Using iMIS to Run Our Business
iMIS is the industry leading Engagement Management System (EMS) used to power thousands of not-for-profit member based organizations and charities. Most of our customers who use iMIS are regulatory bodies, unions, trade associations and certifying bodies.
So why did Visual Antidote (VA), a for-profit company, decide to use iMIS to run our business? The technology industry has the expression “eat your own dog food”, which WIKI describes as “the practice of an organization using its own product”.
After years of helping convince prospects to trust iMIS to be the record of truth for their institution, we realized we were struggling with our own systems. We had purchased and implemented inefficient systems for tracking our staff’s time on internal and external projects. We had an overly expensive Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) to record our customers, their key demographics details and ongoing contracts and projects we were working on. Finally, we needed a robust helpdesk support system that would allow our customers to get quick support by email or via an online form, that would be easily tracked.
Integrating these systems together (Helpdesk, Time Tracking and CRM) was an ongoing struggle and pain, particularly when it came to real-time reporting across all the systems. We decided to pivot and make iMIS our System of Truth. iMIS is already a world class CRM and our expert, Certified iMIS Developers made fast work of adding a helpdesk and a time tracking capability to it.
How We Did It
iMIS comes with an amazing ability to update and record any metadata you want to store against individual or organization records. At the heart of our iMIS system, we record each client organization as its own record, and attach all the staff we interact with as contacts associated with it.
Helpdesk / Ticketing
In iMIS we created a new Business Object for ‘Tickets’ which are connected to our client records. We can easily create a new ticket when looking at a client’s profile in iMIS, but even more exciting, a customer can create a ticket in iMIS attached to their account simply by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
You might be wondering how our iMIS system knows which customer to attach the ticket to? It simply looks at the domain name of the sender, and matches it to the website URL of the CSContact.Website field in iMIS - voila! The new ticket is created and parented to the correct customer.
We use Gmail for our company email solution, and when we wanted to do this integration we realized that all we had to do was have one of our iMIS developers use the Google API to regularly monitor the support Gmail account and then retrieve all new emails in that inbox, and update iMIS appropriately. Additionally, it even pulls in any attachments included in the email and stores that in iMIS as well!!!!
As soon as the email is received by iMIS, it will check to see who the account owner is for that customer, and forward the support email to them, along with the new and unique ticket number created.
All subsequent emails are tracked as well against the original ticket number, so that as the ticket is re-assigned, the entire email history is available right in iMIS therefore, there is no need to forward old emails to the new staff assigned to the support item.
Aside from some proprietary software products we create (like the award winning Sonic Forms, since sold to ASI to become part of iMIS), the core of our business is providing high value technical consulting services to our clientele and charging for this on an hourly basis. As such, it’s crucial that our staff record our time easily and accurately against each individual customer and project that we are working on for them. In earlier, non-iMIS iterations, a new client and project meant that both had to be set up in both systems, which meant that tracking the hours/costs of a project set up in the CRM against actual hours/costs spent was a painful and ugly reporting process.
Not any more! With a couple of clicks in iMIS anyone at our organization can see where each project and each task within that project, stands with regards to hours and dollars. In fact they see this each time they start their time tracking stopwatch against a task or project, so everyone at our company has 100% transparency on where the project stands with regards to budget.
To accomplish this, our genius developers built an Angular App embedded in iMIS RiSE that reads and writes from iMIS using the iMIS REST API. Are you curious to know more about how this is done? I’m happy to put you in touch with one of our amazing developers :-)
Work Orders and Contracts
Using the iMIS native and flexible CRM, we created additional Business Objects for the additional metadata we need to succeed with our customers which include:
Using iMIS Forms, we can quickly and easily create a Work Order for a customer as soon as we hear they are interested in a new project or undertaking with us. We can add key details such as what they wish to accomplish and the tasks and hours (times our hourly rate!) to do this, and print of an attractive PDF (SRSS) report to send for their approval. We can track the stages of the Work Order from ‘pending’ to ‘approved’ and ‘completed’, and sometimes sadly ‘rejected’ :-(
Similarly with contracts, we can generate a PDF contract for our customers to sign, and we can attach the signed document to their Contract Record in iMIS.
Lastly, we are rolling out a Client Portal in iMIS RiSE that will allow our customers to login with their account and view:
All current and historical support tickets
All the contracts we have in place with them
All the Projects we have done with them, both active and historic, along with all the hours and costs our team have done under it
All historic invoices
Create a new support ticket
This is just the beginning.
Our company is running better than ever, and we are saving tens of thousands of dollars a year by using the core tools that come with iMIS (RiSE, IQAs, Forms), instead of buying and integrating third party apps. We’ve helped many of our customers similarly by building solutions in iMIS with core iMIS tools. While there is a one-time cost to build these tools, after the initial cost there is no additional annual licensing fees, unlike there would be when buying third party applications.
We’d love to talk with you about how your organization can Save Money by Putting iMIS to Work.