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Customer Story: Acxiom
Acxiom, a world leader in customer and information management solutions, wanted to enhance customer communication and improve service by implementing an automated process for proactively suggesting changes to Acxiom’s database. The Serena® TeamTrack® process management application provided the answer, enabling the creation of a new Change Control Process, which has significantly improved communication and enabled the company to engage customers in the evolution of services Acxiom provides.
The company’s TeamTrack implementation led to immediate results, including improved efficiency and customer relations, better documentation, and more efficient internal workflow. Hugely successful, Acxiom’s new Change Control Process drives resolution and assigns accountability to everyone involved, providing a high degree of confidence and trust for the company and its customers.
Improve service through enhanced customer communication
"We couldn’t do what we’re doing with Change Control right now were it not for TeamTrack.” – Ross Yingling, Business Unit Leader, Acxiom
“We are all confident because TeamTrack ensures that nothing is going to slip through the cracks.”– Brian Gainey, Project Leader, Acxiom
The smooth flow of accurate information is a cornerstone of success in today’s business world. For this reason, many companies that provide information services employ a help-desk in their customer support departments. They want to track problems and the methods used to resolve those problems.
But for Axciom Corporation, a leader in customer and information management solutions, a reactive approach to customer service was not enough. The company, which is revolutionizing Customer Relationship Management through its AbiliTec™ Customer Data Integration (CDI) software, understands that listening to the customer is the best way to improve service.
So Ross Yingling and Brian Gainey of Acxiom’s Services Di vision, set out to find a way for one customer to proactively suggest changes to Acxiom’s database. The result is an automated method called the Change Control Process, which clearly delineates “who, what, when, and how” for each suggestion to the production environment.
The process, which incorporates TeamTrack, has led to immediate results, including improved efficiency and customer relations due to constant communication, enhanced negotiation position due to documentation of all work, and more efficient internal workflow. Yingling, a business unit leader at Acxiom stated, “We saw the opportunity to involve our customers in helping us evolve and increase the services we provide to them—that’s what the Change Control Process is all about, communication.”
Before Yingling and Gainey integrated TeamTrack into the Change Control Process they used extremely labor-intensive methods. Changes were track ed manually using an Excel spreadsheet with all updates saved out to a file server. According to Yingling, further updates made to an already submitted change proved very confusing.
“With the system we were using, it was difficult to tell whether something was a new change or an update, what it was updating, where it was coming from, and how we were updating it,” Yingling said. “It was just a mess.” “We would have folders out on a server that showed we had ten change requests submitted but not who did what, when work was completed, or what the project status was at any time,” added Gainey, a project leader for Acxiom.
Both men realized they needed a system that not only tracked the source for certain changes, but also allowed Acxiom and its customers to see the project status at any time. After substantial consideration, the two discovered the answer already was on hand—the TeamTrack process management application. Yingling’s business unit had already be en using TeamTrack with its help desk, but only in the traditional manner—as an internal tool to track and report on day-to-day issues and requests.
“We definitely needed a more efficient manner of tracking our progress within our Change Control Process, but we also saw the need for extra detail for ourselves and our customer,” Yingling said. “It took us a while, but at that point we just said, TeamTrack!”
Gainey took the reins and spent several months altering TeamTrack’s original and intended implementation to include the needs of the Change Control Process. Then he submitted a prototype of the application for the customer’s review. “They just went crazy,” Yingling said. “They thought it was great.”
The final TeamTrack implementation of the Change Control Process was executed and resulted in a new level of collaboration for Acxiom and its customer. Bimont hly Change Control board meetings, run directly from TeamTrack via a laptop, now provide an opportunity for the groups to discuss project ideas.
“There is definitely a level of confidence and trust in both groups,” Gainey said. “We are all confident because TeamTrack ensures that nothing is going to slip through the cracks.”
The TeamTrack database assigns the appropriate status notification, including the ticket owner (the person working a project) and submitter. According to Yingling and Gainey, this setup is paramount to driving resolution and assigning accountability to everyone involved. “It’s a great method of checks and balances,” Gainey said.
Since TeamTrack was added to the Change Control Process, more than 292 changes have been submitted. Yingling and Gainey credit the TeamTrack implementation as the major factor in making the Change Control Process hugely successful.
Yingling and Ga iney have been sharing their successes with other business units at Acxiom, generating interest in the new TeamTrack solution. “We’re doing internal marketing to share the success we’ve had,” Yingling said. “We want other business units to know that we couldn’t do what we’re doing with Change Control right now were it not for TeamTrack.”