Network Equipment Technologies wanted a solution that would work better than Salesforce.com for key business processes. As an alternative it used Microsoft Lynx Server and Microsoft Dynamics software. NET teamed up with Axonom to deploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM and its Powertrak Customer Portal.
The solution has helped NET improve its communication and collaboration with customers and has automated business processes, helping save 6.6% of its annual service personnel hours. Click here to download NET's customer portal case study.
Network Equipment Technologies (NET) provides leading edge session mediation products for unified communications and voice over IP solutions in large enterprise and government organizations. Based in Fremont, California, it delivers products and services to a range of global customers.
During its early years in operation, NET tried using Salesforce.com for its sales and related customer relationship activities but had limited success. The company’s sales processes require some offline capabilities to support government customers, which Salesforce.com could not accommodate. NET wanted stronger integration with the Microsoft Outlook messaging and collaboration client. Additionally, employees were performing time-consuming manual sales forecasts on spreadsheets, resulting in inaccurate data.
NET began developing a new strategy that focused on offering advanced capabilities to help improve communication, collaboration, and coordination between its employees and its customers. The company wanted to make information highly visible, improve general processes, and automate daily tasks that historically were done manually, such as product return authorizations for customers. It also wanted to provide its customers with password-protected portal access to information.
"Our goal was to provide our customers with access to the latest software based on service agreements while streamlining our internal operations," says Carmel Wynkoop, Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Information Technology at NET. "We wanted to automate software updates to remove our sales and service personnel from the process, so our staff could concentrate on higher value activities."
NET worked with Axonom, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics applications, to deploy a customer relationship management solution with integrated unified communications capabilities based on Microsoft products and technology. These include Microsoft Lync Server, Office Professional, SharePoint technologies, Microsoft Dynamics AX, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Customer information stored in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM software is integrated with account information in the Microsoft Dynamics AX system and the sales contact information in Microsoft Outlook clients. The company uses Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions for various enterprise planning tasks and Microsoft Dynamics CRM for its customer relationship management activities. NET deployed the Axonom Powertrak Unified Service Manager and Customer Portal as an extension to Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
The Powertrak software provides functions such as dashboards, displays of product inventory, web self-service, and consoles that can be used to view a customer’s service history, contract status, and assets from a single screen. With Axonom scripting technology, NET representatives can book new service incidents, renew contracts, and process returns through the company’s new online service portal.
Initial deployment began in early 2010. The company has implemented numerous process enhancements since then. About 100 NET employees are actively using the CRM system, including sales, service, and operations personnel.
By using the combined Microsoft technologies, NET has been able to deploy a strong platform for unifying its business activities. With the tightly integrated communications and collaboration tools, the company can build more meaningful relationships with its customers, continue to evolve its business processes, and improve operation efficiencies. And the initial process improvements have already recovered 6.6 percent of the company’s annual service personnel hours.
Easier Collaboration and Communication
By combining Lync Server with the Microsoft Dynamics products, NET has turned its communications and CRM activities into strategic business assets.
"Our customers and partners now can see who is available based on the content they are interested in, and then instantly communicate and collaborate with each other to answer questions and resolve issues," says Wynkoop. "This also works in the sales cycle. As customers and partners build up their orders, they can request configuration advice from available contacts and sales reps who are facilitating the order creation."
New Communication-enabled Services
The solution is creating opportunities for NET to provide new service offerings. For example, the company is developing an enhanced service portal called ExpertLive, which will have the ability to tap into the entire organization’s expertise to help customers. Customers use online presence technology to quickly locate an available expert who knows about a particular support topic and then send an instant message to that person. The portal will also link to online knowledge bases and other sites. "The Microsoft technologies have given us powerful customer relationship capabilities, so now we can create value-added service offerings for our customers,” says Wynkoop. "The integrated Microsoft solution not only helps us save time and money internally but is opening up new business possibilities."
Improved Response Times, Greater Savings
In addition to laying a strategic communication foundation using CRM functionality, NET has been able to fully automate business processes, dramatically improving response times and efficiency, and saving the company time and money. NET estimates that process improvements have helped recover 6.6 percent of its annual service personnel hours.