Port of Long Beach Chooses Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Smoother Sailing With Customers
Microsoft technology will move contact information on more than 15,000 people from desktops and notepads to a single enterprisewide database.
REDMOND, Wash. — July 2008 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that the Port of Long Beach in California has selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 to provide the technology needed to create a single repository for information on its 15,000 contacts, representing 5,000 companies.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM furnishes organizations with powerful, role-based customer relationship management capabilities. For the Port of Long Beach, the Microsoft solution will replace spreadsheets, desktop databases and handwritten records that currently reside in the offices of the organization’s 375 employees. The technology will unify these contacts to allow access for all authorized personnel at their desks and via the Web when working remotely.
The port’s Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution is being hosted by Microsoft Gold Certified Partner CRM OnTarget in Seattle. This hosting option enables the port to save money by sharing a server at the partner’s location with other companies.
Long Beach is the nation’s second-busiest seaport, with trade valued annually at more than $100 billion moving through its port. Currently its external contacts are maintained by each of the 16 divisions in the port’s organization in separate repositories — PCs, servers or even paper notepads. The port needed a central repository for managing these contacts.
Before purchasing the Microsoft solution, the port evaluated it along with Salesforce.com and Maximizer CRM 10, selecting Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 because of its tight integration with Microsoft Office Outlook; the ability to have it externally hosted initially, with the option to bring it in-house later; and its Web interface that allows accessibility from virtually anywhere.
In making its technology selection, the Port of Long Beach assembled an evaluation team of independent consultants, which recommended CRM OnTarget and affirmed the partner’s recommendation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0.
The port will focus initially on the Microsoft Office Outlook module that integrates Microsoft Dynamics CRM into each employee’s familiar application for contact lists, e-mail and calendaring. It is retiring each of the other repositories that staff previously had generated.
The Port of Long Beach expects to benefit in a number of ways from its adoption of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0:
Integration of information. Until now, each division in the port carried out projects without coordinating contact information with the other divisions, and they were unable to share data because their separate systems did not talk to each other. Instead of existing as numerous “minicompanies,” the port will be able to centralize and integrate its information from such areas as damage reporting and security.
Improved image with customers. Previously, one division of the port might update its information about a particular contact — the individual’s new title or address, for instance — while other divisions did not. When the contact received information from the other divisions, the old information may have been used, making the port operation look uncoordinated. Microsoft Dynamics CRM will keep only the latest version of contact information in a single repository so that all users access the most current data.
Time savings. In the past, when information on an individual contact was entered by multiple staff members of the port, it would be keyed or written in several times in different repositories, with each entry requiring its own updating process. Now the organization will save time by entering and modifying contact and company data only once, making it available in real time to all the relevant port personnel.
More accurate data. The elimination of multiple manual entries of contact information on paper, in spreadsheets or in redundant databases will reduce the opportunity for entering incorrect information. Furthermore, the port’s Microsoft Dynamics CRM technology will allow the use of drop-down boxes when searching for a contact name, eliminating spelling errors in communications to contacts and producing more accurate results in searches of the database.
Better reporting. Microsoft Dynamics CRM will enable individual users to produce custom reports from the centralized database, yielding more types of reports, more targeted reporting, and faster access to reports than was available before.
Customization by division to speed workflow. Each division will have access to its own custom tabs, fields, check boxes, views and workflows that are specific to its business dealings with customers.
The Port of Long Beach will integrate Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 not only with Outlook but also with the other Microsoft solutions it currently employs, including Microsoft Office 2003, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, Microsoft Office Visio 2003, Microsoft Office Project 2003 and the Windows XP operating system.
“When a business deals with thousands of companies and tens of thousands of individuals, reliance on an integrated contact database is crucial,” said Michael Park, corporate vice president for Microsoft’s U.S. Dynamics business. “Manual or individually created systems present too many opportunities for errors that can be costly to the organization’s reputation and bottom line. Microsoft Dynamics CRM can allow an organization to focus on growing the business based on centralized and accurate contact information rather than hunting for information or dealing with out-of-date data. Microsoft technology brings the whole enterprise’s intelligence on customers, leads and other contacts together in one place, where it can be used reliably and effectively.”
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