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CRM in 2018: How Will AI Transform Customer Experience?

AI Blog2018 is an exciting year for CRM development thanks to the emergence of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing.

 

According to a report from IDC, 28% of the companies surveyed said that they have already implemented AI in their CRM, while 41% said they’re planning to adopt it in the next two years.

 

 ‘AI associated with CRM activities will boost global business revenue from the beginning of 2017 to the end of 2021 by $1.1 trillion.’

 

Whilst there is still a general concern about AI taking over jobs, the IDC reported that it will actually create 800,000 more jobs in the future.

 

Instead of eliminating the human workforce, this technology can be used to enhance your interactions with customers and provide insights into their behaviours.

 

AI integration goes beyond automating repetitive tasks and generating stock answers. It offers new insights to help generate leads and close sales quickly.

 

It can suggest relevant content for sales leads, find the best schedules for sending e-mails and find upsell or cross-sell opportunities.

 

This technology can also promote smarter lead scoring by analysing customer behaviour and prioritising leads with the highest conversion potential.

 

In terms of customer support, we can expect the growth of social CRM this year to meet the need for faster response times. Chatbots on social media save time in answering simple queries or requests, giving more time for your chat support department to focus on complex needs. In addition, they can also collect additional customer data and behaviours that can be used to address their needs efficiently.

 

Customer service AI tools can identify support ticket trends and predict which agent or team is best suited for dealing with certain issues. Some systems can even recommend standard responses or a template based on the type of ticket.

 

Just recently, Microsoft has also created an AI that can read a document and respond in a manner that sounds like a real person.

 

This technology can quickly ‘parse through information found in books and documents and provide people with the information they need most in an easily understandable way.’

 

Another way that AI will be used for CRM is summarising customer interactions. Using a method called natural language processing, the system can extract the most useful snippets of conversation from an hour-long phone call and distil it into a five-minute summary.

 

These summaries are done in real-time, so managers can get to the heart of any issue or opportunity without having to wade through masses of irrelevant transcript data.

 

Just like any type of business technology solution, your CRM must evolve to satisfy the growing needs of your company and customers.

 

By integrating artificial intelligence and machine learning, you can understand your customers better and improve the efficiency of your sales, marketing and customer service teams.

 

There are a lot of AI solutions already available that can be integrated with your CRM. However, it’s important that companies develop a concrete strategy that complements their business and CRM improvement goals.

 

Finally, artificial intelligence needs experts who will manage and ‘train’ it to produce the best results, just like a real employee.

 

Want to learn more innovative solutions for your business? Feel free to contact ECLEVA today. You can also check out our other blog posts here.

ECLEVA To Attend Microsoft Education Summit This February

MicrosoftECLEVA will be attending the Microsoft Global Education Partner Summit (GEPS) on February 5 – 8, 2018, in Seattle, Washington. Representing the company is our Client Delivery Manager, Mr. Peter Kendhammer

 

GEPS is an exclusive annual conference for select Microsoft partners that focuses on the education sector. There will be a series of keynote presentations, workshops, and strategy discussions about Microsoft’s latest innovative solutions for the education sector.

 

Participants can also learn more about future project roadmaps, experience hands-on demos, and build new connections with fellow industry experts.

 

If you want to meet Peter during or after the event to discuss ECLEVA’s services, send a message here.

 

IT Projects

Don’t Let Indecision Kill Your Business!

Making a decision is one of the toughest challenges that executives can face, especially if they’re running a start-up. From hiring the right candidate to choosing the best way to market your product, you must prioritise which decisions to make, every day.

 

Making decsions that will affect the future of your company can be such an overwhelming task that you can end up mulling over your choices without making any progress.

 

Even senior executives from established companies can be plagued with indecision; but then again, they’re equipped with past experiences, and backed by investors and mentors, so it can be easier for them to bounce back.

 

Indecision is what hinders most start-ups from becoming successful; or worse, the cause of their premature closure.

 

For every minute you spend agonising about the “what ifs” or the “maybes”, you’re losing precious time in execution and making progress.

 

‘Analysis paralysis is nothing short of insecurity,’ wrote Gil Laroya in his Huffington Post article.

 

‘Like a child scared to blurt out an answer in school, this insecurity becomes the fear of being wrong, the fear of being punished for being wrong, or the uncertainty that comes with just building something to see what happens,’ he added.

