Located in Milpitas, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley, Polycom, Inc. develops, manufactures and markets a full range of high-quality, easy-to- use and affordable voice and video communication endpoints, video management software, multinetwork gateways, and multipoint conferencing and network access solutions. Polycom's integrated communication solutions enable business users to immediately realize the benefits of video, voice and data over rapidly growing converged networks. Polycom's customer premise equipment has become a trusted, familiar part of the landscape in virtually every conference room in every Fortune 100 company.

Over the past two years, Polycom has more than tripled in size, contributing to an overall IT challenge. Customer information resided in disparate systems and databases, making it difficult for Polycom to get comprehensive lead information to its channel partners. For a company whose sales are 100 percent indirect, this presented a difficult obstacle. Getting a complete picture of a customer meant going through five or six people and several technology systems, including spreadsheets and other forms of data collection. I set out to remedy this situation.

Polycom sought a central repository for customer information that could be used by the sales organization, marketing, executives, channel partners and even customers. By selecting PeopleSoft 8 CRM, Polycom would be able to provide universal access to customer information across its extended enterprise. Polycom began beta testing the PeopleSoft 8 CRM Sales and Marketing applications in May 2001 and went live on the product in August 2001 after a 100-day implementation period. Using PeopleSoft eCenter to host the new CRM system minimized impact on IT resources during and after installation. The PeopleSoft 8 CRM applications also integrated well with Polycom's back-office systems, consisting of existing PeopleSoft Human Resources, Financials and Supply Chain Management suites. Because the pure Internet CRM system can be accessed using any Web browser, employees, customers and partners can log on from anywhere at any time, resolving prior time zone access issues for international divisions and customers. International users and customers can now access needed information using any browser at any time.

Armed with this resource of valuable customer information, Polycom's sales organization is able to deliver high- touch service to its customers. Salespeople can go into accounts better prepared, even with the ability to know about certain problems entering a sales situation, allowing for a proactive resolution. Call center agents, who receive thousands of calls per month, can also interact with customers more effectively using the new CRM application. An agent has the customer's attention for one to two minutes to gather information about demographics, the particular product interest, etc., all quickly and in sequence. The central system allows agents to more easily click through a single interface rather than switching between disparate programs and views.

Polycom was also looking for opportunities to drive efficiencies through its indirect sales channels to optimize those relationships. The company plans to implement the PeopleSoft Customer Portal so that we can retrieve information on their orders, RMAs, service issues, status of their shipments ­ all through a customized Web page on the Internet ­ saving time and money. Using the portal, Polycom will be able to send leads to channel partners and track them to closure using fewer resources.

Practical Advice

Make sure you have done your due diligence and know why you have chosen a particular solution as well as your expected ROI. Spend as much time as necessary in this area of your investigation. It will be time and money well spent. Be sure to include all stakeholders in the process as you make your selection and begin implementation. This ensures greater mindshare and a successful outcome. A phased-in approach is easier to control and introduce into an enterprise. It causes the least disruption to the workflow and provides the focus needed for each phase. Once implemented, ensure that everyone is trained and provided with the appropriate resources to get their questions answered. This will increase and enhance productivity.

Polycom has realized an almost immediate return on investment because of reduced maintenance costs and greater productivity.

PeopleSoft 8 CRM for Sales, Marketing, FieldService, HelpDesk, Interaction Management and Support. PeopleSoft 8 CRM delivers access to customer data through any Web device anywhere in the world, any time; immediate insight resulting in the ability to increase revenue and profitability; and easy integration with PeopleSoft and non-PeopleSoft applications through its open architecture to offer consistent access to customer data across the enterprise.

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