Date of publication: 28/06/2011
After ten years of operation, the Digicel Group is one of the biggest mobile telecommunications companies in the Caribbean, Central America, and the Pacific, with 11.5 million customers across its 32 markets. Digicel is renowned for delivering the best value, best service, and best network. Its constant effort to offer an exceptional service and to revolutionize the mobile and broadband landscapes in its markets has made it grow rapidly. Microsoft Dynamics® CRM business software offered it a solution that was flexible for its business and could be quickly integrated with its existing software. With an accelerated learning curve for the end users, Microsoft Dynamics CRM helped Digicel offer what it values the most: the best customer service.
Digicel Group Limited is one of the biggest mobile telecommunications companies in the Caribbean, Central America, and the Pacific. It has 11.5 million customers across its 32 markets.
Organization Size: 5500 employees.
The Digicel Group was first established in April 2001 in Jamaica, amassing 100,000 customers in their first 100 days. Today, Digicel operates in 32 markets, serving 11.5 million customers, with over 70 percent market share in Jamaica alone. Digicel has 5,500 employees, 1,000 retail stores, and offers mobile telecommunications, telecom services, WiMAX broadband, and 3G/4G broadband, among other services.
Digicel has enjoyed 10 percent subscriber growth year on year and increased its market share quarter on quarter in all of its major markets (El Salvador, Haiti, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, and Trinidad & Tobago). In order to offer its clients first-class customer service, Digicel has made significant investments in innovation through advanced software and technologies. However, it still lacked an integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution that would help tie all systems together.
Digicel’s original CRM system consisted of in-house custom solutions with limited integration with its operational and business support systems (OSS/BSS). “It had become apparent that the rapid expansion of Digicel and explosive growth in customer numbers had now superseded the capacity of these systems,” John Riordan, Digicel Group IT Director/CIO explains. “These limitations were beginning to adversely affect the customer care operations and Digicel’s leadership position in providing top-class customer service in the region,” he continues.
Digicel needed to replace its in-house systems for its main customer care operation centers to keep up with its rapid growth. Digicel considered a variety of CRM systems, including Siebel, Clarify, and Remedy’s suite of products; however, those systems were disqualified for not meeting cost and flexibility requirements. Riordan clarifies that the alternatives were “not flexible enough for our business and lead times to readiness for production use.”
Ultimately, Digicel decided on Microsoft Dynamics® CRM for its compelling value, its ability to be quickly integrated with its existing systems, and its functional similarities with the Microsoft® Office products that it already used. “We did realize early on that Microsoft Dynamics CRM was not being used anywhere in the world in high volume call centers similar to ours,” Riordan says. Digicel recognized the risk with integrating a solution that had not been proven at this scale; nonetheless, it was confident that Microsoft had the necessary resources and expertise to assure a successful implementation. Microsoft’s regional team took advantage of Digicel’s high-volume requirements to develop the Microsoft Dynamics roadmap for high volume and contact center environments.
To ensure the project was properly delivered, Digicel worked with Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) to architect, design, and deploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM in three of its customer care operation centers in the Caribbean and Central America. All locations are high volume call centers where 3,000 agents process over 2.5 million calls per month. The solution was quickly deployed and integrated into its environment through the use of the Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step methodology.
The implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM in Digicel’s biggest customer care center took less than six months and was deployed to over 300 users processing almost one million customer calls/tickets per month. “We would rate the transition [to Dynamics CRM] as being one of the most straightforward ones for major system integration. It did not at any point require us to cease operations,” says Riordan.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM has helped to improve key measures in Digicel’s customer call centers, including a reduction in average talk time, higher call process ratio to agent, and an increase of first call resolutions. “It also enabled the automation of workflows by taking advantage of powerful APIs that were available on our operational and business support systems to integrate with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution,” says Riordan. The solution at Digicel evolved from its initial release with the subsequent inclusion of the Microsoft Customer Care Accelerator (CCA) for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. With the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and CCA, Digicel continues to provide the incredible customer service that distinguishes it from other mobile telecommunications companies.
We would rate the transition [to Dynamics CRM] as being one of the most straightforward ones for major system integration. It did not at any point require us to cease operations.
IT Director and CIO
Digicel deeply integrated Microsoft Dynamics CRM with its existing OSS/BSS. Traditional Extract/Transform/Load (ETL) processes comprised some of the effort, such as aggregating customer data from the Microsoft Dynamics CRM data store into the Digicel Data Warehouse for Business Intelligence reporting. But most of the integration was accomplished via the use of more agile Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) approaches that were made possible with the use of the Customer Care Accelerator, resulting in increased operational agility and faster integration. Additionally, the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Computer Telephony Interface (CTI) systems that are at the heart of the call center environment were also integrated into the Microsoft Dynamics CRM system, thus enabling agents to more efficiently service their customers.
Digicel now experiences significant benefits from using Microsoft Dynamics CRM in their main customer call center operations, including a complete 360-degree view of their internal customer information, simple yet powerful tools for their agents, and enhanced workflows to more effectively manage customer interactions. “The solution has resulted in improved analytics for the customer care centers,” says Lesline Chisholm, Digicel Jamaica’s Director of Customer Care. Some of the specific benefits obtained by using Microsoft Dynamics CRM and the Customer Care Accelerator in Digicel’s customer care centers include:
- Significant Reductions in Average Handling Time Microsoft Dynamics CRM provided Digicel’s customer care offices with tools that simplified case management, streamlined escalations, improved knowledge sharing, and enabled more effective account management. Digicel’s customer call agents now respond to cases faster with immediate access to complete case and customer data. The solution offers guided business processes via simple dialogs to deliver fast and precise service. It also features familiar graphical tools that make it easier for the agents to respond to their customer’s needs.
- Improved First Call Resolution Rates Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps Digicel’s customer call agents achieve operational efficiencies and improve information flow. “This solution improved aggregation of customer data and by extension improved data integrity,” says Riordan. Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps Digicel to foster greater internal collaboration and to improve work state management with its different communication tools. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Digicel’s agents resolve 88 percent of customers’ issues on their first call, resulting in reduced operational costs and more satisfied customers.
- Reduced Training Time Microsoft Dynamics CRM was already familiar to Digicel’s customer call agents. “The business was already using the Microsoft Windows® desktop and the Microsoft Office® suite of products across the business,” Riordan says. Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers users the ability to manage all their email messages, meetings, contacts, and customer information in one place using the Microsoft Outlook® messaging and collaboration client.
- Improved Employee and Customer Churn Digicel focuses on offering the best value, best service, and best network for its customers. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, its customer call agents have become more efficient and can now process more calls in the same time, offering better and faster services to Digicel’s customers. The efficiency and ease of use provided by Microsoft Dynamics CRM have contributed to improved customer and agent job satisfaction, with a 95 percent satisfaction rate for clients attended by Digicel’s customer call agents. The reduced training time, simplified and familiar interface, and guided automated workflows greatly improve the productivity and job satisfaction of Digicel agents.
- Improved Operations Microsoft Dynamics CRM has made customer management more efficient by improving the operational and support systems. “The application is considered mission critical because of the emphasis we put on customer care and the delivery of high quality customer services,” Chisholm says. The solution has delivered an easier way of collecting customer data and increasing their staff’s productivity, giving their subscribers the first class service they expect from Digicel.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM has helped Digicel to deliver high quality customer services and to enhance operations with a more integrated information system. Digicel and Microsoft have nurtured a good relationship through the integration of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Riordan states that he would like to make Microsoft Dynamics CRM “the single repository for all customer transactional data.” Digicel plans to further integrate with other operational and business support systems and to provide direct online help to its customers in the near future.
Applications of Management Information System
With computers being as ubiquitous as they are today, there’s hardly any large business that does not rely extensively on their IT systems.
However, there are several specific fields in which MIS has become invaluable.
While computers cannot create business strategies by themselves they can assist management in understanding the effects of their strategies, and help enable effective decision-making.
MIS systems can be used to transform data into information useful for decision making. Computers can provide financial statements and performance reports to assist in the planning, monitoring and implementation of strategy.
MIS systems provide a valuable function in that they can collate into coherent reports unmanageable volumes of data that would otherwise be broadly useless to decision makers. By studying these reports decision-makers can identify patterns and trends that would have remained unseen if the raw data were consulted manually.
MIS systems can also use these raw data to run simulations – hypothetical scenarios that answer a range of ‘what if’ questions regarding alterations in strategy. For instance, MIS systems can provide predictions about the effect on sales that an alteration in price would have on a product. These Decision Support Systems (DSS) enable more informed decision making within an enterprise than would be possible without MIS systems.
not only do MIS systems allow for the collation of vast amounts of business data, but they also provide a valuable time saving benefit to the workforce. Where in the past business information had to be manually processed for filing and analysis it can now be entered quickly and easily onto a computer by a data processor, allowing for faster decision making and quicker reflexes for the enterprise as a whole.
Types of management information systems
There are many types of management information systems in the market that provide a wide range of benefits for companies.
- Transaction processing systems (TPS) collect and record the routine transactions of an organization. Examples of such systems are sales order entry, hotel reservations, payroll, employee record keeping, and shipping.
- Management information systems (MIS) produce fixed, regularly scheduled reports based on data extracted and summarized from the firm’s underlying transaction processing systems (TPS) to middle and operational level managers to provide answers to structured and semi-structured decision problems.
- Decision-support systems (DSS) are computer program applications used by middle management to compile information from a wide range of sources to solve problems and make decisions.
- Executive support systems (ESS) is a reporting tool that provides quick access to summarized reports coming from all company levels and departments such as accounting, human resources and operations.
- Expert system (ES) is a knowledge about a specific area to act as an expert consultant to the user. It is no the replacement of human being rather they help them in using their expertise more efficiently and effectively. When we join the concept of artificial intelligence with information system, the result is an Expert System.
- Office automation systems (OAS) are meant for improving the communication and productivity of people in the enterprise. They attempt to automate office procedures and remove bottlenecks, lacuna in the secretarial work. These systems are helpful to all levels of management.
Benefits of Management Information System
The field of MIS can deliver a great many benefits to enterprises in every industry. Expert organizations such as the Institute of MIS along with peer reviewed journals such as MIS Quarterly continue to find and report new ways to use MIS to achieve business objectives.
Every market leading enterprise will have at least one core competency – that is, a function they perform better than their competition. By building an exceptional management information system into the enterprise it is possible to push out ahead of the competition. MIS systems provide the tools necessary to gain a better understanding of the market as well as a better understanding of the enterprise itself.
Enhance Supply Chain Management
Improved reporting of business processes leads inevitably to a more streamlined production process. With better information on the production process comes the ability to improve the management of the supply chain, including everything from the sourcing of materials to the manufacturing and distribution of the finished product.
As a corollary to improved supply chain management comes an improved ability to react to changes in the market. Better MIS systems enable an enterprise to react more quickly to their environment, enabling them to push out ahead of the competition and produce a better service and a larger piece of the pie.
- Increased brand equity
- Boost production processes
- Impact mass customization production processes
- Leverage learning curve advantages
- Leverage IT investment in computer aided design
- Leverage stability
- Expand E-commerce
- Improve B2B commerce
Five Elements of usable MIS
Difference between MIS and Traditional Information system
Although Management Information Systems and Information Systems are segments of Information Technology, both are entirely diverse streams. Management Information Systems deals with the overall in-house controls of an industry covering the employees, documents, know-how, and measures adapted by administration accountants to unravel business tribulations like estimating and pricing a product, service or a business-wide strategy. However, Computer Information Systems is concerned with the integration of computers, data, software packages and management techniques to carry out the day-to-day operations of an organization.
Definition: Management Information Systems (MIS) is the term given to the discipline focused on the integration of computer systems with the aims and objectives on an organization
MIS is a system that provides information needed to manage organizations efficiently and effectively. Management information systems involve three primary resources: technology, information, and people. It’s important to recognize that while all three resources are key components when studying management information systems, the most important resource is peopleManagement information systems are regarded as a subset of the overall internal controls procedures in a business, which cover the application of people, documents, technologies, and procedures used by management accountants to solve business problems such as costing a product, service or a business-wide strategy. Management information systems are distinct from regular information systems in that they are used to analyze other information systems applied in operational activities in the organization. Academically, the term is commonly used to refer to the group of information management methods tied to the automation or support of human decision making, e.g. decision support systems, expert systems, and executive information systems. Each MIS is an integrated collection of subsystems, which are typically organized along functional lines within an organization
Principles of Management Information Systems
Management information systems (MIS) are a valuable tool that executives use to gauge the effectiveness of their business operations. MIS can provide valuable insight into a company’s financial health, and assist managers with making critical business decisions. The style and format of MIS have changed throughout the years, but managers still rely on these systems to perform their day-to-day activities.
A management information system focuses on how and what information should be retrieved so managers can make effective decisions. MIS reporting also provides information regarding a company’s major processes, such as internal controls, operating procedures and audit preparation. With these systems in place, managers can improve workplace safety, decreasing expenses and maintain client relationships.
Internal controls are specific guidelines that direct the operation of a division or department. Employee responsibilities and work flow management are integral components of a company’s internal controls. Additional internal controls also are in effect in accounting departments, ensuring that all financial information is properly analyzed and recorded. Publicly held corporations must have strong financial internal controls in place to meet Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requirements. Failure to adhere to these financial guidelines may result in fines being issued by the SEC.
Operating procedures are the daily activities that involve company personnel and resources. MIS provides guidelines, or standard operating procedures, for personnel to follow when dealing with vendors, clients and government agencies. MIS help protect a company from any legal actions that can arise from daily operations. Department managers usually analyze and review the MIS to ensure the company’s mission is fulfilled and department goals are being met.
There are two types of workplace audits: financial and operational. Financial audits verify that companies are recording all financial information according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). This enables them to assure investors and regulators of their financial stability. Operational audits test the effectiveness of division guidelines on a company’s operations. Management must ensure that employees are following policy when conducting business and that no safety violations are occurring. Some operational audits are required for government certifications.
Technology has greatly increased the functionality of traditional management information systems. Companies now have access to all major divisions and their reports in a shorter time span. This improves overall operations. In addition, with a companywide MIS, managers have the capability of creating reports quickly when a new division or process begins business operations.
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