Overcoming Challenges: Thrive and A2Z Cloud
Devon–based company Thrive works across Great Britain and Australia to deliver tools and training to adults that helps them support the emotional well-being of children. The courses are designed to work with children from various age ranges and in various settings (but predominantly educational). To date, over 34,000 staff have received Thrive training, in turn ensuring that over 400,000 children have access to the ‘Thrive Approach’, enriching their lives and increasing their educational attainment levels.
Core to supporting the trained professionals using the Thrive programme is the ability to create tailored development action plans, using a subscription based online member tool – Thrive Online (TOL).
Thrive initially developed its own bespoke IT system Thrive Admin and Booking System (TABS), to help it manage customer engagement and interactions with a frontend performing basic CRM functionality. Several departments used TABS system including Business Development (Biz Dev), Training, Member Services & Marketing.
However, as the business grew, it found that TABs was not able to keep pace. Scalability was an issue, it did not integrate easily with other technologies, and many important processes (such as reporting and data analysis) could only be done by manually cutting and pasting data from spreadsheets. These factors were acting as a brake on the company’s efficiency.
The initial plan was to improve business development processes by implementing a CRM system integrated to the web site, that also exchanged information with the Thrive Online booking system and TABS in real time.
What led Thrive to A2Z Cloud and Zoho?
While TABs was initially developed as bespoke software for Thrive, the system simply wasn’t able to deliver the scalability that the company needed in terms of customer management, reporting and integration with other systems. Many processes could only be done with labour-intensive manual work, which limited efficiency and led to user frustration. As Thrive has experienced strong growth over the past decade, and was planning to expand internationally with the launch of Thrive Australia, the company’s management realised that it needed to move away from TABs to a flexible, scalable and established CRM system that would suit the company’s demanding and fast-changing environment.
In 2017, Thrive started to review the range of CRM solutions, and found that Zoho CRM was highly-rated by users, with an extensive range of plug-ins enabling it to be tailored to Thrive’s specific business needs. Following a tender process, A2Z Cloud a leading Zoho partner in the UK was selected as the partner of choice to assist Thrive with the deployment of Zoho CRM and the integration to TABS and TOL.
To ensure that Zoho CRM was the best option for Thrive and there was consensus on the relevant business processes, A2Z Cloud recommended and hosted a Skore process-mapping workshop to capture Thrive’s business and operational processes and show how these would be transformed, accelerated and scaled with Zoho.
Following the workshop, Thrive chose to work with A2Z Cloud to deploy the Zoho One integrated business suite, which includes CRM, sales management, analytics, HR and accounting application modules.
Words from Thrive
Thrive’s IT Project Manager Chad Cookney said: “The process-mapping stage with A2Z Cloud was fantastic for us, because it highlighted exactly where our main IT challenges were and showed how we could improve efficiency across the company. It also gave us the confidence that the Zoho platform would meet our current and future needs, because the workshop demonstrated what our processes would look like and how they would be improved when running on Zoho.”
What was particularly important to Thrive was the level of support A2Z Cloud offered to Thrive to enable the migration from its legacy system to Zoho as seamlessly as possible.
Cookney said: “This isn’t our standard ‘supplier/vendor’ relationship, and we get on really well with the team at A2Z Cloud. We were able to have frank conversations to move forward on things and never afraid to say what needed to be said to keep things moving forward. A2Z Cloud’s lead developer Dash is like an extra team member to us, and it feels like much more of a collaborative partnership.”
One of Thrive’s main challenges with its TABs system was that reporting was a manual, labour-intensive process which involved sifting through data and exporting it from spreadsheets. This meant that Thrive managers would have to spend several hours, or even days, producing reports – taking up valuable time and resources that could be used for more strategic activities.
Thrive’s Chad Cookney said: “Reporting was a specific problem for us, with senior members of the team spending hours inputting customer data when we felt this could be automated by a more integrated system. A2Z Cloud and Zoho have delivered exactly the automation and agility we needed, and the proactive support from A2Z Cloud has enabled us to seamlessly transition from our legacy solution.”
After running Zoho CRM for a year, Thrive made the decision to move away from TABs in 2019. Having considered available options on the market and after consulting with A2Z Cloud, it was decided to build on the investment in the Zoho Platform and completely replace TABS. Thrive reports significant benefits from its Zoho deployment in terms of greatly improved operational efficiency, more effective relationship management with customers, and a dramatic reduction in manual manipulation for reporting.
Chad Cookney said: “Our processes have been streamlined and accelerated across the board, from handling initial customer engagements to customer management, service delivery, internal communications and finance. As an organisation, we’ve become so much more agile, even while enjoying strong growth internationally. Throughout the deployment process, the A2Z Cloud team has been brilliant, working with us on a truly collaborative basis to address our needs and helping us to get maximum value from the Zoho Platform’s capabilities.”
As a result of Thrive’s successful digital transformation with Zoho and A2Z Cloud, Chad Cookney says: “Moving from familiar legacy systems to a completely new platform can feel extremely daunting, as you become so familiar with working around the limitations of what you already have: it can be hard to understand exactly what the migration will involve and what benefits you’ll gain.
“I believe the initial consultancy work that A2Z Cloud did with us to analyse our processes, highlight where the inefficiencies were and show the benefits we could expect was absolutely critical to the project’s overall success. It removed any uncertainties and doubts, and showed exactly how Zoho One would work for us. I’d say that this step is essential for any organisation planning a digital transformation process.
“It’s also essential to have a partner that is prepared to work hand-in-hand with you through all stages of the process, from planning to deployment and support, on a truly collaborative basis. That’s exactly what we have with A2Z Cloud.”