Enabling flexibility and growth with Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement

“Incremental have enabled us to become self-sufficient where possible, allowing us to react quickly with our customers. It is a very efficient process and our staff have become more productive.”

Hugo Grimes, Head of IT, AMI

AMI is a leading global market research consultancy providing research, consulting and analytical services to the world’s plastics industry with offices in the UK, USA and colleagues based in China.

Founded in 1986, AMI’s teams of consultants, researchers, writers and event organisers understand the global plastics processing industry intimately, enabling them to identify exciting market opportunities, new customers and innovative technologies.

The future of AMI will see growth of its events business, developing the breadth of conferences, launching into trade exhibitions and training and its consultancy work continuing to feed expertise into these events.

The existing system presented a risk to the organisation

Following an acquisition, and as part of its growth strategy, AMI wanted to replace its proprietary system to bring the organisation into the 21st century and to support its ambitious growth goals. The proprietary system had serviced AMI well, enabling years of conference ticket sales. The system was however unlikely to be able to support the growth of the organisation going forward. With ageing technology, high levels of development costs and a lack of integration capability due to its bespoke nature, the existing system presented a risk to the organisation.

AMI wanted to make it easier for customers to sign up to their conferences. They also wanted the ability to manage more targeted marketing campaigns with their existing customer data, and to manage subscribe/unsubscribe requests to comply with new GDPR laws.

AMI’s goal was to create a Cloud-based event management solution with compatibility across multiple platforms that would offer high levels of flexibility and support their other CRM needs. Key to AMI’s objectives was a conference delegate self-service channel, which would provide online registration and payment capability.

The clear choice for AMI was an off-the-shelf CRM solution that could grow with the organisation and meet their integration needs with Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics NAV and their other key business tools.

  • Ageing technology
  • High development costs
  • Lack of integration capability

Microsoft Dynamics was the obvious choice

With the key objectives of growth and making it easier for customers to buy services, the initial requirements for the conference side of AMI’s business quickly expanded to a company-wide CRM solution that would meet AMI’s aspirations. This formed Phase 1 of the project.

The strength of Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 eased the selection process and displaced other solutions. In addition to this, integration with Microsoft Dynamics NAV and unsurpassed extendibility, made Microsoft Dynamics 365 the obvious choice.

Incremental was selected from a shortlist of Dynamics UK partners with the right experience. Hugo Grimes, Head of IT at AMI said, “Having met the team at Incremental it was clear they were a good fit. I felt we could build a manageable relationship with them, and we were ready to go forward.”

The conference team is now using the new Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform to manage registrations for 50 conferences a year removing a significant amount of cumbersome administration work and delivering consistent delegate management.

One major deliverable of the solution was the improvement of AMI’s email marketing capability to enhance communication with customers. Using Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement and an integrated marketing solution, AMI are now benefiting from synchronised marketing data and effective reporting/success rate monitoring. AMI also has greater control over subscriber preferences, and can ensure compliance with data privacy laws. Hugo highlighted, “This has been a notable change for the business in the way we communicate, as we previously had no visibility of who was opening or clicking on our emails”.

"I felt we could build a manageable relationship and we were ready to go forward"

Flexibility, efficiency and transparency

  • Ability to support organisational growth – AMI is now in a solid position to evolve it’s platform and provide continuous improvements to it’s users. AMI are expanding their use of Dynamics 365 into the rest of the business.
  • Visibility of data – AMI now has joined up, consistent data to rely on and to manage it’s conference registrations and marketing campaigns.
  • Efficiency gains for conference organisers – Conference staff are benefiting from productivity gains with still more features to be added including automated invoicing.
  • Transparency of marketing activity – Email tracking enables the company to track feeds into Google Analytics and more easily report on activity via the registration portal, helping the company define marketing success.
  • Future proofing – The new solution is built on modern technology and standard Microsoft components which can be integrated with other applications in the future. By using a credible Microsoft Gold Partner and packaged solutions, AMI has mitigated the risks associated with proprietary solutions and smaller software development companies.
  • Reduced costs of development – As a packaged solution, AMI benefits from reduced costs, complexity and risk. End users are empowered to create their own dashboards and reports through the standard Dynamics 365 tools.
  • User friendly platform – Dynamics 365 provides a modern cloud-based application that is familiar to AMI’s users. The system integrates seamlessly with AMI’s other business productivity tools in Office 365.

"This has been a notable change for the business in the way we communicate."

Moving to phase 2 of the project

The next phase of the project will implement the Microsoft Dynamics NAV integration, automating the sales order process through conference payments and invoicing. The self-service conference portal will also go live which will deliver online registration and payment capability for conferences. The portal will give AMI’s customers the ability to manage their bookings, their profile and download presentation information from conferences attended.

  • Automated sales order processing
  • Self-service customer portal

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