 

Analysis paralysis happens when things don’t go as planned or when you commit a major error. Some people think that by delaying their decisions, they can further study the situation and come up with a better solution later.

 

In most cases, the information that they’re looking for is just something that’ll make them feel better about the decision they already made, or something that’ll prevent them from making one.

 

As a start-up, I understand that you can’t afford to make a lot of mistakes. However, you can’t keep treading water, either.

 

Focus more of your time doing, rather than choosing. Stick with your decision, gather data, and find several ways to execute it. Once you decide, move forward and don’t second guess yourself.

 

You need to make the call now.

 

 ‘If you have control, use it,’ wrote Alan Downey on his blog post.

 

‘By not acting, you’re rolling the dice and hoping for the best. This isn’t the way to deal with global warming, and it isn’t the right way to run your business.’

 

I completely agree with his statement. We’ll still encounter different and unknown situations, no matter how much we prepare. I’d prefer to act more despite facing unknown challenges because it forces me to create an outcome and it allows me to uncover new information along the way.

 

Avoid delaying the decision to the point that someone else must make it for you. Discussing ideas with your team leads to better decisions, but as a leader, it’s you who has the final say.

 

Making decisions also comes with the risk of making mistakes. When this happens, the best solution is to talk it out, especially if it concerns your customers. Talk over the phone, send an email, or post your message on social media.

 

Let them know that you’re aware of the situation and you’re trying to fix it. Taking action involves risks, but it’s an essential step to help you achieve success.

 

I’ve shared some guidelines below to help conquer your indecisiveness:

 

  1. Decisions become stressful when you inflate their importance. Give yourself time to breathe and ask yourself, ‘How important is this decision really?’
  2. There are no right and wrong decisions. Rather, it’s more like choosing between left and right. If you choose to walk in one direction and notice that it’s not working out, you can change course and just keep going.
  3. Set a timeframe for your decision to prevent analysis paralysis.
  4. Seek help from an experienced professional, especially if you are a start-up. This’ll reduce your chances of making poor decisions and losing confidence as a result.
  5. Schedule ‘reflection’ times where you can worry or mull over things for as long as you want. But once refection time is over, do other productive activities.

 

Visit ECLEVA’s blog section to learn more about integrating technology solutions for decision-making.

ECLEVA’s Year In Review – Great Achievements from 2017

2017 was a momentous year for ECLEVA. We built strong partnerships, developed innovative solutions, overcame challenges, and had fun along the way. These accomplishments wouldn’t be possible without our team’s dedication, the ongoing support from our clients and partners, and, a strong cup of coffee.

 

Here’s a list of breakthroughs, accomplishments, and innovations that have defined 2017 as an amazing year for ECLEVA.

 

1. Developed Unique Business Technology Solutions

 

ECLEVA successfully rolled out exclusive and innovative solutions for our clients from the education, construction, and retail industries.

 

EduRe for Commercial Engagement

 

We developed a centralised CRM solution for a vocational institute in Queensland. The goal was to create a centralised system that can work across their campuses throughout the state.

 

EduRe for Commercial Engagement is our own suite of customisable and scalable apps tailor-made to help educational organisations with their industry partnership efforts; from nurturing enquiries, organising tenders and contracts, to managing marketing campaigns.

 

DocuRe Document Transmittal System

 

DocuRe is another exclusive application for managing and exchanging high volumes of information within an organisation and with their clients. We successfully implemented this solution for a construction firm.

 

With this system, organisations can store documents like contracts or design specifications in a central repository, make them accessible, track revisions, and ensure that all teams are working on the latest project files.

 

Operations Retail System using Dynamics 365

 

This solution was created for a well-known national Australian health and wellness retailer.

 

Leveraging Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Retail, the solution consists of a software suite for managing point of sale, supply chain, finance, and operations. It was rolled out across 44 stores nationwide.

 

2. New Partnerships and Offerings

 

This year, we expanded our network to bring more cutting-edge technology solutions into the ECLEVA fold that can help your organisation work smarter:

 

Experlogix

 

Last October, we announced our partnership with Experlogix – an American company with expertise in Configure, Price, and Quote (CPQ) solutions.

 

With this solution, we can help our clients speed up their sales cycle, make quotes and orders more accessible, reduce order entry errors, and guide sales teams through the entire quote process.

