ABSI - far beyond system integration

 

 

Background information

(IDG) is the world's leading technology media, events and Research Company. It was for IDG Netherlands that we built a complete Media solution within their salesforce.com CRM application. Giving tangible benefits across the business, the solution has enabled IDG to manage their online, print and event sales cycle, traffic and finance processes from one application! This solution of specialized Saleforce customization for Media Companies, now christened MediaForce, can be rapidly delivered for any media company! IDG Netherlands is a subsidiary of the IDG group and publishes such titles as: Computer!Totaal, Zoom.nl, Tips&Trucs and ChannelWorld. IDG's diverse products and services portfolio spans six key areas: online media, events and conferences, print publishing, lead generation services, global marketing solutions and market research.

Challenges

  • Manage the Sales cycle, Materials traffic and Financial processes within the company
  • Be quickly deployed
  • Be easy to use for high user adoption rate
  • To need little upfront investment
  • Use a SaaS approach
  • and a strong SF.com partner that could handle a number of 'special requests'

Solution approach

ABSI provided project management, designed the basic Architecture, successfully developed the functionality needed by IDG using Force.com development tools and rolled-out the solution. The detailed approach is described hereafter.

In the first phase, a business process review, we conducted brainstorming sessions & discussions with all stakeholders. This gave us detailed insight into the processes in Sales/Materials/Finance and allowed us to map these processes in Salesforce.com. It culminated in our fully documented BPR for IDG approval.

The next phase of cutomization was setup of business objects and relationships, and implementation of a security model. We also imported and migrated legacy customer and contact information. Further steps were to

  • define and create custom views tailored for each user profile
  • addition of workflows, validation rules, notification messages
  • design of dashboards, reports, message and letter templates
  • development of custom code for special requirement
  • Present and fine tune each step along the way.

For the delivery & finetune phase we made handover of the operational solution to IDG employees and kicked-off the support and project follow-up ticketing system. On site Training was given for the regular Salesforce.com as well as for the customised areas for IDG Sales / Materials / Finance departments.

Results

The benefits to IDG were in multiple areas and met all requirements, notably it did not require heavy up-front investment. Dick De Groot, IT Director, IDG Netherlands, remarked "The Force Platform brings all our business-critical processes together in one place and maximises our focus on customers". The many benefits were:

Business benefits

  • Decision making easier by realtime 360° view on all operations
  • Less errors thanks to built-in checks and workflows
  • Better coöperation between involved departments

Operational benefits

  • Fast rollout from BPR to operational CRM
  • Sales/Traffic/Financial processes and history data are now centrally managed and accessible
  • Easy to access, easy to use CRM application

Financial benefits

  • no capital investment
  • no obsolescence costs
  • predictible & and easy to budget costs
  • no typical IT related costs