As a breeding ground and support network for owner-managers and entrepreneurs destined to shape the future of New Zealand’s economy, business efficiency is a hot topic for The ICEHOUSE. CEO Andrew Hamilton says: “As an organisation working to enable entrepreneurial Kiwi firms to grow and reach their aspirations, we need to eat our own dog food.”
A small organisation with big goals and a wide network, making a significant impact in New Zealand’s business community, The ICEHOUSE has its sights set firmly on a bright future, both for itself and its protégées. Supporting this vision is a commitment to IT innovation and an understanding that robust, nimble systems need to underpin businesses, forming a vital building block in their journey to success, whatever the size of the organisation.
Good business is about doing what you do best; and The ICEHOUSE recognised that moving its IT operations to the cloud would allow its staff to do just that. In the words of Mariko Rogers, The ICEHOUSE’s Technology and Operations Manager, a move to the cloud ultimately means “not having to worry about a little box breaking down on us.” In addition to the freedom inherent in relinquishing responsibility for and ownership and maintenance of expensive hardware and often complex software, the cloud also signified tangible gains in cost, productivity, accessibility and usability. “Moving our services to the cloud was a logical step for us,” Mariko explains.
The ICEHOUSE moved to Microsoft CRM 4 several years ago. Already familiar with the Microsoft interface and accustomed to using CRM, ICEHOUSE staff were keen to get their hands on the latest enhancements and features available in Microsoft’s latest version, CRM Online. Chief amongst these was the ability to integrate CRM and Microsoft Dynamics NAV, streamlining and bringing together The ICEHOUSE’s customer and financial information, “reducing admin processes and doublehandling,” Mariko says.
“We knew the cloud would bring lots of benefits,” she says. “It ticked so many boxes, and it offers us much better integration. It’s a lot simpler, and a lot more user-friendly.”
Andrew Hamilton explains the driving forces behind The ICEHOUSE’s move to the cloud: “Our organisation has changed, with many of our team no longer in the same physical location – lots of travelling, meeting prospects and clients. So we wanted to create more flexibility for our team. Moving to the cloud was all about this flexibility, while also providing a great opportunity to review our customer mapping and engagements and to get the most from our technology.
“Getting on board with cloud technologies creates a great opportunity for The ICEHOUSE, both in terms of flexibility and cost. Prior to beginning our move to the cloud, we had a collaborative strategy planning process with Intergen, Gen-I and our partners HP and Microsoft. This identified and aligned the strategic drivers of the business with our technology platform – cloud was a key theme coming through in this, and CRM represented the first move by us on that roadmap.”
“We now have a new CRM system – it has great new features, it’s flexible, and our team can access it from anywhere,”
Mariko singles out the new system’s simplicity and its accessibility (from anywhere, at any time) as two of its strongest points. “It means people are using it more. It’s a lot easier to just get on with it and do what you need to do. And being web-based, people can access it and make updates as and when they need to, from wherever they are.
“Also, because it’s easy to use, people are using it more, and they’re asking to do more. We’re constantly making enhancements to the system to help people get the most out of it, improving our in-house processes at the same time. We’re definitely working smarter now.”
Andrew sums up The ICEHOUSE’s overall sentiment, with cloud-based CRM now firmly in place: “For a small organisation, taking on a huge project like a CRM implementation is scary, challenging and difficult. We were incredibly lucky with the support from Intergen who think and act like us. This is a key first part of our move to the cloud and we are delighted with the progression for the business. We almost have long pants on now!”