CUSTOM CRM SCALES ALONGSIDE IMPRINT GROUP'S RAPID EVOLUTION

Custom CRM SoftwareEvent ManagementWeb Application Development

IMPRINT GROUP | NOT YOUR AVERAGE EVENT MANAGEMENT FIRM

While most firms limit themselves to one facet of the event management process, Imprint Group defies conventional infrastructure. They unite all dimensions of the process providing an all-inclusive event planning service, dedicated to meeting all of their partner-client demands. By eliminating the need to compartmentalize the project and outsource various production components to different vendors, Imprint Group presents unique services their clients can't get enough of.

Not only does the Imprint Group house a robust team of destination management and event planning experts, but it also caters to the entertainment, creative branding and production aspects of an event that most traditional event management companies fall short on. Imprint Group zooms in on the minute details, bringing together many moving parts to forge an unforgettable experience for their clients.

Chetu first met Nicole Marsh, Owner of Imprint Group, at IMEX back in mid-October of 2017. The Imprint Group was shopping around for a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution that could scale alongside their expansion and painlessly deploy across multiple locations.

Nicole was considering both off-the-shelf and custom CRM solutions – set on locating a CRM system that would work cohesively with their preexisting environment. The only problem: Imprint Group operates within a very niche climate that no off-the-shelf solution could accommodate. Their legacy CRM did not have the bandwidth to support adding additional locations in Orlando, FL and Las Vegas, NV, and the team was experiencing limited functionality.

CRM offers scalability
Imprint Group logo

THE DEBATE: CUSTOM CRM VERSUS OFF-THE-SHELF

Custom CRMs are often met with skepticism; it's easy to rule them as unnecessary without the proper research and side-by-side comparisons. Contrary to popular belief, you can engineer a CRM custom-tailored to the context of your business for less than the cost of retooling an off-the-shelf option. Popular CRM toolkits like Salesforce are more expensive and, ultimately, far less relevant to individual needs. After considering both options, Imprint Group moved forward with Chetu's custom CRM development.

We needed to design an ASP.NET MVC web application with SQL server database on the backend. Imprint Group's was using a Microsoft Access-based application to manage all of their disciplines (production, staffing, timing, vendors, destination management). After maxing out their bandwidth, Imprint Group suffered a series of limitations that negatively impacted their work and put them at a data deficit.

Our objective was to recreate their preexisting application into a web application where administrators would automate data entry and management – going beyond the traditional functions of a CRM to address the event planning needs that are unique to their industry. Our first project with Imprint Group represented a jumping off point for them, a solution they could evolve over time and grow with future integrations. Essentially, we are unifying disparate systems by bringing all systems under a singular umbrella.

GOING BEYOND CONVENTIONAL CRM BUILDS WITH MODULAR STRUCTURE

Chetu created the MVC app with a repository pattern. We programmed the application using a bilateral log-in mechanism, where Admin and individual Users can logon and view a series of modules the Imprint Group outlined prior to kickoff.

Each Admin can register the user, and the user can add their account using a Create Account mechanism. Admin manages the Imprint Office Staff, as well as the client-specific information related to each of their projects. Both Admin and Users are able to view the different event spaces and locations, filtering the results using a series of specifications. Notifications are set by the Admin and issued to individual users to help Imprint Group keep pace with impending tasks. These notifications are also displayed on a dashboard among other relevant details, such as recent clients, programs, reports, and action items.

The web application goes beyond your standard CRM build using a modular format for Accounts, Programs, Vendors, Staff, and Reporting.

customer relationship management
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CUSTOM CRM PROJECT TRANSITIONS INTO LONGTERM PARTNERSHIP

During the development phase our engineers leveraged the following technologies:

  • OS: Windows 8.1
  • IIS version: 7.0
  • Visual Studio version: 2017, Framework 4.6
  • Language: MVC5
  • Database: SQL Server 2016

When trading in one system for a new system, there is one item that inevitably appears in the development roadmap: a migration that transitions old records from the legacy system to the new system. If there are roadblocks, they often occur during the migration. However, our communication model circumvents these concerns with complete transparency.

We asked Nicole Marsh, owner of The Imprint Group, if there was anything she would change about the development process. She replied that there is not anything she would change about her Chetu development team. Even though in the early stages of our relationship, the Imprint Group was skeptical of the overseas model, it has, "worked out extremely well, and the time zone deficit is actually on our side." The imprint group sends edits and concerns during their workday, and they are addressed by our development team immediately, fixed by the time they come in the next morning.

By holding weekly meetings, our development team was able to assimilate to the Imprint Group's native infrastructure and build a custom CRM solution that integrates seamlessly with their workflows.

They took the details we gave them and ran with it. They addressed our concerns promptly throughout the project, open to tweaking details wherever we indicated.

Nicole Marsh,
Owner at the Imprint Group

The final custom CRM software included the following functionalities…

  • Login Functionality: We have two users who login the application. First one is Admin who is responsible for creating new users. After registering a new user, the system sends an email to the user which contain there login credentials. Second one is registered user who can see only their information. After logging in they can see the notification list of upcoming events.
  • Dashboard Screen: Displaying links to all the different modules relevant to the user.
  • Accounts Page or Client Information Form: We are able to create new accounts and we have established a group name which mirrors the name of the account. From Group profile, we select Type and Industry in the file information section where we have program Begin date & End date. Under the Client Contact section we have option to select services like DMC, Agency and Production & Entertainment, which are also part of program module.
  • Programs Page: We can create an event for specific date and time.
  • Vendors/Staff: We can add information for each Vendor/Staff (Currently it is under Resource information).
  • Reporting: We will create different type of reports, aggregating information by location, production calendar, sales-specific details, and lead source data.

Imprint Group has successfully deployed their new solution across all of their locations, and it has become an integral part of their day-to-day. While they began with two developers to expedite the project and bring their finalized CRM to market by May, they have scaled down to one developer for the time being. After working collaboratively alongside Chetu, the Imprint Group hopes to retain their original project team for all further projects.

The Imprint Group is still evolving, and they have big plans for the future. Yes, with a custom CRM Imprint Group was able to conquer their scalability concerns, but they also received a solution they owned, IP they could monetize later down the line. Soon, they will begin white-labeling their custom CRM solution, dismantling the rest of their software silos and bringing all functionalities to a unified platform. These plans include time management modules, third-party accounting module, vendor/staffing program, and client sign-in/sign-up mechanism.

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