North American Consumer Electronics Retailer

Headquartered in the United States, this consumer electronics retailer has 100,000+ employees, 1,000+ retail locations, several subsidiaries, and millions of annual customers.

Challenge
In 2016, the client came to HCL-PowerObjects seeking a technology partner to help deliver a full digital transformation of their sales and service ecosystem. One of the key challenges was integrating 15+ different systems, many of which were aging inhouse-built legacy systems. Simply put, they needed a state-of-the-art reliable, expandable, and customizable CRM solution, as well as myriad one-off Power Platform solutions to solve business unit-level challenges.
Solution
The client engaged HCL-PowerObjects to deliver a complete technology transformation, including the deployment of Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement – including the Customer Service, Sales, and Field Service workloads. We also implemented USD and Microsoft portals to integrate disparate systems; integrated Power BI, Azure, and several PowerPack add-ons; and developed several unique Power Apps solutions.
Key Benefits
  • Seamless integration between the Dynamics 365 workloads and Azure Service Bus, Application Insights, Azure SQL, Azure Blobs, Azure Data Lake and Azure Functions.
  • In remote service, personalized dashboards offer clarity to each customer service agent around their unique workflows, queues, and casework.
  • The custom-integrated chat-based service/repair delivery model used in multiple contact centers accommodates 15,000+ chat sessions daily.
  • In sales, a complete lead, opportunity, proposal and order process has been implemented. This includes customer scheduling for In Home, In Store, and Virtual Appointments with sales people and customers in order to provide retail technology consulting.

Challenge

PowerObjects has been engaged with the client since 2016 to deliver a complete technology transformation around their customer service ecosystem, including the deployment of Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement with the Customer Service, Sales, and Field Service workloads, implementing USD and Microsoft portals to pull 15 systems into one, and integrating Power BI, Azure, and several PowerPack add-ons. The overall partnership has encompassed several dozen different projects across various business units within the client’s global organization, and it’s difficult to cull 5+ years of project work into a single case study. However, in reviewing the catalog of work, it seems like a different project each year surfaces as the key accomplishment of that period. With that in mind, let’s take a chronological tour of HCL-PowerObjects’ work with this client.


Solution

2016

The first year was, of course, all about collecting business requirements and planning the implementation schedule. The highlight of this year is probably just the sheer volume of technology assets that were needed to complete this transformation. Consider:

  • Dynamics 365 – Customer Service, Field Service, and Sales workloads
  • Power Platform – Power Apps, Flow/Power Automate, Power BI
  • Azure – Azure Service Bus, Application Insights, Azure SQL, Azure Blobs, Azure Functions
  • PowerPack Add-ons – PowerNurture , PowerOneView, PowerSurveyPlus, PowerWebForm
  • Unified Service Desk
  • Microsoft Portal
  • Other – AppInsights, Stream Analytics, Event Hub

And everything that was implemented needed to seamlessly integrate with:

  • Oracle
  • Comergent
  • 15 unique legacy systems

From the beginning in 2016, the size of the project and the importance of the partnership were both staggering. As the next four years will show, HCL-PowerObjects and the client were indeed up to the challenge.

2017

In 2017, the client embarked on a knowledge management program with HCL-PowerObjects. Their 28,000 tech help desk agents were supporting customers via multiple communication channels. Customer experience depended on the level of knowledge the agent had or could access via limited resources. HCL-PowerObjects built a knowledge management tool that combined all sources into one. Knowledge authors access the interactive service hub to create and maintain articles while the agents consume data via a portal.

The knowledge management tool was initially launched to 8,000 contact center agents for testing. Shortly thereafter, it was expanded to 20,000. All of the knowledge articles are also available for self-help on the tech help desk’s customer-facing website. In an average year, the site has 5-6M page views; once HCL-PowerObjects launched the tool, the site had more than 9M in just the first eight months. The site averages 20,000 unique users monthly.

Ultimately, the client migrated more than 5,000 knowledge articles and authored another 1,000. On a monthly basis, the agents in the contact center average 50,000 article views. And because of the real-time access to these knowledge articles, the help desk reduced hold times, a critical KPI in the call center, by 23.8% from the previous year.

