Using Microsoft Dynamics to support women back to work

“We are an organisation that’s here to help and empower women but we need to know that’s what we’re actually doing – we need to see the evidence for it. The level of detail and understanding we get now is incredible.”

Rosemary Ashworth, Head of Operations, Smart Works

Smart Works is a UK registered charity that provides high quality interview clothes, styling advice and interview training to women in need. Smart Works gives women the confidence, the self-belief and the practical tools they require to succeed at interview and start a new chapter of their life.

At the core of the Smart Works service is a dressing and interview appointment. Smart Works provides women with a high-quality interview outfit (theirs to keep) and dedicated one-to-one interview training.

Smart Works has two offices in London and licensees operating in Edinburgh, Manchester, Reading and Birmingham and plan to expand to six more locations in the next three years. Last year Smart Works saw 1,500 women in their London offices and 57% of these women went on to succeed at interview.

The existing database was complex in structure and difficult to modify

Smart Works previously captured customer, partner and appointment information on a combination of spreadsheets and Access databases. Smart Works used various types of different booking tools to confirm appointments.

The previous Access database was fulfilling a crucial role – to provide the charity with the data management they needed to record a woman’s journey into employment. It was essential that the database provided accurate, reliable and up to date information to support the organisation across all aspects including: funding applications, impact and process evaluation and strategic planning.

The old database was complex in structure and difficult to modify as needed. It also only had the capacity to log information from the London offices.

Smart Works had a vision of having one cloud based database solution to capture key information from all of its offices. Management wanted to be able to collect data from every woman using its service, produce detailed reports on all aspects of its work, customise the database as needed, manage different levels of access to the data from within the organisation, have capacity for growth and bring in a booking schedule to streamline appointments. The aim was to achieve all this while maintaining the integrity of their existing 9000+ records.

  • Complex structure
  • Difficult to modify
  • Limited capabilities

Full visibility across all interactions

Smart Works drew up a proposal and invited companies to bid. After a process of review, Smart Works chose Incremental to implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The brief was clear but as a charity the budget was constrained. Incremental worked with Smart Works to get the best solution out of the budget available.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM manages, from start to finish, Smart Works’ engagement with their partners, clients and volunteers. Potential customers are referred to Smart Works by a network of close partners including JobcentrePlus, Work Programme providers and numerous charities. Customer data is captured in CRM and the system is then used to book and confirm appointments. The referrers also receive this information so they can support the client throughout the process. Microsoft Dynamics CRM automatically sends out a text reminder to clients 24 hours before the appointment, and another text to follow up after the appointment.

With regards to customer engagement, Rosemary Ashworth, Head of Operations for Smart Works said “We supplement this by following up in person as well, but it’s important to us to know that all our clients have been contacted.”

For the first time Smart Works now has full visibility of all its interactions at its different sites across the country. Dashboards have been set up so that staff can instantly see what’s happening where, for example how many appointments are planned in Birmingham, or how many women in total are being helped each week. The collation and analysis of data is very powerful, and it also allows Smart Works to track their interactions with their numerous referrers.

The step up for Smart Works from using a variety of different data management systems across their offices to investing in one integrated system has been a big step. The management team recognised that in order to grow they needed a more robust data management strategy. Ashworth explained: “Rolling out the CRM programme across our different UK branches has helped us realise the benefits of having our data in one place.”

With the help of Microsoft Dynamics, Smart Works is now in a strong position to expand its reach and the important work it does – empowering women to succeed at interview.

"We are an organisation that’s here to help and empower women but we need to know that’s what we’re actually doing – we need to see the evidence for it. The level of detail and understanding we get now is incredible.”

Smart Works now has all the information require to manage the organisation in one integrated system

  • Greater visibility of key data – Smart Works now has all the information it needs to manage the organisation in one integrated system. Rosemary Ashworth, Head of Operations said, “The most fantastic thing about it is having access to a level and detail of data that we’ve never had before. The filtering, reports and search features are great.”
  • Accessibility and reliability – Microsoft Dynamics CRM online is available all the time and from any location. This is extremely useful to staff and volunteers who often work away from the office or flexible hours. As a cloud service, the system is always up to date.
  • Communicating successes – Smart Works now has information at its fingertips which they can share volunteers and the press which is incredibly powerful.
  • A truly integrated CRM strategy – Smart Works is now able to use the data it collects to build up a picture of its customers, how Smart Works helps them, who referred them. The system helps them build relationships with referrers and track which volunteers worked with which customers. This gives them full visibility of the relationships that underpin its work along with management information on how to improve and develop things in future.
  • Data integrity – Whilst the London offices previously used Access, the other regional locations used Excel spreadsheets for data capture. Microsoft Dynamics CRM now gives Smart Works one consistent, robust and reliable data management system across all locations.

"To have all this information at our fingertips and to be able to share it is incredibly powerful."

A partnership built on trust

Incremental was inspired by the Smart Works charity and actively wanted to be involved and help the charity. We believe that the not for profit sector should be able to get the same high quality of consultancy that large businesses have come to expect. We are delighted to have such a strong, trusting partnership with Smart Works.

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