RREAL helps tackle fuel poverty with Microsoft technology

Sean Dudley
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley on 06 July 2015
RREAL helps tackle fuel poverty with Microsoft technology

RREAL, a US-based non-profit organisation, is using a combination of Microsoft technologies to make a real difference to the lives of low-income families.

The organisation helps make solar energy accessible for families having to tackle fuel poverty and choose between home heating and other basic necessities.

“We started installing solar energy panels for low income families in the early 2000s, and at that time we had no intention of becoming a manufacturer,” said Jason Edens, the organisation’s founding director. “We were simply purchasing products from companies elsewhere in the world. In late 2007, we launched our product, and now distribute that product across the nation. As a non-profit organisation we realise that every single minute we spend has to spent efficiently.”

The organisation is now using Microsoft Dynamics GP on Azure, Dynamics CRM Online and Office 365 to help improve its operations and deliver vital services to citizens. 

“Microsoft Dynamics GP really facilitated a transition to integrating our inventory systems, our manufacturing systems and our purchasing systems, as well as our accounting systems,” said BJ Allen, special project manager and RREAL. “It’s saved us a tremendous amount of time.”

Thanks to the connection between Dynamics GP and Dynamics CRM Online, RREAL’s sales team has direct access to invoices and orders and do not need to request them from the accounting department. This allows them to serve customer more effectively and efficiently.

Also, thanks to Dynamics GP on Azure, staff can now work remotely, something that enables staff to continue their workflow and maintain efficiency across numerous locations.

“Now, when a client comes in and applies for solar assistance, we are able to capture their information right away in Dynamics CRM Online which allows us to process them more quickly,” explained Sharon Wheeler, programs manager at RREAL. “We are able to track where they are in the process of the application and utilise Office 365 to keep track of all the documents. Any time we’re in the field or if I’m in the office, I’m able to go online and see the history of the client and where we are with that project.”

Before Dynamics GP, it used to take RREAL’s staff two to three days to complete an installation as part of their solar assistance efforts. This has now been reduced to just one day.

“Dynamics GP on Azure, Dynamics CRM Online and Office 365 are all connected and they function as one business solution,” said Edens. “This helps us get the information we need for our complex organisation in real time, which ultimately translates to us being able to serve more low-income families, advance more innovative solutions with clean energy and ensure we can continue to succeed.

“Because of Business Analyzer, Power BI, and Office 365, we have almost instant feedback. The tools are allowing individual team members to excel and advance their programs and so it is creating a space for the leadership team to be peering around the corner and determine what our next focus is going to be and how we can innovatively use clean energy to address fuel poverty, not only here in the US but elsewhere in the world.”

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