What is this research about?
Researchers looked at the landscape of technology solutions available to immigrant and refugee-serving agencies, focusing on Customer Relationships Management (CRM), Case Management, Non-profit Software, Database Information Management Systems (DIMS), and Digital Business Platforms. The key functionality connecting the systems is that they each provide "a central database with a 360-degree view for every client interaction and serve to ease collaboration, streamline operations, and enable performance reporting." For this report they refer to all systems as CRM throughout the report.
What do you need to know?
Researchers looked at technology solutions (without making specific recommendations or endorsements). They also outline where this work fits into IRCC and the sector's digital mandate and future. They acknowledge that IRCC has embarked on a digitization process which will have an impact, and opportunities for the sector. According to the researchers: "By seeking to modernize processes using technology, IRCC and associated immigration agencies are in a stronger position to accommodate even more foreign nationals once the pandemic is over. To that end, AAISA's members seek to leverage a CRM system to address these modernization results as well as meet its own goals and objectives.
What did the researchers do?
A 26-question survey was sent in both official languages to IRCC funded settlement provider organizations in BC. They also conducted several, individual 90-minute exploratory interview consultations with contributors who volunteered to delve deeper into their client management solution experiences.
What did the researchers find?
They identified and created profiles of 15 CRM solutions currently in use in the sector. Four of these systems were custom developed from scratch by sector agencies. Each profile comes with a matrix of key functionality relevant to how it would be used by a sector agency.
Notably, two current built-by-the sector CRM solutions do not appear to be mentioned in this report. Both are IRCC funded and should be added to the analysis (both use Salesforce as their base, and Salesforce is analyzed in the report, but not in the context of how it's used in the sector):
How can you use this research?
Importantly, the report provides a "Next Steps" section which outlines how important the role of non-techie agency staff are in the creation/selection, customization, and roll out of CRM systems in the agency setting. Researchers provide high level recommendations as well as typical selection and implementation steps and considerations. If you are embarking on a CRM selection or creation process, this report is essential reading to help you in that process.