News : Durham Constabulary Uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Durham, UK, April 2, 2015 -- Of the UK’s 43 regional police forces, only one was rated ‘outstanding’ last year by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) for its ability to investigate crime: Durham Constabulary.
Head of ICT Stuart Grainger puts that down, in part, to efforts made in recent years to give police officers a clearer picture of the data that the force holds.
Instead of continuing to rely on them to search multiple different systems in their investigations, he’s established a more joined-up approach, which uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM as the platform for new, custom-built applications to handle day-to-day policing needs. The resulting system is called ‘Red Sigma’ by Durham Constabulary.
So why this particular approach? For most organisations, after all, the ‘C’ in CRM stands for ‘customer’. For Durham Constabulary, it could refer to a criminal or their victim. It could be a suspect or a witness. It could be a missing person, or it could be a vulnerable child, judged by social workers to be ‘at risk’.
In other words, Durham Constabulary’s work means it deals with many different types of people and juggles many different types of relationship. The data it is required to manage, meanwhile, reflects that diversity.
That’s why the term xRM, sometimes used by Microsoft executives and the company’s vast network of implementation partners, strikes a chord with Grainger. Here, the ‘x’ can stand for ‘extended’ – as in extended relationship management, indicating a type of relationship outside of the typical buyer of goods and/or services. Or, it can simply indicate a variable, where the word ‘customer’ can be replaced by another term (for example, ‘criminal’, ‘constituent’, ‘agent’, and so on.) Either way, xRM is used to refer to the practice of building industry- or even organisation-specific applications using Microsoft Dynamics CRM as the core underlying platform.
That makes a lot of sense to Grainger. He and his in-house IT team already have significant development skills around Microsoft technologies such as the .Net Framework. What they don’t have, he says, is much time or money to spend on developing systems entirely from scratch: in recent years, IT team numbers have fallen and the annual budget has been reduced significantly.
The constraints that we face mean that developing a bespoke system by ourselves would be problematic: it would cost too much and take too long. So we identified Microsoft Dynamics CRM as being able to provide lots of the features and functions we’d need for our own custom applications: security, workflow, auditing, administration, reporting, integration – all kinds of things.
We saw that we could use these services as the building blocks of our own development, so that we could focus instead on user experience and on giving police officers an easy-to-use system.
Using Red Sigma to consolidate the force’s once-siloed crime, intelligence and other systems is a work in progress, Grainger says.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Durham Constabulary:
Durham Constabulary is the territorial police force responsible for policing the non-metropolitan county of County Durham and the unitary authority of Darlington.
Published: Monday, April 6, 2015