Implementing Pātaka Kōrero – UCOL’s Store House of Conversations

Software Implementation (CRM) Case Study

Project name: Pātaka Kōrero – UCOL’s CRM System Implementation

Client: Universal College of Learning (UCOL)

Location: Palmerston North

Industry: Tertiary Education – ITP


UCOL were running Microsoft Dynamics CRM version 4 on premises which was only being accessed by a small percentage of the organisation. UCOL saw an opportunity to review the current system and to plan for the future.

Probity Consulting were engaged to undertake an initial scoping review to assess the current state and provide a series of options along with a roadmap for delivery. The review identified a number of inherent business risks such as the version of CRM being out of date, no support in place, and a lack of compatibility with their Student Management System. The review also identified a range of potential future benefits of implementing a new version and extending the use to the whole organisation.

The review’s recommendations were accepted by the Chief Executive and Project Sponsors. A programme of work was then initiated to undertake:

  • Stage 1: further discovery and implementation of a short term solution.
  • Stage 2 Phase 1: formally initiate the project.
  • Stage 2 Phase 2: conduct a procurement exercise to select a preferred implementation partner.
  • Stage 2 Phase 3: project manage the implementation and also provide change management guidance and advice to successfully embed the new system within the organisation.

Description of project:

Probity’s experienced Project Manager undertook a discovery phase, working closely with the Director of Information, Systems and Technology, touring all campuses gathering further information about what the pertinent data gaps were across the organisation and how best to implement a short term solution as an interim measure as requested by the Deputy Chief Executive. This approach raised the awareness across UCOL of what benefits a CRM system could deliver and of the upcoming project. This resulted in staff eagerly anticipating the change.

It was quickly found that stakeholder and alumni data was not being adequately captured and that a short report could be developed in-house to present what information there was. They also discovered there were a series of spreadsheets being used by one faculty to capture their own information in these critical areas. These were used to begin capturing this information across all faculties which acted as an effective change management process to begin to affect the behaviours within these areas and as a data migration source.

The project was set up which involved forming the project team and developing project artefacts, reporting protocols, the organisation communication approach and project governance structure. During this process the Director of Maori suggested that the programme be known as Pātaka Kōrero which in Te Reo means store house of conversations. This name quickly stuck and the CRM system has been renamed Pātaka Kōrero.

A procurement exercise was then kicked off. An evaluation team was formed, a Request for Proposals document produced and distributed to market followed by assessment and selection of the preferred implementation partner, Fusion5, including contract negotiations.

The implementation project followed a hybrid of PRINCE2 and Agile methodology which maintained a level of flexibility yet enough discipline to effectively steer the project towards go live. The project team were a small internal team assisted by an external Test Manager, Business Analyst, Change Manager and Project Manager provided by Probity.


  • Identified business risks and issues with current software implementation.
  • Identified and implemented short term measures to improve the situation quickly and begin to generate the necessary data and processes.
  • Guided a robust procurement exercise to select the preferred implementation partner.
  • Provided experienced project and change management leadership to successfully deliver Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 on time and within budget.

The project experienced disruption due to a number of unforeseen internal change projects, resourcing issues and budget constraints. However despite this, the project was delivered on time, within budget and a high quality solution with minimal issues.

The project aimed to progressively roll out to at least 25% of the organisation initially, followed by the rest of the organisation over the following three months. In fact, due to demand, over 45% of the organisation had received training and the system installed on their machines by the end of the second week following Go Live.

Benefits delivered:

  • Delivered the implementation of a tool to enhance UCOL’s capability to manage contact information and to enable UCOL to perform strongly in internal and external evaluations which, are critical to UCOL’s reputation and educational status.
  • Guided the identification and development of processes to facilitate UCOL’s ability to gather and interpret information about students, alumni, employers, and other stakeholders.
  • Empowered staff with the necessary skills to manage client relationship information and an understanding of the importance of doing so.
  • Ensured a support programme was established with the support partner and that an internal Business Owner was set up for success for the future.

The Project Sponsors, project team, UCOL staff and the Chief Executive were all extremely satisfied with the result.

“Probity provided considerable expertise, skill and a professional demeanour. CRM was a very successful project for UCOL. The project was run exceptionally smoothly and the level of quality has been impressive. Governance was seamlessly run.

UCOL couldn’t have managed this without Probity Consulting.”

Darryl Purdy
Deputy Chief Executive

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