How an Energy Firm is Blazing Trails for the Future with

March 19, 2013 Appirio

By Sara Campbell


Recently, we were fortunate to have a visit from one of our customers in the UK, Wood Mackenzie. Headquartered in Scotland, Wood Mackenzie is the leading source of knowledge about the world’s energy, mining and metals industries. With more than 850 employees in 23 offices worldwide, Wood Mackenzie experienced a major disconnect between regions and business units that needed to be solved for the company to continue its steady year on year growth. During our visit, I spoke with Stuart Mills, head of strategic operations, and Philip Boyle, IT strategy and enterprise architecture manager, about how Wood Mackenzie is transforming the way they do business with the power of the cloud.

Q: Can you tell me a little about Wood Mackenzie’s business?

Stuart Mills (SM): Wood Mackenzie is a specialist research and consulting provider that gives deep insight into the commercial nature of the energy, mining and metals industries and produces subscription products. Our history goes back to when the business was a stock broking firm, but the business as we know it started in the 1970 when we started reviewing the North Sea oilfields and soon evolved to become a global analyst for the energy industry.

Q: What business challenges were you facing when you looked to Salesforce and Appirio?

SM: Wood Mackenzie’s growth has come from working in a successful product area with valued information that customers both want and need, which had driven us very well in the first phases of growth. For many years, we were growing 15-20 percent year-over-year. As we started to look at the next phases of that growth however, it became more granular in some senses. We got to a phase in our growth where we needed to understand our customer base in more detail and our systems at that stage were hindering us from doing some detailed analytics. We decided to invest in understanding the 360 degree view of our customers–their subscription with us, how much they spend, other potential needs they may have.

Phil Boyle (PB): Specifically, our research and consulting businesses were managing their customer pursuits and pipelines in isolation. We wanted to get a single view of business and pipeline together across the entire enterprise, not within silos. The key challenge was bringing together the different operating practices of two business units in order to better serve our customers and grow our business.

Q: What was the solution?

SM: We looked at all the big players–Salesforce, Oracle, Microsoft, SAP On Demand–all those that are in the top right of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for the CRM space. Ultimately, there were 50 Wood Mackenzie representatives from both IT and the business that made the decision to go with Salesforce. I think our CFO said it best, we should be bold and choose a company that was going to help us blaze trails for our future. That was Salesforce.

PB: We first went live after a 10-week deployment in December of 2011. We began using contacts and case management with Chatter as a collaboration tool, and after just a few weeks we were already getting the benefits of collaboration and visibility. It was the first time that we could talk about contacts and clients with other parts of the business in a collaborative way. We then rolled-out campaign management in March of 2012 and the marketing team has since been using Salesforce to run their campaigns with more transparency.

SM: It was our third release in October of 2012, involving the business pipeline, that was the most complex. There was a lack of detailed understanding of existing contacts, a challenge which Appirio was able to support. The business had been run very successfully on its own , but we were able to get a refreshed and more efficient method in place using Salesforce that allowed for more in depth insight into client purchasing and needs through Opportunities and Products. The impact has been very positive in how we build deals and go about the process of selling our research and consulting. And because the platform is so agile and flexible, we’ll continue to roll-out new features and make enhancements to support the business.

Q: You’ve already talked a little about business benefits. What other benefits have end-users seen?

PB: All 850+ of our employees have access to Salesforce and they are very positive about the transparency of data. I have heard a lot from end-users regarding new connections and information that they didn’t know existed. Before Salesforce, it was nearly impossible to know if a colleague had a relationship or contact with one of your prospects or accounts or even what other products we might have sold them. Now, we have that visibility and the power to make better decisions based on it. Externally, our customers are seeing the value and power, as well, as we are able to respond to clients more quickly and with a higher quality.

SM: A good example of where Salesforce has already brought value occurred while we were working with a publication, The Financial Times. A Case came in from a journalist looking for some information around a core customer group of ours. Rather than it coming in via email to only one or a few folks, it started life as a Case managed by our press team. Everyone in the company was able to view it and in just more than 24 hours a group of subject matter experts located all over the world had responded individually via Chatter, creating a team that couldn’t have possibly been made otherwise. Because of the openness of Chatter’s collaboration platform, we were able to tap the appropriate experts, collaborate on a response and reply to the reporter’s inquiry in a much faster and more informed manner, ultimately creating a better news piece for Wood Mackenzie.

Check out what Stuart Mills has to say about working with Appirio.

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