Public-Sector Service Provider Uses ERP and CRM Systems to Deliver Huge Savings and Excellent Service Quality

Two district councils in the United Kingdom formed Compass Point Business Services (CPBS) to provide shared, back-office and frontline service delivery and enable the savings and efficiencies public-sector entities must achieve. CPBS required a robust business infrastructure to enable effective service delivery. Engaging with Hitachi Solutions and Microsoft, the company implemented Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM in integration with specialized business systems. Providing financial, human resources, and benefits management together with constituent services, CPBS uses technology to fulfill the promise of the new business model. The company is on track to deliver savings of an average £3 million (approximately US$4.9 million) per year with new efficiencies. CPBS is also preparing for growth by making its offerings available to other public-sector entities.


Two local government authorities in east central England, East Lindsey District Council and South Holland District Council, founded Compass Point Business Services (CPBS) in 2010. The councils’ goal was to create a company to provide shared back-office and constituent services for local authorities in a highly efficient way, generating substantial savings for the district councils. Like many public-sector entities in the United Kingdom, East Lindsey and South Holland District Councils are under a mandate to generate cost reductions that, in some cases, can range up to 35 percent. Nigel Howells, Chief Executive at the East Lindsey District Council, says, “The public and the central government expect us to operate as efficiently and economically as possible. We realized that our current operational model would not allow us to generate the results we sought, so we decided to create a new organizational framework for delivering services.”

*With Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we built a powerful, scalable business infrastructure that helps us serve clients and their constituents with optimal quality and meet their savings and efficiency targets.*

Stephen Bayliffe,
Managing Director, Compass Point Business Services

CPBS operations are in the same locations as the district council offices: in Spalding with South Holland District Council and in Manby with East Lindsey District Council. CPBS takes care of revenue administration and financial management for the two founding councils and manages their human resources, IT, and procurement. Engaging directly with the councils’ constituents, CPBS administrates and distributes governmental benefits for needy citizens and serves on behalf of the district councils as the single point of contact for citizens who require services such as special refuse collection. Currently, CPBS serves approximately 214,000 residents in the two districts. Throughout management and operations, the company stringently follows lean principles and best practices for running as efficiently, economically, and productively as possible.

CPBS’s founders intend the organization to grow and provide the same or additional services to more councils or other governmental authorities. Says Terry Huggins, Chief Executive of the South Holland District Council, “We expected that centralizing service delivery with a highly qualified team of professionals working with a streamlined infrastructure would produce the savings we were aiming for. We also hoped that, after we had successfully proven the effectiveness of the new business model, this would open doors to extend outsourced services to other entities in the public sector.”

Initially, 298 employees transferred from their district council positions to CPBS. At the inception of the company, employee teams reviewed business practices, identified opportunities for improvement, and set benchmarks for savings and efficiencies that CPBS should achieve, starting immediately and during the years to come. Their task list also included identifying the best possible technology tools for the new company. From their work in the different lines of business of the district councils, employees were used to disparate software tools, including payroll, procurement, and financial systems, which required repeating keying of data, did not easily allow for cross-functional searching and reporting, and demanded work-intensive, costly maintenance and updates on their respective schedules.

CPBS managers wanted the company’s technology choices to set a new direction and to help foster a unified, streamlined operation in line with the new organizational model. Instead of considering stand-alone systems for different areas of the business, CPBS chose to review comprehensive solutions with the extended capabilities one might find in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Stephen Bayliffe, Managing Director at CPBS, explains, “We wanted the most effective, richly featured technology for the business. We were more interested in newer products from leading providers with a strong vision so that we could pursue our objectives by using the same technology for the next five to seven years or longer. We also had certain criteria for the kind of technology vendor we would engage with. We wanted to work with a technology partner that understood our needs and could effectively deliver and support the solution but would not compete with us in providing shared services.”


Following a standardized public-sector procurement process, a project team at CPBS identified and qualified half a dozen companies that were able to provide and implement the technology solutions the company needed. After diligent evaluation and technology demonstrations, CPBS settled on Hitachi Solutions as the technology provider. Hitachi Solutions, a Microsoft partner with an advanced practice in serving public-sector clients and many clients in that market, had proposed several technology solutions from Microsoft. During the decision-making process, CPBS representatives attended Microsoft Convergence in the United Kingdom, an event for customers and technology partners involved with the Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM software, and had conversations with Microsoft about the vision and direction for the solutions. Says Bayliffe, “We liked what we heard from Microsoft. They have a strong commitment to providing the best possible technology to the public sector and dedicated vast resources to delivering on that commitment.”

