SOURCE: Sage Software

August 08, 2006 09:00 ET

Louisiana Department of Economic Development Uses Sage CRM to Manage Influx of Hurricane Relief Requests

Sage CRM Solution Enables Aid to Displaced Businesses and Generates Timely Relief Effort and Business Development Reports for Local Government

SCOTTSDALE, AZ -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 8, 2006 -- Sage Software today announced that the Louisiana Department of Economic Development (LED), a provider of business leadership, policy and programs for Louisiana citizens, has used Sage CRM since the 2005 hurricane season to manage recovery efforts and track relief inquiries collected by the state's Business Counseling Centers. LED has assisted thousands of businesses and provided temporary housing to more than 1,000 displaced workers since implementing its Sage CRM system. LED has incorporated Sage CRM into its readiness plans for forthcoming hurricane seasons and is also using the system to manage business development marketing campaigns.

"After Hurricane Katrina, by getting up and running with Sage CRM, we were able not only to help our displaced businesses right away, but we were also able to be accountable to the Governor for who we helped, when we helped them, and what we did for them," said Michael Olivier, Louisiana secretary of economic development. "From a management perspective, we were quickly able to see what our businesses were asking for most often, so we knew where to focus our efforts."

Sage CRM Aids Response To Businesses In Need

LED identified a need to transition from GoldMine® to a more robust CRM system in early 2005, citing more flexible data and remote access capabilities as key criteria. During the selection process, Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana resulting in an influx of emergency relief requests. LED needed its new CRM system quickly and worked with HELP Solutions, a Sage CRM Solutions business partner, to implement Sage CRM for 90 staff members in three days.

"The implementation was both challenging and rewarding since time was of the essence," explained Patricia Welther of HELP Solutions. "Sage Software provided Sage CRM free of charge for five months so we could configure the system quickly and get LED immediately focused on its hurricane relief activities. Everything and everyone came together."

LED set up Business Counseling Centers around the state as well as an email and telephone hotline to handle the large volume of requests from affected businesses. HELP Solutions configured fields in Sage CRM that allowed LED staff members to track common business relief needs, such as temporary housing and staffing. The staff catalogued every communication and assigned follow-up tasks in the CRM system. Remote staff used Web access to see real-time data and post updates from the field.

LED was able to communicate the exact needs of businesses to the federal emergency management agency (FEMA) to help more than 1,000 employees get back into homes and jobs as quickly as possible. LED staff generated reports in Sage CRM to help answer the steady stream of questions from state officials and provide assessments of the impact that relief efforts were having on businesses.

"Based on our past experiences with other systems, we assumed that all CRM packages would be cumbersome and inflexible," said Linda Regira, director of policy and planning for LED. "That myth was quickly dispelled when we implemented Sage CRM. In a time of tremendous turmoil for our business community, HELP Solutions and Sage Software provided us with an immediate way to communicate with and assist businesses in relocation, recovery and obtaining information critical to their survival."

Flexible CRM Helps Shift Focus Back To Business Development

LED has returned to developing marketing campaigns that educate businesses on the benefits of working in Louisiana, as hurricane activities have lessened. LED staff tracks brochure mailings and follow-up calls for campaigns in Sage CRM and uses the information to evaluate each campaign's value. Hiring incentive and workforce development programs are also tracked. Managing projects in Sage CRM helps LED to report regularly on the state's development efforts to the Governor and tax payers.

LED plans to integrate its proprietary accounting application with Sage CRM to track business incentives and eligibility for venture capital opportunities. The organization also plans to implement Sage CRM on mobile devices so its staff can access and update information from tradeshows and customer meetings.

Sage CRM

Sage CRM is an easy to use and feature rich CRM solution that integrates vital sales, marketing and customer support information for small and mid-sized businesses. Sage CRM provides flexible deployment options and is available as an on-demand CRM solution at SageCRM.com, or as an on-premises CRM system. Sage CRM also includes a remote data synchronization client and support for wireless devices.

Sage CRM and SageCRM.com are part of Sage CRM Solutions, the only family of CRM products designed specifically for the needs of small and medium-sized businesses that also includes ACT! by Sage and Sage CRM SalesLogix. For more details, visit www.sagecrmsolutions.com or call (800) 643-6400.

About Louisiana Department of Economic Development

The mission of Louisiana Economic Development is to provide excellence in leadership, policy and programs to create a business climate enabling public-private linkages, which result in capital investment, a diversified economic base and quality job opportunities for all Louisiana citizens. For more information, visit LouisianaForward.com.

About HELP Solutions

HELP Solutions (HELP) brings 9+ years of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) implementation experience for small businesses and large companies across a wide range of industries as well as government and non-profit agencies. As experienced business solution consultants, technicians and trainers, HELP deploys highly customized solutions designed to meet and exceed their clients' objectives. They support their clients on a local, regional and national level by providing consulting, implementation, training and servicing expertise to ensure the on-going success of the solutions they deliver. For more information about solutions for small and mid-market businesses and agencies visit www.helpcrm.com or call (800) 346-0415.

About Sage Software

Sage Software supports the needs, challenges and dreams of more than 2.6 million small and mid-sized business customers in North America through easy-to-use, scalable and customizable software and services. Our products support accounting, operations, customer relationship management, human resources, time tracking, merchant services and the specialized needs of accounting practices and the construction, distribution, manufacturing, nonprofit and real estate industries. Sage Software is a subsidiary of The Sage Group plc, a leading international supplier of accounting and business management software solutions and related products and services for small to mid-sized businesses. Formed in 1981, Sage was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1989 and the Group now has 5.0 million customers and employs over 10,500 people worldwide. For more information, please visit the Web site at www.sagesoftware.com/moreinfo or call (866) 308-2378.

© 2006 Sage Software, Inc. All rights reserved. The Sage Software logo and the Sage Software product and service names mentioned herein are registered trademarks or trademarks of Sage Software or its affiliated entities. All other brands are trademarks of their respective companies.

Contact Information