Costin Lichi

Q&A with Costin Lichi – Client Development Manager at Ecleva

We have a chat with Costin Lichi, Client Development Manager at ECLEVA.


  • CostinHow long have been working for ECLEVA?

Since 2015


  • What does your typical day look like?

There is no such thing for me, the job is too varied, which is great. It can involve anything from starting a new project, supporting a long-term client, training customers, designing a new solution. I love being an innovator and spending my time coming up with ways to solve customers’ challenges in an easy way. The less complicated the solution is in the end the happier everyone is.


  • What’s your favorite part about working at ECLEVA?

Developing challenging solutions; Working with very competent and dedicated people (with a great sense of humor); Delivering solutions that make the clients ecstatic!


  • What was your path here?

I have held many roles, all of which have helped me develop the experience that I feel is need to work at this level. I have worked as a Quality Manager; Change Delivery Manager; CIO; Program Manager; CRM BA/Delivery Management Consultant, all of which have added aspects that help me help our customers.


  • What’s helped you to get to where you are now?

Getting tired of corporate politics. I have in the past worked for organisations where politics was getting in the way of doing proper work for customers. I enjoy working with a company like ECLEVA because we are a very flat organisation with no politics to speak of.


  • What was your dream job when you were young?

Coming from Romania originally, my dream was simply to live in a “free” country. Every day here is a good day.


  • Wine or beer?

Neither, I’m a teetotaler


  • What one thing do you wish you had (skill, thing or other)?

Less loud, I have a talent for being heard in the office. I think my voice box was designed to be working next to an airport.


  • When you’re not in the office, where do you most like being?

I work a lot for my wife’s business and am building systems for them. Running intensive uphill and on the beach to be a bit gentler on the joints. At the moment, I’m also spending time keeping up to date with the latest technology.

Staff Announcement Japesh and Jorge

ECLEVA is pleased to announce the continued growth and addition of two new Client Delivery Managers (CDMs) to the deliver team, Japesh Thyagarajan and Jorge Rengifo.


Jorge comes with 16 years’ experience implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM and a variety of other ERP and CRM solutions.  Jorge also has a wealth of experience as a business analyst, project manager and change manager on a number of large and complex projects.


Japesh has over 15 years’ experience in IT with an impressive portfolio of technologies including Microsoft Dynamics CRM, document management (SharePoint), mobility platforms and custom application development. Japesh is also an experienced project manager certified as a Scrum master and PMP. Japesh has carried out many large scale projects and has extensive team management experience.


Jorge joined us late October, and Japesh is starting early December, both will be based out of our Sydney office.


Please welcome Japesh and Jorge to the Ecleva family and look forward to them making a significant impact to all our clients.


Another step forward for the Microsoft CRM Application!

The overarching view is that the much lauded performance improvements, while there, are still not QUITE there yet, BUT, and I do say BUT… for what it is it’s definitely another step in the right direction for Microsoft in a couple of ways and we’re very excited about the future!!


There has been a plethora of mobility solutions from Microsoft over the past year, and this one tries to find a niche to start with and tries to do one thing, and do one thing right… email tracking.


When you compare it with the ‘old’ CRM for Outlook add-in you can clearly see that there are a lot of ‘gives for the gets’ here. We FINALLY get OWA (Outlook Web Access) integration!, NO configuration on the user side, or heavy database/sign-ins! But we also lose (perhaps not permanently?) Offline mode, appointment tracking and a number of other things (See the screenshot below for more).


It also will work on more platforms and be less ‘Microsoft only’ focused, which helps those Mac users out there… and those ‘other’ ones as well.

CRM App for Outlook
Jumping in to it, the interface is very mobile friendly and offers up a number of things like getting an overview of the latest activity for the contact (appointments, cases, and opportunities). Then you can either do a quick search for something to tag it against (regarding) or you can take the opportunity to create a new record (for example a lead or case) that it relates to.


It allows you to add these in received emails, but also emails that you compose and also to contacts that aren’t in your CRM yet… again, that’s nice and handy. It feels nice and intuitive to do once you get started.

Mail Draft


So all in all, for what it sets out to do it pulls it off well … however… the touted performance benefits from the ARA release certainly haven’t showed up in our testing here in Australia. Yes, the outlook needs to cold load every time as it doesn’t allow for persistent data (pity), but this means that you wait at least a good 4-5 seconds every time… for today’s millennials they would already have clocked out by that time and headed to the beach. Seriously though… using the feature does require speed of use, and the vibe isn’t that great just yet about that. We hope this can be improved further going forward.


In OWA mode things are better, and maybe this is the best application for it and the expected future use case for most? You don’t have to worry about the Outlook data persistence issues here, so the caching works better. Still not perfect but better.


What we are excited about is the future!


It’s really like most Microsoft success stories like the Surface 4… not 1 to 3, They need a couple of versions to mature. While this update is not bad by any stretch of the imagination you can see where the room is for improvement and creative thinking. The great thing with Microsoft is that they play catch up better than most given time!


I am particularly excited about seeing what the relationship intelligence and Delve analytics will bring to the table and look forward to seeing this in the next releases (watch this space)!


In summary… We see this update for what it is… Update 1 on the road to update 4 and a tool that’s great for emails. As long as you are OK with waiting a couple of seconds every time you use the functionality it will not make you want to go back to the old Outlook add-in in a hurry.


Below are a couple of screens of the high level roadmap, hope you are excited too.


To have a closer look at the app I recommend watching at least the first 20 minutes of this video by Microsoft and Torsten Holthöfer.

Future Capabilities


Roadmap Future Release


Roadmap Distant Future

Tafe Queensland

TAFE Queensland South West – Managing the Student Enquiry and Feedback Loop

The Challenge…

Tafe QueenslandServing the growing training needs of Brisbane’s expanding population in the southwest corridor, TAFE Queensland South West (TAFE QLD SW) needed a better way to engage with their students, the community and industry. With 11,000 full time students and 450 staff this was no mean feat.


  • The newly established Corporate Business Development Unit needed an integrated sales and marketing system to build its fee for service business
  • Customer Service Centre wanted to quickly and efficiently capture and track student enquiries and make it easier for students to obtain course information and enroll
  • Further, institute stakeholders trying to win business for TAFE QLD SW were frustrated due to a lack of organisational knowledge about the relationship between the institute and its customers be they corporate clients, workplace trainers or single-subscriber students.


In this environment, existing customer information was spread across the organisation and mostly contained in spreadsheets, Access databases or on paper.  The challenges included having:


  • No central repository
  • No consistent way of tracking customer enquiries and
  • No way of co-relating enquiries to enrolments, marketing efforts or student demand for the courses on offer.


What TAFE QLD SW Institute needed was a well-conceived CRM strategy; a user friendly, easy to customise and maintain, value for money Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and a blueprint for implementation.


Considering the Alternatives


With a draft set of requirements, TAFE QLD SW knew they’d need to engage specialised, independent industry expertise to assess and articulate the how, when and where of their CRM implementation.


“We chose ECLEVA because of their experience and expertise in Education.” says Garth O’Mara.  “ECLEVA had already successfully installed CRM at similar institutions.  Their references were impeccable”.


Working with key stakeholders, ECLEVA held a series of workshops to qualify TAFE QLD SW’s state of readiness.  This included a review of the current status and key environmental considerations for a successful deployment.  High-level user and technical requirements were presented and CRM hotspots identified. ECLEVA presented a CRM Solution Map aligned to the Institute’s project goals with clear recommendations about how to proceed, a viable timetable and estimated costs.


The ECLEVA Readiness report identified CRM Hotspots, which provided quick wins to engage and empower staff.  It was thought that giving staff a level of autonomy with the new system would encourage them to use the system and embrace the resulting changes to their work practices. ECLEVA was confident that the deployment of a well-conceived and well implemented CRM strategy would result in a more consistent and systematic approach to customers, increase enrollments, provide better decision making information and give staff greater job satisfaction.


Importantly, ECLEVA found that TAFE QLD SW’s requirements were sufficiently clear and concise not to warrant a pilot deployment. ECLEVA recommended a phased roll-out, tracking experiences so as to maximize the benefit of phase 1 experiences in the subsequent phases that would go onto embrace Contact Management, Correspondence Tracking and Distribution, Data Migration, Activity Management, Campaign Management and Enquiry Management.


Powering Through the Project


Backed by the hearty endorsement from TAFE QLD SW executive and the CRM team, ECLEVA set about crafting the precise configuration of the CRM system.


Of particular importance to the configuration was the consistent focus on the underlying business drivers:-


  • Close the customer enquiry and feedback loop.
  • Improve customer accountability and visibility at various levels throughout TAFE QLD SW.
  • Manage the multitude of Customer Touch-points, including electronic and more manual channels.


TAFE QLD SW had 6 months to deploy their CRM strategy and reengineer its business processes ready for the next student recruitment cycle.  Commencing in June, the ECLEVA Readiness Report was completed by August, configuration commenced in November with user training early in December ready for a Go Live later that month.


The Outcome


The combination of a robust system, usability and an enthusiastic team meant that come January enrollment, TAFE QLD SW handled a peak of 8,000 enquiries with next day dispatch of requested information.  “We can now track leads to enrolments.  We now have quality data upon which to make informed decisions regarding our curriculum.” says Julie Poole, Customer Service Manager.


The new system is distributed to all faculties with 55 power users across the Institute.  Facility Administration use the system to track their individual contacts.  As was originally intended, the Customer Service Centre is now the main customer enquiry “go-to” point within the institute and the funnel through which all enquiries are processed.


“There is a growing trust between the Faculties and Customer Service now they’re confident we’re responding to all enquiries in a consistent and reliable way.” observes Julie Poole.


“The system is so flexible and open,” says TAFE QLD SW CRM specialist “We’re considering using it as a toolkit for a number of other requirements.   The framework and technology makes it easy to integrate with our other systems.”


Visit our education page or if you have any query than don’t hesitate to Contact us.

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