A powerful CRM solution to manage Business Durham’s intelligence on funding, advice, networks and property portfolios.
Durham County Council – Business Durham
Durham County Council’s business support service, Business Durham, helps deliver more and better jobs for the region to create a strong competitive economy. It connects businesses with the correct funding, advice and networks to thrive, manages a portfolio of properties to provide the best space for businesses to grow, attracts capital and inward investment and fosters sustainable business growth.
The challenges and solution
Following a detailed business process and workflow mapping exercise, Business Durham went to tender to identify a solution to better match its requirements for accurate recording and centralising business-critical information to manage customer relationships and drive insight and business strategy.
Its processes had grown beyond its off-the-shelf solution software into Excel spreadsheets with multiple tabs and customer folders, both with associated issues around version control, multiple silos of information, information inconsistency across departments, no integration and lack of real-time analysis.
Via its tendering process, it undertook a soft market testing procurement approach to test the capabilities of software suppliers against a set of pre-agreed criteria.
The full tendering process identified Excelpoint as a local supplier of no-code solutions and a business able to configure and deploy a system to the exact requirements of Business Durham. The relationship had the added social value that Business Durham would be working with a local supplier with a product recognised and respected worldwide and the ability to build the relationship through regular interactions to ensure the solution was right and could grow as Business Durham evolved.
The no-code software replaced the off-the-shelf system to support Business Durham achieve its objectives and record engagements between staff and the programmes they coordinate with the business community. Known internally as BuDI, it operates as a powerful Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution providing real-time Key Performance Indicator (KPI) reports, demonstrating return on investment across its programmes and encouraging further funding.
An agile approach
Business Durham and Excelpoint met to agree on a detailed plan of work confirming priorities and timescales and progressing onto the building of a solution from the ground up to meet exact requirements:-
- Solution Configuration – Achieved through a series of iterative steps, including hothouse sessions, we identified how each process and workflow operated and assembled and configured the system with interfaces to agreed systems.
- Solution Implementation – Set up to replicate live operations, with organisational structures and roles, reporting and approval lines, and initial data set up to reflect lifelike operations. It enabled user acceptance testing and paved the way for implementation.
- Solution Testing – Comprehensive testing to identify required fine-tuning to the solution configuration.
- Pre-Go-Live Set Up – Set up of the anticipated users as system users with user ids and passwords, reporting and approval lines, data conversion of legacy data, and staff training ready for go-live.
- Go-Live – The no-code solution was deployed across Business Durham, including project sign-off via standard procedures and on-site support to ensure a successful deployment.
- Post-Go-live – Group training sessions with sections of the user population helped identify changes.
Changes are added to a built-in system issue tracker and follow the appropriate Service Level Agreement (SLA) process. Business Durham benefits from a customer service help desk providing first-line support for any queries and changes backed up by a comprehensive solution support team.
Business Durham’s new intelligence software BuDI:-
- Provides a powerful CRM solution
- Defines types of information with rules to create consistent and centralised information accessible in real-time across the businesses
- Records copies of outgoing emails against the customer records
- Generates a suite of branded office documents
- Automates insight reports driving strategy and decision making
- Incorporates real-time lookup of DCC Gazeteer
- Integrates with Eventbrite importing events and attendees into BuDI
The project had a clear deadline as the incumbent software license ran out on a specified date. From contract award to going live took four months to configure and deploy.
“When we sought a solution to our specific needs, we wanted to find a responsive supplier who could work with us closely, listen to us, provide support, advice and a product that would meet our exacting requirements. Of course, as our service evolves so do our requirements from our systems.
Excelpoint’s approach, offering excellent customer service, has enabled them to react to those changes and to continue to provide the solution to our changing environment. The relationship has developed to a point where we now attend a bi-annual knowledge transfer programme, with other businesses from various sectors, to share experiences and to influence product development to help meet our future needs.” Sarah Slaven, Managing Director, Business Durham