Measurable success

By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2005-05-23 Print this article Print

Experts claim that at least 35 percent of CRM implementations fail and may never provide any return on investment. The FDOR has proved that CRM can pay off, and the agencys Evers said the keys to its success were focusing on a customer-centric strategy; redesigning workflow and information flow to implement new strategies; providing training and support; and setting clear, measurable goals.

In fact, the success of the FDORs CRM strategy has been sizable and, unlike many CRM deployments, can be substantiated.

From 1998 to 2004, the FDOR spent $60 million on the project. In return, the agency saw $320 million in increased revenue through 2004, according to Evers. The project also enabled the agency to save $45 million in administrative costs (due to position cuts), with an estimated $15 million this year alone, he added.

It has become obvious that even small efficiencies in the FDORs ability to handle customer inquiries boost the amount of tax revenue the agency can bring in and make the entire auditing process that much more effective, Evers said.

The agencys collections are now running at three times what they were in 1999. Before embarking on its CRM project, the agency saw $250 million in bills and delinquencies collections. This year, the agency saw $700 million in those same collections. In addition, an amnesty program administered after the deployment of SAP R/3 has generated in excess of $46 million.

"The system has more than paid for itself," Evers said. "Its great for us, but not necessarily as good for businesses that now owe more taxes."

Today, the majority of the 36 taxes administered by the FDOR are accessible via SUNTAX. Evers expects all taxes to be made accessible through SUNTAX by the end of this year.

"Its a lot easier to deal with the department now," said Panebianco. "A lot of businesses dont like that theyre paying more taxes, but now that were completely integrated, were able to expedite tasks and get to customers faster."

Panebianco said that of the $30 billion collected in taxes, the agency currently has $28 billion running through SUNTAX. The FDOR is now expanding upon its business warehouse tools to help the agency find better candidates for audits.

Today, 89 percent of Floridas tax revenue is paid electronically, by 20 percent of taxpayers. State law requires electronic payment for businesses paying taxes in excess of $30,000, allowing the agency to move about $26 billion electronically. As SUNTAX gains momentum, Evers hopes to increase that number significantly.

This month, the agency will begin to roll out a discovery case management system that will help FDOR agents procuring $866 million in receivables a year to prioritize the agencys collection efforts, a move that Evers said will allow the FDOR to reap even more return from SUNTAX.

Evers said the agency will continue its efforts to make taxpayer self-service easier. The state outsources about $5 million in transactions to enable taxpayers to initiate a debit or credit transaction through their banks. Evers said he would like to use the SAP system to enable a taxpayer to log on to www., enter account information, and have SAP automatically debit the taxpayers account without using a third party.

Evers is more than satisfied, however, with SUNTAXs progress thus far.

"In our initial study, Andersen suggested that integrating different systems would increase compliance, but we didnt think it would happen as quickly as it has," Evers said. "While we used to have one or two people working on one specific tax, an integrated tax system means every agent can resolve any issue brought by the taxpayer."

Next page: Implementation timeline.

As a senior writer for eWEEK Labs, Anne writes articles pertaining to IT professionals and the best practices for technology implementation. Anne covers the deployment issues and the business drivers related to technologies including databases, wireless, security and network operating systems. Anne joined eWeek in 1999 as a writer for eWeek's eBiz Strategies section before moving over to Labs in 2001. Prior to eWeek, she covered business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News and at the Contra Costa Times.

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