted to time the upgrade to the changes in our business model with the introduction of a cost-effective infrastructure for unified communications by investing in Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007.|
Head of IT
Business Reacts More Quickly to Partners in Changing Markets
The integration features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 have helped Endsleigh prepare itself to work through different communication channels to help its partners adapt to new markets. Previously, the business team responsible for affiliated services did not have a reliable communication tool that let it engage with agents—Leahy says it had “hit a brick wall” in terms of taking on new prospects and simply could not manage any more customers.
Paul Nicholas, Business Project Manager, Endsleigh Insurance, says: “We’ve improved the efficiency and accuracy of our front-line sales staff. When they’re dealing with customers, we have a full record of the history. We deal with them in a more prompt and quality driven way and we have a single source of information for all our customer activities.”
Continuity of Technology Ensures Rapid Adoption by Staff
Brian Henry, Head of Sales for Financial Services at CIBER UK, says: “At a time of rapid business change, Endsleigh has continued to invest in Microsoft Dynamics CRM because it is based on an environment that is understood, not just by us, but universally. The seamless integration of Microsoft products is a critical factor in our future growth strategy.
“The similar look and feel of Microsoft products means that not only is integration simple, but fast adoption is also guaranteed. Together with Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Microsoft Dynamics GP, and the Active Directory service for identity management, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 will improve group-wide efficiency and help Endsleigh employees convert prospects into valuable clients.”
Leahy adds: “By upgrading to the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, it clearly shows we have faith in both the Microsoft solution and CIBER as our implementation partner. The scalability of the solution, supported by the fact that we’ve used previous versions, reinforces our initial decision to select this product.
Unified Communications Encourages Flexible Working for Staff
Leahy adds: “The killer benefit for me, as well as the organisation, is improved business continuity with greater flexibility of working. With unified communications, Endsleigh employees can easily transpose their working environment for their home environment. If an incident occurred, our employees now have the ability to access their Office SharePoint Server 2007, e-mail, and telephone, as well as our Microsoft Dynamics CRM system. This has led to better offline working, making us more responsive and effective as a business.”
Rebecca Smith, Business Project Manager, Endsleigh Insurance, concludes: “Overall, the transition has been relatively seamless—as business project managers we’ve been involved in implementing a number of third-party solutions written by external software houses such as a letting agency system and a tenant reference system. But Microsoft Dynamics CRM has proved that with easy to understand technology and a committed business partner such as CIBER, implementation is a hassle free process.”
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 about Microsoft Dynamics, go to:
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Document published November 2008