IT firm ACS was established in 1995 and has a turnover of £25 million. Working with Microsoft and Gap Consulting, it has developed a scalable, flexible customer relationship management (CRM) solution that’s transforming communication across the business. Built using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, it helps more than 120 ACS employees manage and share sales data and customer information. It’s also providing new opportunities to integrate social media activities.
Before ACS engaged Gap Consulting around six years ago, the company was using a Siebel CRM system to run the customer-facing part of its business. Jon Thorpe, Managing Director at ACS, says: “We wanted to make changes as our business grew, but we constantly ran into challenges. The cost of making changes to the platform was prohibitive and our implementation partner wasn’t flexible enough in terms of the timescales we needed—it was slowing our speed of growth.”
The company—which has a head office in Northampton, and further offices in Milton Keynes and London—needed a more flexible, customisable CRM system if the business was going to grow. Of the major CRM players—including Siebel and SAP—Microsoft Dynamics CRM was selected for its ease of use, integration capabilities, and flexibility. In addition, ACS was a Microsoft Gold Partner and running its back office using Microsoft Dynamics, so Microsoft Dynamics CRM was an attractive option. It would give the company the opportunity to take more ownership of changes to the platform. Microsoft introduced the company to three potential partners, and after some evaluation, ACS chose Gap Consulting for the project. Solution
Microsoft Gold CRM Partner Gap Consulting worked closely with ACS to plan the implementation and minimise disruption to the business. “We can't allow downtime during the working day, so it all had to be planned carefully,” says Thorpe. “The deployment was completed over a series of weekends, put into a testing environment, and signed off before we went to the live environment.”
ACS began to benefit from the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform straightaway, and employees found it easy to customize the system. “What Gap Consulting gave us after the initial installation was the ability to make changes ourselves,” says Thorpe. “We couldn’t do that with our previous CRM system. It was also clear that we didn’t need to be programmers to achieve the ongoing customisation and tweaks we needed to make in line with business growth.”
Over the past nine months, the company has also worked with Gap Consulting to upgrade the platform to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, which has delivered a range of additional benefits. The Microsoft Dynamics solution is used by 120 employees across three locations and is growing as the company grows.
With the flexible Microsoft solution, ACS can run all four of its businesses on a single CRM platform. This has helped the company maintain all its client relationships in one place, boosting cross-selling.
This easy access to a large range of sales data and customer information has transformed communication throughout the business. ACS takes the real-time reports produced by the SQL database and represents that information graphically via dashboards on plasma screens around its buildings and on the iPad devices issued to all employees.
“Microsoft Dynamics CRM has given us the ability to communicate much more effectively,” says Thorpe. “From our CRM system, we can publish live statistics on performance, successes, sales pipelines—anything we want to highlight. I don’t believe you can get that ease of reporting and customisation from other platforms.”
The latest step has been to use Microsoft Dynamics CRM to support the company’s social media activities. ACS can access its data more easily and integrate it with social media, helping the marketing team run efficient campaigns. Similarly, salespeople are able to monitor and respond quickly to what potential customers are saying about ACS on social media sites and use that to drive sales. Benefits
With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, ACS has created a scalable solution that’s enhancing communication across the company. With easy customisation and integration of social media, the firm has an effective platform for the future. Thorpe says: “One of the best things we’ve done is move to Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Microsoft Partner Gap Consulting has played a key part in helping us get maximum value out of it.”
Easy scalability. The main objective of the project was to implement a system that was easy to manage and customise—and that would grow with the business. “Microsoft Dynamics CRM has given us the self-sufficiency to scale our business,” says Thorpe. “It's given us the tools to make changes as our business changes and made it easier for us to get into new markets quickly.”
Increased efficiency. ACS now runs its four businesses on a single Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform. As a result, the company has full visibility of customer activity and can easily cross-sell between the divisions.
Simple system customisation. Thanks to the easy customisation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, ACS can move forward with new communications projects. Chris Burton, Marketing Manager at ACS, says: “The big win for me is the flexibility to be able to plug in all of the additional things we want to be doing in terms of mobility, dashboards around the building, and making the most of data visibility.”
Valuable social mediaintegration. ACS is now using social media as an effective business tool. It monitors what prospects and customers are saying on Twitter, and pulls it into the CRM system so the sales teams can follow up and convert that information into sales. The company uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM to manage its own content and news, and now staff can access and share it on social networks using their iPad devices. This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.