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The background

The Royal College of Nursing ("RCN") is a membership organisation and trade union helping nurses, students, and nursing support workers caring for patients across the United Kingdom by looking after their interests and supporting their work.

It has been one of the most vital organisations working on the frontline to help get people through the pandemic. In 2018, the RCN signed off a plan to outsource their Microsoft Dynamics 365 system, transitioning to a full SaaS model to minimise support and operational costs. The RCN has over 800 staff users, over 450,000 members, and generates nearly £7m of subscription income through its CRM platform each month. It was imperative that the RCN invest in a CRM platform that was reliable and robust.


The problem

Previously, the RCN was finding it costly to maintain the level of resource they needed to effectively run and develop their CRM.

It was also seeking more innovative customisation and flexibility in its systems. To facilitate the optimal CRM advancements, the RCN needed to migrate to a cloud-based platform. The migration to cloud software often poses a risk and challenge to organizations, and this was exacerbated by the remote working challenges of COVID-19.

It was impossible to predict how the 800 users would be able to adjust and adapt to a new system remotely, especially while the team was not able to offer support in person. Since the pandemic started, the RCN has been receiving a great deal more calls to its operational centre from members who rely on the software to help them do their jobs day-to-day. COVID-19 presented the challenge to the RCN team to ensure they could continue to provide necessary support to those in nursing working around the clock.


The solution

Since 2018, Silverbear have been working to integrate their membership solution with RCN's Dynamics 365 platform. Together, they overcame the challenges of processing high volumes of data in a secure and effective manner. Silverbear worked hand-in-hand with Microsoft, who made its highly specialist resources available to both partner and customer. This was a great example of technology partners working together during unprecedented times to ensure important organisations, such as the RCN, could continue to operate at full throttle. RCN recently signed a multi-year service and support contract with Silverbear.

Silverbear's technology was integrated seamlessly with the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform, enabling an easier transfer and a better experience for users. The platform is also compliant with Microsoft's Common Data Service, which allowed the RCN's system to interoperate with Silverbear functionality and design, so the RCN team could add its own strategic value and customization. With Silverbear's consultancy, the RCN was given the right platform to develop case management capability themselves, rather than having to outsource the work as they had done previously. This advancement allows RCN's IT staff to shift their focus solely to system development and progress, without distraction.

After months of preparation and a continued commitment to the project during difficult times in lockdown, the technology officially went live last month. Silverbear carried out testing to make sure the transition would run smoothly, inspiring trust and confidence in the team and the system. When minor fixes do need to be deployed, Silverbear ensures they are carried out with as little disruption as possible to the RCN, resolving issues at times that do not interfere with the system's operational activity. The new system also delivered an upgrade to the user experience. It is simpler to navigate and quicker to use, which makes it easier to get new information for RCN staff working under time pressure.

To pull off a transformation project of this size is not an easy prospect, let alone at a time when we have never been busier and staff on both sides are working remotely. Silverbear provided the guidance we needed to get the project successfully across theline to support our members in challenging times. The software is now live and initial feedback from users has been positive. Microsoft and Silverbear's technology have allowed us to take our organisation to a new level and we're proud to be able to offer this innovation to the nursing community across the United Kingdom.


Mark Williams

CRM Programme Director (Contract), Royal College of Nursing

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