Project Rescue: CRM & Email Integration Accelerating Sales People Productivity

  • Rapid internal team extension for web application development
  • Integration of CRM and mail application features, supporting the sales specialists’ every day workflows
  • Full-scale frontend development, testing and systems integration
Expertise
Business Process Automation
Verticals
ISV

Iflexion rescued the project of a leading USA-based ISV by speeding up the development of a corporate-level hybrid of CRM and Email apps. Satisfied with the outcome, the Customer engaged us in subsequent projects.

Calendar
10
Duration
Months
Gears
43
Efforts
Person-months

Context

Our Customer is a leading USA-based independent software vendor, specializing on productivity tools integrating Enterprise Applications (e.g. CRM, ERP, EDM) with Personal User Environments (e.g. Windows, Outlook, Lotus, Mobile, etc.).

The Company boasts impressive clientele, including SAP, Oracle, Deltek, NetSuite, magnet, Amdocs and EMC Documentation, who had already benefited from high-quality solutions tailored to the professional needs of corporate employees.

Project Rescue

The company was engaged in a large-scale project of a multinational technology corporation – the development of a SaaS-based application that is a fusion of CRM and MS Outlook accelerating the sales managers’ everyday work. The solution would become an indispensable assistant for salesforce, combining the best features of the two different systems into a whole.

In the course of the project, the Customer realized the internal resources were not sufficient to meet the deadlines of the project, so they decided to outsource partially the product development to an offshore vendor, scaling up the team and efforts rapidly.

Prompt development team formation, efficient .NET, Angular JS and Azure technology skills, comprehensible knowledge transfer capability, seamless communication and uninterrupted collaboration process were essential criteria for choosing a vendor. Thanks to our proved expertise in .NET development, extensive portfolio of systems integration projects, established processes and quick response, the Customer selected Iflexion.

Challenges

Intensive and strictly timed, the project posed a number of technical and business challenges:

  • Quick start and work up-tempo. Considering upcoming deadline, the Customer required rapid development team augmentation and high working performance. Iflexion integrated 8 senior .NET developers who worked overtime to study the context of the project and set down to development in a couple of days.
  • Lack of requirements and technology tracking from the vendor. The provided technical and business documentation was incomplete. During development, Iflexion encountered some functional features that were not documented, yet needed implementation. Our team had to reorganize the development process quickly, considering the new requirements.
  • Geographically distributed development. Iflexion was responsible for the solution’s frontend development and testing, as well as integration with Exchange, while the internal Customer’s team performed server data synchronization and configuration. Our team established uninterrupted communication with the Customer’s team through instant messaging, everyday video conferences, weekly progress reports etc.

Solution

Together with the Customer, Iflexion developed a frontend part of the solution based on the CRM portal and mail application integration. The solution provides for seamless data synchronization between the systems, and allows end-users to get immediate access to their CRM accounts, leads, opportunities, products and other custom objects directly from the mail application.
In order for the solution to be easily adoptable and self-explanatory, our team leveraged the custom MS OutLook interface as a ground for the application. Hence, end users can work with their customer and corporate information without leaving their favorite applications – MS Outlook and Windows.
Guided by the goal of integrating the application into the sales specialists’ every day workflows, our team implemented the following features:

  • Contact, account, opportunities entities management – listing and related CRUD operations through details forms with inline fields editing. Flexible sharing options and deduplication system help effectively resolve collisions.
  • Full-cycle lead management tracking
  • Related activities management, operations are built-in in details forms of main objects.
  • Informative landing page with data summary, search and query builder experience.

Designed to be used by millions of corporate users, the application is scalable and load-resistant. Our team implemented automated deployment system that creates a new server and a database automatically, each time the overhead limit is exceeded.

Quality Assurance

When it comes to a SaaS-based enterprise solution, used by thousands of companies, seamless data synchronization, excellent system performance, accessibility from various web browsers and sensitive corporate data security appear to be the most critical issues. An independent Iflexion’s QA department was involved to cover all the project quality assurance needs.

The QA team comprised 6 people, who spent 400+ hours on both manual and automated testing, ensuring all aspects of the application function well. Iflexion performed:

  • Functional testing
  • Graphical interface testing
  • Cross-browser testing
  • Accessibility testing
  • Globalization testing
  • Performance testing
  • Stress testing.

As a result, we discovered and fixed all defects before the solution was deployed to production. Moreover, our team made 300+ alignments to the project documentation, preventing potential failures.

Technologies

From the technology perspective, the solution is a .NET-based application with three-tier architecture. The presentation layer was developed using Angular JS framework, as well as JavaScript, HTML and CSS best practices. The Business logic is based on .NET MVC framework and implemented with C#, while the database layer is built using SQL technology.

The system supports Mac OS and Windows 7 and higher, and is integrated with Office 365 Subscription System for user accounts’ data synchronization.

Subsequent Project

Utterly satisfied with Iflexion’s excellent .NET knowledge, accurate process organization and teamwork skills, the Customer requested our assistance in the development of a similar solution for another client of theirs. 

The main objective of the later one was to launch an efficient tool supporting the core salesforce business processes –opportunities management and communication with clients.

Iflexion developed an advanced web application enabling sales specialists to employ the potential of a CRM system without leaving an Outlook application. The solution allows end users to save data from emails (customers’ and companies’ names, leads’ status etc.) directly to the CRM, and vice-a-versa, retrieve the relevant information on accounts from the CRM (events, tasks, cases, leads, contacts etc.).

Within the project framework, our team performed integration between the provided CRM system and MS OutLook, to ensure data integrity between them. For secure delegated access to the corporate environment, we employed OAuth open standard for user authorization and Single SignOn between OutLook Web Access and the CRM.

Our team also integrated the solution with Exchange Web Services allowing end users to receive mails, save attachments and information related to them.

Results

Marshaling its finest resources, Iflexion provided substantial help to the Customer in engineering of an advanced salesforce application. Despite tough timeframes and documentation insufficiency, we managed to accomplish all tasks set by the Customer, meeting the deadlines and budget limitations. The Customer was pleased with the flow and results of collaboration and engaged Iflexion in a similar project.

Widely used by millions of people, Outlook + CRM concept proved to increase usability and adoption of the CRM systems on a corporate level. CRM and Mail integration has become a flagship service offered by the Customer.

Screenshots

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