Oxford Business Group

The Symfony CRM application development for a global publisher and consultancy

1. Introduction

We’re proud to present a CRM system we developed for Oxford Business Group. This company has many offices all around the globe, so, first of all, we were to create a fast and lightweight Symfony application that even a personnel with the slow Internet connection can access. The second component of an efficient CRM system is a user-friendly interface. Our designers went beyond usual web approaches and created the UX design that fulfilled all the needs of such a distributed team.

2. About company

Oxford Business Group (OBG) is a global publishing, research and consultancy firm, which publishes economic intelligence on the markets of the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. OBG offers analysis of macroeconomic and sectoral developments, including banking, capital markets, insurance, energy, transport, industry and telecoms.

3. About project

Oxford Business group needed an easy-to-use CRM system aimed to coordinate a working process. But back then in 2016, there was just one simple search page existent. At this point, our team joined the project. Our team consisted of four Symfony developers, who provided a continuous integration development process and technical assistance. We’ve been working on OBG CRM system for about one year.

Now our system is a CRM application that includes an easy content access, different search pages, forms for creating, editing and removing content, users permissions system, statistics dashboard, scheduling system, etc. And, of course, since this application is just for the OBG internal use, anonymous users are unable to create accounts.

The goal of the project was to create a CRM application with the following functionality:

  1. Data processing
  2. Permissions system
  3. Search
  4. Workflow features / Easy and comfortable layouts

Data processing / Information management

Each meeting has a special content type that contains the information about time, date, participants, and notes.

Meeting notes autosaving

Having a meeting includes taking a lot of notes. This feature saves them for a manager without any data loss in case of the Internet connection troubles, accidental window closing or a computer shutdown.

  • real-time notes saving
  • no data loss if something interrupts the work
  • optimized code never hangs a server

Log system for calls/emails

Building proper long-term cooperation is not possible without keeping updated on a status of negotiations. The CRM system should allow OBG to log each interaction with partners.

  • internal transparency about a negotiations status
  • easy navigation through a big amount of logs
  • filtering companies based on the logged status
Log system for contacts

Latest interaction field

In our case, there are two ways to keep producing fast queries if you have a massive database: implementing a search tool or creating a listener. We chose the second option because it optimizes queries well and doesn’t include the exсessive functionality.

  • data about last contact with companies
  • clean architecture of listeners
  • real-time records updates

Permissions system

Like any other CRM, the CRM for Oxford Business Group has several types of users and the flexible permission system. Of course, each group of users is granted with its own combination of permissions.

Users roles

Project management requires a coordinated team work. Assigning different roles to employees involved in different projects allows to keep order and boost efficiency of work.

  • each user has necessary sets of permissions
  • the user can have different roles in different projects
  • some roles grant an administration pages access

User Access Log

Working with clients is a very dedicated process where each detail matters. Knowing who accesses your CRM and when can solve many issues and track who uses the CRM actively and who doesn’t.

  • CRM application using statistics
  • collects users logins data and updates login counter

Select Project Form

Based on our permission system the CRM system displays only data connected only with the projects the user is assigned to. This makes our application faster and the work of managers easier.

  • working with data connected only with a selected project
  • if data isn’t used, it isn’t included in queries to speed up the application

Search

The search feature should contain fields that run complex queries and filter information in different layers. The efficient CRM system is also able to execute any query in no time.

Search for company contacts

Saved searches

Frequently used searches can be saved and easily accessed either by a search creator or other team members. Our custom service allows to keep all saved searches even if the app is moved to another domain.

  • saves frequent searches to a special page
  • keeps saved searches despite a site URL change

Quick search

When you start typing a company’s name, all the companies with similar names are displayed. The same is applied to contacts. Moreover, it is possible to run a strict or nonstrict quick search depending on your goals.

  • shows a list of companies with similar names
  • saves time for searching a company or a contact
  • doesn’t require running complex searching queries

Tags

Tags clouds help filter and structure information. We developed a custom tag bundle to avoid extra logic or heavy queries and to bring more flexibility: different permissions for managing the tags, enabling tags vocabularies for projects, etc.

  • have a flexible functionality based on client’s request
  • provide the permission system for tags creation
  • assign a certain vocabulary to certain projects

Workflow features / Easy and comfortable layouts

A user-friendly CRM interface should provide managers with the possibility to access the company, meetings, calls information, etc. by making just one click.

Company Wizard

If a sought-for company isn’t in the CRM system yet, a user can create this company right on the search page that returned no results. Just with one click.

  • the ‘Add Company’ button on a search page’s form
  • creating a company without any details except for a name
  • a modal window for detailed editing the new company
Pop-up for company wizard

Interactive calendar

Sales managers have a lot of meetings and an interactive calendar is proven tool to align all the schedules. Our custom solution includes an intuitive UI and the special fields for adding meeting details.

  • interactive schedule update available for all involved users
  • easy meeting adding in a modal window
  • custom filters display a particular type of meetings
Interactive calendar

Dashboard

The Oxford Business Group’s CRM has a lot of stored information. The special page ‘dashboard’ displays information about companies’ statuses in different projects.

  • visual display of data: graphs, diagrams, filters
  • shows statistics for selected companies
  • allows to apply various filters to present the relevant data
Dashboard for companies by status

4. Conclusion

The web application market is evolving very fast. That’s why we got a splendid experience of creating a commercial application using a modern and powerful tool - Symfony. We were happy to invest our experience and skills into solving complex tasks.

The lightweight user-friendly CRM system we created meets all the Oxford Business Group requirements and is being successfully used in all the offices around the world. We’re always here for you to consult and just chat.

5. What’s next?

This is not the end of the project. There are a lot of features and new functionality that our client wants to add. We will update this case study when other cool features are released. So stay tuned!

Cast

Profile picture for user leonov

Evgeny Leonov

Team Lead
Profile picture for user shulgina

Tatiana Shulgina

UX/UI Designer
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Dmitry Romanovsky

Web Developer

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