Sodateage Net is a nonprofit organisation that offers employment support and skills training to young people who face difficulties in making the transition to working life and achieving financial independence.
Established in 2001 and officially registered as a nonprofit organisation in May 2004, Sodateage Net currently has approximately 70 staff operating in four locations across Japan, including major cities such as Tachikawa and Tokyo. To achieve its goal of integrating young people into the workforce, Sodateage Net organises a wide range of workshops and seminars to provide participants the opportunity to upgrade themselves in terms of work communications and proficiency in information technology (IT).
The Challenge: Facilitating more efficient information management
As the number of young people supported by Sodateage Net started to increase over the past few years, its staff faced the issue of having to manually input the information from an increasingly large number of beneficiaries’ handwritten forms. The nonprofit also realised that its existing software were limited in terms of information management.
Akiko Kudo, a Work Advisor at Sodateage Net, said, “In our daily operations, we deal with a lot of cases and there is a massive amount of information collected from the young people we support. Our work processes can be significantly improved if we are able to access information more easily with a simple click of a button.”
Kenji Yamamoto, Business Manager at Sodateage Net, said the organisation evaluated a number of customer relationship management (CRM) solutions to address the issues at hand.
“To better serve the community, Sodateage Net required a solution that would help us to easily track, access and maintain the personal records of our beneficiaries. This would allow us to better utilise the data and overcome potential operational issues,” Mr Yamamoto added.
The Solution: Using CRM software to improve work processes
Sodateage Net decided to implement Microsoft Dynamics® CRM in 2011 to manage records and provide its staff with more immediate access to critical data during their field work — while utilising a database system that can be easily integrated with the organisation’s existing IT systems. This software adoption further enabled Sodateage Net to compile data from five different youth centres to deliver accurate reporting to the government on the magnitude of its social impact.
Prior to implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Sodateage Net trained its field officers to familiarise themselves with the use of the latest IT devices. The senior management team also ensured that the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM processes were aligned with the organisation’s existing workflow. The ease of integration with Microsoft® Office applications was another contributing factor to the smooth implementation.
Sodateage Net Director Kei Kudo said, “With the use of Microsoft Dynamics CRM to streamline our data management processes, Sodateage has been able to take a significant step towards addressing key challenges faced by underserved youth and creating better solutions to meet their needs.”
The Benefits: Increased work productivity to expand support services
With the introduction of Dynamics CRM, Sodateage Net has increased work productivity through the use of a more streamlined data management system, especially among its field officers.
Mr Kudo explained, "One of the key objectives of the implementation is to lessen the data entry burden for our field staff — and we matched the Microsoft Dynamics CRM template closely to the format of the handwritten form previously used. The time our field officers save from having to manually transfer the information from paper to our database is significant, freeing them to devote more time on face-to-face interaction with the young people and better understand the challenges they face."
The ability to remotely access and review the beneficiaries’ information from any location is another significant benefit, as Sodateage Net field officers such as Wakako Koga have personally experienced.
“During consultations with young people and their parents, we are now able to use our laptops to guide them through our various support programmes and follow up with them in a more effective and personalised manner," Ms Koga added.
The enhanced visibility into the data and records of its service users provided by Microsoft Dynamics CRM has enabled Sodateage Net to build on its strategic vision of improving the quality of its support services and cater to the specific needs of the community it serves.
Mr Kudo concluded, “By providing more personalised services, we are very confident that Sodateage Net will be able to continue playing a leading role in helping young people in Japan reach their full potential and become active contributors to the society.”