Customer Stories

Austrade improves CRM, supports Australian economic strategies with Dynamics 365

28 February 2023
Austrade improves CRM, supports Australian economic strategies with Dynamics 365
Austrade improves CRM, supports Australian economic strategies with Dynamics 365



Products and Services



Organization Size

1,000 - 9,999 employees



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"Dynamics 365 offered the best user experience of all the customer experience platforms we were shown."

Bill Notley: Head of Digital Architecture and Platforms Austrade

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) promotes economic prosperity by connecting Australian businesses to the world. Its previous CRM (customer relationship management) system was outdated and slow, leading the company to search for a solution that could manage new business processes, more effectively unify data, and provide more accurate and complete views of customers. Austrade was impressed by the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales as a CRM tool, as well as with its connectivity to Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Marketing. This, along with price, speed, and interoperability with the Microsoft stack and Azure, made Dynamics 365 Sales the clear choice for Austrade.

Getting down (under) to business

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) promotes Australian trade, investment, tourism, and education to the world. Its goal is to continuously open doors and unlock opportunities to build strong economic growth and resilience for the country so Australian businesses can thrive. As a global organization with 80 international locations, Austrade requires technology to provide clients with real-time, on-demand service through information, insights, and support.

The Digital Architecture and Platforms (DAP) team oversees systems and platforms that assist employees with client interactions, including ACE (Austrade Client Engagement), the Austrade customer relationship management, data platform, and engagement system. ACE provides Austrade employees with the latest client data so they can use the client’s history to promote new markets, suggest targeted opportunities, and invite clients to a variety of events.

Evolving to align with business goals

Austrade employees interact with ACE for a variety of reasons. Frontline employees use it to assist exporters and investors, marketing employees use it to target and engage clients for events and other opportunities, data analysts and the overall economics team use it to help determine strategy, and executives use it to interact with government stakeholders. Before ACE, the company used a decade-old CRM system that was outdated, difficult to modify, and disconnected from other internal systems. It was slow and not up to the task of the growing and evolving business.

Some Austrade business divisions had changed their processes and the old system could no longer support them. The organization was beginning to prioritize markets and needed to implement scoring models to do so, which required accurate data that was not captured in the old system. Having client data in several different systems meant that clients had to give their information to Austrade employees many times—a time-consuming process that was a clear source of frustration for both employees and clients.

Meeting government requirements

Austrade had several considerations when updating ACE. First, the solution needed to be cloud-based and in-line with Australian government security standards and budget. It also needed to be accessible to the global workforce. Fast page-load speeds and mobile access for CRM functionality were must-haves for the new system. Austrade preferred an out-of-the-box solution that could support integration and other needs without requiring heavy customization. Overall ease-of-use was a major factor, so that users would not get overloaded with data entry and reentry. The ideal solution would support the strategy of moving to cloud services, sustain an evolving business practice, and be interoperable with the existing and future technology stack, including other Azure services and Microsoft technology.

A fast, secure end-to-end solution

As part of the discovery phase, Austrade asked potential vendors to demonstrate how their CRM solutions could address specific use cases. The use cases were real examples taken from business processes and immediate business issues. Microsoft addressed the need for a CRM with Dynamics 365 Sales, showing Austrade how this CRM would empower staff around the world to engage with clients on the right opportunities at the right time. Austrade was further impressed by the interoperability Dynamics 365 Sales has with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, which offers Austrade a 360-degree view of customers and helps inform choices about customer engagement and best actions. This is further bolstered by Dynamics 365 Marketing, which enables personal engagement across channels.

Dynamics 365 offers the dependability required for a government organization. After reviewing the options, Austrade chose Dynamics 365 for its automation and marketing options, its connection to the Microsoft stack and Azure (Austrade uses Microsoft Teams for collaboration and SharePoint for document management and storage. Azure Data Lake is also used for storage and Azure Data Factory for data migration. “Dynamics 365 offered the best user experience of all the customer experience platforms we were shown,” says Bill Notley, Head of Digital Architecture and Platforms at Austrade. “We were pleased with its ability to clearly track client information with a single view and activate client engagement across the organization, including collaboration on client proposals. It really demonstrated how Dynamics 365 as a whole is so worthwhile for our operations.” The Microsoft team reviewed the system architecture and provided engineering support to help with implementation. Austrade worked exclusively with Microsoft for the solution.

Building economic resilience

With the recently deployed Dynamics 365 solutions, ACE shows a single view of client interactions so that employees have the latest data. This simplified information helps employees understand the history of the client and promote the best new markets, targeted opportunities, and events to customers. Employees communicate and collaborate better thanks to the interoperability with Teams and the document storage capabilities of SharePoint. Additionally, the solution has brought the highest level of data governance and compliance with a self-service, enterprise-grade customer data platform, and faster resolution of client inquiries. “User feedback on the new system has been positive—from the experience to the speed,” says Notley.

Notley adds that Austrade can also rely on the Dynamics 365 and Microsoft stack solution to scale with the needs of the organization—driving global trade, sustaining economic resilience, and accelerating investment growth for Australia into the future.

"User feedback on the new [Dynamics 365 Customer Insights] system has been positive—from the experience to the speed."

Bill Notley: Head of Digital Architecture and Platforms