“ZAP’s POC proved straight away that this was an incredibly powerful BI tool.”

Working Links and ZAP Case Study
Industry: Public Sector
Website: www.workinglinks.co.uk
Requirements: Quick, automated reporting, improved BI capability
Data Sources: Mircrosoft Dynamics CRM and AX

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Working Links and ZAP Case Study



Working Links bids for and manages regional contracts from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and other Government agencies to train and help socially excluded people to achieve sustainable employment.

Its business model is based on delivering training and employment services through its network of regional offices. As a contracted service employer it claims its income on the results it achieves and its ability to demonstrate compliance with multiple and complex minimum service level (MSL) agreements.

Fundamental to its operations are two Microsoft Dynamics systems — a sizeable and heavily customised CRM system which is used across the business to manage its contracts and relationships with employers, partners and customers, and Microsoft Dynamic AX to manage its financials.


Working Links prides itself on continually refreshing and innovating the delivery of its services. The ability to interrogate intelligence on customers, employers and partners, as well as the performance of its contracts is therefore an essential business requirement.

However, conducting any form of analysis or reporting on the data within its Dynamics systems involved resource intensive, manual processes, which as Ingrid Brady, Business Information Consultant, Working Links explains, was highly inefficient and insufficient. “Running a single report involved exporting data into Microsoft Excel and could take days, if not weeks. What’s more we didn’t have access to the kind of business intelligence we needed in order to conduct any kind of in-depth analysis.” She adds, “If we improve our performance we increase our cash flow and profitability, so improving our business intelligence capability was high on our agenda.”



Impressed by a demo of ZAP Data Hub for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Working Links invited ZAP to deliver a Proof of Concept (POC). The POC quickly convinced Working Link’s BI Manager and team that the software met all the criteria they were looking for.

“We don’t have lots of IT resource so we were looking for intuitive functionality and a user-friendly front-end tool,” says Brady. ZAP Data Hub for Microsoft Dynamics CRM is part of an award winning suite of software solutions certified for Microsoft Dynamics’ products including CRM, NAV, AX and GP. For mid-market businesses requiring rapid implementation and results without compromising on complexity, ZAP’s is the only product on the market to offer a complete solution.

Implementation of ZAP Data Hub into Working Links’ operations was fast and effective. The project kicked off at the start of 2012 with a requirements workshop to scope the delivery and prioritize the business’ reporting requirements.

BI contractors were trained by ZAP’s consultants to use ZAP Data Hub for building a data warehouse (OLAP cube) and super-users from each region were trained on the frontend system — a drag and drop interface.

Within one month Working Links’ BI contractors were working independently, delivering the priority reports on performance, MSL agreements and claims analysis, and within just four months, 200 users were churning out over 150 different reports at the touch of a button. The organization is now focusing on training members of its finance team to use the software.



At a regional operational level, ZAP Data Hub has already proved a return on investment. Fifty per cent of the organization’s contracts are operated out of Scotland and sixty per cent of those contracts are sub-contracted out to partner organizations. Scott Kennedy, Head of Sub-Contractor Management for Scotland explains how valuable the ZAP Data Hub is to his operations, “I can now walk into a meeting with sub-contractors and at the push of a button have all the information I need regarding their KPIs. It’s pushing performance conversations to a completely new level – and our funding body, the DWP, has been impressed with our increase in performance.”

Improved operational performance: Improving operational performance is high on Working Links’ agenda and its operations teams have been quick to use ZAP Data Hub to do just that. With insight into data and intelligence that has previously been unavailable, Working Link’s teams are now regularly performing sophisticated analysis to identify programs and interventions to help customers get into work faster.

  • Rapid setup: ZAP was able to deliver instant results for Working Links.
  • User friendly: Working Links’ developers weren’t the only users able to embrace ZAP Data Hub; uptake from across the business has exceeded expectation given ZAP’s easy interface.
  • Improved cash flow: Previously, Working Links struggled to assess and rectify claims that were rejected by the DWP. These days they have an instant report on which claims are incomplete and why, so they can be rectified before the claim is sent to the DWP.
  • Reduced cost: The software solution has also enabled the business to reduce its costs by helping the company to streamline its finance operations.

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