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Faced with calls from its users for a new CRM, Dubai World Central went against the mainstream.

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By  Imthishan Giado Published  May 24, 2008

Faced with calls from its users for a new CRM, Dubai World Central went against the mainstream by opting for an on-demand system from Salesforce.com. Imthishan Giado reports.

For the average IT company, implementing a CRM is a massive long-term undertaking which generally takes several months to a year to complete.

UAE-based holding company Dubai World Central (DWC) didn't have several months to a year - it was caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place, as it needed a CRM in place before the start of CityScape 2007, in which its real estate operations planned to participate.

On average, CRM takes a minimum of nine months to implement all the processes. But the implementation was very fast, taking two months

Hussam Kajan, account manager for Global Technology, the IT wing and telecom arm of DWC, rose to the challenge and set to work finding a solution which could be successfully deployed in the rapidly shrinking timeframe that was available to him.

After surveying the market, he eventually settled on a hosted system from Salesforce.com.

Kajan explained the organisational structure at DWC: "We have three business units that are involved in leasing and sales and customer service - Dubai Logistics City (DLC), Dubai Aviation City (DAC) and our real estate unit.

The three business units needed some kind of application as a data repository for their clients, as well as a sales automation processes.

"We started the implementation with DLC as a small implementation for about ten users and then we upgraded after they used the system and felt very comfortable using it with all the features, flexibility and mobility. We then expanded to the other business units," he continues.

Kajan's 20-strong team handles all the systems and network infrastructure at Global Technology, which is divided into two business units - his internal IT division and Smart Technology Solutions which handles the infrastructure for the airport and its surrounding operations, DLC and DAC.

He notes that the system proved remarkably quick to implement: "When we started discussing that we needed CRM, it was probably late 2006.

By early 2007 and within less than four or five months, we had the system up and running and our staff are using it, customised to our needs, our sales processes are integrated in it and our product catalogue is built into it. The cost is also very nice because it's flexible - you can buy as many licences as you need.

The new system - which has 45 users at present - needed four individuals from Salesforce.com to implement, while Kajan's team of five trained as system administrators.

"They even participated in the customisation and in the building of the system itself, which made it a success because we got one person from each business unit trained as a power user. They participated in building the fields that they wanted and how they wanted the pages to look," he adds.

Kajan explains the key driver behind the project: "You had all these smart modules built into one system - sales, customer service, the marketing campaigns, document management system and so on.

You have all these modules that you needed to track your customer's activities in one system that you can have implemented very fast - that's probably one of the factors.

3461 days ago
Bill babcock

the critical elements of CRM are clean integration of the functions covered, and simplicity of the interface. It's impossible to get good salespeople to use the systems unless they see a direct and personal benefit.

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