A bit of background before we get into the nitty gritting. When we started Magnetism, we wanted to operate our support contracts differently to the existing providers in the market. The existing players all provided support contracts the way insurance companies provide insurance. E.g. you pay month after month for a block of hours whether you use them or not.
A telco called 2Degrees came up with a new model called “Never lose your minutes” whereby you might purchase 100 minutes of calling, if you only used 20 minutes this month, the remaining 80 would rollover to the next month. We thought this was great, plus they did all the hard work of educating the market, so we took the concept and ran with it.
However, to do this and ensure it was scalable and manageable we needed a platform. We couldn’t find anything that did exactly what we wanted so our first cut looked like this:
We used out of the box contracts, cases and stakeholder management in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 at the time. We ended up building a custom helpdesk portal where clients would login to lodge cases. Our staff used out of the box case management features to manage communication with the client. Time tracking was also done inside Dynamics CRM.
At the end of the month a service ran through all clients with support contracts, pulled together time spent and remaining, generated a PDF via SSRS then sent this to the client’s main point of contact.
Another set of services automatically created the invoices inside Xero (our financial/accounting system).
The above setup allowed us to operate for about two years. We then realised we needed to provide our staff and our clients a better user experience. A custom portal wasn’t cutting the mustard, nor was the out of the box case entity with simple email replies.
So we ended up with this:
Basically, replacing the custom-built helpdesk portal with Zendesk, which gave our staff and our clients a great user experience to manage cases/tickets through to resolution. An integration between Zendesk and Dynamics didn’t exist at the time, we ended up building one which we still use to this day!
Everything remained stable for 4-5 years, upgrades to CRM occurred but nothing else really changed until few years ago when Microsoft started positioning Dynamics as a platform. We always treated Dynamics as a platform so when Microsoft started extending the platform it was time to hit the lets go faster button! Now it’s like this:
If you’ve read this far then I might as well tell you, if you’re looking to optimise your business operation, get in touch with us. Finding dollars to build this type of system might be tight right now but things will change, get ready, be prepared to ride the next one with a bit of comfort!
You might be thinking this looks cluttered, and in diagram form it does because my graphical layout skills are terrible, but in reality the insights we’re getting are just amazing!
New capabilities that we’ve lit up are: