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Jul 3 2012 - 15:04
Shared Success - Guaranteed Results
Taopix Limited is a privately-funded software development company, with offices in the UK, Singapore, Japan and the United States of America. The primary focus is to provide a superior photo book and photo gift software platform to digital printers and photo finishing companies.
The company sells and supports its software worldwide through a global network of 30 distributors operating in over 50 countries. Strategic partnerships have also been established with leading digital print manufacturers, photo printing solution providers and finishing equipment manufacturers to drive sales and promote Taopix awareness worldwide. Industry-leading businesses including the AA and Saga are using the Taopix platform.
Taopix had a system in place from SugarCRM to deal with leads, opportunity management and support case management, working alongside Sage to manage accounts and invoices and up to 40 Google Docs and spreadsheets to record information and produce management reports. As Taopix’s business expanded it was evident that the current system could not cope with the increased amount of information that needed to be recorded and exported.
With many manual processes including lead distribution, quoting and invoicing, a considerable amount of Taopix working hours were invested into the business’ basic operation. Logging, licence fees, finance and collection all took its toll on an increasingly overworked backroom team. These distributed systems made it difficult to share information and have a joined-up view of the customer. With no visibility over different channels and poor data management, it was quickly becoming clear that Taopix needed a more collaborative approach to dealing with its distributors and customers.
James Gray, CEO at Taopix, said: “How can a firm grow when it cannot even focus on its main business activity? We considered ourselves a progressive company and as such could not realistically continue spending time and resource on an out of date way of working.”
It was evident that Taopix needed a more robust CRM system to help solve these headaches. With a joined-up system, a newly-streamlined business operation would make customer interaction more efficient and profitable.
As this was such a huge operational change, Taopix was unsure where to look for a solution, as Gray explains: “Two years ago we decided it was time to upgrade our CRM system but transitioning across was a daunting idea and the issue became a hot potato for 18 months. We were worried about how the migration process would work and we were concerned that certain aspects of our existing system might not be present in any new set-up.”
To help make the process easier, Taopix enlisted a consultant to help establish a list of key requirements that needed to be met by a new CRM system:
- Quote and order management
- Integration with existing Sage accounting system for the production of invoices
- Royalty payment management
- Lead and opportunity management
- Contract control and renewal reminders
The system also needed to be web-based in order to give easy access to distributors in different territories, and flexible enough to add new data fields as required. A flexible solution was key; the new CRM system had to be mouldable to suit the business’ current and future working patterns.
He continued, “We looked at 65 CRM providers initially, which turned into a shortlist of 20 from which Workbooks CRM came out on top. The majority of the systems we looked at didn’t offer all of our requirements in one system and those that did turned out to be very costly. Workbooks came to us with a reasonably-priced solution which represented good value for money.”
It is important to find working partners that inspire you with confidence. Workbooks certainly did that, as Gray outlines: “We really liked Workbooks because its employees were very responsive to questions, and were genuinely on the ball.”
Once the business had chosen to move across to Workbooks CRM, the systems were migrated in manageable stages. In Taopix’s case, invoice and order management processes were moved across and went live first, followed by the use of the system by sales people and finally distribution channels were given access.
Gray enthused: “The migration process was fairly painless and managed well by Workbooks, and now we are left with a very usable and powerful system.”
A key benefit Workbooks delivered was powerful reporting, allowing Taopix to produce a summary of customer data at the click of a button – a process which would have previously taken days to collate from different spreadsheets.
Gray added: “One of the most vital new tools at our disposal is Workbooks’ report-writing abilities. We can now create powerful reports from data that was previously not being used to its full potential. Keeping tabs on money owed to us is easier with a real-time system. Previously, reports would take time to compile and once complete, were automatically out of date.”
The Workbooks CRM system also gives access to a granular level of reporting, with the ability to filter data and drill down to specific pieces of data when required, instead of needing to speak to sales and finance teams to gather the relevant information and then produce a report.
Taopix is also using the Workbooks Process Engine to automate business processes. Gray explained: “The Process Engine in Workbooks has enabled us to automate several processes saving us significant time. We now capture leads from our website and automatically distribute them to partners, ensuring partners get the right leads quickly and we can track their progress”.
He continued “We have also automated our month end invoicing run. Previously we would manually create invoices in Sage and then email them to customers; this is now fully automatic in Workbooks taking just a few minutes, whereas previously it would take 6 or 7 days.”
Gray also estimates that the marketing team are saving about two days a month by having access to an up to date database of customer and prospect information.
One of the other benefits of adopting Workbooks has been an improved way of working for the Taopix support team. Gray commented: “Many of our customers are overseas so support questions typically arrive by email. In the old system we had to manually ‘copy and paste’ emails into SugarCRM and constantly monitor the email inbox for customer communication. With Workbooks it’s much easier: when a new support question arrives via email a new case is automatically created and the customer is automatically sent a response with a case reference number. When the customer responds the email is automatically stored against the case and our support team are notified – which means we can offer a better level of service and keep track of our Service Level Agreements.”
Gray concluded: “Workbooks has really transformed the way our business runs and has started to pay for itself, providing an instant reduction in IT spend and resource allocated to manual tasks. Workbooks has equipped us to focus on delivering the best service we can for clients, and the future looks bright with a renewed sense of direction for Taopix.”