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Increasing Retail Growth with a Cloud Infrastructure & CRM Online

By Guy Wallis on 16/08/16 4:30 PM



The Business Need

The Retail Council conducts industry events every year to highlight and advance its activities as an organisation. Each event involves considerable communication to ensure the participation of member organisations in those events. Previously all the management and organisation of events was done manually and at the end of each event, the data was not stored to enable general access or any guidelines for future events.  Along with contact details, the activities performed to manage the events were not recorded.  This resulted in every subsequent event being started from scratch.

In addition to the events, regular communication with member organisations, media agencies, suppliers and retailers also went unrecorded in a central database.  With many communications being verbal, tracking and follow-up could not be consistent.

Business documents were stored in folders on hard drives without a centralised structure and without access controls.  Excel spreadsheets were used to record details but this was done by individuals as required.

Key Challenges

Consistency was not guaranteed without-

  • A centralised repository for storing all stakeholder details and data
  • A formal record of communication and coordination activities
  • Efficient reporting mechanisms for any and all campaigns.


The Retail Council CEO realised that even with a small team, a system needed to be in place to record details of all their contacts, the communications with their contacts and all event activities needed to be recorded for future reference.

Lanrex was selected to provide a solution.

All servers were decommissioned and all computing was moved to cloud infrastructure.  Microsoft Office 365 was implemented for all email and office applications, together with SharePoint for all file sharing and management tasks.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online was also implemented to enable a centralised database for all contact information and all communications records.  CRM Online also takes care of The Retail Council’s campaign management.

Migrate to Microsoft Office 365 for Email, File Sharing, Office applications

Key Outcomes

The key outcome for The Retail Council is increased efficiency and consistency in having a centralised database which contains all their contacts data.

CRM Online is not used as a sales tool by The Retail Council, due to the system’s flexibility they have been able to set up contacts by categories such as members, suppliers, non-members, general contacts and government agencies.  All the categories have specific fields of data which suit the way The Retail Council needs to use a particular category.  Anyone The Retail Council is in regular contact with is included in CRM Online.  For The Retail Council, CRM is Contacts, Relationships, Memberships.

Lists can now be generated from the database; invitation letters to members can be created; all follow-up activity is recorded; and campaign tasks are also recorded.

A history is now available to all of The Retail Council staff online, in real time and able to be used simultaneously from anywhere.

  • A centralised repository for storing all stakeholder data
  • A formal record of communication and coordination activities
  • Storage for all contracts and documents associated with its stakeholders, in a structured manner in SharePoint.
  • Reports of the history of its communication and interactions with its stakeholders
  • Efficient reporting capability in with CRM Online
  • All campaign activities are stored for future reference.

The Retail Council produces a monthly economics brief for its members which is now much easier due to the centralised storage of information.

The Results

The Retail Council team no longer have any IT issues to deal with and no server hardware to manage.

Their systems are also accessible from any device in any location and any location.

Being able to key meeting notes directly to CRM Online after a meeting, even when remote from the office, meant any critical issues could be dealt with immediately and staff had immediate access to outcomes.

The Future

As with any organisation, a regular review of operations is always a positive step and The Retail Council is currently assessing its structure and its needs for the future.

While not having been with The Retail Council when Lanrex was engaged, Madeleine Lenzner, the Administration Manager is very happy with the service provided.  She commented “All of our IT is done through Lanrex and includes ongoing maintenance, even our system users are set-up and maintained for us.  It all just works for us.”


About The Retail Council

The Retail Council established in 2006 represents the largest of Australia’s retail companies including Bunnings and Harvey Norman.  The mandate of The Retail Council is to achieve sustainable growth of retail in Australia for the benefit of the consumer, the industry and the economy.

The retail sector contributes approximately $134 billion or eight per cent of total economic activity through more than 127,000 retail operators nationwide, representing around six per cent of all businesses.  With retail making up 43 per cent of total household consumption, it has an unmatched connection with Australian households.

The Retail Council representation and activities supports its members in advancing retail in Australia, fostering economic growth and supporting job creation.

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