ECL Group is a critical technical services organisation providing fuel systems, security and technology solutions, as well as compliance and site care services. They take care of the critical technical equipment that is vital to the operation of their customers’ businesses.
Their 700-strong workforce of field technicians are dispersed throughout New Zealand and Australia, often in the most remote of locations.
You will recognise some of their clients, which include: Z Energy, Air New Zealand, Christchurch International Airport, Caltex, BP, Mobil Oil, Westpac, and Transpower to name a few.
ECL Group is made up of 6 business units that all fall under the ECL Group umbrella. Having grown both organically and through acquisition over 6 decades, it has resulted in complexities throughout the organisation supported by a multitude of different systems and processes.
The differing systems and processes had caused large amounts of manual work, inefficiencies, multiple views of customers, staff, spend and jobs, and lack of communication between departments of the business. Some customers have up to 7 contracts with ECL Group as a whole, but with teams and systems decentralised at a business unit level, there was no one single source of truth for the group, nor one single point of contact from the customer’s perspective.
ECL Group were also missing opportunities to increase the efficiency and utilisation of their workforce; if there were two jobs within close proximity of one another, they might send two different technicians to each job (because they belonged to different business units), rather than one technician to both jobs. The cost of this would only increase when the job location is remote and involving long distances; not an uncommon scenario.
The CIO of ECL Group had a vision on how to consolidate the business units.They knew ECL Group was growing at a fast rate and had outgrown the internal systems, processes, and infrastructure. They knew they needed to make a big change.
From a systems perspective, the vision was to consolidate all the business units within ECL Group, and migrate them onto one single platform - a true end-to-end story. The three essential goals were, scheduling and mobility for their field staff, reduction or elimination of disparate systems and processes, and achieving a single view of customers, staff, and spend (which would benefit all facets of the company). Andrew Beaumont, CIO ECL Group, said “I didn’t just want to implement a CRM. I wanted to completely transform the way we operate and ‘do’ business. ECL Group offers some really awesome services; we just needed the technology to keep up with our growth and vision.”
After conducting some research into different options, Andrew and the executive team decided on implementing Salesforce as the core platform for ECL Group. While Sales and Service functionality is at its core, the big drawcard for Andrew was the capability and flexibility that Salesforce provides as a platform; it would allow ECL Group to deliver even broader outcomes both internally and to its customers.
ECL Group chose Fronde as their technology and consulting partner to enable the business transformation. From the very start, Fronde was careful to engage with ECL Group on a business strategy level, and not just treat it as a ‘technology project.’ Ant Belsham, Fronde CEO, said: “We’ve seen and experienced a lot of projects where IT works in a silo from the business, and we know that doesn’t work. A successful digital transformation project must align with the business goals and strategy, so we put in a lot of work at the start to make sure ECL Group were aligned on their expected outcomes and goals for the project, and that our team were really clear on what we needed to do in order for these goals to be realised.”
Fronde and ECL Group, together chose an agile approach to deliver the project. Jen Brandon, Senior Salesforce Consultant at Fronde said, “Given the scale of the transformation that ECL Group were undergoing, we knew that it would take time to get agreement on common processes across the business, and we knew that delivering the technical solution was only a small piece of the puzzle. The sheer number of systems we needed to migrate onto the platform (and their different data structures) meant that we needed to take a phased approach to deployment - preparing data was going to take time. We also had to keep in mind that ECL Group had to keep running at full capacity to keep up with customer requirements. So an agile approach was the only way to get the flexibility we needed.”
The first phase was focussed on getting the foundation set up. This involved migrating the core customer data across to the Salesforce platform (customers and their sites, contracts, assets, SLAs, & sales lead/opportunity data).
The need to migrate customer data from a range of legacy systems always presents a real challenge when implementing a new system. This project was no different, but with proper planning and hard work from both the ECL Group and Fronde team, all the data was extracted from multiple systems, transformed into a uniform format, deduplicated / merged together and loaded. The result being the elusive ‘single source of the truth’ the first phase of which was to go live with the centralised function of the help desk, taking customers calls. It was at this point the business really started to see how powerful the platform would be once additional processes were added in subsequent phases (such as the scheduling and management of jobs in the field).
