In the Commonwealth of Virginia, many offices and departments across the state government relied on paper-based processes or disparate systems to handle day-to-day work. Living in a high-tech state, government employees were frustrated by the inefficient systems they had to use--particularly in areas that were transparent to customers. An executive order was issued to mandate that state agencies find ways to operate more efficiently and increase productivity.
The agencies were responsible for functions as diverse as automating campaign management to tracking and managing the state’s many historic treasures. Some, like the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, spanned a multitude of functional areas, from restoring civil rights to providing approvals for notaries public—a paper-based process that could take as long as 30 days. Choosing Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Although the state’s needs were numerous, it sought to address them with a single, flexible solution. At the same time, it wanted to deploy the solution as a service to enable centralized IT management and better control costs. To this end, the Commonwealth of Virginia chose Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Nancy Kuppich, Workplace Productivity Solutions Manager for Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA)—the shared services organization behind the state’s government—explains, “Choosing Microsoft Dynamics CRM was an easy decision. Because it functions as a powerful development platform, Microsoft Dynamics CRM enables us to build solutions while also taking advantage of the Microsoft stack. Out of the box, it interfaces with Microsoft Exchange and all the Microsoft Office products as well as taking advantage of Active Directory and Microsoft SQL Server.” Using CRM for Government Agencies, Citizen Services
Currently, the Commonwealth of Virginia has used Microsoft Dynamics CRM to deliver 20 unique business applications to 1,000 users—numbers that are expected to grow in the near future. Some of the most notable of these applications span the following offices and departments:
Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
|Microsoft Dynamics CRM has really enabled the business of government. And that's when IT becomes exciting, when you have a vision and you’re able to use technology to accomplish it.|
| Sam Nixon Jr.|
Commonwealth of Virginia
This office currently uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM to handle the commissioning of notaries public in the state of Virginia. The Governor’s Office.
At the governor’s office, staff members use Microsoft Dynamics CRM to track and manage legislation, pardons, board and position applications, and community relations. State Board of Elections.
The board uses the system for campaign management and campaign finance disclosure as well as to track and respond to constituent letters, and manage human resources (HR). Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (BHDS).
BHDS uses the system to create managed plans for patients as they exit the healthcare system. Department of Natural Resources.
This department uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM for its case management capabilities, aiding in citizen applications for natural resources. Department of Historic Resources.
Using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the department can track historical resources, such as buildings and battlefields, and manage the permitting process for builders who want to make changes to any culturally sensitive area.
Looking back on these many business uses of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Sam Nixon Jr., CIO for the Commonwealth of Virginia, says, “Microsoft Dynamics CRM has really enabled the business of government. And that's when IT becomes exciting, when you have a vision and you’re able to use technology to accomplish it.” Benefits
By using Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a platform, the Commonwealth of Virginia has successfully developed a range of powerful applications to meet its far-ranging needs, all without incurring significant costs. In addition, the ability to deliver the solution as a service has enabled the state to further control costs by centralizing IT management. But more importantly, the state government is now more nimble and productive, and has been able to translate those efficiencies into improved citizen services. Support State Government with Minimal Cost, Minimal IT Requirements
In delivering a wide range of capabilities to government offices and departments, VITA has been able to maintain such a service at a relatively low cost. Says Kuppich, “The great part about Microsoft Dynamics CRM is that it offers a low cost of entry for our agencies because we can offer it as a part of our shared services. In this way, we can offer them a solution that is supported centrally, while also giving them the benefits of a tool that is extremely flexible.”
|Normally you don’t put government and agility in the same sentence. But when you’re talking about Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you can.|
| Sam Nixon Jr.|
Commonwealth of Virginia
From an IT support perspective, Kuppich goes on to note, “Because it’s a Microsoft solution, I am able to get the skill sets I need locally, here in Virginia, to support it. And a lot of our young developers are able to pick up the application and the toolset very quickly, so we're building a really nice technology community within the Commonwealth.”
At the State Board of Elections, these cost savings have been especially apparent. Says Matthew Davis, Information Services manager for the State Board of Elections, “When we looked into replacing our old campaign finance system, we received quotes indicating the project would cost anywhere between 200,000 and 2 million dollars. But with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we were able to do it for significantly less. We were able to launch the solution in only six months, just in time for the 2013 campaign filing season, which is a huge season in Virginia, with more than 55 localities involved in elections.” Boost Agility
While using a central platform to deliver capabilities that have resulted in lower IT costs and support requirements, the Commonwealth has simultaneously managed to increase its agility. “Normally you don’t put government and agility in the same sentence,” says Nixon. “But when you’re talking about Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you can. And that’s one of the exciting things about Microsoft Dynamics CRM: We can leverage its base-level functionality and then put our business-specific business rules on top of that. And because it is so easy to do compared to custom development, we can—for a relatively modest amount expended on those projects—achieve a tremendous return on investment.” Ease Adoption
Switching to a platform like Microsoft Dynamics CRM can only be a success if people use it. And it is in this area where Aaron Mathes, Deputy Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia, says the system shines. He says, “One of the real values of Microsoft Dynamics CRM is that the adoption has been easy. We haven't had to spend an enormous amount of time or money on training. People just generally accepted it and began using it to do their work. And, in many cases, people are just thrilled—they are coming back to us and saying, ‘How can we solve this problem or that problem?’" Improve Productivity and Citizen Services
Among the far-reaching productivity gains from Microsoft Dynamics CRM, several stand out. Describing the changes, Davis says, “With our implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM for campaign finance disclosure, we have been able to reduce our costs.“
The Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth has also seen significant improvements, reducing the time to approve an applicant for notaries public from 30 days to 7, without sacrificing quality. Next Steps This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Document published October 2013