As Africa’s leading ICT solutions provider, Business Connexion provides custom Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solutions and services to its clients on the African continent and beyond. In order to provide better client interaction and manage sales opportunities, the company needed a solution that would allow an enhanced view of the sales pipeline, integrate with BCX’s ERP system (SAP) as well as provide its sales staff a comprehensive tool to manage its clients, products and sales prospects. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, met BCX’s expectations.
With more than 7,000 employees located in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, Business Connexion was facing several challenges. One of which was the manual and ad hoc nature of obtaining an overall picture of what was happening in sales; particularly if a deal had already been closed or needed follow-up.
|By deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and integrating it with SAP, we’ve achieved a complete view of our clients and sales opportunities; allowing us to be more agile in responding to our clients as well our business needs.|
| Derrick Attfield|
Senior Manager – Sales Operations
The company was operating a previously deployed CRM solution. However, the solution was running on outdated technology which presented several user challenges. This caused considerable frustration among the users. Because a decision had been made not to use the reporting functionality of the previous solution, CRM reporting was ad hoc and reliant on individual Excel based queries. This resulted in multiple and varied interpretations of what the raw data extracts actually meant - which made the data lack credibility and as a result, sales questions were at the time met with unreliable answers.
Secondly, the company needed a CRM solution that would integrate with SAP, its ERP system, in order to increase accuracy and reliability of the sales forecast and pipeline. Equally important was that the solution should be easy to use and work with. Because the company was primarily using Microsoft technology and its employees were comfortable using Microsoft products, it made sense to consider a Microsoft solution.
“Recognizing the potential to unlock stake holder value through the implementation of an efficient opportunity management and sales force automation solution a decision was taken to review our CRM technology. We needed a cost-effective, user-friendly CRM solution that would allow our sales staff to effectively manage sales opportunities, clients and prospects and integrate with our SAP system,” says Senior Manager Derrick Attfield.
Based on the company’s requirements, the firm assessed Forrester’s top 3 solutions available in the market. The firm then provided the vendors with an opportunity to demonstrate how their solutions can benefit the company. After a careful review, Business Connexion selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. “Based on our present and future requirements, we believe that Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 will provide the definitive edge that the company is looking for.”
To ensure that the project would be a success, the firm engaged the services of Liquid Thought, a Microsoft CRM Certified Partner. “We selected Liquid Thought to implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 at the company because of their extensive experience and expertise in deploying this solution. Microsoft’s confidence in, and subsequent meetings with Liquid Thought convinced us that we were in very good hands. The successful deployment of the solution according to our specifications proved that we were correct in our choice. As a consequence, we now partner on other projects.”
Critical to the success of the project was the complete integration between Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and SAP. Rodl Consulting AG, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, had developed a Microsoft BizTalk adapter for Microsoft Dynamics CRM which allows BizTalk to execute transactions in Microsoft Dynamics at an application level. The standard Microsoft BizTalk SAP adapter was employed to connect to SAP, completing the connection between Microsoft Dynamics CRM and SAP. BizTalk with the Rodl adapter is used as the middleware and has allowed the business to automate some of its business processes.
Liquid Thought then assisted with the initial proof of concept project where key business requirements were piloted in a lab environment. It assisted Business Connexion with requirement gathering, design, development and implementation of the system. Just a few months after deploying the solution, it has proven to be a resounding success for the company.
Holistic View of Sales Operations Data and Supporting Documents
“One of the advantages of the solution is that users are now able to have a complete view of our client and sales forecast data. This was not the case before, since we had many disparate processes, systems and applications due to mergers and acquisitions. Because of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, we now have a clear and simplified view of what is available in the pipeline for every single area - from the business unit product ownership area, to the client engagement structures. Our users no longer need to spend many hours hunting for information. The SharePoint integration is particularly valuable to the business as it now provides a managed single repository for all supporting documentation related to our clients and opportunities with our clients. Everyone is very happy with this.”
Familiar Look and Feel
It was very important for the company that its employees would feel at ease in using the solution. The Microsoft Office suite style of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 user interface on Internet Explorer and Microsoft Outlook, which our users were already very comfortable with, was an important decision factor. Additionally, integration with Microsoft Outlook excited many people because of its ability to track and set emails regarding entities within Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.
Increased Efficiency Due to Automation
|Based on our present and future requirements, we believe that Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 will provide the definitive edge that the company is looking for.|
| Derrick Attfield|
Senior Manager – Sales Operations
Previously, the creation of ERP sales contracts/sales orders often delayed the sales cycle and thus delayed invoicing. After deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, many of these processes are now automated and this has shortened the sales cycle. The firm now uses client management, opportunity management and case management – service management – to manage and control back office support processes. For example, in order to get an order processed for a client, a user only needs to click a custom button in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, which initiates a case alerting the invoicing team to execute the required ERP transactions using the supporting documentation stored in the integrated SharePoint folders. The same business logic is used for pre-sales and proposals, as well as placing orders to vendors.
Better Data Access
Prior to the implementation, employees had difficulty in accessing data from SAP. This caused much frustration. Because of the integration of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 with SAP, relevant information is now readily available to users directly in their familiar Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 interface.
Tighter Integration with the Company’s IT Ecosystem
Because the firm’s IT infrastructure depends primarily on Windows applications and technology, there was no problem integrating Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 to the company’s ecosystem. This also minimizes maintenance requirements. Implementing the solution has proven to be a game changer for the company.
“By deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and integrating it with SAP, we’ve achieved a complete view of our clients and sales opportunities; allowing us to be more agile in responding to our clients as well as our business needs,” concludes Derrick Attfield.
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