NECA futureproofs with overhaul of IT system

Thursday, 29 August, 2019


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The National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) has close to 5000 members employing about 100,000 people, with members ranging from one-man operations to multinationals working on large-scale commercial projects. Offering a broad spectrum of support to members — from technical help, training and development to industrial relations, legal advice and counselling — the association’s systems and processes were struggling to support internal and membership needs.

“As a 100-year-old business we’d become a bit of a patchwork quilt with bits and pieces plugged in over the years,” said Oliver Judd, Executive Director of NECA’s NSW and ACT chapters.

“We needed to reorganise the whole business, replace our outdated and poorly integrated systems, and standardise our processes,” he said.

“It’s hard to imagine, but we were sending out hundreds of invoices in the old system and then just waiting for people to pay. Some of them pay, others intend to pay but don’t get around to it, so we have to spend a significant amount of time and energy calling them,” he explained.

This impacted cash flow and the time NECA employees could spend engaging with members to improve retention rates.

The organisation’s dispersed geography and IT footprint, with NECA chapters throughout Australia each operating different CRM, marketing and accounting software systems, also meant that it lacked cross-organisational visibility.

The user experience was also problematic for members. NECA’s various services were spread across multiple platforms, meaning that an electrical contractor would have to remember up to six different passwords in order to access information and benefits.

“We want to bring it all within one environment, making it easier for members to access information. This includes offering single sign-on. Right now, it’s crazy,” Judd said.

Reputation and competitive pricing helped NECA decide that Microsoft Dynamics 365 was the way forward. Working with Microsoft partner Sognos, an integrated Dynamics 365 CRM, ClickDimensions Marketing Automation and Dynamics NAV finance system was successfully implemented. These systems also integrate with existing member management and eCommerce portal websites, as well as a direct debit payment gateway, making it a complete solution.

With the system now implemented, NECA is already seeing significant improvements in membership management and cash flow.

“Once members are in the direct debit system, we don’t have to chase them for debts because it just rolls over continuously. We’re going to save a huge amount of man-hours not having to chase up our debtors. We also have a number of other product subscriptions that sit on the portal, which they can now more easily purchase, so our cashflow’s getting a lot better,” Judd said.

NECA sees a major opportunity to improve member services with data-driven insights that will drive new revenue streams. The organisation anticipates that improved visibility of its membership will enable it and other sponsors to offer relevant services based on a better understanding of profiles and needs.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/bernardbodo

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