News : Avado Implements New BI and CRM tools, Driven by Users
London, UK, Jan 23, 2018 -- Digital learning provider Avado has implemented Salesforce as its new CRM system, replacing its previous Hubspot CRM.
Mark Ridley, group CTO of Blenheim Chalcot, the venture builder under which Avado sits, told Computing that Salesforce was the users' choice.
"We chose Salesforce as our CRM tool," said Ridley. "We also trialled Microsoft Dynamics 365, but went with Salesforce because it was the one the users wanted.
"We're implementing Service Cloud first," he continued. "We're getting the service desk users on the platform first, as they currently don't have a ticketing system.
"One of the big process recommendations that I make, if you have a group of people dealing with incoming requests on email, you move to a ticketing system as soon as you can. It doesn't matter what the ticketing system is, they'll all give an improvement.
"So the business technology team have rolled out FreshDesk to HR, finance and some of the product teams, to replace the Atlassian service desk product.
"We looked at ZenDesk, which is one of my personal preferences. But FreshDesk was much more competitive on price, and very close on features. So we went with FreshDesk and rolled it out across lots of teams."
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He explained that Hubspot will continue to be used for marketing automation.
"Our users really like Hubspot, so there's no real need to replace it, it has a great experience. It does its job very well, but on the CRM side it doesn't support international users quite as well, so we've decided to bring in Salesforce so people can share leads anywhere in the world and have a consistent product set. We'll put in a first-class integration between Hubspot marketing automation and Salesforce."
The next piece of work will be migrating all Avado's legacy data.
"As with any business that's been running systems for a while, there's lots of customisations that have happened, and when you look at it you wouldn't do it the same way again.
"When we look at the type of data that's been stored on the CRM, there are probably better systems for storing it. Things like a data warehousing, reporting, analytics, and that leads us to another 2018 project which is to look at BI [business intelligence]."
He continued: "We really want to push self-service BI, both internally and for our clients. We want a platform where we can actually look across all the data sources we have, bring them in to a data warehouse, then have a single BI platform which we can use internally."
He explained that this process should work right through the company, with everyone from senior management through to sales teams and clients able to access their information.
"We use Qlik now, and as part of that if moving everything to the cloud and making it available externally, there's potential we might look at Qlicksense.
"But there are other providers in the market and we need to go through them. Vendors like Tableau, Birst, Bime and Qlik Sense [are potentially in the running], but we haven't made any decisions yet.
"What we do know is that we really want something that can sit across the top of a data warehouse that will probably be in the cloud. Then it will provide good, secure reporting for lots of different use cases."
But do users really want to run queries themselves?
"There is absolutely appetite for self-service among the users. I've rolled out similar programmes before and seen that people are just hungry for data. The trick is to ensure you've got a strong BI team.
"The BI administrators or the people responsible for BI tooling, they need to be able to produce all the dashboards. If I'm going to produce this dashboard, it needs to make sense to end users. Ideally you want people to explore anything they have the permission to explore. And they will then find things that you didn't even know existed.
"So I'm a big believer in giving as much power as you can to end users, because they'll surface amazing things," said Ridley.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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