A Roadmap for Reaping Benefits from a New CRM
As the trade association for retail businesses, the British Retail Consortium's (BRC) purpose is to make a positive difference to the retail industry and the customers it serves, today and in the future.
Membership comprises over 170 major retailers operating physical stores, multichannel and pureplay online - plus thousands of smaller, independent retailers through a number of niche retail Trade Associations that are themselves members of BRC.
Increasingly, staff from across the organisation felt that the original Dynamics 365 CRM could not fully support core business functions or provide the futureproof platform and flexible systems required.
The relationship between BRC and the original CRM provider was considered to be less than optimal; both short and longer-term initiatives, as well as proposed development for the existing CRM, were expensive and took a long time to specify and deliver. This eroded BRC's confidence and resulted in numerous workarounds to processes and a heavilycustomised solution. Although these customisations resolved immediate problems, the piecemeal approach to development left BRC with an unstructured product and poor roadmap.
To get the CRM to function, BRC were heavily reliant on scarce technical resources. Only one person in the organisation fully understood the increasingly complex structure of the CRM. The original Website/Portal integration with the CRM was also problematic. In order to enable BRC to support its members and stakeholders effectively, it was in major need of an overhaul. For example, members had to overcome significant hurdles simply to log on to the portal and further manual workarounds and interventions were required to ensure the data interacted with the CRM.
Bluelight's detail orientated, and super-organised way of working meant that we could rely on them to keep everything on track. Not having to manage a traditional Client/Supplier relationship freed us up to focus on collaboration and our key objectives.
- Fraser Tant
- Membership Director
- British Retail Consortium
The CRM was seen as the heart of the transformation but running simultaneously were two satellite projects, one to move the Finance platform over to Business Central and another to replace the existing Portal and expand the functionality to manage Membership, Preferences and Events.
Bluelight worked with BRC to scope and explore the requirements for the new CRM. By taking a forward-thinking approach that focused on 'What do you want to be able to do?' instead of 'What problems do you have right now', Bluelight Business Analysts were able to capture and verify the full requirements across a number of teams including Membership, Events, Learning, Finance, Marketing, Partnership & Communities.
As the Data Migration exercise was planned out, it became clear that using traditional methods of data delivery would add risk to the project, and a more guided approach was therefore needed. Bluelight put together a tailored package of support which freed BRC from shouldering much of the burden of managing the data, and testing was structured in order to facilitate an achievable output for BRC.
Bluelight worked with BRC to scope and explore the requirements for the new CRM. By taking a forward-thinking approach that focused on ‘What do you want to be able to do?’ instead of ‘What problems do you have right now’, Bluelight Business Analysts were able to capture and verify the full requirements across a number of teams including Membership, Events, Learning, Finance, Marketing, Partnership & Communities.
The implementation phase was scheduled over six months with a November 2021 Go Live. This in itself was not a problematic timeframe; however, within the six months, suppliers for the new Finance System and Portal had to be sourced and appointed, and the full project lifecycle for these, including both the Discovery and the Implementation phases, had to be completed. Challenging internal staffing constraints also needed to be managed as BRC juggled BAU demands and the departure of key resources. Bluelight was able to support BRC across all aspects of the implementation and across all partners.
During the implementation phase, BRC regularly reviewed the CRM in order to input into the technical and functional development. This ensured that by the time BRC were ready to conduct end-to-end UAT, they were already familiar with the interface and the high-level principles underpinning the structure of the system.
As the Data Migration exercise was planned out, it became clear that, due to resource limitations and the loss of key expertise around data, using traditional methods of data delivery would add risk to the project, and a more guided approach was therefore needed. Bluelight put together a tailored package of support which freed BRC from shouldering much of the burden of managing the data, and testing was structured in order to facilitate an achievable output for BRC. Successful projects require a flexible and responsive approach, and Bluelight built a Team around the Project that supports this ethos.
Once technology partners were appointed for Finance, Portal and Email Campaigns, the key to success became collaboration. BRC appointed an external Project Manager to ensure all organisations were aligned to the Bluelight timeline. Bluelight believes it is essential to collaborate with and provide leadership to all stakeholders and took the lead in all areas to ensure a very complex UAT and pre-Go Live phase was managed.
The challenges were understood by all parties from the outset. As the project progressed, detailed and clear planning, coupled with open, honest and collaborative communication across the teams, ensured the complexities surrounding the implementation were absorbed. For example, engaging in weekly check-in calls with the Website/Portal Partner helped ensure deliverables were aligned to allow for end-to-end testing during the UAT phase.
Bluelight were abreast of all elements of the wider project. They provided a valuable leadership role across the whole delivery enabling the entire project, not just the CRM, to Go Live together.
- Fraser Tant
- Membership Director
- British Retail Consortium
By taking a highly-collaborative approach, the project was delivered successfully, on time and to budget and went live in November 2021.
The core elements of the project were:
Detailed analysis of business requirements
Dynamics CRM implementation
Data migration from legacy CRM and associated systems
Launch of a new web portal allowing login, registration, profile and comms preference updates as well as online payments and event bookings
Launch of new Finance system, Business Central, ahead of integration with BlueCRM planned for early 2022
The benefits BRC are realising from the new CRM include the ability to:
Have a unified 360° view of its users all in one place and use the insights gained to deliver improved value to members
Use a CRM which is more fully embedded into the working culture and processes of BRC. With the old system, one staff member acted as the conduit for all CRM-related information. Now, everyone throughout the organisation has access to the information they need in the most effective format.
Increase member engagement by providing more targeted communication based on a database of interests and historical activity.
Provide all BRC staff with an overview of contacts and their activity so information isn't siloed into teams.
Allow BRC staff to work more efficiently and provide more resources to members through improved automation and fewer manual processes.
Produce powerful data analysis using data BRC can trust.
How can we help you?
Fill in the form below and we will contact you.