Single customer view drives digital business strategy

“The project was very much managed as a partnership. The programme structure that Incremental gave us reduced risk by allowing us to manage our stakeholders, set out expectations and took us through the process step-by-step. As an organisation we have matured and learnt a lot during this rigorous process.”

Andrew Gallery, CTO, Ultimate Finance

Over the course of 16 years, Ultimate Finance has provided over £1 billion in funding to thousands of businesses of all sizes, across different industry sectors. Ultimate Finance’s products range from simple online cash loans, hire purchases, specific industry financing to smart end-to-end supply chain solutions.

As an independent funder it is able to provide the flexibility and speed of funding that British businesses need.

In a highly competitive market place, Ultimate Finance has built a compelling strategy for growth based on digital products, and the use of customer-facing technology. With nine financial products, it was important Ultimate Finance could leverage and align business data to enable cross-selling and better help customers understand their financial journey. Digital platforms also offer the customer options as customers can engage through the channel of their choice.

Business data had become disparate and siloed

Ultimate Finance had already invested in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013. The solution was built by a nonspecialist partner and was poorly implemented, difficult to work with, producing poor quality data and suffering from low user adoption. It was no longer fit for purpose however could not be upgraded because it was so heavily configured.

The company’s business data had become disparate and siloed. Andrew Gallery, CTO, Ultimate Finance explained, “Our data was a real challenge. The legacy system was designed in a way where record duplication was frequent and inevitable. We had thousands of duplicate records that were hampering our ability to understand our customers.”

It became clear that it would not be enough to iterate the existing system; Ultimate Finance needed a new solution that would bring everything together on one digital platform.

"The legacy system was designed in a way where record duplication was frequent and inevitable. We had thousands of duplicate records that were hampering our ability to understand our customers."

A highly effective customer journey

Ultimate Finance managed a selection process to identify a new Dynamics partner capable of providing not only the necessary technical skills and experience, but also the leadership to help define a Dynamics programme to bring together CRM, the digital platform and the customer data from across the Ultimate Finance business systems architecture.

Incremental was selected as the strategic partner, and after initial discussions and planning, Dynamics 365 was selected as the digital CRM platform of choice, with the aim of delivering a highly effective customer journey and engagement with the company’s new digital products. Additionally, it would also support the more traditional products.

The programme was initiated in January 2017 and a roadmap established to address migration from the legacy Dynamics CRM platform, optimise business processes, align with the digital platform implementation and move the whole of the Ultimate Finance business on to Dynamics 365 on the cloud.

The process to migrate data from Dynamics CRM 2013 was challenging due to the volume of disparate data that needed overhauling. The new Dynamics 365 solution has now enabled Ultimate Finance to bring all nine financial products onto the new digital platform.

From first funding interest, a customer lead is now managed smoothly through the opportunity lifecycle to the underwriting stage until it is approved and the funds are delivered. Andrew, CTO, Ultimate Finacne expalined, “This process hasn’t fundamentally changed however it is now much more effective and consistent.”

“There are many challenges in overcoming business changes while undertaking a major project, but Incremental brought a really clear and effective approach and that has worked exceptionally well. They are a true partner."

Accuracy, flexibility and consistency of data and processes

  • Single prospect and customer view – Dynamics 365 has become a central repository for Ultimate Finance’s customer information. They previously didn’t have that visibility as it was spread across different
    systems. CRM now truly sits at the heart of our customer journey.
  • User experience – Andrew, CTO explained “User experience has dramatically improved. Incremental took us through a process of rigorous training from the outset to ensure user engagement.”
  • Streamlined underwriting process – With intuitive Microsoft tools managed within Dynamics 365, usability and process speed have improved.
  • Consistent business processes – Dynamics 365 has been the springboard for driving improvements to business processes as well as giving Ultimate Finance the ability to serve customers better.
  • Data accuracy – From data collection to reporting and analysis, data accuracy has improved across the business.
  • No duplication of data – Andrew explained, “We can now manage financial risk better by allowing multiple products to be attached to one customer. We can avoid duplication of data which was a huge issue for us in the past.”
  • Flexibility and mobility of one CRM cloud solution – The company can now provide oversight of customers and all its data automatically in one system, without needing to increase headcount.

"We have massively increased visibility of what is happening across the organisation, allowing us to prioritise better and lead to more exciting possibilities and sales opportunities which is hugely valuable.”

A digital workforce

The next step is to enable a digital workforce, allowing the sales teams to access Dynamics 365 via mobile devices, giving them touchscreen capability and allowing them to share remote information with the customer.

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