Calgary Economic Development Case study

Microsoft Dynamics CRM


Calgary is Canada’s third largest city, with the fastest growing population of any major metropolitan area in the world. With 36 international consulate offices and financial sector that manages 12% of the global energy deal volume, Calgary attracts a strong workforce and new businesses.

Through working with businesses, community partners, and government, CED is a non-profit devoted to achieving economic success in Calgary.

In Pursuit of a Better System

CED spent years pursuing the right business contact manager, trying customer relationship management (CRM) solutions such as Saleslogix (now known as Infor CRM) that did not meet their needs.

One CRM to Support Them All. One Platform to Combine Them.

CED wanted a platform that could support other software and business uses in the organization. With 14 business units, CED did not have a single area where they stored contact information. Additionally, they wanted to track accounts, opportunities and leasing agreements for their Global Business Centre. Reports were made in spreadsheets where data was manually input multiple times across business units.

A new CRM solution was part of a larger strategy to bring all systems onto a single platform and create collaboration across departments.

The system needed to be relevant to CED’s business processes so that employees would adopt it CED needed a united software application and shared database for the entire team to use in reporting and collaboration. The new system would be a central repository for the contact details of potential and existing customers. The CRM system would also allow for targeted marketing based on customer segmentation and categorization.

The CED team created a list framing their requirements, then began looking for a solution.

“We felt that from an integration perspective, long term support, stability in terms of licensing, and annual pricing, Microsoft was the better bet.”

– Wade Van Rooyen, Manager of Corporate Projects

When the Cheapest Solution Is Also the Most Comprehensive

While evaluating available CRM software, the huge disparity in licensing and implementation costs led them to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the most affordable solution. They quickly realized that Dynamics CRM was also the most comprehensive software as well. 

Once they settled on Dynamics CRM, it was time to customize the software to fit CED’s specific needs. Sikich offers Cloud Nine EDO solution specifically for customizing Dynamics CRM for economic development organizations.

The Cloud Nine EDO solution is a pre-built set of enhancements that accelerates new implementations of Dynamics CRM and solves the most common challenges economic developers face, right out of the box. The CRM solution completely covers all requirements of many economic development organizations, and further customizations and enhancements can be made to address more complex needs. The Accelerator allows these orgs to greatly reduce CRM implementation cost and time. From there, Sikich can then further customize Dynamics CRM to meet a specific organization’s needs.

“Cloud Nine was the most flexible and really bent over backwards to try and understand what needed and put a proposal together that met our requirements,” Van Rooyen said.

customizable features

The Cloud Nine EDO accelerator also includes a leases entity. CED hosts the Global Business Center, which offers office space where companies can temporarily rent a whole room or just one desk as they explore business in Calgary. The Cloud Nine Accelerator allows CED to keep all of the lease information in one place and can easily convert these contacts into leads and investment records.

Sikich and Calgary Economic Development discussed the different business unit processes and data that needed to be collected, and then Sikich created custom business process workflows that worked for them.

CED partners with companies who pledge investments. Cloud Nine EDO contains an investments entity, which tracks when a pledge agreement is in place, when it expires, and investment payments through increments. CED is able to log when payments were made and for how much. Dynamics CRM then calculates the data and creates the total balance and pledge remainder.

Sikich also customized the investments entity. CED needed an automated process for creating an investment renewal opportunity. Three months before an investment’s expiration date, a workflow creates an opportunity for the renewal of the investment. Previously, CED had no way of tracking and renewing fundraising investments. The investment workflow makes it easy to pull the opportunity and investment data into a spreadsheet and report on how they’re meeting their budget for investment renewal. By having an automated workflow, opportunities for new revenue are not lost.

Live From Day One

Sikich’s implementation process allowed CED to have system access from the beginning. They could watch the system unfold as customizations were completed. Because they were exposed to the system as it developed, CED had a greater understanding of their new CRM solution, which will assist their efforts to maintain it in the future.

The “Go Live” training took place June 28, and 44 people participated in the 2-day main training event.

“People will be aware of overall organization performance and the role their individual performance plays in the overall results,”

– Wade Van Rooyen, Manager of Corporate Projects

Information at Their Fingertips

“I think it’s definitely a huge win for them,” said Lee Wallace, Sikich Senior Functional Consultant who worked closely on the project. “They had to do all of their reporting on spreadsheets. They were basically entering data in multiple spreadsheets across business units and had to consolidate that information and present it to the board. Now they have that at their fingertips. We built some custom dashboards that still aid them in that reporting.”

People will also be able to make more informed decisions. The time it takes for an individual to be
effective in their tasks will decrease. 

Moving forward, across departments, CED now has a smarter, more informed team. The team is unified through the Cloud Nine EDO system toward a common goal. “People will be aware of overall organization performance and the role their individual performance plays in the overall results,” Van Rooyen said. This will drive performance enhancement and an increase in individual responsibility.

Sikich’s ability to collaborate and offer a flexible, affordable CRM solution was key to Calgary Economic Development. “Your approach to the project and your willingness to be flexible has allowed us to get a better product than we would have, to achieve more than we planned to achieve and to do it at a lower cost and in a shorter time frame,” Van Rooyen said.

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