Align, develop, & engage performance year-round & build a winning workforce. Reduce your performance management overhead and better engage employee development with emPerform. Intuitive, complete & flexible employee performance management software.
The Challenge: Moving Beyond the Annual Review Process
Prior to implementing emPerform, this prominent City in Texas faced significant challenges with its existing performance review tool. The system was difficult to manage due to its lack of configurability and user-friendliness, making it challenging for supervisors to communicate with employees about their performance and provide feedback that could facilitate growth and development.
The City’s Council recognized that they needed a more comprehensive performance management solution that would help increase the quality and frequency of performance discussions. The once-a-year performance review process was not sufficient, and they needed a better tool to support their goals.
The Impact of emPerform at the City
After launching emPerform, the City has experienced significant benefits for HR, employees, and managers.
1. Improved Performance Review Process
emPerform has greatly improved the performance review process at the City through the implementation of more regular check-ins. The upgraded process has increased communication frequency between supervisors and staff, simplifying the process for both parties and improving efficiency.
Their primary goal was not to reduce time spent on the process but to provide more opportunities for feedback. emPerform helped the City achieve this balance, leading to motivated employees and a clear path to success within the organization.
2. Consistent & Frequent Feedback and Discussions
By using emPerform, the City has facilitated more frequent feedback discussions between employees and their supervisors. This has resulted in better clarity and understanding of job expectations, leading to improved employee performance and experiences.
“With emPerform, we have experienced a significant improvement in our ability to have frequent and meaningful performance conversations, it’s a substantial shift from our previous review process and the benefits are undeniable.”
3. Targeted Employee Development Planning
The City leveraged emPerform’s flexibility and configuration options to enable development-focused questions in both employee check-ins and end-of-year assessments. As a result, managers can create and track targeted development plans for each employee.
By focusing on the future and development, employees and managers are having more productive discussions, employees are getting the tools and guidance needed to achieve their goals, and the organization is able to better align and retain key performers.
4. Improved Team Communication
Using emPerform, the City has strengthened communication between employees and supervisors by introducing more frequent opportunities for feedback and discussions.
As a result, the workplace has become more collaborative and supportive, fostering greater engagement, motivation, and alignment among employees toward the organization’s objectives.
The City is dedicated to continuously improving its performance management process so it can effectively manage its growing workforce. As part of their efforts, the City Council plans to explore integrating a 360-review component.
By providing regular feedback and opportunities for development, the City is committed to equipping its employees with the necessary tools and support to achieve their goals.
Client: Arthur Health
Industry: Healthcare Provider
Products and Services: Dynamics 365, Microsoft Power Platform, Quisitive MazikCare
For full customer story visit the Microsoft website here.
About Arthur Health
Arthur Health, a healthcare solutions company based in Canada, is reimagining traditionally compartmentalized models of care through a clinically integrated network approach. In 2019, Arthur Health teamed up with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and University Health Network to scale a rapid-access clinic model of care for low-back pain. In a pilot, this led to sustained reduced wait times, better access to local care, and higher patient and provider satisfaction, so Arthur Health plans to expand it. Arthur Health used Microsoft partner Quisitive’s MazikCare platform and Microsoft technologies to develop a patient-centered solution that the company hopes will spark changes to primary and specialty care in Canada.
Launching a cloud-based solution for collaboration and care close to home in less than a year
Ontario is a large province, and Arthur Health knew that empowering patients in rural, northern, and remote communities to receive the right care closer to home would require a robust digital healthcare solution. To create an integrated, cloud-based healthcare network that houses and shares information, Arthur Health needed technology that was user-friendly, flexible, and scalable. “We needed to choose a solution that was extensible, agile, and provides the highest level of security for handling patient information, so that was the attraction to Microsoft,” says Dr. Christian Veillette, Chief Technology Officer of Arthur Health.
As Arthur Health began exploring solutions to evolve a clinically integrated network, it was introduced to Microsoft partner Quisitive, a company with extensive experience in both Microsoft cloud solutions and the healthcare industry. “We approached Microsoft with our vision, and it directed us to Quisitive,” says Dr. Nizar Mahomed, CEO of Arthur Health. “The company’s depth of understanding of the Microsoft universe and of healthcare complexities would allow us to achieve our vision of an evolving model of care and care delivery, and its MazikCare platform allowed us to innovate faster.”
The Arthur Health team moved quickly to enhance its digital health platform. It drew on Quisitive’s experience to develop a care-coordination platform based on Microsoft Power Platform and Quisitive’s MazikCare in only nine months. The team configured standardized complex-care assessments for providers in the network as well as customized workflows. Communication among medical providers all over Ontario is a central piece of the new system, and Arthur Health created this critical element using the communication and automation capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365. “At the end of the day, you need a process to integrate care because the providers are geographically dispersed,” says Dr. Rampersaud.
Arthur Health then began work on the final puzzle piece: an e-referral service that would allow medical providers to quickly send patient referrals and information. It typically takes about one year to develop and deploy an e-referral service in the Canadian healthcare system, but Arthur Health activated its service in only three months, in part through using the security frameworks in Microsoft solutions, fast healthcare interoperability resources, and MazikCare DataFusion.
