Hard as it is to believe, technology can sometimes come to the aid of the party and deliver some unexpectedly flexible results

MyCustomer.com

Running, managing and expanding a successful business has never been more complex. We’re always looking for ways to carry out tasks faster, more effectively and more easily. Technology has substantially advanced the way we work and our expectations today are of accessing and working with the latest business information at all times wherever we are. Analysis and forward planning are now right on the button with historical trend analysis and forward projection standard fare. The current trend in mobile working, home-working and flexible working is having a similarly significant effect on how business works, the expectations of managers and employees and pressures we place on ourselves to stay permanently in communication increasing further with geographical separation of the office work environment. It was this expectation level that led Compsoft to implement mGoldMine as an extension of its existing infrastructure to extend the ethos of total communication and information across the company.

A sales driven organisation providing bespoke database management solutions, Compsoft is all too well aware of the importance of secure customer information access for all employees. Established in 1979 the company’s success, since inception, has revolved around effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM), analysing, installing, implementing and supporting database-driven business solutions. The company has been utilising CRM for over a decade to manage the relationship between internal departments and its customers.

Lewis Jones, business development manager for Compsoft, highlights the use of CRM, “When we start a relationship with a prospective client we may have just one person dealing with the initial analysis. As the project grows, people from all departments from sales and marketing through admin, finance, logistics and support can be involved in the installation and ongoing support.

Using a corporate CRM solution like GoldMine ensures that whoever is dealing with the customer is in full possession of the facts. Any tasks that arise during daily customer communication can be easily logged and actions issued across Compsoft from a single centralised resource. Our CRM knowledge base has enabled us to develop solid, positive, successful relationships with our clients over the years.”

Remote access to GoldMine by sales people out of the office has always been a possibility from their home or at a customer site. This is achieved by synchronising GoldMine on their notebook PC via a connection to Compsoft’s head office GoldMine server. This synchronisation effectively duplicates the required databases to the remotely located sales person and they can then update records and actions on GoldMine before they connect again to synchronise back with the main database.

As the company has expanded its sales operation, and with home working and flexible working on the ascendancy, Compsoft had a requirement for more low volume access to GoldMine but with the same levels of flexibility and security available to a synchronised user. Working with Prior Analytics, a specialist GoldMine consultancy with CRM expertise, Compsoft outlined their requirements. The solution was the installation of mGoldMIne, an extension to the server-based GoldMine CRM system at Compsoft.

mGoldMine allows any WAP/GPRS-enabled mobile device to connect directly to the central GoldMine server accessing and updating live information. The uniqueness of mGoldMine lies not only in its live access but also in achieving this connection without loading any software to the mobile device.

Today, mobile devices come in a variety shapes, sizes and abilities, from mobile phones to personal digital assistants (PDAs) with the power and flexibility to operate as well as a notebook computer. It is in this disparate device environment where mGoldMine provides the ability for mobile users to connect effectively and where it offers Compsoft the flexibility to extend the corporate GoldMine CRM system to all employees maintaining and enhancing the relationship experience for its customers.

“Installation of mGoldMine is simple – which in itself is a bonus”, said Lewis Jones. “All we had to do to configure a mobile phone was to add in a new connection to our server and that was it. I kept looking for a catch or something I had missed but it really was that simple.” Once connected, a mobile device has full access to GoldMine functionality. From a Compsoft account manager’s perspective, up-to-date information is crucial for a successful meeting. When they arrive at a customer site they can connect using mGoldMine and before they walk through the door they are in full possession of the latest events and communications concerning that customer. Upon making a WAP or GPRS connection, they can read the latest contact information held on GoldMine and find out the current status of any outstanding actions or orders relevant to the client. Access is managed using either the numeric keypad on the mobile phone or a full keyboard on a PDA.

A major strength of implementing and using mGoldMine is the fact that no data is copied to the mobile device. The connection is live and any information displayed on the mobile device is just that, a display window onto the live customer information. Once the connection is dropped the information is no longer accessible. This live connection ensures strong security in case of mobile device theft. Security is further enhanced with user logon via secure PIN access. The functionality of mGoldMine mirrors that of a user directly connected to the office network. Mobile users can view full customer information, update records, list outstanding tasks and activities and update information.

The management view of customer information is real-time as well. With sales and support staff out at customer sites central customer information is updated regularly while they are ‘on the move’. Sales management at Compsoft can easily see the current sales forecast right up to and including each salesperson’s last visit of the day. Support managers can action any support requests immediately, log resolved issues and escalate outstanding issues without any delay.

“Any actions and decisions you make are only as good as the information that they are based upon”, says Lewis Jones. “When we have sales or consulting staff out of the office for days at a time it is crucial that they can easily access customer information on GoldMine to keep us informed and issue actions to office-based staff to support customer environments. With mGoldMine they have complete flexibility to retrieve and update information wherever they are and whenever they want.”

In reviewing the success of the GoldMine expansion program Lewis Jones discusses the impact on the business and the people. “When Prior Analytics first suggested this route to us we had our own visions of how this could help the business: up to the minute forecasts, support requests that we could action immediately and administration of the account with the latest information from sales and support staff on site. What we hadn’t figured on was the ‘bonus effect’.

I can recount many instances where mGoldMine has given us unexpected bonuses but just a couple will illustrate my point. On one occasion a salesperson had left the first appointment of the day and connected via mGoldMine to update the customer records. He received a new alert about a software update that was relevant to his next appointment and this information enabled him to close a sale that he hadn’t expected to make. Or, as close to home as they come, the time when I had left the office to go on holiday and while travelling had been pondering a complex customer change request. Like many of these things the answer revealed itself to me while I was sitting in the airport departure lounge that evening. Using mGoldmine I was able to connect to the central GoldMine database and enter the information directly in to the customer record so that our support engineers could act on it while I was enjoying a well earned holiday!

The implementation of mGoldMine to extend CRM working to its mobile users has opened the doors to remote working. The company is now reviewing longer term flexible working options which are made even more adaptable through the extension of GoldMine access. In this instance technology developments and staff options have expanded significantly to allow company and personnel freedom while maintaining data security and management.

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