 

Unit4

 

Unit4 is a leading provider of enterprise applications across the globe and we’re currently working with them to bring their Student Management System to Australia.

 

Developed for colleges and universities, this Student Management solution can automate vital student lifecycle processes, build relationships with alumni or donors, and provide student support to help them succeed throughout their education.

 

We’re working hard to tailor Unit4’s Student Management System so it can meet a set of requirements that are unique to Australia.

 

Unit4 also offers the Professional Services Automation (PSA) Suite that helps SMEs plan, manage, and track their project lifecycle.

 

3. Launched a New ITIL Compliant Support Portal

 

Our upgraded support portal is a one-stop hub where clients can lodge, track, and manage support and enhancement requests with ease. Here, they can receive real-time updates on pending enquiries, monitor logged cases, and export status reports.

 

With this portal, clients don’t have to sift through numerous emails just to keep track of their enquiries. It’s also web-based to make it accessible on mobile devices.

 

4. Industry Expert Award

 

We are proud to have been presented an Industry Expert Award in “Productivity & Technology” by NSW Leaders.

 

One of ECLEVA’s goals is to demystify technology solutions for business owners. This year, with NSW Leaders, we’ve conducted over 20 Productivity and Technology mentoring sessions to various small and medium enterprises and led Knowledge Workshops on “Innovation in the Age of Disruption” and “The Business System That Every SME Needs”.

 

What’s Next for ECLEVA?

 

This Year in Review gave us a brief moment to celebrate our 2017 successes, both large and small.

 

We are proud of our accomplishments, but we aim to achieve higher goals in 2018.

 

We’re constantly updating our skills, especially in client delivery management, so we can better serve our clients and keep them happy year-round.

 

We’re also investigating how we can leverage artificial intelligence to develop smarter CRM systems and analytics tools for your business. This year’s Microsoft Ignite Conference inspired us to learn more about AI, especially about Machine Learning’s potential to build smarter applications.

 

Thank you for supporting ECLEVA and we hope that you’ll also end 2017 on a high note.

 

Season’s greetings to all!!

 

ECLEVA will be closed on December 22, 2017 – January 8, 2018. However, our customer support will still be available during the holidays. If you have any enquiries, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Universities More Than Ever Need Strong Financial Support to Stay Relevant and Secure Their Future

The pressure of the federal government’s planned cuts on the Australian university system is old news. However, I often wonder if we’ve truly grasped the full impact of what this means; and whether we’ve taken measures to cushion its effect.

 

With these planned budget cuts, the higher education sector will collectively lose $1.16 billion in base funding. The impact will be felt more in disadvantaged communities, where universities are smaller and don’t have the same assets.

 

Larger universities can survive the reduced funding from the government, but this will mean that the burden will be shared with students. They may have to pay more tuition without any assurance that their learning experience will be better, or if they’ll gain the skills to become job-ready.

 

In addition, the government is also planning to change their funding model, wherein if a university fails to meet the government’s benchmark, they’ll have fewer funds for innovation, making it more difficult to improve their employability outcomes.

 

To ensure that the Australian higher education sector is set up for success with reduced government funding, I believe the focus for universities should be on developing commercial engagements.

 

My belief stems from previous research and efforts developed by other universities. Jachimowicz and Umali mentioned that commercial engagements are ‘a balancing act in which everyone has a shot at winning.’

 

‘Industry gets needed research, universities get funding, society gets new products and technology.’

 

I completely agree with their statement because we’ve experienced the benefits of these partnerships with our clients.

 

In Australia, the top eight universities are benefitting from commercial engagements. The Group of Eight will partner with the London-based IP Group PLC to receive a $200 million funding pool. According to The Guardian, the funds will be ‘available to researchers who want to commercialise their ideas into spin-off companies and startups.’

 

There’s no magic formula that’ll instantly turn a university into an industry partner magnet. However, a good place to start is developing a CRM solution for managing engagements with commercial businesses.

 

I appreciate that investing in technology amidst pending budget cuts may feel counterintuitive. But most organisations miss funding opportunities due to siloed processes or misplacing process, contact, and relationship breakdowns when key staff leave or take on new positions..