A key focus for Fronde and ECL Group in the approach was the facilitation of user adoption and change management. Fronde knows that one of the biggest causes of CRM implementation failure is a lack of user adoption. So the teams spent a lot of time working with employees to take them through the process and system, illustrating how the centralised view of the customer will ultimately make their jobs easier and much more efficient.
In parallel with this development, having identified the opportunity to fill a gap in the compliance services market, ECL Group were empowered to make the solution the centrepiece of their sales pitch to the market. Having Salesforce as the backbone of their field operations, and the platform from which to share that operational data with their customers (via a Community), they were able to secure two large compliance contracts with both new and existing customers. And so an entirely new business unit, Compliance Services, was born, and used as the pilot user for the next business process off the rank: field scheduling and job management using AppExchange partner Skedulo, highlighting the adaptability of the Salesforce platform and its ability to respond quickly to changes in the market.
The compliance and help desk teams have had great user uptake with the new system, the teams were highly involved throughout the project and they find it far easier to use than previous systems. Andrew said, “I’m really impressed with how quickly the teams have adapted to the new system. They quickly saw the benefits it was going to provide them and how much easier their jobs will now be, with far less manual work to do. The change management process was essential for us and was really well run by both ECL Group and Fronde.”
It was a resounding success, but like all these projects, there is still a lot to do. It was achieved on time and within budget, making both teams, ECL Group and Fronde, extremely satisfied with the outcome. Ant Belsham commented on the project saying, “One of our key goals at Fronde is to shift our thinking from just delivering successful technology projects, to ensuring that our customers actually achieve the real business outcomes they wanted. It’s really encouraging to hear that ECL Group are already saving time and money, and that their customers are getting an improved experience. That’s exactly the sort of long-term partnership we want to build with our customers - one that really helps them achieve great results.”
‘Skedulo’ - What and How
An exciting part of this project was the use of ‘Skedulo,’ a mobile workforce management solution built on the Salesforce platform and used by field staff and technicians. The app is able to give the business more visibility over field technicians’ activity, such as where they are, what jobs they have done, how long the jobs took etc. Having this information allows the business to then plan better, as they’re confident their decisions are backed by real data from the field.
The requirements of the app were to enable the field technicians to capture data on the road. They needed to be able to accurately bill the customer for the work they completed, capture the hours they spent on each job, and make any notes necessary at the time (for example details of repairs done or a diagnosis of the cause of the issue). The result of this is that all customers are billed accurately and fairly, meaning no billable time slipping through the cracks for ECL Group.
The Results So Far
ECL Group are already seeing massive results from the consolidation and migration to the Salesforce platform. It has greatly increased efficiencies, saved time, money, and has largely increased their customer experience. The use of ‘Communities’ for customer portal access has been of great benefit. The help desk teams have a complete and single view of every customer, significantly increasing their ability to pass accurate and detailed information onto the field workers.
The technicians are now fully equipped before arriving to a customer. They know everything about the customer, can view all contracts, see past jobs and assets, the skills that are needed for the particular job and can pass to the correct person if needed.
Andrew said, “The improvements since moving the helpdesk and Compliance Services business onto the Salesforce Platform are massive. The information our employees now have right at their hands anywhere they are is incredible. It’s improved business intelligence and saved time and money, not to mention what it’s done for our customer experience. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the project being completed.”
With two successful business units now on the platform, ECL Group and Fronde are working towards migrating the rest of the business over to what will soon be, a fully integrated business on one single platform for all applications and business units.
The next chapter of the project will be implementing FinancialForce, a third party application also built on the Salesforce platform. FinancialForce, combined with Salesforce Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Skedulo, enables the complete service process from end-to-end. The billing of customers, invoicing, purchasing, all seamlessly supported on one platform.
Andrew commented, “We love working with Fronde and we value our continued partnership. The culture fit was spot on, we find the Fronde team flexible, grounded and easy to work with. I like that Fronde never forced us do anything, they only evaluated and gave us the best options for us. We have a very collaborative tight team made up jointly of Fronde & ECL Group employees.”
Fronde and ECL Group are hoping to have the next major stage of the project executed by mid 2017.