Service Industry Companies

Service Industry Companies

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7408-8.ch004

Abstract

Ramaswamy (1996) suggested that companies that provide services normally conceive of a process as a sequence of activities needed to perform transactions that help to provide their services. To define processes is often problematic involving a range of complexities relating to customers, human behavior, and company structure. To organize the company around business processes, it is necessary to focus on external customers because business processes usually start and end with them. Processes have a line of activity which begins with an understanding and assessment of what the external customer wants and finishes with the external customer gaining what he or she needs and requests. The customer is always central within service organizations structured by process, when the key operational objective is to offer the customer more value in less time and with less cost. This chapter examines four small companies that attempted to do this through the introduction of new technologies.
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New Crm Systems And Processes At Energist Uk, Cirencester

Company Background

Energist UK, based near Cirencester in Gloucestershire, is a small family business operating within the construction consultancy market. The company was founded in 2004 and had 40 employees in 2009, when the project started. The company provided assessment, certification, guidance, consultancy and training services to promote compliance with energy management legislation. A range of new regulations meant that the owners of buildings and factories had to adopt and deploy energy conserving materials, systems and services. These regulations included the 2006 Statutory Assessment Procedures, mandatory for all new build projects, and the Code for Sustainable Homes, which set out a series of increasingly stringent codes that were phased in during the ensuing years. The aim of the company was to become a leading player in a rapidly developing market for energy conservation services.

Project Rationale and Objectives

Energist UK had experienced rapid growth since it was founded, increasing turnover from just £156K in 2006/7 to £1.1m in 2009/10, but the company’s systems infrastructure had not been developed or upgraded in an adequate manner to support this expansion. The company had a range of standalone systems that had been developed by end-users in spreadsheet and database software that were not integrated and contained different versions of key data items – particularly project and customer information. There was no clear technical strategy for systems development or technology procurement, and version control had also been lax, resulting in problems in software operation and maintenance. The lack of adequate systems integration and resultant data inconsistencies had affected management reporting across the company, especially at the customer interface. It had become difficult and time consuming to produce adequate reports on current markets and customers, and an implementation of a sound CRM system and associated procedures had become a top business priority.

With the introduction of new sustainability related legislation and regulations, the demand for Energist’s products and services was likely to continue to grow, but would require a coherent IT strategy to guide the introduction of integrated, technically sound, scalable and well supported systems. The overarching project objective was to “implement new customer facing systems and processes to reduce costs, improve margins and drive new revenue streams to double turnover by 2012/13” (Technology Strategy Board, 2008a, p.1). The company wanted to make better use of their 8,000 customer profiles through the utilisation of a new CRM system. This aligned with their overall business strategy, which aimed to make their customers aware of all assessment needs regarding compliance with environmental regulations, and to support them in resolving these needs. Before the project got underway, the company had a fairly basic approach to customer relationship development, using Microsoft Outlook to store customer records within a range of shared folders. Reporting was limited in scope and data was often inconsistent, lost or duplicated, and the approach was not sustainable given the expected growth of the company.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Rapid Application Development (RAD): A software development methodology that allows more rapid development than other methodologies. Sometimes called “Agile” development, it focuses on quickly developing the product and gaining user feedback, followed by iterative testing and redevelopment.

Middleware: Software that acts as a bridge to connect other information technology elements, such as applications, databases, web front-ends, normally across a network.

Bankers Automated Clearing Services (BACS): The organization that manages and controls the clearing and settlement of UK automated payment methods, such Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit. It is now known as Bacs Payment Schemes Limited.

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