A CRM solution that supports the office of the future

“Our customised CRM platform is helping us support the office of the future. It has given us the ability to differentiate how we do our business, helped us communicate more quickly and transformed the way we view and report on data. It has given us the ownership we needed to make changes as our business changes: we’ve been able to add in new products and services seamlessly.”

Jon Thorpe, Managing Director, ACS

ACS is a leading IT company based in the UK. The company is split into four divisions: IT solutions; workplace furniture and interiors; cloud computing; recruitment.

ACS’ Head Office is in Northampton, and it has offices in Milton Keynes and London. ACS has been named in the Sunday Times Top 100 Best Companies to work for in the UK for three years running.

A more flexible CRM system was required to support business growth

Before ACS engaged Incremental, the company was using a CRM system which at the time was the top product globally, to run the front end of its business. Jon Thorpe, Managing Director said, “We constantly ran into challenges of wanting to make changes as our business grew. The cost of making changes to the platform was prohibitive and our implementation partner was not flexible enough in terms of the timescales we needed: it was slowing our speed of growth.”

The company needed a more flexible, customisable CRM system if the business was going to grow against its forecasts. ACS is a Microsoft Gold Partner and runs its back office using Microsoft Dynamics, so Microsoft Dynamics CRM was an attractive option as it would give the company the opportunity to take more ownership of changes to the platform.

Thorpe explained, “Incremental clearly demonstrated an understanding of our sector and of mapping processes. They were talking our language and stood out head and shoulders above the competition.”

"The cost of making changes to the platform was prohibitive and our implementation partner was not flexible enough in terms of the timescales we needed: it was slowing our speed of growth.”

Customisation that would encourage growth

Incremental worked closely with the Marketing Manager from ACS to draw up a project plan for the initial implementation to minimise disruption to the business.

ACS began to reap the benefits of the new CRM platform straight away and their team began to customise the system to enable the business to grow. “What Incremental gave us after the initial installation was the ability to make changes ourselves,” said Jon Thorpe, Managing Director. “We couldn’t do that with our previous CRM system. It was also clear that we didn’t need to be programmers to achieve the ongoing customisation and tweaks we needed to make as the business grows.”

The flexibility of the Microsoft solution has enabled ACS to run all four of its businesses on a single CRM platform, enabling the company to maintain all its client relationships in one place, and making cross-selling much easier.

This easy access to a huge range of sales data and customer information has transformed communication throughout the business. ACS takes the real-time reports produced by the system and displays these via dashboards on TV screens around its buildings. “Microsoft CRM has given us the ability to communicate so much more that was just unachievable before,” explained Thorpe. “From CRM we can publish live statistics on performance,  uccesses, sales pipelines – everything. I don’t believe you can get that kind of ease of reporting from other platforms that is so tailored to what you want to communicate.”

ACS also uses CRM to support the company’s social media activities. ACS can access its data more easily and integrate it with social media, helping the marketing team run campaigns.

“We can’t allow down-time during the working day, so it all had to be carefully planned. The deployment was done over different weekends, put into a testing environment and signed off before we went to the live environment.”

Self-sufficiency to scale the business

  • Enabling Growth – The main objective for this project was to implement a system that was easy to manage and customise and would grow with the business. Jon Thorpe, Managing Director said “The CRM platform has given us self-sufficiency to scale our business. It’s given us ownership to make changes as our business changes and made it easier for us to attack new markets quickly.”
  • Increased Efficiency – ACS is now able to run all four of its businesses within a single Microsoft CRM platform. This has enabled the company to cross-sell between the divisions and gives full visibility of customer activity across any of the businesses.
  • System Customisation – The ease of customisation has enabled ACS to use the CRM as the springboard for exciting communications projects. Chris Burton, Marketing Manager, ACS said, “The big win for me is the flexibility to be able to plug in all of the additional things we want to be doing around mobility, dashboards around the building and making the most of our data visibility.”
  • Social Media Integration – ACS is now using social media as an effective business tool. It monitors what prospects and customers are saying on Twitter, pulls that information into the CRM allowing sales to follow up and convert into sales.

“The CRM platform has given us self-sufficiency to scale our business. It’s given us ownership to make changes as our business changes and made it easier for us to attack new markets quickly.”

Upgrading to utilise additional features

Since the inital project, ACS has worked with Incremental again to upgrade the platform. The upgrade has delivered a range of additional benefits for the organisation. The Microsoft Dynamics solution is now used by over 120 users across 3 locations and this is growing as the company grows.

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