Scaling a pilot program that reduced patient wait times by 80 percent to serve more than 10 million adults
The rapid-access clinic model of care was adapted from the successful pilot that ran for five years in metropolitan, urban, and rural and northern healthcare settings. Using an interprofessional shared care model for LBP management that linked primary to tertiary care, the pilot demonstrated immediate improvement in access to care. The average wait time for participants to have a specialized LBP assessment and individualized management plan plummeted from between six and 12 months to two to four weeks—a decrease often of around 80 percent. Many people who would previously have waited in pain and with reduced mobility to see a specialist instead found care closer to home with a physiotherapist or chiropractor supported by a regional centralized specialist. Patients gained unparalleled access to specialized care and payers realized immediate cost savings from a reduction in unnecessary tests such as MRI scans.
The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) approved expanding the pilot to serve the provincial population of more than 10 million adults. Arthur Health’s partnership with MOHLTC and University Health Network helped create meaningful change for patients and providers through the company’s growing clinically integrated network digital platform. “At scale, satisfaction rates for both patients and physicians have remained greater than 90 percent, according to our surveys,” says Dr. Rampersaud. “The provincial program has happier patients and happier providers, and it has significantly reduced unnecessary MRIs, emergency visits, and specialist referrals to deliver a return on the investment from the Ontario Ministry of Health.”
Supporting more than 8,000 primary care providers with a clinically integrated network
Arthur Health is excited by the potential for further growth and is eager to expand its clinically integrated network platform beyond specialty care. More than 8,000 primary care providers are using this program to refer patients throughout Ontario, demonstrating that patient-centered care delivers better outcomes closer to home. Dr. Veillette sees the next step as incorporating more features of Dynamics 365 to help providers communicate seamlessly and close the circle of care around individual patients. The physicians at Arthur Health are also excited to explore using predictive models as Microsoft further develops its AI capabilities.
“The next step will be predictive health management through analysis,” says Dr. Mahomed. “With the capabilities that Microsoft is building out, five years from now this program will be much smarter and more efficient.”
Streamlining Non profit ERP: Small charity migrates to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central in less than four weeks with the help of Quisitive.
The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation (ORCF), an Ottawa-based non-profit, struggled to manage finances effectively due to an outdated ERP system. The lack of multi-segment coding made it challenging for ORCF to allocate costs accurately and report activities to tax authorities. Additionally, the solution’s on-premises server was approaching end-of-life, causing further complications for the organization.OCRF realized the need for a modern cloud ERP solution to address these issues and improve financial management and reporting.
After careful consideration, the organization partnered with Quisitive and migrated to Dynamics 365 Business Central. With Business Central and custom apps developed by Quisitive, ORCF has been able to improve productivity, ensure the accuracy and accessibility of financial insights, and increase the understanding of cost drivers for better decision-making.
About ORCF: The Voice for Cancer Survivorship in Eastern Ontario
Founded in 1995, ORCF supports cancer patients and survivors in Eastern Ontario. The foundation operates two main business lines: fundraising and patient support delivery, providing person-centered care to cancer patients. ORCF achieves its mission by offering innovative cancer research, a world-class clinical trials program, and increasing access to care in the region. ORCF’s patient-focused approach and commitment to providing high-quality cancer care and support has earned ORCF a reputation as the voice for cancer survivorship in Eastern Ontario.
The Challenge: Relying on a Legacy On-Premises ERP System & Server Approaching End-of-Life
Before launching Business Central, ORCF’s on-premises ERP system was causing significant challenges for the organization. The systems’ shortcomings increased manual work, errors, and confusion regarding the organization’s financial landscape. To overcome these challenges, ORCF recognized the need for a modern cloud-based ERP solution that could provide advanced features such as multi-segment cost coding, automated workflows, and robust controls that could operate seamlessly in a remote work setting.
ORCF’s decision to migrate to Business Central with Microsoft Partner, Quisitive, was based on several factors:
- Quisitive’s excellent reputation in the local non-profit market
- The non-profit pricing offered by Microsoft
- The multi-segment coding feature of Business Central
- Automated workflows for approvals
- Business Central’s off-the-shelf functionality
- Quisitive’s ability to develop custom applications for employee expense approvals and credit card reconciliation, which would round out the scope of the project needs
Getting Started with Business Central in Less Than Four Months
ORCF’s finance team worked closely with Quisitive to plan and launch Business Central in just four months.
“We knew it was time to look for a new ERP solution that could meet our financial management needs and support a remote work environment brought on by the pandemic," says Jason Kempt, Vice President, Finance & Administration at ORCF.
The implementation process also involved Quisitive creating custom Business Central apps to streamline processes and improve efficiency. One of the custom applications created was an employee expenses app that allowed users to scan receipts and enter expenses, which would then be routed for approval. The credit card reconciliation app automated data entry and eliminated the need for paper. Statements were sent to cardholders and imported into the app, which would then translate the expenses and route them to the unit for approval.
Implementing Business Central and Quisitive’s custom apps resulted in significant time savings and improved organizational efficiencies. The ORCF was also able to generate more accurate and accessible reports. The workflows for purchase requisitions and employee expenses were much more user-friendly and efficient than the previous processes, which staff members were very pleased with.
Getting Started with Business Central in Less Than Four Months
Since launching Business Central, ORCF has experienced substantial enhancements in its financial management processes. Multi-segment coding has enabled them to understand cost structure more effectively, while automated workflows for approvals have streamlined operations, saved time, and enhanced productivity. With real-time reports based on accurate data, ORCF now has the information they need to make informed decisions quickly. Overall, Business Central has been a game-changer for ORCF, providing them with the necessary tools to efficiently manage their finances and support their mission.
Improved Productivity and Efficiency
Automating requisition and expense workflows and enabling cloud-based document storage and retention in Business Central has resulted in faster delivery of month-end reports and easier day-to-day financial management. ORFC’s finance team can now complete tasks more efficiently and accurately, allowing them to focus on more strategic and value-adding activities.
“Business Central has made our entire organization more productive and informed,” said Jason. “The multi-segment reporting helps non-financial users understand the cost behaviour of our business and we can produce timely financial data and reports without Excel," says Kempt.
Enhanced Accuracy of Cost Allocation with Multi-Segmented Reporting
Business Central’s multi-segment reporting (or dimensions) has improved the accuracy and allocation of costs. By eliminating the need for manual work to allocate central costs to business activities, dimensions have provided a deeper understanding of cost behavior within the organization.
Increased Accountability and Better Decision-Making
With Business Central, ORCF can easily toggle between budget accountability and the full cost of business activities, including support functions with different budget holders. This visibility has increased accountability on the expense side and facilitated informed decision-making. By providing a clear picture of cost drivers for business activities, Business Central has empowered ORCF to allocate resources more effectively.
Streamlined Expense and Credit Card Reconciliation
Quisitive’s custom-built employee expense and credit card reconciliation apps for Business Central have significantly simplified ORCF’s reconciliation process. With the employee expense app, employees can easily upload photos of receipts or attach PDF invoices to an online form, freeing up their time and streamlining the process. The credit card reconciliation app automates data entry, reducing the chances of errors and saving time for both employees and managers.
“The employee expense app is great,” said Jason. “Employees can take pictures of receipts or attach PDF invoices and upload to an online form—which automatically routes for approval. This app has saved a lot of clerical time and puts the onus to code things properly on the business user. Lastly, the approved document makes a properly coded A/P entry in Business Central for the accounting staff to post.”
“With the new credit card reconciliation app in Business Central, manual data entry has become completely unnecessary,” continued Jason. “Because the corporate credit card user pre-populates the form with transactions from the bank via CSV upload, everything is done quickly and without errors. This has saved us days of work and ensure our costs are accurately reported.”
Greater Accessibility & Flexibility
As a cloud-based solution, Business Central offers ORCF complete accessibility and security. Staff can now access the system and data from various devices, allowing them to work remotely or in different locations. Additionally, automatic updates and upgrades eliminate the need for IT staff to manually install updates on a server or individual devices, ensuring that all users are using the latest version.
ORCF continues to enhance its financial management processes in Business Central while exploring more advanced features to identify opportunities for improvement. With their focus on becoming more proficient in the core product, including the fixed assets module, ORCF aims to stay ahead of the curve. Their dedication to leveraging technology and innovation to support their mission highlights their commitment to driving success for the organization and the community they serve.
NAIFA moves its ERP to the cloud with Sage Intacct to unite multi-entity accounting processes and better serve its chapters.In this case study:
Industry: Financial Services
Products and Services: Sage Intacct, Migrating from local servers to the cloud, Security improvements, Licensing, Reporting and insights
The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) was established in 1890 in Boston. Since then, it has been delivering on its mission to advocate for a positive legislative and regulatory environment, enhance business and professional skills, and promote the ethical conduct of its members. As a proactive and dynamic organization, NAIFA empowers new services for its members whenever possible. But with nearly a hundred chapters spanning 50 states and over 40,000 members, things can get complicated.
The Need for a Cloud ERP and Accounting System
In 2018, NAIFA began offering association management services for its 90 chapters across the country, including much-needed accounting services. NAIFA knew that this new service offering could not be supported by its existing accounting platforms. The organization’s structure was already highly complex, with foundations and PACs not only at the national level but also run by many branches. This new service offering meant they had to find a new solution to accommodate the existing customizations and new scale needed to serve its members properly.
The organization’s leadership board was also pushing to migrate all business systems to the cloud. NAIFA’s existing platform was deployed on-premise, meaning users could only access the system using a VPN connection. Meanwhile, staff were using Sage 50, also installed on-premise on a local server. Security was a concern, and upgrades were becoming problematic. NAIFA knew that to support members with effective and secure accounting services, it needed to migrate its accounting platform to the cloud.
NAIFA had been working with Quisitive as a partner to support their Dynamics SL solution and knew that Quisitive was also an experienced partner across many ERP cloud platforms, including Dynamics Business Central and Sage Intacct. Staff were hearing great things about Sage Intacct as a solution for multi-entity accounting management and reached out to Quisitive to help them get started.
Rebuilding in the Cloud
NAIFA’s team approached the migration as an opportunity to review and optimize its accounting structure and processes. NAIFA’s team wanted to completely change their approach to accommodate the new reality of their organization, and this was the perfect time to evaluate what was working and what would be needed to accommodate the new multi-entity accounting services model they were striving to achieve.
Redesigning their accounting system from the ground up with Sage Intacct and Quisitive was a significant project, but it also presented NAIFA with a range of new opportunities to streamline processes and realize substantial results.
Uniform Chart of Accounts
One of the accounting team’s major needs was preparing a uniform chart of accounts. NAIFA’s increasing organizational complexity included four entities at the national level and almost a hundred branches, each with sub-entities of their own. Seeing the big picture for the organization’s finances was tremendously important. With the new chart of accounts in Sage Intacct, they can now create consolidated financial statements and view organization results in one place—which is a major strategic win for the organization.
Better Tracking of Finances
Consolidating the financial systems across the organization dramatically improved how the accounting groups could work and collaborate. The national office has been able to do more to help chapters, with both sides having more visibility into each other’s accounting. More complex invoicing and charging across the organization is also now possible, enabling the accounting team to track finances with greater precision.
Improved Financial Insights
Another significant benefit of using Sage Intacct is the reporting, dashboards, and insights that NAIFA has been able to leverage. Department heads can now clearly see critical financial metrics and reports on an ongoing basis and quickly drill down to the details they need for tracking and decision-making. They no longer need to navigate through and interpret a large, complex, and sometimes confusing spreadsheet to get information.
Improved Access to Financials
The move to a Cloud ERP also had some expected advantages. As 2020 progressed and the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a new era of virtual work, the growing NAIFA financial team was operating more and more remotely. Sage Intacct’s consolidated reporting and ability to maintain all entities in one environment online with 24-7 access have been highly valuable and set NAIFA apart in its ability to support chapters.
With these benefits, NAIFA’s move to the cloud is considered a major success across the organization.
A Better Way Forward
NAIFA’s move to the cloud-based Sage Intacct platform was a significant win. It enables their staff to leverage accounting data from any location and manage all their entities in one system. The organization no longer has to budget for and manage upgrades or worry about critical data security threats of disparate on-premise systems.
Innovative and fresh possibilities are already appearing with Sage Intacct at NAIFA. Having all financial data available in one place enables a much more detailed understanding of the operations of individual chapters and helps leadership navigate precarious times with greater agility. NAIFA plans to leverage Intacct’s budgeting capabilities in the future to provide a standard financial statement for each chapter and recommendations for their financing and budgeting.
About Watson Clinic
Since 1941, Watson Clinic has worked to create a rich healthcare experience centered around patients. Based in Lakeland, Florida, Watson Clinic provides comprehensive medical services to all residents. With over 300 physicians and 40 medical and surgical specialties, regional patients benefit from the area’s largest team of experts, which serve all physical, emotional, and behavioral care needs. In 1969, Watson Clinic was the first medical clinic in the United States to achieve accreditation by the American Association of Medical Clinics and continues to prove its excellence in cost-effective and high-quality patient care.
Employee Performance Management In Healthcare
Effective performance management in healthcare is critical. Healthcare providers rely on dedicated staff to ensure organizational effectiveness and deliver the highest possible care across the healthcare continuum. The industry has been facing significant challenges with rising costs, a shortage of talent, and overall burnout. HR in healthcare must also ensure they meet accreditation standards by evaluating staff on position-specific competencies. Achieving the organization’s mission of patient-centric quality care means effectively assessing, developing & retaining staff.
The Challenge: Manual Performance Reviews At Watson Clinic
Before implementing emPerform, Watson Clinic used a manual review process that was administratively time-consuming, resulted in inconsistent performance data across the organization, and did not allow the organization to track performance results and progress throughout the year. Watson Clinic’s HR team managed almost 300 versions of job-specific competency-based reviews to meet accreditation standards. Review forms were individually routed to employees and managers based on hire date, were manually tracked and signed, and the final versions were collected by HR for scanning into the employee’s file. Watson Clinic needed a more consistent and structured process that would allow them to eliminate paper and continually develop and engage talent. The organization’s HR team began looking for a standalone performance management platform.
Getting Started with emPerform
After evaluating several performance management vendors, Watson Clinic chose emPerform due to its flexibility, ease of use, and experience in the space.
emPerform began working with Watson Clinic’s HR Team to plan a smooth launch of their new performance management platform. “We had a dedicated resource to help us review changes to our process and offered guidance for optimizing our forms and communicating the changes to staff,” said Julie. ‘We felt like we got more than a new software tool – we had a team of performance management experts behind to help us succeed.”
“The emPerform implementation team was very patient and helpful during the process. The team was always willing to jump on a call and walk me through something or respond to my questions,” said Julie.
The Impact of emPerform at Watson Clinic
After launching emPerform, Watson Clinic is reporting better consistency and structure in reviews, improved visibility into goals and performance, and better employee feedback and accountability.
1. Elimination of Paper and Manual Tracking
emPerform allowed Watson Clinic to eliminate paper in the review process. As a result, the HR Team spends considerably less time managing, routing, collecting, and filing performance reviews.
“emPerform manages our entire performance management cycle and keeps everyone on track,” said Julie. ‘We no longer have to worry about managers saving and using different versions of reviews or missing a key due date.”
