Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals UK

Company: Onyx SoftwareCustomer: Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals UKSubmitted by: Herald CommunicationsOnyx Software and Interliant enable Colgate to give its customers a complete check-up.


When the UK division of Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals (COP) needed an enterprise-wide customer relationship management (CRM) solution quickly, it turned to Onyx Software and Interliant to link field sales and telesales, as well as the marketing departments. Onyx 2000 gives COP better visibility, both internally as well as externally, and allows employees across all departments to take a holistic view of the COP Business.

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Dental history

Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals (COP) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Colgate Palmolive. COP services and sells to oral healthcare professionals. Its operations are split into four areas:* dental telesales, which makes and takes approximately 4000 calls a month to and from dentists to deal with their requirements.

* pharmacy telesales, which deals with queries from wholesalers, field staff and customers.* field sales, whose staff covers eight territories across the UK and Northern Ireland and take approximately 1000 orders a month.* marketing, which identifies potential customers and determines how to effectively target them.Colgate is headquartered in Guildford, and its field sales staff operate throughout the UK, including Wales and Scotland. COP’s staff are divided between telesales, field sales and marketing.

Historically, COP’s IT infrastructure has developed as a number of stand-alone systems. With an already large and ever-expanding customer database, COP found that accurate information was increasingly difficult to access, as it was stored in 15 different databases. This presented a problem when accessing customer information, which impacted their customers’ interaction. Old mailing lists were being used to alert customers to COP services and products, which meant that information was sometimes out of date or duplicated. This had the potential to affect COP in terms of sales.Multiple mailing was also a problem as each list was stored in a different format.

Therefore, a process that was meant to save time was actually costing COP time. The need for this centralised database was accelerated by the arrival of Y2K, which meant that COP needed the right solution to be implemented in time to be Y2K compliant. The entire process took less than six months to complete.An additional complexity was that Colgate Palmolive had recently installed a SAPshop version 3.0 F solution in order to automate back office functions such as costing, purchasing, human resources, sales logistics, accounting and manufacturing.

However, the SAP solution was unable to handle telesales, and COP needed a system that would not only incorporate this important aspect of its business, but also integrate cleanly with the SAP solution.With the time constraints and the complexity of the task, a decision had to be made and implemented quickly. Helen Blackholly, Colgate oral pharmaceuticals country manager for the UK, and Lynn Moore, commercial applications project manager in IT, headed a steering committee to select a CRM solution provider. Consultant Deloitte ; Touche was appointed to research and provide a list of 25 possible vendors. The solutions were then tested against COP’s vendor briefing document, and a shortlist of ten drawn up.The requirements of the system were threefold.

Together the COP steering committee and Deloitte & Touche concluded that a successful solution would be one that:* matched COP’s business requirements and was scaleable enough to grow with the business.* would have to be implemented within three months.* would be an enterprise-wide, fully-integrated system to replace a number of stand-alone systems covering telesales, field sales, including remote users, orders management and direct marketing.After further assessment of the options COP reduced the shortlist to two. As Lynn Moore explains, “The Onyx solution, which was to be implemented by Interliant, was identified as the leading offering as it not only fitted in intuitively with our legacy systems, but it also had an integrated database function which meant that we could hit the ground running.

We also felt that the “one screen” functionality was very user-friendly, as it meant that our staff had a single, digital workplace from which to access information.”

Drilling down into the problem

COP selected Onyx 2000 as its CRM solution for a number of reasons. Onyx 2000’s flexibility ensured a clean and fast integration with COP’s operating system, Microsoft NT SQL Server version 7.0. Onyx 2000 also provided an integrated database that pulls together all of the disparate customer information already held on COP’s home-grown platforms.

Interliant was chosen to implement the solution, because of its track record of implementing successful Onyx solutions. The responsive, positive “can do” attitude of both Onyx and Interliant guaranteed that the solution was installed on time in order to meet the Y2K deadline. Interliant also understood COP’s business requirements better than other applications service providers (ASPs), because of its considerable experience in this area.Lynn Moore explains, “Not only was the product the best fit for our specific needs, both Onyx and Interliant provided the best service to enable us to get to where we wanted to be quickly and efficiently. We didn’t have time to undergo a complicated and costly implementation, but we needed the right solution to be implemented properly.” She continues, “Both Onyx and Interliant demonstrated to us that they were very customer-focused and that the solution would be easily integrated and user-friendly, both operationally and in terms of maintenance.

It seemed to be the right fit for our systems, and its scalability ensured that it could grow with our changing needs.”

Capping and polishing

Once implementation was completed, COP conducted a “compass check” review in order to gauge whether it was still on track for meeting its objectives, as set out in the original specification document. It was immediately obvious that the solution was meeting the needs of the telesales business. “We’ve come a tremendous way,” Helen Blackholly comments. “We’ve gone from disparate databases to a very good and complete solution in a very short period of time. This can only impact positively on our business.

“Onyx 2000 allows employees to be more organised when sharing information, and to take a more holistic view of the customer, whose needs can now be tracked from one platform, and details recorded for much smoother internal communication. However, this is not the only benefit of the Onyx solution. COP also found that by using Onyx, staff could segment markets in order to gauge the attitudes of customers and organise a more targeted marketing campaign around this information.

Future check-ups

As COP explores and develops the possibilities of the Onyx solution, Colgate Palmolive UK is considering rolling the solution out to other divisions within the organisation. An enterprise-wide solution will make sense, as business models are similar throughout the company.

This would improve knowledge-sharing on a much larger scale and ensure that information was accurate and accessible by all staff within the enterprise. As Helen Blackholly says “We have only just taken the wrapping of our new ‘toy’, and have yet to fully master its power”