 

An end-to-end CRM platform solution can work more effectively in the hands of someone who understands how industry partnerships work. That is why I suggest that universities work with entrepreneurs in residence (EIR).

 

Their role is to seek out and propose innovative technologies, partnership opportunities, and business models to organisations.  They can assist in streamlining the details of a university’s commercial engagement campaigns. But even then to make effective use of their skills and experiences, they still need an end-to-end CRM platform solution that can help them monitor and manage interactions with potential partners.

 

 

Over the years, I’ve developed a checklist that I have found useful when helping universities assess their Commercial Engagement Success:

 

  1. I always start by asking my clients, what are your agreed strategies and processes to describe your commercial engagements? (e.g. how do you define leads, opportunities, methods of tracking this data, etc.)
  1. What are the key funding sources you are targeting?
  2. Are the skills, roles and responsibilities of your commercial engagement team clearly defined? Does your team have redundancies and hand over documents for managing the partnership?
  3. Does your university have a system for managing and storing partnership agreement documents and key milestones?
  4. If an industry partner needs to work with several departments, do they have similar processes in managing commercial agreements?

 

If you were not able to answer all of the above and need more insights on effective higher education-industry partnerships, feel free to get in touch here.

 

If you want to see how we’ve helped our clients set up successful commercial engagement platforms, check out these case studies.

 

ECLEVA and Experlogix Announce Partnership to Implement and Support CPQ Solutions

ExperlogixECLEVA and Experlogix today announced their new partnership to bring effective and affordable Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) solutions to Australia. ECLEVA will market and resell Experlogix’s products such as the Design Centre and the CPQ Standard, Pro, and Portal Editions.

 

These quote and order automation solutions can speed up sales cycle, make quotes and orders more accessible, reduces order entry errors, and guide your sales team through your quote process.

 

Experlogix’s CPQ solutions can also be seamlessly integrated into your Microsoft Dynamics and NetSuite CRM and ERP systems.

 

The company has been the “go-to” configurator experts across North and South America, EMEA, and Asia Pacific. We at ECLEVA believe that this partnership with Experlogix can help us develop innovative business technology solutions for our clients.

7 Interesting Facts About ECLEVA

Do you have trouble-pronouncing ECLEVA? Do you wonder what ECLEVA actually means? Have a read of our ECLEVA-themed facts and trivia and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

1) ECLEVA Has a Double Meaning

 

ECLEVA is a spin on the words electronic and clever, which refers to their credo: Innovative Ideas Delivered Simply. The name is pronounced as /eklevuh/.

 

The name also upholds the six core values that the company practices when working with their clients and within their departments:

 

• Enterprising

• Collaborative

• Leadership

• Engaged

• Value

• Act with Integrity

 

These core values were the results of a team effort. They had to spend hours sifting through words (and a bit of doodling on the side) to find the best behaviours and values that are important to them.

 

Originally, the company name was to be ECLEVI, I for Integrity. However, ECLEVA’s CEO Patrick Northcott and Managing Partner Martin Halmarick thought that the name doesn’t roll off the tongue, prompting them to change the last part to Act with Integrity.

 

2) The Logo Represents Innovation and Efficiency

 

Even in the logo, ECLEVA remains consistent in promoting their core values.

 

It is shaped like the first two letters of ECLEVA and features small and large cogs surrounded by a blue semi-circle.

 

According to Mr Northcott, cogs best represent the company’s principle in developing smart solutions through simple processes.

 

ECLEVA’s blue and white colour palette, on the other hand, were selected to maintain the professional and reliable image that PNP and S1 have maintained over the years.

 

3) Despite Being a New Brand, ECLEVA is already a Veteran in the IT Industry

 

ECLEVA is just almost a year old. However, the brand was created from the merger of two, leading business technology solutions firms in Australia – S1 Consulting and PNP Solutions.

 

Before ECLEVA, Mr Northcott was the CEO of PNP Solutions, while Mr Halmarick was the Managing Director of S1 Consulting.

 

The company started working together in the early 2000s, wherein they developed a strategy to sell, demo, and host a CRM system. The success of their first joint venture led the two companies to start working together on several more projects.

 

According to Mr Halmarick, the merging of the two companies was a natural progression and greatly improved their working dynamics and delivery success.

 

4) ECLEVA Prefers Talking Business, Rather Than Technology

 

ECLEVA stands out from other business technology solutions providers because they put effort in understanding the language of their key industry verticals.

