Archie software is growing alongside Xylem Water Solutions NL

"What started in the early 90s as an address database on a few standalone PCs has now grown into one of Xylem Water Solutions NL’s most crucial computer systems. “We’re nothing without our CRM system. As soon as the network goes down you get people wandering aimlessly through the corridors.”

Xylem is a global market leader in underwater pumping systems. The Dutch subsidiary company Xylem is just one of the organization’s 130 establishments worldwide. Its customers mainly include the government bodies, such as local authorities, district water board and purification services.

Xylem office
Coby Dongelmans is the Marketing Manager for Xylem Benelux, and also directs the sales department for the sister company in Zaventem (Belgium). “At first glance, our market seems very non-transparent to an outsider. Most of the work is put out to public tender, and the customer is surrounded by a network of consultants, contractors, technicians and suppliers like us. Also, depending on whether we’re the primary or subsidiary contractor for a project, our competition could be a customer, supplier or partner, and as such our role may vary from project to project. As you can imagine, this means the DMU can be quite unclear in these situations as well.”
History

Xylem first purchased the customer relationship management program Archie in the early 90s for its Dutch office to map out the DMU and the network surrounding the customers. “Back then it was more of a glorified card index box that was mainly used by our sales reps, but actually we were still miles ahead of the standard.” However, it was no easy task to convince the reps to start using Archie, however, Dongelmans remembers. The company was able to eliminate the reps’ resistance by emphasizing the added value that a CRM package would bring them. “Today Archie is such a natural and integral part of our organization that we can’t even imagine working without a CRM system any more. All new staff receive an Archie training course as standard during their probationary period.”

"We're nothing without our CRM system."

When the CRM hype first blew up a few years ago, Xylem didn’t even realize they were already miles ahead of the competition at first. Dongelmans: “There was such a fuss about CRM back then that my first thought was, ‘Oh no, we don’t even have a CRM system yet!’ It wasn’t until I thought about it later on that I realized Archie is our CRM system.” The system was constantly evolving too; as it was already a matter of course for the customer to be central, it made perfect sense to link an administrative system to this concept as well. And once they had a system containing a lot of data about customers, prices and the competition, it was only natural to start analyzing this information. It matched the company’s growth process and the Archie software grew alongside it.

Xylem factory

"We're nothing without our CRM system."

Antennae

At Xylem there is a very strict policy that all customer communication must be carried out through Archie. “It’s much more than just a sales or marketing tool for us; the receptionists, admin and sales staff and the repairs workshop all work with it too,” says Dongelmans. “In principal nobody can ever say ‘I didn’t know that’ as Archie makes everything easy to find.”

"It's a lot more than just a sales and marketing tool for us; it's used by our telephonists, administration, purchasing department and repair workshop alike."

The system has become ever more important over the years and its functionality was extended to match. Xylem’s Archie implementation is currently linked to their ERP system and the switchboard, so that customer information immediately appears on a user’s screen when that customer calls. Dongelmans: “We’re expanding the functionality step by step, each time weighing up the price/quality ratio. Our field workers, for example, have no real-time access to the system and we could quite conceivably implement a web-based version, but that would be asking a lot of the organization in terms of technical management. The benefits wouldn’t match the costs in that scenario.”

Not only has the functionality grown, but also the number of offices working with Archie. Both Xylem Belgium and Robot Pumps, a company Xylem took over in Alphen aan den Rijn, are now working with Archie as well. The system is also being rolled out in other international offices. As Marketing Manager for the Benelux and Sales Manager for Belgium, Dongelmans uses Archie a great deal. “In our organization sales and marketing are very closely related. Even the field workers fall under marketing, which actually makes sense as they’re our antennae in the market – they know what’s going on and are the first to spot potential new clients.”

“Thanks to Archie, I can easily manage our sales and marketing departments and make quick decisions.”

The CRM system offers advantages for both departments: “Our field workers can immediately see what our position is with a customer; marketing in particular finds the analysis functions very useful. I can manage both departments through Archie very simply and make decisions quickly; I also have a much better basis for my choices. If, during a meeting, a sales rep voices the opinion that we’re too expensive, I can immediately see if their views are accurate.”

Xylem team
CRM is never finished

Xylem made a conscious choice for a standardized system. The system was built on an open philosophy; anyone can edit and update information. Xylem’s Dutch database contains 9,500 customers and 26,000 business contacts. Dongelmans: “The implementation and management are simpler than with bespoke software, and it’s easier to extend it with new functionality in the future. That’s important, because CRM is never finished – it’s constantly evolving.”

"The implementation of Archie is simpler than for a custom software package, and it's easy to expand it with new functionalitites."

Although Archie is a standardized system, it can still be customized to specific needs. Organizations receive assistance from an Archie Europe ‘operational coach’ for this. Nevertheless, it does lay a great deal of responsibility on the organization’s shoulders, Dongelmans believes. During the initial setup one has to think very carefully about what information you want to be able to retrieve from the system quickly and how you can get as much data out of the system with as little input as possible. Finally, it’s important not to underestimate the vast amount of information you can acquire in a short amount of time.”

About Xylem Water Solutions NL

Xylem is a global market leader in underwater pumping and mixing systems. The company was founded in 1901 and has its headquarters in the outskirts of Stockholm in Sweden. The Dutch subsidiary Xylem Water Solutions NL conducts a wide range of activities intended to help companies, local authorities and government bodies with sewage processing, flood arrangements, saving energy, land reclamation and tunnel construction. The products are also applied in industry; in agriculture, fisheries and mining. Xylem Water Solutions NL is one of the organization’s 130 establishments worldwide. Go to www.xyleminc.com for more information.

 

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