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What is a CRM

Customer Relations Management (CRM) tools are used by business entities to track their relation with the customers, share information within the company regarding clients and to create new business opportunities. CRM tools ease the process of identifying, contacting, following-up and evaluating customer needs and satisfaction. Such tools improve communication among the different actors and increase productivity and efficiency.

The CRM processes can be broken down into the following three categories:

  • Operational: Automation of certain business processes. Actions such as periodical contacts, extension of contacts to other countries, notifications, etc. can be automatised increasing efficiency and success ratio.
  • Collaborative: Emphasis on client / institutes interactions.
  • Analytical: Process that may lead to strategies or methods changes. Through the use of the CRM it will be possible to identify bottlenecks and new opportunities.

The EGI CRM is based on the Open-Source tool VTiger . The main concepts around EGI CRM are:

  • Organization: A record for a “client” endpoint. Examples are ESFRI projects, National projects, International Projects, Research Institutes, Universities...
  • Contact: A record for a person associated under an Organization, used to record conversations.
  • Project: Long term work (tasks, milestones) related to a Contact or to an Organization. Project Link Attributes link contacts and Research institutions to Projects. A contact can be linked to several projects.
  • Activity: Short term work (calls, ToDos, events) related to a Contact or to an Organization.
Centred view of entities in the CRM entities model

Why EGI needs a CRM

EGI-InSPIRE needs an optimised management of relationships between, NGIs and their potential user leads because:

  • EGI partners and their “clients” are distributed
  • Conversations with “clients” happen at different places, context and time, and EGI partners should be able to share that information
  • EGI needs to construct a portfolio of prospective clients and explore the opportunities

Ibergrid is setting up a CRM tool based on vTiger technology to support the "Community Outreach" activity of the NGIs and in a number of areas:

  • Recording identified contacts & leads to user communities; associate information with these leads based on interviews, discussions
  • Gathering intelligence about scientific communities, institutes and projects and about topics of collaboration with them
  • Monitoring activities and progress in community outreach topics
  • Helping NILs and staff locate expertise inside NGIs

Therefore, the CRM has been setup to help us coordinate and monitor at the European level the ’outreach to new user communities’ activity. In the CRM system EGI members record key findings about the e infrastructure needs of potential clients of EGI services. These clients are scattered around Europe, but from the information that is recorded in the CRM by the NGIs and we can see the big picture of the needs of our potential clients. The CRM stores ‘e-infrastructure needs’ of the following types of clients:

  • Projects (e.g ESFRI and ESFRI cluster projects) and scientific collaborations who are potential users of EGI services.
  • Research institutes, universities, companies and other types of organisations who potential users of EGI services. These organisations are often members of the above mentioned projects and collaborations.
  • Researchers, principal investigators, project spokespersons, representatives of Research Infrastructures, and other types of personal contacts who are potential clients of EGI services. These persons are often involved in the above mentioned projects and collaborations, and/or work for the above mentioned organisations.

The CRM can generate and provide reports about the stored information, as well as about the intensity with which recordings are made in the system. The primary users of the system are those in EGI who are responsible for the outreach activities: the NGI International Liaisons and the Marketing and User Community Support Teams of The CRM system has been deployed according to the needs identified by the "Intelligence Collection & Analysis Process" and "ESFRI Contact List" Virtual Team projects in the last two months. The features and configuration of the CRM system were presented to the NILs in a webminar celebrated in February the 13th. Based on the feedback collected at this event, and after the NIL testing phase, the CRM was fine tuned and will be opened for the NGIs and This document constitutes a short guide to use the system for different use cases.

Who the CRM is for

The CRM system is for, the NGIs and their collaborators. All research communities should be considered as potencial users of EGI infrastrucuture, but since their activities are normally organized under the umbrella of big projects, both and NGI members should capture and gather information about those initiatives, their associated Research Institutes and contacts. The CRM system allows, NILs and other persons from the NGIs to record and correlate information in an organized and hierarchical form, so that it can be shared by all partners. and NGI staff will be the main users of the system.

How to get an account for the CRM?

The CRM system is for and NGI members. The system works with EGI Single Sign On (SSO) system, but EGI SSO accounts. If you are a NIL then your SSO account is already active in CRM and you can access the system. If you are not a NIL then send your SSO account name in an email to the CRM helpdesk (, CC-ing the email to the NIL of your country. (List of NILs)

What should be recorded in the CRM

Big user communities are organized under the umbrella of high level initiatives (ESFRI projects, National projects, Other international projects) working as frontends for the community. and NGI members should:

  • Capture and record information about which projects are active in the region
  • Capture and record information about which persons should be contacted while approaching those projects
  • Capture and record information about which research institutions that are working in those projects
  • Capture and record information about which persons should be contacted while approaching those research institutes

Those process are exemplified in the following use case examples:

  1. Record Projects Data.
  2. Record Research Institutions Data.
  3. Record Company Data.
  4. Record Non-Profit Organization Data.
  5. Record Contact Data.
  6. Record Discussions in Documents.

How to use the CRM

This section includes links to how to perform different basic actions using the EGI CRM.

More complete information can be found in the CRM How to guide and the FAQ.