Can shared services really give substantial ROI?

For Aaron Mathes measuring how much Virginia’s executive branch agencies are saving by moving to a customer relationship management system on a shared infrastructure, is like trying to hit a moving target.

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“I’ve put together a couple of documents on our savings, but it is almost like every time I turn around, I’m finding a new area where we are saving money,” said Mathes, deputy secretary of technology in the Governor’s Office.

Using a CRM system, based on Microsoft Dynamics, within a shared infrastructure is allowing agencies in the commonwealth to modernize business functions and improve citizen services.

The secretary of the commonwealth has moved many paper-based processes online, such as applying for and renewal of notary licenses, by becoming a tenant along with nine other agencies on the shared CRM platform.

Prior to moving into a shared environment, the commonwealth was paying $150,000 a year in infrastructure costs, plus $30,000 a year to the company supporting the platform.  “We literally moved into the shared services Dynamic CRM environment for $30, 000,” Mathes said.  “We were able to eliminate $150,000 right off the bat just in infrastructure costs.”

Virginia had a hodgepodge of internally built CRM systems prior to the setup of the shared infrastructure by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA), the state’s central IT department.

Agencies were working with Microsoft Access databases and even some older systems, said Nancy Kuppich, workgroup productivity manager with VITA. The state’s health care agency had a system built on Oracle Forms that was very expensive, and the State Board of Elections had an entirely different system, Kuppich noted.

“I think the best ROI story is [eliminating] Lockheed Martin IQ at the Governor’s Office,” she said, because the office was paying for two separate installations of the enterprise communication and business process management system. This included the costs of licenses, an Oracle database and plenty of virtual servers.

When the Governor’s Office was faced with a decision to either upgrade servers, hardware and databases or consider doing something else, VITA got engaged and helped steer the office toward a shared services platform.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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