A company offering residential and commercial waste and recycling services in the U.S. was experiencing significant growth, acquiring several smaller companies, and it had its sights set on dozens more. With each acquisition came new sources of data and data formats, some of which were stored in spreadsheets and file cabinets. Due to the rate of acquisitions, it became challenging for the company to navigate the more than 30, and counting, disparate source systems to identify all its data and set up a seamless infrastructure for easy, quick reporting and analytics that would improve margins, customer experience and the post-acquisition integration process.
Additionally, the sales team shared physical copies of a spreadsheet to manually draft quotes for prospective customers. The sales team also had to track contract renewals monthly, which required manually calculating annual price increase by going line by line in a giant spreadsheet. It could take as many as 80 hours for someone to manually key in this information. The team recognized both these pain points were opportunities for automation.
The Blueprint Way
The waste management company knew it wanted to operate in the cloud because it would simplify reporting and analytics and make integrating data from acquired companies more straightforward, but it didn’t have the resources to make the transition itself. Blueprint engaged with stakeholders who identified the company’s first priority was integrating data between two systems that couldn’t talk to each other so the sales team could access holistic customer profiles in a single location without having to manually move data. To facilitate this, Blueprint integrated the customer sites and services data into the company’s customer relationship management system.
Now that the data ingestion pipelines and cloud infrastructure are built, the company has the foundation to continue building out its modernized data platform, including a data warehouse. From there, the company can host all its data in the cloud and connect it to a data visualization platform like Power BI for deeper analytics and reporting. With more than 30 source data systems, Blueprint is first helping the company identify all its data, which will allow the company to prioritize the next phases.
While working on connecting disparate data sources, Blueprint identified two solvable pain points that could provide immediate ROI for the company. First, because the sales team relied on hard copies of pricing information when preparing quotes, Blueprint built a Power App to automate that process. Blueprint replicated the business logic used in the spreadsheets and integrated the app with Azure maps to provide instant, accurate quotes for prospective clients. The salesperson simply plugs in the address and type of service the customer needs, and they receive a range to quote back to the prospective client in real time. Blueprint also built in an automatic approval process for occasions when a salesperson wants to reduce a rate for any reason.
Blueprint also transitioned the second pain point – contract renewals – to a Power App to automate an extremely time-consuming process. Rather than applying annual price increases to accounts manually, which could take a salesperson as many as 80 hours a month, they can now apply changes to accounts that fit specific criteria all at once. Almost instantly, the sales team can apply a 3 percent increase to all contracts ending on March 15, for example.
After using the custom rate review app for the first time, the company’s director of pricing said he changed 3,000 rates in a single day – something that would previously have taken him more than 66 hours spread across a month to do manually.
With a new data ingestion infrastructure and pricing and renewal tools, this company can now quickly and easily connect disparate data sources to make informed business decisions, and the sales team can expend more of their effort on landing new business.