The 2007 Market Awards: Elite -- Roland DGA

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There's nothing we love more than a thriving CRM implementation. Some projects, however, stand out--not for the technology involved (though we applaud innovation), not for the money saved (though we celebrate savings), and not for the efficiencies achieved (though we believe in synergy). Our 2007 Elite winners stand out because they embody the best of CRM at the enterprise, midmarket, and small-business levels--making the most of technology to enable sales, marketing, and service to fulfill the promise to the customer. ROLAND DGA: A printing-equipment supplier consolidates on an all-Microsoft platform.
After 10 years of double-digit revenue growth, Roland DGA's technology, including its CRM system, was cracking. Its Siebel Systems setup was faced with poor adoption, while its Goldmine lead generation was unwieldy. More than 75 employees and hundreds of dealers relied on the system; change was essential. Irvine, Calif.-based Roland--which sells printing, scanning, and engraving equipment--is almost wholly dependent on dealers, and trade-show lead routing to those dealers was cumbersome. Lead routing was often done manually; it was taking up to six weeks to send marketing materials to prospects. Dealer leads were stale. When Bob Castle was named chief information officer in July 2004, he formed a Microsoft-centric strategy--SharePoint for external-facing systems and real-time reporting; Dynamics CRM for account maintenance; and Great Plains, already in place, for financials. They added warehouse management tools for inventory control. To help with the CRM system, he reached out to Bob McMahon, as senior business systems manager. "The user community doesn't care what system the data comes out of--they want the 360-degree view of the customer," McMahon says. "They want you to paint that picture in real time so they have the data at their fingertips to make the right decisions and do a better job servicing customers." Roland had been looking to migrate from Siebel and Goldmine, adamant that the new system integrate with ERP and other legacy applications. That brought Roland DGA together with Minneapolis-based Axonom, a Microsoft Certified Partner focused on CRM. The first step involved a partnership relationship management solution built by Axonom using Microsoft technology. Roland and Axonom created a "power converter" tool that takes Web-based and trade-show lead data and looks at mandatory fields to ensure they are correctly entered. If the data is accurate, the system attempts to convert the lead by seeking a uniquely matching contact email address. With a unique match, the lead is automatically converted. Without one, it seeks a lookalike match and presents options to either select a matching contact or create a new one. With an average of 500 leads per trade show to convert, the minutes saved by automation add up. Once a lead comes in, the system pops a fulfillment request: a customized mailing with a letter and the requested product information. "They used to have to bring in temps to get through everything for a trade show, and now a mailroom clerk does it as a part-time function," McMahon says. "We've taken what used to be a four-to-six-week process and turned it into a 24-to-48-hour process." Product registration was another issue. A method linking an end-user account to a specific machine was developed with Dynamics CRM and Axonom. With end-user registration data, a SQL-based program was created to automatically find machines that had warranties due to expire within 30 days of the standard warranty program. The command line report lets Roland generate better registration data, survey new users about their experiences, and connect with customers before their warranties expire in order to ensure extended warranty coverage. McMahon estimates that Roland's product registration rates have risen 100 percent since implementing the new system. In the first year, the system generated more than $400,000 in increased annual maintenance revenue. The technology team is now working with Roland's Japan-based parent company to bring more registration data into the CRM system, allowing Roland to proactively service customers and sell maintenance contracts. And Axonom now serves a more consultative role with Roland, focusing on discovering new ways to mine data for new partner and client details. "Now it's about taking the algorithms in Powertrak and using that data to get to the next level," says Joe Benedict, director of sales at Axonom. Interactivity is the key to present and future success. "It's not any one system that's significant," McMahon says. "It's the ability to tie them all together in a way that allows the various user communities to get the most value out of it." Real Results -- Roland DGA
  • 100 percent increase in operating margin (fees relative to costs) in three years;
  • improvement in operating margin from single to double digits;
  • increase in customer satisfaction (measured by retention and acquisition rates); and
  • set company record in 2005 with most profitable year ever.
--David Jastrow
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