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Saving Time and Money: Safety-Kleen

It's good to have options, especially when there's a 4,300-employee business at stake. Safety-Kleen of Plano, Texas, exercised the option to leave its SFA and WFO provider in favor of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and wound up saving half a million dollars and gaining a number of other benefits.

Safety-Kleen, a leading North American used-oil recycling and re-refining, parts cleaning, and environmental solutions company, previously used Salesforce.com. Integration tasks were difficult and network latency caused performance issues. Salespeople were wasting valuable selling time duplicating lead entry.

"We needed both a way to manage our sales force and pipeline, and an integrated CRM/customer service application," says Cathy King, director of IT applications for Safety-Kleen. "Our existing system was very disjointed because it wasn't integrated but still had to serve all our locations."

The reason behind the decision to switch to Microsoft Dynamics CRM was twofold. "Safety-Kleen was looking at its platform needs—Dynamics CRM, Sharepoint, and Lync—because they'd been having some problems with interoperability from their existing provider, and wanted to be sure going forward they'd have full capabilities," says David Pennington, director of CRM product marketing at Microsoft. "Cathy also wanted to make sure they wouldn't have to spend a lot of cycles and cash to get it all working, and over the long haul."

"Two things made us want to adopt Microsoft," King says. "First, our Salesforce.com license was expiring, and I saw it would be difficult to get all the functionality we wanted for all the users, at least on our budget. Second, we really wanted seamless integration between all the functions. We're almost entirely a Microsoft shop, so it made sense to look at Dynamics."

Microsoft partner PowerObjects was on the ground for the pitch and deployment. "PowerObjects was able to demonstrate for us, even during the sales process, that it would be easy to get our data ported over and usable very quickly," King says.

"Safety-Kleen also liked the option to switch from on-premises to cloud deployment," Pennington adds.

There were a couple of challenges. The biggest was the short time frame. "The initial plan was for a nine-month integration process, but it was shortened to less than three," King states.

Obsolete technology was another issue. "We had lots of outdated computers, and we had to replace them with new ones capable of running Office 2010," King says.

"[Microsoft Dynamics CRM] was pretty intuitive, even with bringing on a couple of hundred people who had never used sales automation before," King notes. "We had less than normal rollout issues, and almost unanimous adoption."

Safety-Kleen wound up with everything it wanted and more. "Our goal was to get more of a platform, not lose any data, and not lose any of the functionality we had with Salesforce.com. We also got dashboarding, integration of the sales system with order management, quoting, and automatic updates, with quotes fed back into the CRM system," King says. Going forward, "we will add more integration with order management, replace our issue-tracking software and incorporate into CRM, add campaign management, and roll the system out to the AR collections group."

Safety-Kleen and Microsoft are confident that they can meet any future challenges. "Cathy's team has the skills to allow them to expand the solution to any business case they are likely to need," Pennington says. Previously, they would have had to hire someone with a background in Salesforce.com development to make any changes, which would cost 50 percent more than if they were using their internal development staff.

But even better, Microsoft has given Safety-Kleen a set of tools that inspire creativity.

"Safety-Kleen is seeing requests from users for new tools based on what they see as possible in the system, rather than just making wishes," Pennington says.

In fact, the users actually drove the decision to adopt Microsoft. "My wow moment came when Microsoft and PowerObjects delivered the proof of concept after we'd auditioned the candidates," King says. "The users who would be most affected were overwhelmingly pleased, and practically demanded Microsoft Dynamics CRM."

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