“With emPerform, managers can enter comments and document check-ins online year-round and easily route final reviews to employees for questions and sign-off,” said Julie. “Employees feel it is easy to access and easy to follow. The process overall is quicker for them. This self-service wasn’t possible before with our manual process and has ensured reviews are completed on time.”
2. More Frequent Checkpoints & Feedback to Coach & Retain Talent
emPerform allowed Watson Clinic to extend its performance management program beyond a once-a-year event. Watson Clinic’s HR team added goals, a mid-year check-in, and stay interview questions into its review process in emPerform to help managers evaluate whether employees are meeting objectives and address any barriers to progress.
“We added stay interview questions during our mid-cycle process, which helps us keep a pulse on employee needs and feelings throughout the year,” said Julie. “emPerform has allowed us to expand our review process with these key actions that help us engage & retain talent. These more frequent touch points also allow managers to be better performance coaches and to more easily check in with employees to ensure they are on track with goals and get the feedback they need to succeed.”
3. Better Consistency, Quality & Accountability in Performance Reviews
Using emPerform for centralized online performance management has resulted in a consistent review process that is fairer and more accurate than before. “emPerform allowed us to reduce hundreds of versions of reviews into one dynamic online form that automatically populates goals and core competencies based on job title,” said Julie. “This automation has drastically simplified our processes and allows us to ensure proper accreditation reporting, a better understanding of job duties, and more accountability across the organization.”
Watson Clinic’s employees are now more involved in the review process and can contribute their input and feedback year-round. “emPerform has given our employees an active role in our performance management program. Employees feel more comfortable writing comments and giving feedback, and this has led to great discussions that might not have happened,” continued Julie.
4. Easier Management of Employee Data
Watson Clinic uses Paylocity® for payroll and central HR records. By leveraging emPerform’s data integration from Paylocity, employee data and fields are automatically synchronized and kept up to date. Integrating data between systems reduces the time spent on data management and ensures the correct reviews are launched at the right times without manual tracking.
Watson Clinic will continue to refine its reviews and performance management processes with emPerform. They plan to build out additional review processes like 30-60-90-day new hire assessments and will continue to evolve their performance management program to develop and engage its valuable talent.
About the Customer
A shoe manufacturer and distributor in Colorado has distinguished themselves by placing comfort first with nontraditional looks. Since 2002, they have delivered shoes to over 90 countries, expanding their warehouses and retail store locations to keep up with growing worldwide consumer demand. In March, as a response to COVID-19, they launched a donation of shoes to healthcare workers across the globe that has now reached close to one million pairs of shoes.
The shoe distributor had been using legacy on-premise phone system equipment to manage their global call center including customer service support lines, wholesale support for retail stores distribution and support for point of sales. The platform was difficult to maintain across their worldwide locations, especially as the company was experiencing an increase in calls, which challenged the aging platform. The legacy equipment support was being outsourced to a third-party vendor as their employees did not have the hands-on experience to support the system themselves.
The company’s reliance on this vulnerable equipment for operational communication posed a major risk for the organization. When components in the hardware failed, it created an outage that was time-consuming to get back up and running. The lack of consistency in this legacy system was also hurting their operational performance. In addition, they did not have system access to make administrative changes, making it harder to assign and retire phone numbers when onboarding and offboarding employees at the call centers.
Quisitive conducted a phone system assessment to evaluate their legacy telephone environment. This created a baseline of what was actively in use from the previous system and what needed to be recreated in a new environment. Quisitive proposed a solution leveraging Teams Voice, a tool the company already owned but were not using. In order to provide quicker execution, Quisitive duplicated their legacy workloads in their Teams environment, rather than revamping their processes. Teams Voice provided stability, lower maintenance and overhead costs and continuous patch updates to provide future improvements.
Quisitive executed a phased deployment plan for locations in North America, Europe, and Asia. Their existing phone numbers were ported to the Microsoft phone system and activated in Teams Voice. In regions where number porting was not available, Quisitive implemented Session Border Controllers and Teams Direct Routing to provide calling services to Teams users through in-country telephone providers.
Quisitive also configured Teams-based auto attendants and call queues to support their US and international customer service and support lines to duplicate previous call center functionality. The use of Teams auto attendants and call queues provided the customer with multiple call flow options to meet their broad needs.
Their regional IT staff was trained by Quisitive to fully support and maintain their new phone system without being dependent on outside assistance.
In addition, Quisitive helped create a global IT support desk to help them expand. Quisitive also developed a plan to launch Teams Voice for more employees in different regions utilizing third-party vendors to coordinate work in various languages across multiple time zones.
The company has improved its remote employees’ access to communication with cloud-based Teams while ensuring security through inherited Microsoft 365 security and compliance.
Teams Voice provided the global shoe distributor:
- Improved remote work reliability and security with a cloud-based solution
- Consistent performance of business operations
- Reduced time spent on administrative work and ongoing maintenance patches
- Ability to provide service-level agreement (SLA) for call quality and availability
- Centralized technical knowledge for phone system support and maintenance
Thermon Inc. is a leading global provider of reliable and safe innovative thermal solutions since the 1950s. The organization specializes in providing complete flow assurance, process heating, temperature maintenance, freeze protection, and environmental monitoring. They offer modern solutions for industrial heating applications that serve the global energy, power generation, and chemical markets. The company operates in 25 countries with headquarters in Austin, Texas.
