How Virginia agencies' CRM speeds services, cuts costs

Agencies speed up delivery of services, retire outdated software and systems and redeploy staff to other tasks by standardizing on Microsoft Dynamics.

The executive branch of Virginia’s government was facing a classic case of being stuck with legacy systems that through the normal software cycle would have cost millions of dollars to replace.

But by deploying an off-the-shelf product with a little modification and creativity, the Commonwealth not only replaced legacy systems, "but provided a considerably enhanced user experience and workflow process in the back office that did not exist at all," Virginia CIO Sam Nixon said. Agencies have been able to speed up the delivery of citizen services, respond more quickly to inquiries and concerns, retire outdated and often unsupported software and hardware systems and redeploy existing staff to other tasks.

Based on Microsoft Dynamics, the customer relationship management system within a shared infrastructure is allowing agencies to modernize business functions and improve citizen services. Prior to the deployment of Dynamics, agencies used a hodge-podge of custom-built databases, explained Nancy Kuppich, workgroup productivity manager with the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA), the state's central IT department.

Virginia deployed Microsoft Dynamics since it was already using centralized desktop and messaging capabilities of Microsoft Windows and its productivity office suites, as well as Outlook and Exchange for e-mail. Dynamics integrates with Outlook, and its security is driven by Microsoft Active Directory, so it was a natural fit, said Kuppich.

Secretary of the Commonwealth Janet Vesta Kelly got acquainted with Dynamic CRM two years ago during Gov. Bob McDonnell's transition to the governor's office. An online interface to the CRM system helped Kelly's office handle the 4,000 applicants applying for positions on various boards and commissions. Kelly's office moved the paper-based process online so that applicants were able to apply online, cutting the process from 30 days to a week, significantly reducing postage and shipping costs and enabling the office to operate more efficiently with less staff.

Another improvement allowed agencies to create Web interfaces for the many paper-based processes or functions that did not have a citizen-facing or government-facing portal, said Aaron Mathes, deputy secretary of technology in the governor's office.

The Secretary of the Commonwealth, for example, has six divisions, one of which deals with the 20,000 notaries who have to renew their licenses every year. Like many processes, the renewal was paper-based. The notaries could not pay online, and it took at least 30 days to be recertified. So the office created a CRM-based portal that lets citizens apply to be a notary, receive an answer about whether or not they qualify within a week and pay online. "It is not revolutionary, but it is a fast, nimble way to take paper-based systems and put them online," Mathes said.

Mathes said the governor's office previously had a set of servers owned by the state but hosted by another company. In the new CRM environment, servers and storage as well as the core infrastructure costs are shared by all the agencies on the CRM platform, hosted by VITA. The agencies only use and pay for the computing capacity they need, making better use of the resources.

Prior to moving into a shared environment, the Secretary of 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,” he said.

"The environment also allows us to do is share information and allow other people to access or obtain reports from our system," Mathes said. Because there is no universal, out-of-the-box solution that can meet all the legislative mandates that may be required of an agency, Mathes said, the CRM fills in the gaps. For instance, if Mathes’ division builds an application to address a particular function, the development team that helped build the app and the IT team that supports it could use the application in another agency. “They may be modifying it, but instead of building from scratch they are only modifying 5 or 10 percent of it,” Mathes said.

Dynamic CRM is a natural platform for development, because it has a powerful workflow engine and native integration with Microsoft software, Kuppich said. Users also can perform reporting functions through Microsoft SQL database's reporting service. Kuppich explained that the Department of Historic Resources wanted to develop a case management system that automated the approvals process for expanding or making changes to historical properties. After gathering information from Historic Resource executives, Kuppich was able to build a couple of workflows using wizards in hours to demonstrate what was possible.

"We rent space on our infrastructure within the [CRM] application itself, just like a tenant would with an apartment building," Kuppich said. "We have the infrastructure, the software and we can rent things out and customize it." "We have health care, the Governor's Office and the State Board of Election Campaign Finance Management all coinciding on the same infrastructure although their data is segregated and is very different and their business processes are different," Kuppich said. "It's like having your own private cloud," said Ajay Rohatgi, VITA's agency outreach manager within the enterprise applications division.

"The thing I find compelling is we were able to leverage our shared- services, enterprise architecture infrastructure with a commercial product," Nixon, Virginia's CIO, said.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.