VicUrban consolidates with CRM on demand

Sales staff can now leverage a single source of information

A disparate mix of spreadsheets, Access databases and even Post-it notes, was costing Victorian government business VicUrban sales opportunities before it decided to adopt an on-demand CRM application.

VicUrban is one of the largest land and suburban community development companies in Victoria. Its finance director and CIO Sam Sangster said a combination of siloed, unreliable information systems and demand from increasingly IT savvy customers forced it to look at implementing a modern CRM system.

"IT is relatively lean for our size, but we run tier-1 solutions like Oracle ERP and applications, so the critical thing was getting it up and running in a short space of time," Sangster said.

VicUrban evaluated a number of different solutions, including "all the usual suspects" and decided on Oracle's on-demand CRM offering for functionality and integration benefits.

Red Rock Consulting was hired to do the integration work and the 12-week project went live in September. Now about 20 percent of the organization uses CRM on a daily basis.

The hosted CRM solution was integrated with the outsourced contact centre, the external Web site, and provides "clarity of information" for sales staff across the telephone and Web customer contact points.

For example, customers enter enquiries from the Web site which go directly into the CRM system and Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) is used as the integration point.

"For our purposes it was important to consolidate into a single sales process," Sangster said. "Software as a Service does force you to adopt their processes but that's why the evaluation of different solutions was so important. Vendors can show the real thing with Software as a Service so it is easier for them to sell."

The new CRM project also replaced a bespoke Web application.

"We had no integration and couldn't get reporting and had a potential to lose sales," Sangster said. "We've done a lot of work on our information architecture and one is working to a single source of the truth."

VicUrban is already doing BI to a limited extent with its corporate scorecard but it is something the new CRM will facilitate in the future.

"Our marketing campaigns have been used successfully to sell out every lot with e-mail and above the line marketing," Sangster said.

"We are a fairly tech-savvy org and like to use BPO wherever we can. Our innovation is not just in property management but ICT as well," he said.

VicUrban is looking at its e-mail environment and at completing the integration of its forecasting application with its ERP system.

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