Quisitive previously worked with Thermon to implement an intranet solution to improve employee communication and collaboration. From project creation to completion, Thermon enjoyed the customer experience and built a strong relationship with the Quisitive team so when they needed help with their Dynamics 365 Sales environment, they didn’t hesitate to reach out. After the implementation of Dynamics 365 Sales, Thermon decided that they needed a partner, a Dynamics expert, to help them optimize and improve their customer engagement through sales and marketing channels. Quisitive was selected to help.
Thermon’s Sales and Marketing teams identified priority areas that needed improvement to ensure data integrity, enhance the user experience, and deliver a consistent performance to ultimately enhance customer engagement. The company wanted to avoid inaccurate pictures of the customer life cycle and needed policies that could help them accomplish that.
Another goal was to integrate the CRM, ERP sales quotation function, and the email system to support the business’s requirements to develop an enterprise-wide view of the customer’s journey. Furthermore, the team needed to cut down on manual and time-consuming activities to save time and money, as well as reduce technical debt to take advantage of new Microsoft functionality as it is released.
Thermon needed help reimagining its Dynamics 365 Sales and Marketing environment to address their business priorities. Quisitive helped Thermon with a multi-phase approach that started with an innovation workshop to discover “the art of the possible” and identify near-term transformative activities. The purpose of this workshop was to collect feedback on what was working and learn more about their pain points. A prioritized roadmap for improvements was created after the workshop, which included the following components:
- Creating a single source of truth for customer data
- Achieving an enterprise-wide view of their customers
- Empowering sellers with 360-degree visibility into customer information in real-time
After the workshop, Thermon opted for Quisitive’s Dynamics Program, a subscription service that monitors and delivers strategic recommendations on a consistent basis. Thermon was paired with a dedicated Dynamics 365 Sales and Marketing coach and an entire team of experts to work with their team and ensure that their line-of-business solutions drive the most value for their organization. Key optimizations in the Dynamics 365 Sales and Marketing program included:
- Created archival/retention process for Dataverse data
- Rightsized Dynamics 365 Sales licenses by measuring usage and optimized spend
- Increased adoption of technology and encouraged use of existing features in the platform, such as the Dynamics search engine, lead routing engine as well as integrations with Power Automate
Furthermore, Quisitive supported the company’s organizational goals by partnering with their marketing team and leveraging platforms such as Dynamics 365 Sales, Scribe, and Power Automate to generate business opportunities and create a path from leads to closing a deal. This was accomplished by modernizing the solution, giving all stakeholders the needed visibility in the sales journey, and encouraging the use of the tools.
Quisitive’s Dynamics Program offers Thermon strategic guidance to continuously optimize their Dynamics Sales and Marketing environment to improve customer engagement, employee experience, and drive continuous value for the organization. Quisitive enabled the organization to benefit from a real-time picture of the account status across the enterprise through improved system integration, better-automated workflows, an improved CRM user experience, and better overall system reliability.
Thermon’s Dynamics 365 Sales and Marketing capabilities will continue to adjust with the business’s needs and goals as they change, and Quisitive will continue helping them achieve their long-term goals. The Dynamics Program delivers a set of prescribed monthly activities and advisory meetings to keep companies’ systems environment healthy and secure. The next step in Thermon’s journey is to optimize the use of Dynamics 365 Marketing, a toolset intended to build meaningful relationships with customers and prospects with customer-led experiences.
- Improved licensing allocations and usage by right-sizing their Dynamics footprint
- Optimized the Sales and Marketing Dynamics environment to adjust as their business needs and goals change
- Increased completion of pipeline activity with system integrations between the ERP sales quotation, CRM, and email systems
- Improved user experience to maximize employee engagement to maintain accurate prospect/ customer data
- Stabilized system reliability to create monthly pipeline forecasting, a mission-critical business function
- Improved performance of the Dynamics 365 Sales and Marketing platforms by identifying areas where bottlenecks exist
- Created a more stable platform for their sales and marketing team
University Health was using an old intranet on SharePoint 2010 with no interactivity. On top of this its search function didn’t work effectively because the metadata, key words and documents had not been kept up-to-date. So, University Health wanted to upgrade to a more modern, interactive platform. They wanted it to be a destination for staff as opposed to a difficult tool they had to try and use. This need became even more critical at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
University Health wanted a new interactive intranet built on SharePoint 2019. The system needed to be robust enough to handle more than 11,000 client connections. The platform had to remain on premises but it still needed to have the features of a world-class content management system. It also had to be customizable and be a low/no-code solution for content so business units didn’t have to rely on University Health IT staff for day-to-day content updates. University Health chose Texas-based digital solutions and services firm and Valo Premium Partner Catapult Systems [now Quisitive] to help install their new Valo Intranet.
- The news feature allows for stories to be promoted to hero element on the home page
- The events feature allows each content editor to add, amend or update events, which has been vital during the lockdown period
- The video element allows the user to embed from YouTube or Vimeo, which can be frequently updated
- They love the look and feel of the People Finder feature
- Content is made easy with pre-built templates’ drag and drop function
An intranet fit for a leading medical center
University Health is one of the largest employers in Bexar County, with nearly 10,000 employees, 1,200 plus physicians and resident physicians, and an operating budget of $2 billion in 2020. It has a network of more than two dozen outpatient primary care, specialty, preventive health and school-based health centers. In addition, it was the first health organization in South Texas to earn Magnet status from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, granted to only about six percent of US hospitals.
