TOWER began business in New Zealand in 1869 as a government department selling life insurance policies and pensions. Since then, it has grown and transformed over the past 139 years and its business today is mainly focused on selected areas in the risk insurance and wealth management markets.
Today, this multi-million dollar Kiwi company employs approximately 900 people. As part of the successful company’s core business processes, TOWER insurance consultants were entering leads in to two systems – SalesForce.com and QWEST (quoting tool). This caused ‘double keying’ of leads into multiple systems as the leads management and quoting systems were not integrated. Not only did this cause data inconsistencies, but valuable time was inefficiently spent on manual reporting using Excel.
Understanding the need to improve these processes, TOWER aimed to: replace SalesForce.com (the incumbent) with Microsoft Dynamics CRM for both TOWER Health & Life and TOWER General Insurance; expand the use of CRM to provide integration with the online sales channel to capture customer, contact and quote related information in CRM; and expand the use of CRM to support a broader leads management requirement including integration with QWEST.
Datacom’s ability to quickly respond to tight project deadlines, as well as its proven existing relationship and competitive cost made it an ideal partner for this project.
However, TOWER had to be convinced that CRM would provide at least the same capability as SalesForce. In response, Datacom presented CRM while comparing honestly the advantages and disadvantages of CRM versus SalesForce in a “score card” format. Datacom showed CRM’s capability met Tower’s requirements and corporate objectives, and also included the option of in-house hosting of data.
Dynamics CRM was tailored to meet the core requirement of leads management for TOWER and sales consultants’ processes were streamlined, due to the supporting technology.
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 was used as the database and CRM was integrated with BizTalk to receive real time quotes as produced in the quoting tool. Additionally, it was integrated with Tower’s online sales channel to receive details on quotes customers created online. This provided a “single client view” and consolidated quotes issued across the online and direct phone channels, giving insurance consultants a true view of their opportunities and sales pipeline.
Effective implementation was achieved using the agile development methodology whereby a joint Datacom/Tower project team meet daily following the Scrum framework. Scrum is a simple framework used to organise teams and get work done more productively with higher quality.
Daily scrums provided the ability to respond to business (product owner) needs, allowing questions to be answered in a timely fashion. Weekly ‘scrum of scrums’ were held with two other agile teams within TOWER, with whom Datacom was working on integrating CRM into their products.
The agile process at Tower was well respected, and the main principles behind the agile manifesto were kept. The leads management CRM project was extremely successful, down to expertise of Datacom’s CRM team and keeping true to the agile principals.
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