Handling membership services and transactions can be both complex and time-consuming, although web-based systems have helped to simplify the process. However, one Greentree customer presented some special challenges.
GS1 is the NZ arm of a global non-profit organisation that covers 110 countries and is dedicated to developing and implementing global standards and solutions improving the efficiency and visibility of supply and demand chains. Its highest profile role is in the administration of the product barcodes that appear on most things you buy.
The organisation is member-driven, and its services include barcode accreditation and verification, and online cataloguing.
It wanted to upgrade its Financial and CRM systems, but had some special requirements in order to better serve the thousands of widely varying businesses that use its services. Quicker turnaround with a maximum of self-service was the aim – all of it online.
“Because we’re the NZ registry for things like global barcode and registration numbers, and we have a membership-based model, we needed Financials that supported membership – transaction stuff, recurring billing, but also with supporting registry functions,” explains GS1 NZ’s Chief Executive, Peter Stevens.
“We wanted not just to have people sign on from our own company, but also across the web. However, the licensing costs on the Microsoft platform were just outrageous, and it wasn’t at all clear that we were going to get an integrated approach, which was what we needed.”
When the time came to choose a new business software package, GS1 had a shortlist of three: Greentree, Microsoft Dynamics NAV/Microsoft CRM/ Sharepoint, and Microsoft Dynamics GP/Microsoft CRM/Sharepoint. Greentree partner, Verde Group, clinched the deal because it was able to offer considerable experience in software customisation, especially around membership services, to give GS1 those added functions.
GS1 required Verde Group to add a complex online member registration system that had to operate in real-time over the web, for billing and transaction purposes, as well as a web-accessible supporter registry. The Greentree system also needed to support accreditation programmes, barcode testing and exotic functions like delivering postscript barcode graphics on demand.
It was a big job, and time was tight.
“Our timelines were incredibly short,” Peter recalls. “We managed to roll out across four stages of releases in eight months – that included the financials, all the transaction engines, membership, CRM components, the core number registry, and all the testing.”
Praising Verde Group’s implementation, he says, “Verde took on a very challenging job with a lot of technically-demanding, custom code to support our business – they have done an unfailingly great job.”
GS1 NZ now boasts a completely web-based interface with real-time transactions. In a matter of minutes, new members can sign up, get barcode numbers allocated, register their products in GS1’s database, and pay for all their services. This process used to take 1-2 days, and in some member countries it can take as long as a week.
“When we went live, it meant our business became almost completely real-time,” Peter enthuses. “We also provided a whole lot of services that had never been done in the GS1 world before for our members, such as online barcode graphic generation.”
Peter says GS1 NZ can now provide a robust 24/7 service, and is able to handle increasing numbers of members and customers without having to employ more staff.
“The platform has enabled us to deliver in a way that we couldn’t have done before. To build what we wanted in the equivalent Microsoft framework (Dynamics, CRM & Sharepoint) would have been twice as expensive and would not have credibly delivered the integration we required. We’ve made it more sophisticated, delivered more self-service and more automation, and it’s all built in Greentree.”
“We’ve not only gained enormous internal efficiencies; we’ve also been able to dramatically reduce the costs to serve our members and enhanced the value proposition for our customers.”
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For more information visit A.S. Wilcox
GS1 is the international not-for-profit organisation behind the only global system for bar coding, and for standardised identification of products, assets, services, places and organisations. GS1 develops standards, services and solutions for use by businesses, government agencies and many other organisations worldwide.
For more information visit GS1 New Zealand.