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Customer Perspective: Oxford Community Implementation

In today’s post, we’re changing things up a bit and chatting with one of our clients who has seen great success with their Community implementation. Oxford is a leading global search firm that places top talent with clients looking to employ the best teams for their organization.

The Challenge

Oxford sought a way to connect with their client base, employees, and consultants in one centralized and user-friendly location while meeting each audience’s unique set of needs. Their clients required a place to organize all of their support cases, consultants needed to be on-boarded more efficiently, and Oxford employees were looking for an internal knowledge base and the ability to engage with the IT help desk.

To meet these dynamic needs, Oxford chose to leverage Salesforce Service Cloud and Community Clouds, providing them with access to Salesforce’s portfolio of tools such as Single Sign On and Contract Automation. With this level of system sophistication, Salesforce enables Oxford to create a true Enterprise-level application hub.

The Results

Before Salesforce, Oxford’s process was decentralized with their logic being stored as tribal knowledge across a team of individuals, and with a number of short-term solutions having been implemented. Salesforce has allowed them to build a robust community that is built to scale while meeting the varying needs of their key stakeholders. The project has resulted in a number of key value-adds:

  • Centralized Knowledge Base:
    • Salesforce Knowledge provides a centralized location to create, manage, and maintain content that can be easily disseminated to users, but more importantly, is used as a support deflection tool to answer frequently asked and complex questions.
    • Oxford is able to continue to build out and expand this knowledge base for future usage
    • This solution is more accessible than the former word document, which was only maintained by tenured service agents, and provides additional approval, version control, and publishing functionality
    • Security and access is simple to execute in Salesforce without requiring development effort
  • Customer Support
    • Service Cloud enables support access through a form, where inquiries are routed to the correct resources at the right division of the company
    • This replaced their legacy support ticketing system, which only provided agents with limited details, even when working on complex cases
    • Skills-based routing queues and Omni Channel for Service Cloud improves overall Case Management and ensures that tickets are handled by the appropriate agent
  • Mobile-Ready
    • Salesforce is mobile-ready and offers 3 major releases a year without requiring IT overhead
  • Configurable and Easy to Maintain
    • If and when things change in their business, those changes can be easily accommodated with configuration updates within the Community
    • Lightning Community Templates, configurable Audiences, and code driven off Custom Metadata records were leveraged in order to create a flexible, scalable implementation

Customer Q&A: Mike Chandler, Oxford
Since 1984, Oxford Global Resources has been connecting technology consultants with their clients, serving as a leader in the IT Staffing industry. With offices across North America and Europe, Oxford focuses on proactively building a network of highly skilled professionals to immediately connect their clients to the expertise they need, providing rewarding opportunities for their consultants. Oxford is part of ASGN Incorporated, a leader in the Technology, Life Sciences and Creative staffing sectors. ASGN ranks as the second largest IT staffing company in the United States and was named in Fortune magazine’s “100 Fastest-Growing Companies” for 3 consecutive years. Mike Chandler has worked for ASGN for 14 years on various software engineering initiatives. In the past 2 years, Mike has become a Salesforce enthusiast and enjoys any opportunity to work on the Salesforce platform.

What was it about Oxford’s requirements that led you to leverage Salesforce over other tools and in-house options you could have implemented?

Salesforce was an obvious choice for a variety of reasons. We needed to provide access to our consultants in the field and Community Cloud provided us with the “portal” functionality we knew we needed. Integration was going to be a major part of this initiative, so Salesforce’s built-in REST API was a major draw. Additionally, we knew that we could cross the finish line sooner not having to develop or implement a security framework or deploy additional infrastructure for hosting because that’s entirely managed by Salesforce.

How can you draw a parallel in your company’s style for managing IT projects and GearsCRM’s process?

Our internal software development lifecycle is a hybrid style which attempts to cross our own desire to develop software with agility but also be responsive to the business’s need for predictable budgets and timelines. GearsCRM’s process fit nicely into that model. From the start, we had visibility into the backlog of items to be developed, and on a weekly basis we were provided details on where we stand. We were updated with regularity on both budget and schedule. When we proposed changes due to shifts in the business process, we knew early how that would impact our timeline. GearsCRM’s awareness of their own velocity really worked nicely with our business’s expectations regarding communication.

What were the major pain points of your process before implementing Salesforce?

There were two major problems with our previous process that needed to be solved. The first problem was the intensive manual work required to leverage Docusign. Our process involves a lot of paperwork that needs to be signed and identifying the unique forms per project and preparing them to be digitally signed required a significant amount of work. All of that is now completely automated with our new solution on Salesforce, and Docusign Administration is replaced by administrative configuration, still leveraging Docusign, that saves us many hours per month.  The other problem was the management of the existing portal used by our consultants in the field. The original portal required a fair amount of programming to support new documentation requirements. With our new solution on Salesforce, that programming is replaced by administrative configuration and saves us many hours per month.

Were there any high-level initiatives or goals that influenced your decision to buy Salesforce? For example, was this decision motivated by a company-wide vision?

Oxford’s VP of Technical Services was the visionary most directly responsible for the decision to buy Salesforce. She had already determined that Service Cloud was the best choice to replace her existing Help Desk ticketing system, and that Community Cloud offered a lot from a self-service standpoint. Before our more document-intensive project began, she had the foresight to recommend that it serve as the platform for that project as well. Upon further evaluation, it was widely agreed that Salesforce represented a viable development platform that offered several of our business segments with automation opportunities as well.

Have you thought about using Salesforce or the Community for a new use case with your team or at your company?

The speed at which these projects came together along with the quality of the finished product has drawn a lot of attention from other segments of the business. Our marketing department is now evaluating a few possibilities to automate some of their processes and improve reporting. We’re carefully evaluating Community Cloud to see if there are some additional opportunities for our internal employee audience, as well.

Taylor Grimes

Taylor is a 5x certified Salesforce Consultant & Community Specialist at GearsCRM. She teaches Salesforce driven companies and their digital experience teams how to implement stunning Lightning Communities for customers, partners and service centers to better engage their audience, enhance their brand and extend their Salesforce investment.

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