The association was using a completely custom system, which posed a variety of challenges with regard to development and integration with other systems. The association seriously began considering the introduction of a new system. A Microsoft Dynamics 365 system supplied by Digia was introduced in December 2016.
“We wanted a modern, evolving platform that could be easily integrated into other systems and provide better support for the processes associated with our member services,” says Customer Relationship Manager Tuija Mäkinen from the Finnish Business School Graduates.
All information available in one place in Dynamics 365
Microsoft Dynamics 365 collates all information relating to the association’s membership in one place, which was also a central goal of the system project. Mäkinen says that another important advantage lies in the system’s integration with several other systems. This reduces manual labour, as information no longer needs to be transferred from one system to another. Member communications have also improved thanks to the system:
“The integrated newsletter system enables us to send more effective and more member-oriented communications, and also to harness marketing automation in our communications,” says Mäkinen.
The association was well aware of the need for a new system and it has been eagerly received.
Praise and criticism for the project as a whole
In addition to the joint workshops held during the specification and implementation phases, specialists provided on-site support during deployment. Mäkinen was very pleased about this. Deployment went very well, even though some challenges were encountered with the invoicing system.
Setting up the various invoicing criteria and discounts proved to be slightly more challenging than originally expected. The project also included the outsourcing of invoicing and payments, and a number of factors led to a minor delay in the sending of member invoices. Another general challenge that Mäkinen mentions was the conversion of the old system to the new one, which ended up going surprisingly well.
Using the Dynamics 365 system itself has been fairly easy, even though a new system always needs learning.
Digia’s experience and size were the decisive factors in choosing a supplier
“In our opinion, the supplier had to be both big enough and financially sound. By ‘big enough’, I mean sufficient resources to ensure that we wouldn’t be relying on only one or two people. That was an important factor in our choice. The Digia D356 team also had a relatively large amount of experience in similar projects,” says Mäkinen.
The project team had already made an impression at the negotiation phase with their expertise and attitude. Cooperation during the project has been very smooth.
“We have a really expert and competent project manager. Overall, the entire project team has displayed a desire to understand what we do and to find the best and most suitable solutions for that. The project team gets ten out of ten,” says Mäkinen.
Tuija Mäkinen also praises Digia for being a good partner in other respects: Digia specialists were able to be honest in saying which of the customer’s requests were worthwhile implementing and what should be done in a different way.