This was the right application and the right time," said Rich Beckwith, director of information systems for the Missouri House of Representatives.
"Our previous constituent management software was developed in-house and has undergone several major revisions and platform changes over the years," Beckwith
approached the Missouri House of Representatives
with the concept and offered to implement a pilot project in our leadership offices," Beckwith
IT planners said they gave the proposal a serious look because the product runs as part of Outlook.It made sense that the learning curve on using the software would be abbreviated.Planners also liked the price of the Microsoft offering, Beckwith
said, because full implementation is expected to cost $200,000.
"CRM allows for more flexibility in the types of information our members track about their constituents," Beckwith
said in comparing the new system to the earlier in-house application."CRM integrates and consolidates constituent information and communications into a single place, accessible to the member wherever they are.This 360-degree view of our constituents and the issues important to our constituents was difficult to achieve in our previous environment."
In fact, he
added, the new system delivers a range of functions that take it well beyond the previous effort.
"There are several usability enhancements -- the ability to e-mail constituents directly from the CRM application, integration with Outlook and a look and feel similar to other productivity applications we use daily," Beckwith
said."The Web interface gives us much more flexibility in terms of where and how the member can access constituent information."
While the House has not completely adopted the CRM system, Beckwith
predicts that its powerful combination of information-gathering and data-delivery tools ultimately will change the way the House does business.