Interview with JosÃ© Prado
Director of Client Service of Carvajal
Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement
Carvajal Tecnología y Servicios is one of the largest technology firms in Colombia comprised of five business units with very different characteristics: sales cycles, average sales, etc. The company invoices close to one billion Colombian pesos a year (US$ 300,000).
Commercial service and marketing management across such different businesses is a major challenge for Carvajal, which must handle a broad set of variables simultaneously in its day-to-day operations.
What was the company’s situation before deciding to implement Dynamics 365?
We initially saw a need to implement a CRM because of the inconsistency in our information. We were using a free-use CRM and there were growing issues in the sales chain, frequency and measuring, which affected the company’s growth strategy. In 2015, we created and structured a new marketing area dedicated to generating demand. It was essential to be able to combine all these parts. We discovered that our CRM software had several shortcomings in terms of time, report creation and user adoption.
What were the objectives behind the implementation of Dynamics 365?
We wanted to achieve something we call a “360 client”. Our idea at the time was to include the NIT (Tax Identification Number) of a specific client in our CRM in order to analyses any problems in terms of service, open orders, specific marketing campaigns, invoicing history and their importance in terms of revenue, and so on.
Our fundamental goal was to have a comprehensive understanding of the client. In addition, we had objectives regarding mobility in our commercial operations, and we wanted to implement a user-friendly familiar platform that users would easily adopt. We also needed real-time reports since our platform at the time could only provide us this information after 24 to 48 hours, which caused significant delays in terms of impact.
What were the needs of the company and how did Dynamics 365 meet them?
We examined three solutions from US companies and finally decided on Microsoft Dynamics.
We conducted a very thorough evaluation: a functional evaluation to see what the software could do, a financial evaluation to see how much the different solutions would cost, and finally we evaluated the user experience.
What was your biggest goal in implementing Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement?
Our goal was to achieve the fastest adoption possible. Other solutions were more robust but also more complex, and ultimately we identified this as a “stopper” and an inconvenience. Obviously, Dynamics 365 is a very robust solution, but other tools ended up being more complex than functional. Our goal was to succeed in having our sales staff quickly adopting the solution, and Dynamics 365 offered us a balance between functionality, price and ease-of-use given its similarity to the Microsoft 365 office suite.
What benefits does Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement offer your company?
Today, almost 100% of users are working with the tool. Previously, a report would take 48 hours to prepare, now we can access the information in real time. This is a great help at high-level commercial meetings with the other vice presidents; an opportunity is immediately updated in Dynamics so we can see it in real time and observe its impact on projection.
The other important benefit has been the integration of three areas: customer service, sales and marketing. We can basically see the whole trajectory of a client from the moment he or she clicks on a Facebook ad until a service case is created.
How did you find the implementation model?
We had a challenge and we wanted to make the implementation as standard as possible to avoid any problem when updating and installing new developments from Microsoft.
The implementation model AlfaPeople proposed was very speedy. We were a bit late in reaching Go-Live, but this tardiness was a result of unforeseen situations along the way. I preferred to delay the implementation in order to ensure that it was done correctly.
What has your experience been using Dynamics 365 following implementation?
It has been very good. It is a stable product, which has not crashed and which behaves as we were told it would. We have been able to integrate it very well with Power BI reports. Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement is a solution that offers many benefits. It has been very easy to administer and the cost of ownership of the product is relatively low and very simple.
Could you quantify the cost savings or expenses associated with the implementation in terms of both money and time?
With the integration of Dynamics 365 with Power BI, we can quantify the time it takes to obtain a report in real time as well as obtaining and predicting data using the data at my disposal. In this sense, I can predict if the company will meet its sales target in any given month or sales cycle. I can therefore make decisions eight to 10 months in advance. Having the CRM at my disposal in order to make projections and calculations with cycles and implementation times allows us to make decisions to help cover any shortfalls in the coming months or year.
Why did you choose AlfaPeople as an implementation partner?
We studied different companies before choosing AlfaPeople. AlfaPeople had two or three important characteristics which ultimately swayed our decision. First, they presented us with an “easy” project. Easy does not mean simple, but it was a project that was achievable, that looked plausible. Second, during a meeting prior to choosing the final partner, we sat down with Adriana Triana, the sales representative. Adriana basically talked with us over several hours to gain a wider understanding of our different businesses. That knowledge base grew significantly when AlfaPeople completed an information survey after being contracted. I realized at that time, and still maintain, that AlfaPeople was always going to do a very thorough job, fully understanding our company’s operations so that Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement would align with the operational business characteristics of the organization.
What was your post-implementation support experience like?
Post-implementation support in general has been good, despite only having to use it a few times. Some issues were not available in the survey phase and this has resulted in delays, since we had to purchase additional developments. AlfaPeople has been with us all the way. They are always willing to help us. There is a legitimate concern expressed by AlfaPeople: that we are operating with a functional product and that we are using it.