ABOUT THE VENDOR
FrontRange Solutions Inc. develops software and solutions that allow organizations to deliver customer relationships and service. A provider of customer-centric software for more than 11 years, the company is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with offices in Los Angeles, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Australia, and Singapore. Solutions include: GoldMine software family for customer relationship management (CRM), team-based contact management and sales force automation; and the HEAT software line of customer service and support.
FrontRange drives business decisions for profitability in such companies such as Shell Oil, Coca-Cola, Chevron, Prudential Securities, Electricite de France, Mack Trucks, Turner News Network, and Salomon Smith Barney.
ABOUT THE CUSTOMER
For over thirty years Smarte Carte, Inc. has developed innovative products and services that give people the freedom to enjoy their travel, shopping or entertainment experiences. Smarte Carte, Inc., with its headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota, is a concessionaire of baggage cart, locker and stroller services at over 1000 airports, train stations, bus terminals, shopping centers, and entertainment facilities around the world. Smarte Carte has over 1,300 employees in eleven countries on five continents.
ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY
GoldMine FrontOffice software combines sales
Smarte Carte was looking for a CRM solution to replace its old database system as the company grew. SearchCRM spoke with application systems analyst Wiseman Sikakane about the project.
SearchCRM: Why did you decide to evaluate CRM solutions?
Sikakane: We were using ACT and the company grew. We had a few people that were international and off-site, and we wanted to be able to exchange information between everybody. ACT wasn't very good as far as that was concerned -- as far as synchronizing different laptops and different hardware.
SearchCRM: What were you looking for in a CRM system?
Sikakane: We were looking for something that was an enterprise solution as opposed to stand-alone software. GoldMine allowed us to synchronize multiple individuals at any given time. There was also the issue of security -- we could decide what people can see and can't see, what they can change and can't change.
SearchCRM: What were the challenges of the technology evaluation?
Sikakane: When we first started doing this, marketing had their own ACT database, sales had their own ACT database, and so on. The challenge was getting everyone to agree as to what they needed, because we had to merge all these databases into one. Everybody did things in their own way.
SearchCRM: What kind of information are you exchanging?
Sikakane: We have equipment that we own at airport locations. We have each location in GoldMine, and within each location we've customized it so we can put in the type of equipment they have, all the facility management contact information, and so on. From that, the regional managers can keep track of what's going on.
We have two databases: one for locations which are already our locations, and another called a prospect database. The salespeople use the prospect database, and when they get a contract, we synchronize that location into the live database.
SearchCRM: Did you experience any internal resistance?
Sikakane: Not really resistance, but people wanted to keep their own way of doing things, to keep the same routine they used to have. It was just a matter of convincing them that they'd get used to the new program.
Before we even went into it we had review meetings; we brought in the solutions partner to do a demo, and everybody here had a chance to ask questions. So it's not like it was forced onto them.
SearchCRM: What's been the most rewarding result of the system so far?
Sikakane: The fact that people have accepted it and it's now considered the central area for information outside of our manufacturing software. It makes it a lot easier because we have people in the Netherlands, in Australia, and they can easily get the information that we have here.
SearchCRM: Have you seen ROI?
Sikakane: I guess we have in a way. In the past we had so many systems that were updated manually by different people. So in the past we've shipped equipment to the wrong places because of a wrong address in a system. With GoldMine, everybody's up to date, so I'm sure that has cut back on if not totally eliminated such mistakes.
SearchCRM: Do you have advice for companies thinking of starting a similar project?
Sikakane: Planning, planning, planning. Do your planning properly and make sure the users buy into it. For example, in our review meetings we put the two [systems under consideration] side by side, and our people knew that they were involved in the decision making as opposed to being just thrown into the system.
SearchCRM: What are your plans for the system in the future?
Sikakane: We just bought a new module called Service & Support. This allows the technical service people to log all the calls in GoldMine. Suppose a location calls and says a lock is broken and the tech guy decides they need a certain part. We've imported some parts from our manufacturing software into this package, so they can order the parts and e-mail the warehouse people all within GoldMine. We're going to implement that next week.
Linda Formichelli's writing has appeared in Woman's Day, Wired, Writer's Digest, Family Circle, Psychology Today. Contact her at email@example.com, or check out her Web site http://www.twowriters.net
This was first published in January 2002