Reducing CRM costs to reinvest in improving customer service

Element Six is a global leader in the design, development and production of synthetic diamond supermaterials. It operates worldwide with its head office registered in Luxembourg, and primary manufacturing facilities in China, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, South Africa, US and the UK. It is a member of the De Beers group of companies. Their new Global Innovation Centre is the world’s largest and most sophisticated diamond supermaterials innovation facility.

When Paul Williams, Head of Group IM, When Williams discussed with the leadership team, they were clear that they were spending the right amount of money on CRM; so the only choice was to move to a different platform. Williams says: “We agreed that we would move to a more cost-effective platform and invest savings back into customer-facing initiatives and workflow improvements. “Moving to Dynamics CRM, now Dynamics 365, is saving us in the region of £70,000 per year, based on the 220 users we currently have. That’s a lot of money to put back into improving customer service and delivering more value.”

Another requirement was that it would be easy to use. He says: “If people can’t use the system, it won’t add value. Look and feel plays a big part. You have to give people tools that they are familiar with and that they will want to use. Along with the lower cost, Dynamics 365’s integration with Outlook and the familiar Office style played a big part in our decision.”

Williams firmly believes that the role of IT is to help the business provide both uncompromising service to customers and value for money. He says: “Every dollar IT spends our sales team has to earn, so we don’t spend lightly.” While Salesforce.com offered a lot of functionality, it wasn’t being fully used by Element Six employees. It was also taking the entire CRM budget just to maintain the system. “We weren’t really taking advantage of the platform. We were spending all of our money just to stand still,” says Williams. “We could do requirements capture for new functionality and new features but we never had the resources to do anything with it.”

With the platform decision made, Williams had only four months to migrate across before his Salesforce.com contract expired. He says: “I had worked with ANS before and knew instinctively that they could work to our tight timescales. I liked their fixedprice approach; they tell you what they are going to do and they deliver it.”

“We compared a time and materials quote from an alternative supplier with the fixed-price quote from ANS. By choosing to work with ANS, we saved £19,000 on the implementation cost alone.”

“Considering our project manager and ANS were working remotely, the whole process was incredibly smooth,” says Williams. We don’t think about what we can implement; we think about what we as a business want to do and then we pick IT systems to match our strategic business objectives. “ANS got us up and running with Dynamics 365 in remarkably short timescales. We have a roadmap for future development and, with the additional knowledge transfer that ANS provides, we’re in great shape to take even more advantage of the platform.”

  • Lower cost to maintain Dynamics 365 than Salesforce.com
  • Saving £70,000 per year, £19,000 on the implementation cost alone
  • Able to integrate with core business applications, such as JD Edwards ERP system
  • Similar to existing Office 365 system and Outlook
  • Provided a system that is fully used by Element Six employees

Dynamics 365 is now being used in all of Element Six’s business functions across more than 20 sites. Williams’ vision is to use the framework as a basis for enhancing customer  service and overall performance. He says: “Everyone should have an opportunity to interact with CRM in a way that touches what they do for the company.” For example, when we open our new Global Innovation Centre, I’d love it if when a customer requests a sample, the innovation team responsible for that product can see what the customer is doing with it and be able to contact the customer. They will be able to ask for feedback and make sure that we are ultimately delivering the highest performing products.”

“We are also looking at how Dynamics 365 integrates with other Microsoft software, including SharePoint. We don’t just see technology layers; we see how it all fits together to deliver a service.

ANS’s 12-month Adopt2Win program, included in the fixed fee, helps to measure and ensure user adoption. “I can see what activities people are logging and even see where managers are using the system for reporting or following updates,” says Williams. “With Saleforce.com, we had too many systems that weren’t integrated. Users would have to log on to their machines and then log into Salesforce. Com,” making people reluctant to use it. Not only was Salesforce.com costing us more, but the lack of adoption meant the cost per activity was really high. With Dynamics 365, people just launch email and they have CRM right there.”

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