Open Energi

Key Contact(s): Alex Barnard
“Just one month on there has already been a shift within the business to be more effective in communication across different departments, and this will almost certainly will be reflected in our bottom line.”

Death by Excel

Open Energi operates out of two offices with a total of 30 employees, 10 of which use the new Microsoft CRM solution. Alex Barnard is their Projects and Operations Administrator, and he explains why the company decided to make the move to Dynamics.

“Previously we’d relied on Microsoft Excel,” Alex explains. “However we were finding it very cumbersome when it came to storing information. I wanted a solution that would react on its own accord rather than requiring myself or one of the operations team to remember information or the need to chase something up.”

Like many companies, Open Energi was finding that they’d outgrown the original Excel solution. “To be honest, before Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, I’d delay filling in a form and tying up the loose ends. Things just took much longer to do and we realised that if we wanted to deliver the best possible service to our clients – people like Sainsburys and Defra – we would need to embrace a more dynamic solution that would take us into the future. After looking into what was available and identifying the right provider, Microsoft Dynamics CRM seemed to tick all the boxes.”

Ticking all the boxes

Alex explains that whatever solution they chose needed to offer a more efficient way of working, which was not only scalable but which could be configured to meet their very unique brief. “Also, we needed something that wouldn’t cost the earth and which would work seamlessly alongside other programmes like Outlook,” he continues.

“Bizarre as it may sound we weren’t originally looking at anything like Microsoft Dynamics 365; we were after a strictly operational tool. However, after talking in-depth with Xperience Group, we came to the conclusion that Microsoft Dynamics CRM offered us the operations aspect we needed whilst providing the scope for greater development down the line. It gave us so much more for our money, so to speak!”

Alex explains that they approached a number of providers “some of which were better than others!” Most were in the same price bracket and appeared to be able to complete the kind of development Alex and his team needed within a reasonable time.

“However none of the others had quite the same personal approach as Xperience. It was through them that I quickly came to realise that Microsoft Dynamics CRM offered the optimum solution for our brief.”

Enhanced communications and collaboration

As Alex explains, Microsoft Dynamics 365 was installed in September 2013. “It’s still early days, but already I have a better sense of where we are with our engineers. I can keep closer tabs on them whilst also being more confident in letting them get on with their work. Also, since we implemented Dynamics, we have begun to think about including financial records within it, something we hadn’t considered to begin with. I believe this is entirely down to the usability of Microsoft Dynamics 365.”

Alex expects to see significant time savings. “Just one month on there has already been a shift within the business to be more effective in communication across different departments, and this will almost certainly will be reflected in our bottom line.”

Alex continues “Xperience have been great. I never felt rushed. Xperience’s David Curtis was always willing to answer any queries I had and was consistently prompt in returning calls or emails. Carl Francis, the developer from Xperience who helped us configure the product, mirrored this approach and since going live has looked after us very well. He has also been very patient when we’ve been slow to grasp ideas or asked the same question over and over again!”

As for the CRM solution? “Microsoft Dynamics is extremely user friendly, it’s very easy to train people to use it and – to be honest – it is meeting our needs perfectly. And we anticipate that it will continue to do so in the future, which is exactly what we wanted, so we’re very happy indeed.”

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