Interview Ismael

Would you like to know more about the challenges of implementing a CRM solution to manage the activity and growth of a higher education institution? How does Apsia and its experts support higher education institutions in their digital transformation? We interviewed our expert in the field, Ismaël Nabti, head of our CRM offerings.

1) Hello Ismaël, can you introduce yourself?

Ismaël Nabti: Hello, I am Ismaël Nabti, Digital Transformation Expert at Apsia for the past 5 years and I work on our clients’ CRM projects as a Project Manager. More specifically, I work on these projects using Microsoft’s Digital Operating Platform, Dynamics 365.

2) How can we support a school in its digital transformation? What is the Education Relationship Management (ERM) project?
IN: A school is different from a company because of its issues, its operations and its needs. While a business manages accounts, customers, inventory and supplier relationships, a school manages applicants, recruitment processes and financial funds from continuing education fees, apprenticeship tax and sponsorship funds. These management needs drive growing schools to adopt scalable and intuitive tools to streamline their processes.

Thus, CRM or Customer Relationship Management is the tool designed for the customer relationship management needs of a company. In the case of a school, it is not about customers but about students, stakeholders and partners. The ERM or Education Relationship Management project is a project created by Apsia and this term means that the Microsoft CRM will be transformed and set up in detail to adapt to the specific needs of schools. For example, modules are added to manage applications, events and contracts for continuing education.

3)  How does Apsia adapt the ERM project to the needs of each school?
IN: We support our clients, whether companies or schools, in their projects from A to Z. We start each project by identifying the client’s detailed needs. We then carry out a scoping phase with workshops and question-and-answer sessions to understand the specificities of our clients’ businesses and to analyse their challenges, needs and processes. The scoping process allows us to map the school’s processes and to refine our scope of intervention in order to prioritise the delivery of the functionalities with the most added value.

Finally, we implement the solution and set up each module according to priorities.

4) What are the challenges and steps involved in implementing the software?
IN: The main challenge for us is that this implementation must really be considered by the school as a full-fledged project requiring time and good organisation with a team in charge of its realisation. It is not a just a software to  download but a real project, from the deployment of the customised solution to the training of users. We start by installing a solid base with the most important functions such as the management of accounts, contacts, teams and programmes, then we add modules as we go along. Our support continues step by step because the school’s needs evolve regularly and we continue to parameterise the solutions to fully meet them.

5) How do the processes implemented by Apsia enable schools to better meet their business needs?
IN: The added value of our project and of Apsia’s support is that it is a true co-creation with the client. We don’t just integrate the solution, we try to put in place a tool that works and that users know how to use. We monitor the projects closely during weekly reviews and ensure that the deployment corresponds to the client’s vision through an iterative work method.

6) What do you think are the keys to making it easier for users to adopt the software?
IN: Several things can facilitate the implementation of the ERM project. I think it is necessary for the school to :

  • define a clear organisation
  • have a dedicated and committed project team
  • have a sponsor who motivates the use of the software
  • invest time in testing and training.

7) As a consultant, what do you like most about this implementation project? IN: The feeling of having accomplished something is quite pleasant. Especially in this kind of project because the effectiveness and impact of our work is more easily measured than in other sectors. An increase in the number of students coming to an open day or an increase in the number of applicants to a programme means that the school is even more attractive.

It is also a challenging job because each school is different and has its own specificities. Our support consists of projecting the users’ business, understanding their way of working and designing the necessary adaptations to the ERM base to respond effectively to their new problems.

If you too would like to start digitising your processes, do not hesitate to call on our team of experts.

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