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NBA Franchise Looks Forward to a Slam-Dunk With Microsoft Dynamics CRM


The Portland Trail Blazers, a franchise of the National Basketball Association based in Portland, Ore., has selected Microsoft Dynamics™ CRM 3.0 to more effectively serve an increasingly wide range of customers. The Portland Trail Blazers’ IT team expects the new system to play a critical role as the organization shifts to serving a more demographically diverse range of customers due to the recent repurchasing of the team’s home facility, the Portland Rose Garden.

The franchise chose to replace its existing Onyx CRM system with Microsoft Corp.’s premier customer relationship management system to help manage and maintain relationships with not only its core of basketball fans, but concertgoers and attendees of many other types of events as well. Integrated with Microsoft® Office Outlook®, Microsoft Dynamics CRM has the same look and feel as Outlook, overcoming user training and acceptance issues right from the start. Microsoft CRM enhances IT’s ability to put business intelligence into the hands of those responsible for sales and marketing, Microsoft Dynamics CRM beat the Onyx solution in terms of cost as well; the Onyx system cost thousands of dollars per seat and the Microsoft option came in at $1,000 per seat.

“In the end it all comes down to how much we know about our customers,” said Chris Dill, chief information officer with the Portland Trail Blazers. “And the more we know about our customers, the more we’re able to renew current customers or up-sell customers or sub-segment our sales messages to sell based on the customers’ preferences. With the valuable data that Microsoft CRM makes available to our sales teams, we can offer special promotions to fans based on their taste, from specific players to specific teams to specific musical artists and special events. We expect the system to dramatically improve the customer service and sales aspect of our business.”

Dill says one of the chief benefits of Microsoft Dynamics CRM is that the system is suited to be at the center of the “Yield Engine.” That engine consists of entities such as the ticketing system, the sponsorship inventory system, Web sites, reporting engines and various other databases. Dill expects Microsoft CRM to help the organization tie all data together to yield better results. The Yield Engine should help specific sections of the organization including inside and outside ticket sales, group ticket sales, overall customer service, and sponsorship sales and support reach their short- and long-term goals.

Specific benefits that the Portland Trail Blazers expect to realize with Microsoft Dynamics CRM include the following:

• Ability to easily cross-sell to customers. The Portland Trail Blazers expect that the rich and easily accessible data available in its new CRM solution will help sales professionals create a more tailored sales offer. This is especially important with the recent repurchase of the Rose Garden because sales responsibilities now go beyond professional basketball.

• Greater integration capabilities. The Portland Trail Blazers expect their new Microsoft CRM system to help them seamlessly integrate their other systems due to the technology’s built-in linking capabilities. For example, Microsoft CRM can integrate with a phone system so that when a call comes in the sales professional answering it can almost instantly know the preferences of the caller, which will help provide a more personalized customer experience.

• Flexibility. The Trail Blazers’ current system cannot be easily customized due to its complexity. For example, the system’s workflow cannot be easily added to or updated. The organization expects Microsoft CRM, due to its flexibility, to be fully capable of evolving alongside the Portland Trail Blazers’ corporate culture and business goals.

• Web-based architecture. The Portland Trail Blazers expect the Web-based architecture of Microsoft CRM to deliver benefits in numerous ways, including the ability for sales and service representatives to walk among the crowds during events to update account information and make additional sales via handheld devices.

Microsoft partner Ascentium Corp., a leading technology and marketing consulting firm that specializes in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, is working with the Portland Trail Blazers to develop and implement the system. Ascentium’s expertise was essential in identifying the right technology to best meet the needs of the Portland Trail Blazers.

“The Portland Trail Blazers is a dynamic business with complex scenarios and technology needs,” said Michael Park, corporate vice president for the U.S. Dynamics business at Microsoft. “Microsoft Dynamics CRM has the power required to help this business rise to new heights with a new level of customer service.”

Video Interview

Chris Dill, CIO of the Portland Trailblazers, talks about how Microsoft Dynamics CRM - and the number one pick in this year’s NBA draft - are helping to fuel ticket sales and keep their customers happy.

Watch the video (.wmv file, 3 min 38 sec)

About Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics is a line of financial, customer relationship and supply chain management solutions that helps businesses work more effectively. Delivered through a network of channel partners providing specialized services, these integrated, adaptable businesses management solutions work like and with familiar Microsoft software to streamline processes across an entire business.

About Ascentium Corporation

Ascentium Corporation ( is an award-winning, integrated marketing and technology consultancy that consistently delivers information-driven business solutions to achieve its clients’ strategic objectives. Making the Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. for the past two years, Ascentium continues to see substantial growth in customer relationship management, digital marketing, web initiatives, enterprise content management, systems integration, custom development and strategic business engagements. The company’s clients include Boeing, Dell, Expedia, InfoSpace, Microsoft, Providence Health Systems, Starbucks and Washington Mutual. Ascentium is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, with offices in Spokane, Portland, Los Angeles and Baltimore.

About the Portland Trail Blazers

Winners of the 1977 NBA Championship, the Portland Trail Blazers are Portland’s only major league professional sports franchise. Owned by investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen of Seattle since 1988, the Trail Blazers continue to be a competitive NBA leader in playoff appearances, sports marketing and community relations. With a corporate culture that promotes volunteerism, the Blazers Community Builders employee volunteer program was a key centerpiece in the Trail Blazers receiving the prestigious National Points of Light Award for Excellence in Corporate Community Service. The Trail Blazers were the first and continue to be the only professional sports team to achieve this honor. To learn more about the Trail Blazers, visit their website at

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.


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