The 2008 CRM Market Awards: Elite -- Qualcomm

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A multifaceted enterprise faces many obstacles in keeping each of its departments running smoothly. Even the tiniest glitch in a process can bog the system down, delay sales, and impact customer relationships. This was the case for Qualcomm, a developer and innovator of wireless technologies and mobile data solutions, with its contract management solution. Qualcomm, when signing on new clients, had a bulky and time-consuming method involving several go-betweens, unnecessary paperwork, and an unreliable filing method.

The contract division would often draft up a document in Microsoft Word, mail or email the paperwork to the client—and then have to wait for the client to print out and sign the contract and either send it back via snail mail or scan-and-email. The contract then had to be routed to someone at Qualcomm to countersign before it could—finally!—be placed in the hands of the contract management department. The process of signing contracts often took longer than a week.

The technology team at Qualcomm knew there had to be an easier way. “EchoSign—a Salesforce.com AppExchange partner—allowed us to replace a labor-intensive manual contract-signature process by allowing sales reps in the [Qualcomm Enterprise Services, or QES] division to electronically send contracts to [the] customer and route the contracts back to the appropriate person for countersign,” says Mark Silber, information technology systems architect with Qualcomm. After the QES division implemented Salesforce.com CRM in August of 2007, the EchoSign solution went live in March of this year.

And a simple concept led to big results. The overall gain? “It’s easier to do business with us as a company,” Silber says. Improved contract signatures mean the organization is able to ship its products out sooner, a factor that Qualcomm hopes to soon put numbers to.

Although Qualcomm has multiple servers in different divisions, opting for Salesforce.com allowed the company to replace several of the out-of-date on-premises servers it had devoted to CRM. Silber estimates that Qualcomm is saving about $100,000 in upgrade costs that would have gone to the former on-premises vendors. When using the number of log-ins as a metric to evaluate user adoption, Silber says Qualcomm sees greater than 80 percent adoption with Salesforce.com—compared to the 30 percent to 40 percent range with the former on-premises solution. The on-demand software removed the technical reasons users had given for not logging in—it can be accessed anywhere, plus it provides users with more features than before.

“One of the things that changed, because we aren’t spending as much time on infrastructure, [is that the Qualcomm] analysts have time to do other things such as figuring out business problems, working out adoption rates, and having more time being able to manage and push people to make sure they are using the application appropriately,” Silber says. “It means we’re able to deploy more features faster than we ever have been able to before.”

The old, on-premises CRM solutions presented the need for trouble shooting and support staff. With the software-as-a-service model provided by Salesforce.com, Qualcomm was able to cut down on its support staff by nearly 60 percent. Another key benefit is how rapidly changes are visible and available in the system. With the former solution, system changes required roughly between 10 weeks and 12 weeks to take effect. With Salesforce.com, there is no downtime required—and nothing takes more than a few days to flip the switch on.

“Really the issue with the previous architecture was just the process of getting a change through the end-to-end process—it was 12 weeks,” Silber says of the Qualcomm CRM cycles. “A lot was just making the change, having to migrate the change from one instance to another, and do database backup. People would work late into the night. The release would take up to four hours. That has all gone away. It doesn’t matter that people are in or out of the system. The changes are faster and have less impact on the end user.”

Real Results : Qualcomm

  • Increased user adoption by more than 40 percentage points.
  • Reduced required support staff by more than 60 percent.
  • Saved more than $100,000 in hardware costs to upgrade out-of-date on-premises CRM solutions.
  • Began tracking hundreds of additional customer attributes in Salesforce.com that were never tapped into with previous systems.
  • Reduced CRM-update cycle times by approximately 40-fold, from 12 weeks down to just a few days.

To read about the other 2008 CRM Elite winners, click here.

For the rest of the 2008 CRM Market Awards, click here.

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