As a health system with one hospital but more than 30 clinics spread across Bexar County and San Antonio, Texas, communication is multi-layered and has to reach a wide audience. This includes physicians and physician partners, nursing and clinical staff members, administrative and IT, as well as front-line staff such as environmental services, facilities management and nutrition services. As a communication platform, their old intranet was outdated. Staff disliked using the old intranet as it was incredibly hard to navigate or search. Therefore, University Health began looking to upgrade to a modern on-premises intranet on SharePoint.
An on-premises intranet on SharePoint
University Health chose Valo Premium Partner Catapult Systems as they offered deep development experience, and a refined deployment process helped by the Catapult FUSE platform using Valo. They chose on-premises intranet on SharePoint 2019 as the solution.
Quisitive has been hand-in-hand all the way. They trained the trainers and the first batch of section editors, who then helped the comms team train the next round of editors. They provided tip sheets and did trouble-shooting, which was invaluable to the launch. At the start of the current COVID-19 pandemic, University Health did a pre-launch as it soon became clear that there was no way they could keep up with all the COVID-19 information that needed to be on the existing 2010 intranet. With the help of Quisitive, they ensured the new infoNET site was up-to-date with beta testing. Section editors for each department could load content in real-time as new processes were developed, events cancelled and multiple changes happened rapidly.
A go-to platform for news and information
Having Valo Intranet up and running during COVID-19 was invaluable, says Sherrie Voss Matthews. It really gave people a go-to resource as they were able to keep up-to-date with news and documents frequently. This meant staff could use the new platform as a go-to for all news and updates on clinical guidelines and procedures, which was invaluable in a time when the information was changing daily.
This would have been impossible to do on the old site. At the start of the development and build process, the comms team asked each department to designate a staff member who could be trained in the basics of content development using Valo. The organization followed this with multiple training sessions with each one of these content editors.
Feedback was positive overall, and the staff involved commented on the intuitiveness of the platform. The content managers now edit and update their own pages, which is checked over by the comms team to be sure the content is edited and on-brand. Branding was easy to set up with basic templates for the section editors’ use. Using the templates has helped with quality control and kept the branding on point.
Favorite Valo features
Favorite features include news and events, which have been invaluable ever since COVID-19 started and even after launch.
An added benefit is that the section editors have become brand and intranet ambassadors. They have responsibility for promoting and adding content to the platform, which University Health calls the “infoNET” to match their other internal communication channels: infoLINE, a weekly e-newsletter, and infoHUDDLE, a weekly update of talking points. The infoNET’s creation emphasized creating fresh content and evaluating any old content that was to be placed on the site, rather than simply migrating over old, out-of-date content.
Essential training sessions
At the launch, the comms team showed a quick how-to video and Catapult and the Valo team helped build a tip sheet to create a one-page PDF to share with all staff on how to use the new infoNET site. The comms team followed this up with one-hour ‘Ask Me Anything’ Webex training sessions, which included some of the front-line staff. These staff members may not always have access to email but were critically important as ambassadors for the new site. The comms and web IT team started developing content and building the site with the section editors in December and January. The goal for launch was the end of February, however, there were a few pushbacks on-site development.
Then the COVID-19 crisis happened. The intranet was officially launched in May 2020. However, in normal circumstances, the actual building could have been done within two-and-a-half months. The Catapult Systems team, and the comms and web IT teams used the extra time between the original and the actual launch to refine processes and took feedback from users of the Covid-19 information section to improve the user experience before launch.
The University Health communications team have launched a solution that is earning them praise throughout the organization. They have met all the initial goals and the business units are looking at ways to expand functionality through integration with forms and workflow tools to better improve user experience across the health system.
An architecture and engineering firm was looking for a way to improve their security posture using the security tools they already owned in their Microsoft tenant. With customers in the public and private sector requesting security compliance assessments and surveys, the firm needed well-defined security procedures to demonstrate a sound and operational security posture.
With Quisitive’s help, the firm’s IT team was able to define clear security and compliance solutions and procedures that aligned with their business needs. Quisitive was able to reduce the number of vulnerabilities and strengthen the firm’s overall security posture to prevent the possibility of future breaches.
The firm’s chief information security officer (CISO) and IT team could not always adhere to security compliance assessments and surveys, and they were lacking the time and resources necessary to do an audit of their security landscape. Quisitive conducted an Office 365 security assessment, revealing a number of vulnerabilities, including VIP-level users logged in with impossible travel situations, a high volume of end-user phishing attacks and an excess of admin accounts and shared service accounts. Within one week of Quisitive’s findings, the firm committed to a 3-month Spyglass trial in which the Spyglass team rolled out advanced Microsoft security features.