Promise of a New ERP System

Going forward, CPBS’s business infrastructure would incorporate Microsoft technologies in integration with specialized line-of-business systems. Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, the newest version of the ERP system from Microsoft, was to help CPBS manage back-office operations and client services. Microsoft Dynamics CRM would help CPBS’s employees deliver front-line services and communicate effectively with citizens who needed assistance from the district councils. Marcus Hobbs, Transformation Director at Compass Point Business Services, explains, “We understood that Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 was a complete ERP system with a layer of functionality specifically designed for the public sector. The solution had the potential of meeting all of our functional needs and following the company’s vision for service delivery. Within Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, we would be able to offer shared services, but keep multiple client entities separate, with information pertaining to a client safeguarded from accidental access. Also, we were not geographically restricted: CPBS employees in any location would be able to serve clients anywhere. Finally, self-service was very important to us; the solution’s client portal would make it possible for employees of the district councils to easily review business information and activities.”

*We have proven that we can deliver the cost savings the two district councils need to achieve. After reaching our expected savings of £2.1 million (approximately $3.3 million) in the first year, we project average savings per year to approximately £3 million [approximately $4.9 million] for the next 10 years.*

Nigel Howells,
Chief Executive, East Lindsey District Council


Phased Implementation of New Business Infrastructure

To gain the best possible understanding of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, CPBS participated in the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Technology Adoption Program before it became available to the general market. When it came to the implementation, CPBS deployed the solution as much as possible out-of-the-box with only minimal customizations to make future upgrades and enhancements more manageable. Before and during the process, Hitachi Solutions consulted with CPBS to identify additional opportunities for cost savings and operational efficiencies, and performed the data migrations from former stand-alone systems into the new ERP system. In addition, Hitachi Solutions performed all the training for technology users, often fostering super users who could help their team members become productive with the new tools.

CPBS went live with Microsoft Dynamics CRM first, followed a few months afterwards by Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. Immediately following the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the solution became available to the CPBS employees who work directly with citizens to deliver services. CPBS managed the deployment of the ERP system in phases, going live first with the financial and human resources management capabilities, then following on with the client portals, and eventually adding payroll functionality. Both Microsoft Dynamics solutions integrate with Microsoft SharePoint Server to facilitate client self-service and simplify collaboration between CPBS and its clients. Today, 40 CPBS employees are full users of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, 217 employees access the solution in self-service manner through a portal, and 70 employees work with Microsoft Dynamics CRM to serve residents.

Streamlined Financial Management

The district councils generate income from multiple sources, such as taxes, theatres, or sports centers. Through Microsoft BizTalk Server, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 integrates with the separate business systems dedicated to these revenue channels. CPBS relies on Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 in integration with such specialized systems to provide financial services to its clients. For example, CPBS uses the ERP system to collect property taxes and manage their appropriate distribution to the central government and to fund local services, including police and firefighters. Similarly, CPBS uses specialized systems to administer citizen benefits such as reductions of property taxes or cuts in public-housing rents for low-income constituents.

Flexible, Situation-Specific Service Delivery

Citizens engage with their district councils as they did in the past—visiting in-person or calling a council representative, for example—to schedule special waste collections, plumbing, repair, or other services available to tenants in public housing. In direct and phone-based interactions, CPBS employees directly represent the company’s clients. Through an integration between Microsoft Dynamics CRM and telephony software from Vodafone, CPBS agents can respond to constituents who call their district councils, and stay in line with the specific policies and practices of the individual councils. Close to 50 distinct conversation scripts developed in TK Dialogs call-scripting software guide agents through the details of service delivery without teams needing to memorize all pertinent information. The same technologies also let agents in any location pick up overflow calls of agents who are already busy with calls.


In creating CPBS, the two district councils made a commitment to an innovative business model that began paying off immediately. Says Bayliffe, “With Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we built a powerful, scalable business infrastructure that helps us serve clients and their constituents with optimal quality and meet their savings and efficiency targets. Our employees were quick to become productive with the new software tools, which present intuitive, comfortable interfaces that look and feel much like what they are used to from Microsoft Office.”

Achieve Ambitious, Urgent Savings Goals

With its new, shared-services business model, CPBS succeeded in generating the substantial savings its clients sought. Says Howells, “We have proven that we can deliver the cost savings the two district councils need to achieve. After reaching our expected savings of £2.1 million (approximately $3.3 million) in the first year, we project average savings per year to approximate £3 million [approximately $4.9 million] for the next 10 years.”

