CASE STUDY: Bord Iascaigh Mhara

15 Feb 2011

Project claimed to be the first open source CRM implementation at Government level.


Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Irish Sea Fisheries Board, is the State agency responsible for developing the Irish Sea Fishing and Aquaculture industries. Among the services BIM provides to the Irish seafood industry are advisory, financial, technical, marketing and training supports to all sectors of the Irish seafood industry.


BIM’s clients comprise fishermen, fish farmers, processors and all those engaged in producing Irish seafood – more than 200 companies in all. Early last year, the agency’s business development division investigated and extensively evaluated a wide range of customer relationship management (CRM) systems that would allow the activity and interaction between the large number of businesses BIM engages with on a regular basis, to be recorded and supported.


The agency chose SugarCRM, the commercial open source-based CRM software, on three key criteria: its extensive capabilities, ease of use and comparative low cost. SugarCRM’s low cost drove considerable savings, as it left sufficient budget that could be allocated towards adapting the system to BIM-specific use and also to specialist system support. This has resulted in BIM being able to reach the full potential of the CRM system’s features and to achieve its objectives, while facilitating a lower ICT spend in line with Government guidelines.


Dublin-based Provident CRM implemented the system of SugarCRM, customising it for BIM so that its users can record key information with a fisheries perspective. Provident CRM also provided implementation services so BIM’s legacy data was imported correctly. Before ‘Go-Live’ on the project, Provident CRM provided a comprehensive on-site training programme to educate users on how best to use the SugarCRM system in a collaborative way. According to Provident CRM co-founder Gary Cullen, ensuring complete user adoption has allowed BIM to realise maximum return on investment, increase productivity and gain valuable insight of its internal and external processes.


“The SugarCRM solution we chose offers an easily accessible record of the key divisional activities and provides a record of the levels of support and projects we have with each of our clients. It is also useful for staff members to keep themselves informed on the activities of colleagues in relation to these companies,” comments Ian Mannix, business development executive at BIM, who oversaw the project.

Adds Cullen: “SugarCRM, the world’s most widely used open source CRM software, is not only cost-effective to implement, it offers (BIM) the flexibility to scale without exorbitant costs that are usually associated with proprietary software.” 


Open source software has an important role to play in Government agencies, particularly when budgets are as tight as they are now, Cullen believes. “At a time when spending cuts are at the forefront of their 2011 budgets, like thousands of Irish CEOs, it makes sense for them to embrace it now. The success of the Bord Iascaigh Mhara project clearly demonstrates that enterprise-class software solutions and cost savings do co-exist.”

Mannix says the commitment of a local SugarCRM partner ensured BIM’s business requirements were met, and will help to provide even better support to indigenous seafood companies. The on-site training has also been an important factor in ensuring the project’s success. “The training they gave to our users made a big difference to the success of the project because they were able to show that the CRM system is a useful tool for everyone, and is not simply an additional workload for our staff.”

Gordon Smith was a contributor to Silicon Republic