How Dell IT Fast-Tracked Customer Data Integration: 12 Weeks to Solution Using Dell Boomi iPaaS
It was yet another integration challenge in one of the largest technology mergers in history between Dell and EMC—how to provide an efficient, seamless customer experience as the new company Dell Technologies—combined our Dell, EMC and VMware customer service operations into a unified service across our expanded product lines worldwide.
Dell IT had to find a solution while we were selling and servicing products from all three companies to our joint customers, crucial customer and product data for each company remained separate. All three companies had different Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. We needed a solution that would integrate these systems so the data could be exchanged between them and be used to respond to customer service issues quickly and with one voice.
Fortunately, with the right planning, collaboration and integration technology, we were able to create a solution to share customer information for the three merged companies to provide seamless customer service support.
After evaluating various Integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) or Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) technologies in the market, we chose to build a case-collaboration tool with Dell Boomi’s application integration and data-management capabilities.
While your company may not face such an extensive and complex CRM integration challenge as we did, the process we used and the lessons we learned apply to customer data integration needs around most mergers, acquisitions and new partnerships.
Bridging the Data Gap
From the outset, the need for customer data integration was a crucial priority. Our service agents were working to compensate for gaps in our ability to consistently service customers from Dell, EMC and VMware. If a customer called one service team—say EMC—with a problem that needed to be handled by one of the other product groups—such as VMware, there was no easy way to transfer the call to the right technician. In some cases, the service agent had to ask the customer to call a different number to get to the right contact.
Once an issue was handed off to another technician, there was no easy way for service agents to share images or information about the service call or track its status. They had to rely on email or phone calls to work around the disconnection.
Our team began work on finding a resolution in June of 2017, initially meeting with IT representatives from each of the three legacy companies to understand their respective processes and data structures. The integration was complicated by the fact that legacy EMC and VMware each had different versions of Salesforce CRMs, while Dell had an on-premises customer service application.
After reviewing possible iPaaS tools, we found Dell Boomi iPaaS had the best capabilities for our needs, as well as being a product of an independent business unit of Dell that would showcase our company’s technology.
Boomi is a multi-tenant, cloud-based application integration platform that has a broad range of built-in connectors to more easily integrate applications and data in IT environments. It serves as a connection between applications whether they are on-premises or off and then manages the integrations in the cloud.
While some iPaaS tools we reviewed were geared to integrating like environments, such as cloud-to-cloud, Boomi provided APIs and simple steps that made it easy to integrate all the disparate applications into a single ecosystem.
After 12 weeks of development and four weeks of testing, we launched our connected CRM data for EMC, Dell and VMware.
By integrating our customer data bases, connecting our agent-facing applications, and providing real-time visibility into the case-management information, any service agent could now create a case regardless of which products were involved, readily collaborate with other technicians and see the status of each service action automatically.
That means that while we may have multiple agents talking through Boomi to resolve an issue, the customer does not see those exchanges. The customer gets seamless service delivered by a single voice.
As we continue to expand the customer data fields we share and work to add other Dell affiliated company CRMs into our ecosystem, Dell Boomi provides a scalable framework for our ongoing integrations.
Some Integration Takeaways
As with any collaborative project, using the right technology is only part of the process. Following development principles, planning and communicating across the companies or organizations involved in the integration is central to success.
Some lessons we learned:
- It has to be a top down initiative because you are integrating with different entities that have their own roadmaps and their own directions. We had executive support from IT and the business from the outset which helped us bring together resources and stakeholders quickly.
- Speed matters in resolving customer-facing issues. For us, using Boomi meant the time to integration was quick—only 12 weeks in development.
- It is important to get all the representatives from the different entities being integrated together regularly to make sure their needs are communicated and addressed. We began our process with a workshop and then had daily—and later weekly—calls with stakeholders.
- Any solution we built had to deliver an effortless experience to the users that would be always available, fast and easy, as well as secure, standardized and cloud-enabled. Our Boomi solution satisfied these principles by providing a cloud-based integration architecture which is very secure and also helps us to configure rather than customize.
- Since our tool is a cloud native application, we were able to achieve 100 percent uptime with no latency integrating different CRMs. And since Boomi works in the background, users do not need any Boomi training to use this solution.
Using the power and ease of Boomi iPaaS, Dell IT created a customer case-collaboration tool that enables Dell EMC and VMware to efficiently resolve customer service requests by sharing critical data. Now, customers receive proactive communications from a single source. And service agents are able to do their job effectively, improving their experience as well. But it is the customer experience and satisfaction that matters the most!