Should your agency be using Dynamics 365?
Published on May 11, 2018 - Leigh Brady
When you boil it down, all government services are triggered by contacts: a visa applicant rings up to check on the application progress or a NSW State Government employee requests a briefing. Each of these contacts has a history and they each prompt an action.
Are your agency’s systems set up to manage that web of interactions and to achieve the best possible outcome for each of those trigger points? Or are paper-based processes, legacy systems and siloed knowledge slowing you down?
The alternative to paper process is a tool that integrates both Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). That means configuring workflows and assigning resources in response to a contact from someone who needs your service.
The question is: does your agency need this service? Here are the four questions we consider in discussing this with the agencies we work with.
1. Do contacts trigger complex actions?
If your agency is getting a high volume of inbound calls and emails, you may already have a contact centre management system in place. That system will be automatically distributing calls, showing basic contact information. If you only need that system to record what you said to that person, and flag a basic follow-up, the contact centre system may be all you need.
But relying on contact centre management is an inherently reactive model. It responds to calls as they come in. In contrast, CRM software, with its origins in marketing, helps us proactively plan out a desired flow of interactions. For government, that flow doesn’t usually end in making a sale, but it could end in a benefit being granted or a license being conferred. There is still an interaction to plan.
Tools like Dynamics 365 allow you to focus the CRM lens even more widely. Integrating your CRM with your contact centre management system isn't much of a stretch. But what about ministerial correspondence? What difference would it make to your certainty and visibility over critical stakeholder relationships to know what stage of contact an incoming ministerial correspondence is at?
2. Do your staff have to move between processes?
If you’ve got one staff resource doing a job they know inside out and which they’ll never leave, your agency may not need a workflow management tool.
That’s often not the reality for government agencies. We often see staff whose time is 95% dedicated to known processes. But once or twice a year, they need to switch gears and tackle an unfamiliar process. Perhaps it’s yearly reporting, or organising a bi-annual forum. Even if a staff member has been with your agency for some time, they don’t have that ready grasp of the process that comes with repetition. Instead, it takes longer for them to re-learn the process. There’s more room for mistakes.
Here’s where a CRM/ERP tool like D365 can help: mapping the workflow for you. Presenting it to the staff member as a scaffolding for their plans and decisions. Your agency isn’t sacrificing control - you can always change the workflow. If anything, you actually gain control because adjusting a process isn’t bedevilled by shadow memories of how things used to be done; people won’t slip back into past practices.
3. Do you have several disconnected systems?
In most departments, the problem is not that they don’t have the right application. It’s that none of the applications talk to each other enough. Most Departments we see have some integration: their HR systems talk to Active Directory, for example. But even for Departments which already have an ERP such as SAP in place, the integration tends to be inward-facing: HR systems talk to each other, but what about the citizen experience? If an agency decides to launch a diabetes awareness campaign, can they accurately forecast the call centre resources needed? D365 provides the nerve fibre that connects the different systems. It helps to make sure that the inward-facing and the outward facing systems align.
4. Does your environment change suddenly?
In government, it's a common scenario. Perhaps legislation is amended, and you have four weeks to change the way you work. This has a knock-on effect for awarding benefits or the conditions for receiving a license.
When processes are paper-based, or worse, locked in implicit knowledge, change is fraught. There’s too much risk, and too much inertia.
Tools like Dynamics 365 bring the process mapping and action together. Because it’s all in the one place, changing a process is a matter of reconfiguring a module: adding another step or changing a condition. You can work faster, and more responsively. So in summary, your agency can benefit from Dynamics 365 if you need to:
- Proactively manage your interactions
- Manage disparate processes
- Respond quickly
- Forecast resources