*By using Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 to better control financial management and human resources and to administrate revenues and benefits, we can easily set up multiple entities within the solution as we extend it to other organizations.*

Marcus Hobbs,
Transformation Director, Compass Point Business Services


With Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM as the cornerstones of a connected infrastructure, CPBS can maintain a highly streamlined operation. Following headcount reductions through attrition, reassignments, and transfers, the organization provides services to its clients and the public with close to two-thirds of the number of staff formerly required. CPBS also made use of technology to realize additional efficiencies whenever possible. “We reviewed all of our processes for efficiencies and improvements that technology could help us bring about,” explains Hobbs. “For example, we now can capture information just once, without having to rekey it into different systems. Also, by making information more easily available to employees, we reduce the level of specialized expertise required from them. Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and our other technologies offer multiple ways to minimize activities that don’t add value and enhance those that do.”

Boost Service Quality with Greater Efficiencies

Citizens receive the same services as before, but now the employees interacting with them—for example, to schedule waste pickups or arrange repair appointments for residents in public housing—can serve them more effectively. Says Bayliffe, “We add value invisibly, making sure our team members can take care of constituents with optimal efficiency. We already managed to reduce average call times by 43 percent, which means we accomplish more with fewer resources. This reflects directly on the public perception of our clients.”

With carefully mapped call routing and detailed call scripts, CPBS employees handle service requests with unprecedented ease. CPBS employees in either of the company’s locations can help constituents from the clients’ entire service area. That also means they can cover for each other at busy times and move callers off hold very quickly. When requestors make payments for services, CPBS agents can log the information in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which connects with specialized business systems and Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 for centralized financial processing. Nicola Dicker, Senior Customer Services Advisor at South Holland District Council, says, “We can now address a resident’s concerns competently in the first call and, in the majority of calls, we don’t need to ask people to call back. The solution presents us with contextual information based on the councils’ preferences and policies so that representatives can offer a helpful, reliable response without needing to memorize a huge amount of detail. It also helps that Microsoft Dynamics CRM is very intuitive and easy to use.”

Give Clients Control over Their Business

By accessing the solution’s online portal, CPBS clients can access capabilities and financial information in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. Today, clients can initiate purchase requisitions, manage expenditure, and review financial information. Says Hobbs, “Self-service lets us replace inefficient, processes with easy steps that clients can perform on their own. Over time, we will make more and more information and solution functionality available this way.”

Self-service not only lets the company’s clients take care of business at their convenience, but also enhances their visibility into CPBS’s work on their behalf. “By using Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, we can maintain a high level of accountability to our clients,” says Bayliffe. “They can see how we manage their income and administrate benefits. That also gives them a way to collaborate with us to manage income streams more effectively and derive greater value from our services.”

Prepare for Business Expansion

Interest from other public-sector agencies corresponds to CPBS’s growth ambition. Says Huggins, “Our colleagues in other authorities have the same challenges as we do: They must generate huge savings without compromising the quality of their services. Their interest in our work is very high. We can speak from a record of success that can be of great value to them, explaining how we reached our objectives with Microsoft technology and assistance from Hitachi Solutions.”

Already, CPBS demonstrated that Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 can support efficient, shared client services and offer the scalability for growing the business. “By using Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 to better control financial management and human resources and to administrate revenues and benefits, we can easily set up multiple entities within the solution as we extend it to other organizations,” says Hobbs. “The ERP system is extremely robust and dependable, and with it, we can keep confidential information protected.”

So far, CPBS has mostly heard from other district councils in the United Kingdom and is offering its services to municipal administrations, nonprofit organizations, fire districts, and other entities. Microsoft Dynamics CRM serves as the sales tool for CPBS representatives who develop relationships with potential clients. Bayliffe states, “We can safely bring more clients onto our solid, streamlined infrastructure and apply our lean management practices to the services we provide for them—a most compelling value proposition.”

Additional Resources 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 about Microsoft Dynamics, go to:

For More Information

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For more information about CPBS services, call 011 (44) 01775 761161 or 011 (44) 01507 601111, or visit the website at:

For more information about Hitachi Solutions services, call 011 (44) 20 7947 4500 or visit the website at:

Customer Size: Medium Organization
Industry: Local Government Agencies; Government; Public Safety & Justice
Country or Region: United Kingdom
Organization Profile:

Compass Point Business Services (CPBS) offers a new business model to provide shared back-office and frontline services to district councils and other public-sector entities in the United Kingdom.

Business Situation:

The company needed to create an effective infrastructure that would make it possible to deliver the savings and efficiencies its clients needed to achieve, while maintaining excellent service quality.


  • Achieve ambitious, urgent savings goals
  • Boost service quality with greater efficiencies
  • Give clients control over their business
  • Prepare for business expansion

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