 

“The more that we understand the industry that we are working with, the quicker we are able to deliver value to our clients”, noted Antun Scurla, ECLEVA’s Sales Manager.

 

ECLEVA specialises in five key industries – education, not for profit, construction, finance, and professional services.

 

5) Certified Microsoft Partner

 

ECLEVA is a Microsoft Gold Partner in CRM and a Silver Partner in Cloud Services and a Microsoft Authorised Education Partner – a certification given to companies that have the highest level of expertise in using the Microsoft Academic product suites.

 

However, Microsoft applications are not the only tools in ECLEVA’s arsenal. The company also established partnerships with vendors like Click Dimensions, Marketo, Unit 4, and Elsevier Pure.

 

The platforms and tools offered by these organisations are used in conjunction with ECLEVA’s solutions to meet complex requirements within a short timeframe.

 

Learn how ECLEVA uses these partnerships to develop effective business technology solutions by checking this page.

 

6) EduRe is ECLEVA’s CRM Solution for the Education Sector

 

If you have peers working for a Uni or TAFE, they’ve probably mentioned the word ‘EduRe’ in one of your conversations.

 

If you’re wondering what it’s about, EduRe /ˈejərei/ is a CRM module specifically made for the education sector that was developed by S1 and PNP in 2011.

 

It is made of pre-built and customisable applications that can manage both student and commercial engagement efforts of Universities, TAFEs, and other educational institutions.

 

It is Cloud based and cost effective. This system can be tailored and scaled to virtually any education institute scenario or size and provides customisable automation functionality.

 

Visit ECLEVA’s education website for more details on our student and commercial lifecycle solutions.

 

7) ECLEVA Started as a Traditional IT Service Provider

 

Before merging with S1, PNP used to offer CRM solutions combined with traditional IT like hardware and delivery networks.

 

After discovering a gap in the market, the company transitioned more to Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementations so they could have business-focused discussions with their clients and make their services more proactive.

Learn more about ECLEVA’s working process on this page.

 

Currently, ECLEVA is acquiring more new clients in Australia and are planning to expand into markets like America, Europe, and South-East Asia. They love working with small to large businesses that share the same values and are passionate about innovative technology processes.

 

To see if ECLEVA is the right partner for your company, send a message today and start developing innovative business solutions together.

 

Do you have questions or trivia that you want us to add? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Implementing an Effective Customer Relationship Management – QLD Australia

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ECLEVA are proud to announce that our TAFE Queensland B2B EduRe project is successfully in Production

Tafe QLDWe at ECLEVA are proud to announce that our TAFE Queensland B2B EduRe project is successfully in production.

 

ECLEVA was awarded the tender in December 2016, to roll out the EduRe Commercial Engagement Suite; Lead Management, Opportunity Management, Tender Management, Contract Management and Agreement management across 300 plus users across TAFE Queensland’s corporate office and 52 campus locations in Queensland to support TAFE Queensland’s B2B engagements.

 

The EduRe solutions have been designed to be truly fit for purpose and is delivering clients a true time to value solution.  The scale of the TAFE Queensland project was significant and in less than six months, 300 users across TAFE Queensland are using the solution to manage commercial engagement activities, sales, delivery and management for TAFE Queensland’s B2B business.

 

The solution brings together the three pieces of Microsoft’s Cloud Platform vision; Partner App, Dynamics 365 managed via CSP and Azure consumption. All were based around delivering business solutions, through consulting, commercial engagement best practice standards and business processes and supporting technology.

 

TAFE Queensland is the largest Further Education and Training provider in Queensland and ECLEVA is one of the first Microsoft partners globally to roll out a CSP model, ISV App on Dynamics 365.

 

ECLEVA’s education expertise and proven track record in rolling out EduRe and other business application solutions across the Higher Education and Further Education sectors, was a contributing factor to winning the contract.

 

ECLEVA is proud of this milestone as this brings our tally to well over 20 Higher and Further Education institutions that we have developed business solutions for.

 

This project was done in partnership with the TAFE Queensland project team and Microsoft Education team. We at ECLEVA would like to express our gratitude to the entire TAFE Queensland and Microsoft Education teams.

How can Australian Universities Improve Their Commercial Engagements?

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