Case Study: Customer Relation management system

The Client

The client is a UK based charitable organization. They provide help, training, financial and practical support to UK citizens aged between fourteen and thirty. They focus on those who have struggled in education or find themselves unemployed for a long time.

Business needs

The client’s CRM system has many applications. They are web-based and desktop applications including Security, Loan Management, and Young People… which provide service to the UK contacting relationship business of the client. They wanted to maintain the current systems and develop Individual Giving system to adopt core business of the old CRM.

Solutions

FPT Software executed the production support and maintenance of the legacy applications through its Offshore Development Center (ODC) located in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Leveraging its System Analyzing Process, the team collected in-depth information on the applications, devised the escalation methodology, and simulated the offshore environment at client premises.

Part of the core team involved in the onsite System Analyzing phase, then they returned offshore to conduct training for the offshore team.

Challenges

FPT Software faced the following challenges in executing the engagement:
• The first challenge was to acquire sufficient expertise in this particular domain, which necessitated very specialized domain knowledge.
• Another major challenge was to provide and maintain a stable connection from the offshore location to the client’s onsite system.

Project summary

The CRM system could be depicted as following:

  • The presentation layer consisted of ASP in IIS web server. It would provide a very lightweight, flexible interface for the thin web browser clients. Users could simply use a web browser (Internet Explorer) to gain access to CRM system to perform their desired functionalities.
  • The business layer would handle the manipulation and logic that was required to provide the information needed for the Presentation logic layer.
  • COM+ technique would be applied to implement the business logic layer (validations and calculations); used by CRM application. It consisted of several components which were responsible for performing business logic such as CRMIG001, CRMAdmin, CRMProfile, etc.
  • CRMIG001 (Individual Giving management) provided the later standard “plug & play” components for other systems and/or functionalities, such as CRMxxx, CRMxxy.
  • CRM Admin would implement the security (authorization and authentication) and administration module for the whole future CRM system. However, in this project only a very small part of it would be implemented and used by the CRM application. It would also consist of a set of utility functions that might be used for system task as well as interfaces to other MS OLE servers for exporting/importing and exchanging files and data (e.g. export report to excel)
  • Other services like the built-in NT schedule task might be required to use within this layer for any unattended execution task, batch job.

The database layer would provide two functions:

  • A mean of getting the data through known coding techniques pacific to the data provider.
  • A Data Provider, usually in the form of a RDBMS database.
  • The configuration of the CRM system would be implemented via Windows Administrative Tools including the Microsoft Management Console and SQL Enterprise Manager. These tools bundled with the Operating System and Database application server would allow the easy managing and editing of the system configuration through a user friendly GUI.
  • The database could be generated from a text based script file (.sql). This would allow the easy creating database structure in the SQL server.
  • The team also focused on the application support, resolving maintenance requests and new feature development. All maintenance requests were resolved offshore.
  • This solution based on our tried and tested methodology worked efficiently to provide reliable, cost-effective maintenance support for our customer.

Benefits

The benefits of the solution include:
• Reduced cost of maintaining the application suite thanks to the offshore model of FPT Software.
• Identification of the most suitable solution based on a list of quantifiable criteria (cost, project risk/ease of implementation timelines, functionality fit) and a complex evaluation process.
• Creation and articulation to the executive team of the business benefits arising from the various initiatives including implementation of an integrated commissions platform

Technologies used

MS Visual Basic 6.0, ASP, MS SQL Server database 2000, VSS, Erwin 4.0, MS Access 97; MS Access 2000, Timesheet, DMS, Fsoft insight, XML 4.0, Microsoft Office 2000 (Word and Excel only), Front Page 2000, Adobe Photoshop 6.0