Using SharePoint and Nintex to Create a Purpose-Built CRM Solution

Last month, I had to pleasure of presenting at the 8th annual SharePoint Saturday event in Atlanta. For those who aren’t familiar, SharePoint Saturday is a community‐focused SharePoint event dedicated to educating and engaging members of the local SharePoint community. The event is unique in that it is “for the community, by the community” and is free for all who attend.

This is the second time I was able to present and my topic this time was more of a case study, focused on how we helped our client, Applied Technical Services, Inc. (ATS), leverage SharePoint and Nintex to automate their most business-critical processes.

The Business Need

ATS is a premier provider of high quality consulting engineering, testing, and inspection services. With year-over-year growth of 15-20% and more than 700 employees dispersed among 28 locations, ATS was facing some common business challenges as well as pain points with respect to their Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

General Pain Points:

  • Consistency of information storage and flow
  • Existing home-grown, legacy system for basic workflows, such as approving purchasing requisitions and timesheets
  • No central repository for information storage and exchange
  • Departments siloed in their approaches to document creation and management

Legacy CRM Process:

  • Receptionist captured potential clients and stored to homegrown CRM (SQL and MS Access)
  • At the end of the day, receptionist released list of prospects to various employees for follow-up
  • No formal notification process

Our Approach

ATS purchased SharePoint 2013 as well as the Nintex Suite and made it a goal to leverage this investment to replace several external systems. The CRM was identified as a top priority to transition into SharePoint. ATS also wanted to leverage OOB SharePoint lists, libraries, and functionality, along with the Nintex product suite to:

  • Automate existing/new processes
  • Track leads/prospects
  • Manage requests for work
  • Store and maintain client information
  • Streamline quote generation and approval

Solution Architecture

Lists

  • Master Client list – corporate level information for each Client
  • ATS Clients list – users can add a new prospect or Request a Client ID and store location level client information
  • Work Requests list – store and manage work requests related to each Prospect or Client
  • Contacts list – store and manage contact information related to each Prospect or Client

Forms

List item forms were customized with Nintex Forms to include custom branding, buttons, and advanced behavior. Even though there are 4 main lists which make up the overall solution architecture, the primary access point is the ATS Client form.

  • ATS Client – This is the main form for users to access and maintain all Client information, including Work Requests and Contacts.
  • Work Request – This form is accessed from the main Client form (using Nintex Forms list view control and custom JS for advanced filtering).
  • Contact – This form is accessed from the main Client form (using Nintex Forms list view control and custom JS for advanced filtering).

Main goals:

  • Provide an improved user experience
  • Expand functionality and integration between several SharePoint lists
  • Provide minimal points of contact with maximum data access*

*This was and top priority and was integral to determining the success of the project.

Workflows

  • Nintex Workflows to send alerts, create new items, update items, and move items through approval and completion processes
  • Triggered based on creation and/or modification of list items combined with specific item metadata for New Prospects, New Clients, and New Work Requests
  • Work Request Reminder Workflow

ATS Value Recognition and Next Steps

Phase 1

  • Currently in Production

Phase 2

  • Include management and approval of Quotes for each request for work
  • Incorporate entire Project lifecycle for approved Work Requests

Expected Outcomes and ROI

  • Simplify lead capture and management for the CS and Sales teams
  • Ensure that work requests do not “slip through the cracks”, become stagnant, or fail to move forward
  • Automation of alerts and tasks to allow users to focus more on other job functions

 

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