Pacific Trade and Invest case study
It can be a long way from the Pacific Islands to export markets and investors. Pacific Islands Trade & Invest (PT&I) links over 1,200 businesses in 14 island countries to contacts, customers and investors around the world. Through six offices in the Pacific, Asia, and Europe, PT&I sustains valuable relationships. For staff who need to easily understand every one of those relationships, their customer relationship management (CRM) system is crucial.
With Jade’s help, a recent CRM upgrade has made it quicker and easier for PT&I staff to see and update information about customers and contacts. Access has improved, too, thanks to mobile support and cloud hosting. Around the world PT&I staff, and the businesses they serve, are poised to benefit.
“Jade understood the way that our organization worked, and how that could be translated to work in CRM. We wanted to simplify things.”
Knowledge and Information Manager,
Pacific Islands Trade & Invest (PT&I)
Chris Brimble is the Knowledge and Information Manager at PT&I. “We’re a trade office,” he explains. “We help people in the Pacific Islands sell their products internationally, find investors for projects, and promote tourism.”
In 2008 PT&I started using customer relationship management (CRM) software - a heavily-adapted Microsoft Dynamics 4.0. “CRMs out of the box are very sales focused, but we don’t make sales - we have a fairly unique way of operating. So we customized it to work for us.”
Customization brought a cost, though. New versions of Dynamics came out, but PT&I couldn’t easily upgrade. Seven years later, they were missing out on a lot of new (and not-so-new) features. Frustrations were mounting with the slow, old CRM.
The CRM upgrade began with an experienced Jade consultant getting to know PT&I’s business through a stakeholder workshop. “Jade came in and understood the way that our organization worked, and how that could be translated to work in CRM. We wanted to simplify things. We’d learned about the way that everybody operates, and what to optimize,” Brimble says. With Jade’s help, a solid plan took shape.
A full picture of PT&I’s needs let decisions fall into place. One example: the right system configuration would make it easier for users to see and update more information about each contact, going through fewer screens.
PT&I’s database of over 10,000 contacts needed some configuration changes on its way into the cloud. Jade spotted a way to attack this problem from a new angle, and get the work done in less than a fortnight.
Automated updates, from Dynamics 4.0 through three successive versions to 2015, looked complex and costly to Jade’s expert. “He said it would be better to do a clean install of 2015 and then go through the migration process. That made a lot of sense. He also suggested some changes to the architecture of the system,” Brimble explains.
Upgrades, customizations, data migrations...projects like these can make people nervous. “Honestly, I was prepared to lose data,” Brimble admits, “but we didn’t! My first reaction was relief.”
PT&I are getting used to the new system, and already seeing positives. “It’s a lot quicker, which is a real positive because the slowness of the old system was a huge barrier for people. It looks a lot better than it used to, and it’s easier to navigate.”
Using it is easier, too. Brimble explains one example: “Before, you’d create an account and a contact, then to provide a service you’d have to create a ‘service offering’. If that service got positive feedback, you’d create a ‘milestone’. If it involved a financial transaction, that was another ‘milestone’... We brought all this down to one screen to capture all that information. It’s makes things simpler for users and saves a lot of mucking around.”
Another advantage is automatically staying on the latest version of Dynamics - a huge relief after the years PT&I spent on v4.0. Jade’s expertise came in handy here. Like any CRM user, PT&I needed some customizations. By making them within Microsoft’s framework, Jade ensued PT&I can rely on auto-updates to keep the system current. “Microsoft will update it for us automatically - we don’t need to worry. It’s not our problem keeping everything up to date,” says Brimble.
PT&I staff from Suva to Geneva can access the CRM online, on any device. Jade has helped prepare training, too, so Brimble and his team can encourage wide usage of the new system, across the Pacific and around the world.
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