Not-for-profit organization’s processing capacity increased by 50%.
“Our recurring costs are lower as we need less staff to get the same process done. The process is now a lot quicker, smoother and reliable.”
– Tyler Kolden, manager of technology services, FOCUS
FOCUS is a not-for-profit organization that brings together Catholic university students in the United States. Founded in 1998, FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University students) runs missionary training and a large number of events and activities across the country, including weekly bible studies, group outreach and mission trips. In 2013, it had more than 500 employees, with its missionaries present in 83 university campuses throughout 34 states.
Missionary trips play a key role in FOCUS’ development and growth. To manage their 45+ trips per year, FOCUS worked with an external company to create a custom workflow application that integrated the company’s fundraising system, CRM and CMS. But the developed application wasn’t always reliable and the integration between the systems failed often – which resulted in data loss.
On top of all of these issues, the application didn’t give an indication of which part of the integration process was failing, so the FOCUS team weren’t able to resolve the problem. “We knew that we were losing records somewhere in the process but we didn’t know at which step,” recalled Tyler Kolden, Manager of Technology Services at FOCUS.
The outcome of this was that students applying for missionary trips were experiencing technical difficulties during their application process and as result, they had to personally contact the FOCUS application team for assistance. The knock-on effect was that a small number of just four ended up having to spend large amounts of time resolving administrative and technical issues. Something had to be done. After comparing existing solutions on the market, FOCUS approached Fujitsu RunMyProcess looking for a flexible and transparent integration solution.
The developed solution went live in the start of 2013. Integrated with the FOCUS website, CRM, and CMS, it can be accessed by any student that wants to apply for a missionary trip.The process is launched when a student opens the application and starts a new mission application. The application form is a detailed online form that asks the applicant to fill in personal details, motivations, and experience. The applicant is also required to select a first and a second choice of mission, in case there are no places available for the first choice. The application imports in real-time information on all available missions. The applicant is also requested to submit contact information for two references, who are contacted for additional information.
Once the applicant submits their application form, the solution automatically updates FOCUS’ CRM with the received information. The application also sends an email to the references with a summary of the application form, inviting them to submit a recommendation of the student. Simultaneously, the applicant receives a confirmation email with an invitation to pay a registration fee. The link is automatically generated by the application and the payment information is added to the CRM.
Once the recommendations have been submitted, the application reminds the student to make the payment (if it hasn’t yet been made), and notifies the mission organizer of a new applicant. The mission organizer can view the submitted application in the CRM and select the final list of participants. The Fujitsu RunMyProcess solution detects when the selection has been made in the CRM, and then notifies the applicants of the outcome of their application. Successful applicants then receive another email asking them to submit administration details such as identification. Once all of the details have been submitted and fees paid, the application updates the CRM and sends the student a final confirmation email.
The developed application helped FOCUS improve stability of the data submission process, increasing user satisfaction and saving time. It contains a full record of the submitted information, stabilizing the process and ensuring that no information is lost. “Before, losing data was a serious problem. But now, the Fujitsu RunMyProcess application acts like the system middle man who ensures we have all the information,” said Tyler Kolden.
Also, because of the graphic visualization of the process in the application, the FOCUS team can now keep track of the process at all times. “We can pinpoint where there is a problem and resolve it, preserving the quality of the information and improving the user experience for the students,” added Tyler Kolden.
As the application flawlessly provides real-time integration between all systems, the FOCUS team no longer has to spend hours resolving technical difficulties and can now dedicate their full time to the review of the applications. As a result, in 2013, the FOCUS team was able to perform better despite having the same-sized team. Tyler Kolden explained: “Our recurring costs are lower as we need less staff to get the same process done; and the process is now a lot quicker, smoother and reliable.”