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Customer Spotlight: Element Six

Customer Spotlight: Element Six

Supermaterials Firm Frees Budget for New Initiatives and Service Improvements

Element Six moved from Salesforce.com to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to reduce licensing cost and free budget to do more with customer relationship management (CRM). Working with partner Zero2Ten, it was able to move quickly and easily to the new cloud platform. Element Six is confident it has a CRM system that users are happy to work with and that integrates with existing applications to add value to the business.

Business Needs
Paul Williams, Head of Group IM at Element Six, firmly believes the role of IT is to help provide the right services for customers and deliver value for money. While Salesforce.com offered a lot of functionality, it wasn't being fully used by Element Six employees. And just maintaining the system was using up the entire CRM budget. "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 didn't have the resources to do anything with it."

Element Six had also experienced challenges in getting users to adopt CRM into their daily work practices. Williams says: "With Saleforce.com, we had too many systems that weren't integrated. Users would have to log on to their machines and then log on to Salesforce.com. Just that one hurdle meant people were reluctant to use it. Not only was Salesforce.com costing us more, but the lack of adoption meant the cost per activity was high."

Williams wanted a CRM system that would be easy to use and would fit with the company's IT strategy. He wanted to move to a unified platform and was looking at Microsoft SharePoint for the firm's portal and web presence. Its front office was already predominantly Microsoft. Williams also needed the new CRM platform to integrate with other core business applications, including the JD Edwards ERP system. He says: "Because Microsoft Dynamics CRM is built on a core framework, I knew that we could do a lot more with it to extend the value across the business."

"Moving from Salesforce.com to Microsoft Dynamics CRM is saving us in the region of £70,000 a year. That's a lot of money to put back into improving customer service and delivering more value." Paul Williams, Head of Group IM, Element Six

Requirements for lower licensing costs, ease of use, and integration made Microsoft Dynamics CRM an obvious choice for Element Six. With more than 20 sites globally, selecting the cloud version—Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online—would make implementing and managing CRM significantly easier.

With the platform decision made, Element Six had only four months to migrate before its Salesforce.com contract expired. Williams chose to work with Microsoft Dynamics Gold Partner Zero2Ten to achieve this. He says: "I'd worked with Zero2Ten before and new instinctively that it could work to our tight timescales. I liked its fixed price approach—it told us what it was going to do and then delivered it."

Zero2Ten was able to meet the timeframe and budget set by Element Six using its remote migration and implementation services. Working to a defined process, technical teams in Atlanta, in the U.S., built the basic system model in parallel with preparation for data migration. This meant that the Salesforce.com data could be migrated and surfaced directly into the actual system.

The entire implementation was carried out remotely, including close collaboration with IT Six—Romania-based Microsoft Gold Partner and Element Six development partner. "Considering the project manager and Zero2Ten were working remotely, the whole process was incredibly smooth," says Williams.

Element Six now has 220 CRM users across its global business—in sales, marketing, and customer service divisions. Employees log on through Microsoft Outlook, which they use every day. The CRM system maintains an accurate record of all sales and marketing activity, customer service logs, and communication with customers.

With Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, Element Six has an easy-to-use platform that integrates with core applications and that people are using to add value to the business. The saving on licensing costs over Salesforce.com can be invested in new initiatives to cut costs and boost profit.

Improved user adoption thanks to familiar application. Integration with Microsoft Office means Element Six employees no longer log on to a separate system to use CRM. Williams says: "People just launch email and they instantly have access to CRM." With the Zero2Ten Adopt2Win programme, Element Six can measure adoption. Williams says: "I can see people using CRM, and they're using it for things like forecasting, which add value to the business."

Reduced licensing costs. With 220 users across the business, Williams says: "Moving from Salesforce.com to Microsoft Dynamics CRM is saving us in the region of £70,000 a year. That's a lot of money to put back into improving customer service and delivering more value."

Enhanced customer service. Williams' vision is to use CRM to enhance customer service and overall performance. He says: "Everyone should have an opportunity to interact with CRM in a way that affects what they do for the company. When we open our new innovation centre, I'd love it if when a customer requests a sample, the innovation team for that product could see what's being done. That way, they could contact the customer to ask for feedback and make sure that we're delivering the best products."

More value to the business. Williams says: "We want to do more with CRM. We can use the authentication methods, workflow tools, and the fact that it's plugged into Microsoft Outlook to build even more applications. It has given us a platform that we can use to add even more value."

CRM strategy, Customer Relationship Management