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A CRM for financial services transformation with Microsoft Dynamics 365, shared by the project management expert who oversaw it from start to completion and success:
At HSO, our belief is that technology and the expert technical consultants that implement it can help our clients overcome any challenge. Our team possesses the technical aptitude and attention to detail required to guide them through the most challenging situations.
In this Challenge Accepted interview, you’ll hear from Melanie Brooks, Senior Project Manager, who discusses how one client let go of a legacy CRM they thought they could not replace and came out ahead with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales.
Melanie Brooks, Senior Project Manager, shares how HSO helped a firm transition from a trusted legacy system to a modern financial services CRM, tapping into a lucrative business channel along the way
I’ve been working with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales for more than 10 years, back to when it was CRM version 4—actually, when customers were transitioning from version 3 to version 4. So, I’ve pretty much spent my career around Dynamics. What energizes me is being the client’s primary contact and part of the entire process. I am the first person they will meet from our team, I am the bridge between us and them, and I am responsible making sure everything we do maps to the client’s desired future state. I like that I’m there at the beginning and I’m there all the way to go live.
I get to watch as the initial challenges they came to us with are already being solved at go live, knowing we played a part in how they have evolved.
The Business Challenge: Move a firm from a homegrown, customized CRM for financial services they had depended on for a decade to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales and Service in 6 months
One particular client story comes to mind when I think about my role. I work primarily with financial services firms, and for those companies, time is everything. We had been engaged by a global investment firm with $25B AUM to replace a legacy system they had been using for more than 10 years. It was homegrown, and they had been able to build anything they wanted in it, customizing every aspect because it was on-premises.
The firm has three channels: intermediaries (wholesalers), institutional, and private wealth. There were issues around working effectively with the largest channel, intermediaries, who are traditionally a challenging group to “control”. The homegrown system was not only old and on-premise, but it also required too much support, and despite how much they had done with it, could not meet changing needs and growth plans.
So, the first challenge was moving to Dynamics 365 Sales and utilizing its power as a platform to give the client not only what they had in the homegrown system, but more. No product would provide an exact match to what they had before, but then again, that should not be the goal with implementing modern technology. We had to help the client see that the goal should not be to replicate that system, but rather to look at what they could gain in addition to what they would be replacing…and how they could improve on what they had.
Challenge Accepted: Capture the value of the legacy system and extend that value with a modern CRM solution
The challenge for us was to make sure we were getting every single requirement from their legacy system. Because it was 10 years old, even those who understood that system did not necessarily realize the level of complexity behind these areas of functionality. More than once, we ran into times where someone would realize, “Oh, we didn’t know it was also doing this.” So I think we were able to really improve what they had, but still deliver everything that they had and their original system as well.
We were able to do that. We demonstrated to the firm that they could keep what was valuable about the homegrown system and let go of those features they thought they could not do without, but in truth, no longer needed. They were able to see how Dynamics could support them in other ways that were better for them. We were able to do that. In fact–and I have heard this from the client–we’ve been able to surpass what they had with their legacy system while still giving them the same functionality they had before.
The Business Outcome: Firm-wide transformation that is opening doors to new opportunities
The new Dynamics 365 solution accomplished the transition and much more. It actually replaced three solutions, which reduced maintenance and improved visibility across the organization–contact management, for example. They can now see full portfolio as well as the full fund and contact information…every single time that contact has either been emailed, called, or contacted in any way. It’s all in one system, and they’re able to produce reports quickly because they can get a full client view at very nearly the touch of a button.
The Dynamics 365 solution not only had the functionality the firm needed; it fundamentally changed the way the firm’s inside sellers engage with intermediaries. This more prescriptive, concrete approach created a management layer of segmentation and direction–a win for both the firm and the intermediaries they work with. The insight Dynamics is providing is also helping the firm uncover and pursue new opportunities, like the opportunity to grow their institutional business because the intermediary channel is somewhat saturated.
Challenge Accepted: Replacing a legacy CRM with Dynamics 365 Sales
Vice President of Financial Services Tom Berger talks with Melanie Brooks, Director of Consulting Services, about how HSO helped this asset management firm let go of a legacy CRM they thought they could not replace and come out ahead with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales.