Econergy, a British Gas company specialising in renewable energy, needed help with their IT strategy. They chose us to produce a comprehensive strategy study and we subsequently won the work to deliver and support systems crucial to their business.
Econergy, a British Gas Company, is one of the UK’s leading renewable energy and district heating companies specialising in biomass heating, ground and air source heat pumps and integrated solar thermal systems.
Econergy management realised that in order to achieve growth targets the company would need to make better use of IT to help it win more business installing biomass heating solutions. In addition this would have to be achieved without recourse to an in-house IT department. Following a competitive tender Rex was selected to advise on and implement strategic IT solutions.
The first step was to conduct a business analysis to review existing systems and processes and identify opportunities for improvement.
The business processes reviewed included;
Baseline measurements were captured for later benefit review by the Carbon Trust.
Econergy’s existing IT setup was reviewed and an IT strategy developed to support the proposed solutions. The strategic aims were as follows;
Having identified the opportunities for improvement and appropriate IT solutions, Rex helped Econergy to prioritise the solutions to be implemented within an agreed budget.
The selected solutions were;
Rex went on to manage or execute the implementation of each solution.
Following a review of the market, Rex recommended that the CRM be installed on a hosted server. This would keep costs to a minimum with necessary hardware and data centre infrastructure being provisioned as part of the hosting deal. The choice of hosting company was also advised by Rex. This approach had the added benefit of providing great flexibility and scalability to support future growth.
The CRM, as implemented and customised by Rex, has had a huge impact on the way that Econergy does business. Sales opportunities are recorded directly into the system, together with contact details, and the opportunity assigned to the relevant sales team member. Emails to and from contacts and notes relating to telephone calls are logged against the opportunity so that all authorised users can see what is going on. Sales opportunities can be queried to ascertain those soon expected to close with the result that sales activities can be prioritised to focus on closing deals.
Econergy’s in-house email server was overloaded and subject to frequent problems resulting in frustration and lost time. Rex migrated Econergy’s email to the internet based Google Mail and Apps service realising the following benefits;
In addition to the email service, Econergy has taken advantage of the collaborative tools that are included with Google Apps such as shared documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and web pages. These services are secure and can be shared with selected users, all users or made public as controlled by the document creator.
Econergy previously built its quotations by a using combination of template Excel spreadsheets. While this approach is very flexible, allowing the person preparing the quote complete control over what may be included or excluded, there is overhead in maintaining template spreadsheets and a risk of financial exposure if the pricing is not correct when the quote is issued.
Econergy had a requirement that parts information needed to be centrally managed, with a mechanism to ensure that quotations had current prices, taking into account prevailing exchange rates.
The options considered were to find an “off-the-shelf” package or to improve the current arrangements to reduce risk and improve productivity.
Ultimately no package was found that could meet both Econergy’s specific business requirements and be aligned with the company’s IT strategy.
Rex, therefore, advised Econergy that automating the existing spreadsheet mechanism to obtain pricing from a central repository was the most pragmatic approach and would provide a “quick win”, while retaining the flexibility of the familiar Excel user interface. Rex then implemented the new solution which connected the quotation spreadsheets directly to the product information held within the CRM.
“Robust and scalable IT, trained people, excellent standards and processes are essential for our continued growth. The strategic IT solutions from Rex support Econergy in that goal. Rex consultants were able to quickly understand our business challenges, make sensible and pragmatic solution recommendations and deliver on time and to budget.
Our CRM, in particular, provides a clear view of the sales pipeline and access to all the information relating to an opportunity. We can see the workload coming up and plan our resources accordingly. Visibility of the pipeline is equivalent to sailing through fog with radar, rather than sailing blind. It is critically important.
Since implementation Rex has provided responsive and cost effective support keeping our systems in the best of health.”
Jay Hensman, Head of Renewable Heat at British Gas and/or Jim Birse Head of Commercial, Renewable Heat at British Gas