California uses Microsoft CRM

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"One-stop shops"

Officials at California's Corporations Department used Microsoft's customer relationship management (CRM) system to retool their busy customer call center and provide a central contact point for both the public and the department's corporate licensees.

State chief information officer Clark Kelso touted the system as an example of California's attempt to transform government to make it more responsive to public needs.

"This CRM project sets the model for other departments to follow," he said.

The project was completed in less than three months for less than $100,000.

The new CRM replaces three separate systems used to manage the department's business processes and workflow: the Corporations Customer Service System, the Enforcement and Legal Services' Complaint Tracking System and the Securities Regulation Division Complaint Tracking System.

Call center employees could previously get to two of the main databases, said Debbie O'Donoghue, a department spokeswoman, but each had to be accessed separately via separate programs. They could get basic information on licensees, for example, but had to go to the other database to find out if there was an action pending against them.

They had no access to the Securities Regulation tracking system.

Now, the databases are integrated with the department's enterprise database, and users can more easily access the databases through a wide-area network. Plus, the CRM also tracks workflow, which means call center employees can find out the current status of an inquiry.

Microsoft's product will also provide a link to the Regulation Division's licensing and examination system.

Brian Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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