The firm was then asked to give an update to its board and senior leadership on the status of its security posture the future of its security posture and the steps that were being taken to make improvements. Quisitive helped the firm’s chief information security officer build a progress report in nontechnical terms using Microsoft tools and Spyglass dashboards
After conducting an Office 365 security assessment and a 3-month Spyglass trial, the firm signed on to Spyglass as a full-time customer. During this time, Quisitive worked with the firm to evaluate their existing security and compliance policies, close security gaps and adopt the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 800-53 to satisfy customers in the public and private sectors.
Six months after implementing Spyglass, Quisitive helped double the firm’s Microsoft Secure Score, reduce the number of impossible travel events by 50%, reduce the number of unfamiliar login locations by one-third, and automatically remediate over 30,000 phishing attempts.
Quisitive also helped cut global admin and service accounts by 50%, cut sensitive data stored in Office 365 by one-third, cut stale externally shared files by 50%, and reduce the number of files being shared with personal emails to zero. Overall, end-user adoption of new security features increased to over 90%.
When the firm’s chief information security officer was asked to report on the firm’s security posture, he was able to pull key metrics from Microsoft’s Security & Compliance Center and Spyglass dashboards to demonstrate, quarter over quarter, incremental and steady progress and give insight into the near-term risk reduction work that was being done.
Chesterfield County, located in the state of Virginia, is recognized as the “17th Best Place to Live in America” and “One of the 100 Best Communities in America for Young People.” The county also has the lowest crime rate in the Richmond Metropolitan region, so the residents flock to live there.
For Chesterfield County residents, businesses, and visitors, there is an evolving need for access to public schools, parks & recreation sites, and public libraries as the county continues to grow.
Chesterfield County was growing so fast, nine percent since the last census, that demographics were shifting, and stakeholders needed to ensure the “model of excellence in public education” stayed intact. The growth dynamics in any county presented challenges for school planning, ranging from enrollments in particular facilities up to where new facilities should be built. With the median costs for elementary, middle, and high schools at $35M, $50M, and $75M respectively, finding the right locations and subsequent population zoning is important.
Chesterfield County’s primary goals were to be more transparent with its taxpayers and demonstrate why decisions were made when building new schools, and to better plan for where to build schools and how big they should be. After creating a one-year forecasting model, Chesterfield found that the rate of accuracy was only 90%. With the desire to improve on the accuracy findings, Chesterfield County planned to develop a five-year prediction model that forecasted enrollment for schools in the county and prove that the school investments were a necessity. Additionally, the model needed to help discover insights to make data-driven decisions in the development of not only schools, but other capital facilities to ensure fiscal responsibility for the taxpayers.
After a Data & Analytics pilot and the discovery that the model had to go past one year and include other sources of data to be accurate, Quisitive helped Chesterfield County create a more accurate five-year forecasting model to help make data-driven decisions in school development, such as building new schools or shifting school boundaries. Quisitive validated and consolidated data from 60 schools over a 15-year timeframe, including demographic and 20 years of housing data with additional sources of data, into a data warehouse for reporting and analysis. Using machine learning and Power BI, data sets were mapped and results to insights were written to a SQL server to visually report the forecasting of school enrollment in different areas of the county.
Quisitive also used Azure ML Suite to build and validate production-ready time series forecasts. The data-driven visual dashboards developed, helped Chesterfield County find insights to plan for future school developments. It also helped specific school districts plan for certain needs, determined by the school enrollment forecast.
The model predicts a 5-year forecast horizon and shows geographical student growth decoupled from the school districts, making this model more accurate than the legacy one-year model. Quisitive worked with the County’s data engineering team to build a new dataset based on housing parcels – a “parcel level” approach. This enabled Quisitive to build a new model that could predict student growth to various levels of geographic aggregation, such as neighborhood and census tract. The approach was successful and was integrated into the County’s planning process.
Quisitive also partnered with the County’s IT analysts and transferred knowledge of data science skills so they could apply the same approach to forecasting the need for building new fire stations, or other infrastructure needs throughout the County.
The forward-thinking county of Chesterfield increased the county’s overall data maturity and transparency to all stakeholders. With a successful student demand forecasting model, the county has begun to expand in other ways of modernizing its analytics infrastructure.
The elasticity of the cloud allows state and local government agencies to consolidate their data from many sources into an environment where they can take full advantage of high-grade security features, data at scale, advanced analytics, and machine learning capabilities. These combined capabilities enable public sector analysts or data scientists to build better models, the GIS team to add high-quality layers of geospatial data, and the users to consume the results in easy-to-digest dashboards and reports.
Built a secure ML Platform
Leveraged Azure Machine Learning Studio and Azure Data Factory to securely connect to Azure SQL databases and Azure Data Lakes and enable streamlined model deployment.
Improved accuracy of long-range school enrollment forecasts using the County’s own schools, demographic, real estate, and planning data, relative to existing statistical models designed on state-level population.
By working alongside Quisitive experts, the County’s data analysts gained valuable data science skills to start building their own use case and using the model to make data-driven decisions when evaluating public facilities.
Chesterfield County was recognized with the 2022 National Association of Counties Achievement Award for this engagement, a project titled: Forecasts for Communities: Data-Driven Populations Projections. “The cross-functional team included Deputy County Administrators; Budget, Parks, and Library Directors and subject matter experts; technology leaders and staff; and data engineers and data scientists from Catapult Systems [now a part of Quisitive], a Microsoft Gold Partner.”