Turning nasen’s needs into a first class membership CRM
Development and implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM system including:
Nasen was looking to upgrade their CRM and website systems in order to improve and increase the services provided to members. The organisation was using a bespoke membership relationship package but found that this could not incorporate their need to integrate with a website or provide advanced reporting functionality. They identified Microsoft Dynamics as the right solution for them during the tender process.
“Through the companies that responded to the tender it was clear that many were proposing a proprietary or open source solution,” says Terry. “We wanted to future proof and didn’t feel it would provide added value following this route. We were wanting something offering more and Dynamics was identified as a platform which could provide more.”
In addition to implementing a new CRM system the association wanted to launch a new website. Although they had been looking for one provider to provide both, nasen quickly realised it would be better to have two providers, one focusing on each system, who could work together. They chose the well-established partnership of smartimpact and Pixl8.
One of the first challenges we had to resolve was the issue of data migration. “The support provided by smartimpact in the early stages particularly around data migration was invaluable; it was a much bigger exercise than we thought it would be. The time, effort and ongoing support they have provided in getting our data to a much better place has been a real strength.”
The financial integration with nasen’s Sage 50 platform was also a key aspect of the project. “The financial integration from the previous package had to be replicated in Dynamics, including things such as Gift Aid, back office & web-based ability to process online membership applications, renewals, event bookings, invoicing and pushing files through to Sage,” continues Terry.
The most challenging aspect, though, was the fact that the overall implementation was delayed due to external factors, which resulted in the development of the website ahead of the CRM system rather than the two being developed at the same pace. This led to the two providers being out of sync for a period but all three organisations worked together to redress this.
“We wanted to go live with the CRM prior to the website. We ended up having a reduced timeline for training but used the testing time as training time as well to make up for it. We’ve had more onsite training since go live, which has helped.”
Speaking about the difference the implementation has made for both members and staff within nasen, Terry says, “The new CRM allows us to have a better insight into the data we have and what we need to tidy up in order to do things better. We are now able to provide a better level of detail about membership distribution and growth requirements across the whole UK and better management information generally. Member-wise, many members haven’t expected us to provide online services so it’s an unexpected bonus to now be able to provide things such as online event booking. Overall, our members can see a twenty-first century system and see how much we are offering them.
We’re starting to appreciate the flexibility it does provide. We’re yet to fully exploit all the capabilities such as the dotmailer integration and how to make the most of that but we are very happy with what we’ve been able to do so far.”
Looking to the future, Terry says, “We’re currently working on developing online training functionality, using both smartimpact and Pixl8, which we intend to launch in 2016. This will bring together all the learning content, future-proofing our online (and potentially offline) training platform.”
As for working with smartimpact, we’ll let Terry have the final word on that,“The flexibility and responsiveness of smartimpact to our requests was great, despite the challenges of working with two vendors and all the integration aspects.
We had a close engagement around the detail once the data was in. Charbel has shown a great deal of responsiveness and to answering questions and supporting us throughout. We felt like we were the only client!"