2018

This was a particularly rewarding year for the project as we were able to complete the global rollout of a custom-integrated chat-based service/repair delivery model for use in the client’s tech support contact center, which supports millions of customers annually. This support routinely involves screen sharing through a cloud-based remote connectivity service. The client’s objective was to introduce and sell various tech support packages, and their most significant pain point in this pursuit was lack of a customer service infrastructure that could accommodate:

  • A total of 1,200 call center agents and 1,000 chat/fulfillment agents, including as many as 1,200 active at the same time
  • 24x7x365 global support fulfilled by the client and several 3rd-party vendors
  • Complex case routing logic
  • Coordination with an Oracle-based back-end ERP system
  • Several thousand chat and phone interactions daily
  • Complete integration with the aforementioned remote connectivity service, including the ability to seamlessly transfer a session from agent to agent
  • Implementation with the Azure stack of support applications: Azure Service Bus, Application Insights, Azure SQL, Azure Blobs, and Azure Functions

This complex custom integration and implementation was launched in July 2018 after significant collaboration with product teams at Microsoft to solve unique challenges related to:

  • The client’s extensive internal security roles and protocols that required development of complex and stable workarounds
  • The real-time interactions between USD and the client’s agent-level secure computers, which initially posed issues related to speed and performance

The solution was tested in April and additional performance/security issues emerged. After more collaboration between HCL-PowerObjects and Microsoft to solve challenges not previously seen in other organizations, it was released to all 2,200 agents in July. The client now handles 15,000+ chat interactions daily with seamless transitions from triage dispatch agents to fulfillment agents around the globe. They have already generated more than 1.5M work orders, and leadership has insight into the data because it’s all in Dynamics 365 and reported through Power BI. Personalized dashboards offer clarity to each agent around workflows, queues, and active/pending casework.

2019-2020

Extensive Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Business Applications work is still ongoing with the client, as the Dynamics 365 deployments are rolled out to new departments. But the highlight of 2019 was work done to support a new initiative – known internally is Clienteling – that involves Dynamics 365 Sales and Power Apps. At a high level, HCL-PowerObjects built a new Power Apps solution designed to streamline an extensive manual documentation process performed by the client’s Clienteling team – comprised of field sales consultants – and feed the information in real-time to Dynamics.

The clienteling program has a B2C unit, wherein the 5,000 field sales consultants visit customer homes, as well as a B2B unit, where the 600 consultants conduct onsite visits at commercial businesses. In both cases, the consultant performs an assessment of the technology and appliance solutions currently in place. They are unbiased and can help provide recommendations across all product categories and brands. The consultant spends more than an hour in each home or business and becomes the single point of contact for all of the customer’s technology questions and needs. During the assessment, the consultant carefully documents the existing technology and recommendations for connections/changes/upgrades.

In the past, they were focused on manually documenting everything, which took away from their ability to truly connect with the consumer in a meaningful way. The new Power Apps solution – designed to enable single-click selections of existing and recommended technology, and then in real-time feed all information back to the customer’s account in Dynamics 365 Sales – streamlines the experience so the consultant can focus on delivering the best value and customer experience.

Once a consultant makes a sale, the ordering and installation planning processes kick in. To facilitate these processes, we're begun implementing a project management solution with Dynamics 365 Project Operations. A simple washer/dryer install doesn’t necessarily require robust project management, but for the more complex projects, like a custom home theater or custom kitchen, the client needs a powerful tool to manage ordering, delivery, installation, inspection, and customer walk-through.

We also implemented D365 Marketing for the Clienteling team to enable them to market to their own customer base. The client has a large existing inhouse marketing capability, but the individual salespersons in Clienteling needed the ability to send Marketing-quality messages to their clients that come directly from. Given the enterprise commitment to the Microsoft technology stack, Dynamics 365 Marketing was the obvious choice for immediate implementation. They also plan to use the Event feature within the Marketing workload to manage local in-store events, though the pandemic has caused all such events to be put on hold. When the return to business as usual, the capability is already in place and ready for execution.

2020-2021

It’s no secret that 2020 was universally challenging. HCL-PowerObjects’ team of 32 consultants working onsite at the client was, like nearly everyone else, forced to work remotely. Normally, this would not present a challenge, as remote work is par for the course at HCL-PowerObjects. It did, however, present minor challenges in 2020 simply because this was a critical transition period, as HCL-PowerObjects migrated the training, education, and change management programs to the client after nearly five years and more than 300,000 billable hours of managing these processes on their behalf. Fortunately, the knowledge transfer between HCL-PowerObjects and the client has been ongoing since Day 1 of the partnership, so officially transitioning these key elements of success was straightforward – even during a global pandemic.


This five-year partnership has been so rewarding because of the sheer volume and diversity of unique projects. And there’s still so much more we can accomplish – we’re excited to see what the next five years will bring!

Meagan McAlexander Customer Community Director and Relationship Manager, HCL-PowerObjects