Headquartered near Epsom Surrey, Toyota (GB) is the national sales and marketing company for Toyota and Lexus in the UK that holds responsibility for all sales, after sales and customer relations issues nationwide.
Dedicated to serving the fast-evolving needs of corporate and commercial fleet managers, Toyota GB’s fleet division is committed to going beyond the provision of vehicles and is forging ahead with the delivery of next-generation goods and services.
Providing a one-stop service for business customers, the ‘One Toyota’ ecosystem of integrated fleet services today features vehicle leasing, contract hire, insurance and finance services as well as specialist mobility and corporate car-pooling services that are revolutionising how employees travel to work.
The growing complexity of the One Toyota Fleet Services business model, which also serves the Lexus brand, combined with the increasingly dynamic nature of today’s marketplace meant the Fleet Services division needed to move from its legacy operational Sage CRM platform to a more flexible, feature rich, future-proofed and highly customisable CRM solution. One that would enable it to work smarter, adapt faster, and perform in a truly agile way.
“We’d been utilising Sage CRM for a decade or more and during this time Serversys had supported and developed the platform in line with our changing business activities,” says Cat Edgson, Fleet & Kinto CRM Manager at Toyota (GB) plc.
“However, this legacy technology was struggling to cope with all the enhancements our rapidly evolving business requires. With a major restructure of our operations on the horizon we knew this was the ideal time to ‘bite the bullet’ and make the transition to a more agile and resilient solution.”
Core to the day-to-day operations of the Fleet Division that underpin Toyota (GB)’s record breaking sales volumes in the UK, achieving a flawless migration would be a mission-critical undertaking.
“We’re a Microsoft 365 house, so moving to Microsoft Dynamics 365 was the logical next step for our business unit. However, we knew the transition would not be a simple ‘lift and shift’ affair”, explains Neil Spires, One Toyota Fleet Strategy, Motability & CRM Manager at Toyota (GB) plc.
The complexity of the Fleet division’s multiple service offerings and business operations were just the start of the challenge confronting Cat Edgson and Neil Spires, who were tasked with project managing the spin up of the new Microsoft Dynamics environment.
Containing integrations with in-house ERP systems like vehicle ordering and license plate registration as well as handling all UK wide fleet demonstrator requests and approvals, the operational CRM system also supports local and national field-based sales teams as well as a nationwide network of dealers.
“A number of internal and external stakeholders, as well as business partners, depend on the system to undertake a multitude of day-to-day tasks,” explains Cat Edgson. “These include our demo fleet partner, our network of business centres and more. Plus, the system holds the records of literally hundreds of sales agreements.”
Configuring Microsoft Dynamics to the exact needs of the business was just the start. The UK fleet division’s implementation would serve as a CRM blue print for other fleet units across Europe. So getting this initial foundational model right was a must have. Added to which, the move to Microsoft Dynamics 365 involved initiating a new architecture model.
“The new platform was to be hosted in Toyota’s European data centre,” explains Neil Spires. “This added an additional layer of complexity to the migration task in terms of adherence to governance, security protocols and more.”
“From the outset, the UK team wanted Serversys to configure and implement the new fleet solution. But that depended on them first impressing Toyota’s European IT leadership team.”
Following a detailed technical presentation and credentials review, Serversys gained the required seal of approval and was appointed to undertake the project.
Rather than pushing full steam ahead, the migration project presented an ideal opportunity to rethink processes and re-engineer the CRM operations that enable the UK fleet division’s business.
“To get to grips with every aspect of the old Sage system, from the bones up, both Neil and I spent a lot of time with users and Serversys technical experts. We did a lot of unpicking of processes and engaged in a lot of internal stakeholder consultations asking ourselves what is redundant, what do we need to restructure and future proof, what are decision hierarchies and needs of today’s users,” says Cat Edgson.
“Armed with these insights and having done a bit of future gazing, we were able to sit down with Serversys and give them a reasonably good template on which to start building the new environment. In parallel, we also undertook a major data cleansing exercise to ensure we launched with high quality and validated customer records,” she continues.
During this crucial design phase, Serversys acted as a valuable sounding board for the team leading the migration project.
“Serversys has a grip on all the detailed nuances and worked collaboratively with us throughout the design journey. During the development process, they came up with suggestions and helpful guidance and feedback relating to the introduction of new elements. All of which helped us define the shape our new CRM environment,” says Neil Spires.
Following a weekend switch-over, user uptake and engagement was quick to take off thanks to a targeted training outreach campaign that delivered all the information and support users would need to confidently utilise the new platform.
“In the run up to the launch of the new CRM we delivered in-person and online training sessions tailored to the specific working needs of our in-house and distributed partner user audiences,” confirms Cat Edgson.
Built around a core training guide developed by Serversys, the migration project team had put together a comprehensive training programme to ensure everyone was familiar with the look and feel of the new system.
“The initial user feedback has been incredibly positive and we’re already garnering requests and suggestions for ‘next stage’ enhancements ,“ says Cat Edgson.
Easy to navigate, the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform features new powerful process automations and alerts designed to fast track deal progression and deliver measurable productivity gains for all.
“New features like the integration with Outlook have proved a ‘ta dah’ moment for all sales personnel who love the fact that customer records now get automatically updated. Similarly, auto alerts on deals and quote requests have streamlined approvals and made it easy for our time-pressed managers to undertake,” she continues.
“We re-architected the new solution entirely, taking into account both the user enablement needs identified during the initial development process and the new products and services that are part of our growing portfolio,” says Neil Spires.
The powerful new reporting features contained in Microsoft Dynamics 365 are delivering enhanced visibility and new insights that will help guide future decision-making.
“We now have a greater understanding of our data and can cut and dice data from multiple perspectives. There’s no need to commission reports – business users can simply define the parameters they want to analyse and they are instantly presented with dashboards containing everything they need to know,” says Cat Edgson.
Having laid the foundations for the future, and completed the switch over, plans are now in motion to build on the quick wins that have already been captured and pursue new marketing automation ambitions.
“As Serversys puts it; ‘This is where the fun bit starts and now we can begin to explore the possibilities’, confirms Neil Spires.
As a trusted long term CRM partner, Serversys has a long history with the Fleet division of Toyota (GB) and are also experts at delivering Microsoft Dynamics implementations and undertaking migrations at scale.
“Creating the right foundational model that would demonstrate the potential value add for other European divisions represented a significant responsibility and working alongside Serversys meant we got the support we needed every step of the way. Whether that was creating ‘show and tell’ decision testing scenarios that enabled us to think through how we designed processes or challenging us on the potential consequences of certain system design ideas. Throughout, they provided appropriate guidance and advice without dictating what we should and shouldn’t have,” reflects Neil Spires.
“Being able to talk directly to the development team was extremely valuable. It’s rare you get an opportunity to talk through ideas with positive and experienced people who know what they are talking about, without having to go through a long drawn-out request process,” says Cat Edgson.
Reflecting on the journey to date, the culmination of a year’s worth of work has delivered all the anticipated gains and more.
“Making the move from such a pivotal operational CRM system to an entirely new environment was not undertaken lightly and represented a massive leap of faith that had a lot riding on it – for us, and for our partners,” concludes Neil Spires.
“Thanks to Serversys, we’ve transitioned in a structured and positive way and now have a modern cloud-based solution that is already delivering measurable productivity gains, is highly adaptable and infinitely configurable, and which will enable us to harness new technologies like AI in the future.”