CAA Atlantic continues to grow by leaps and bounds with headquarters in Saint John, New Brunswick, and branch offices in Charlottetown, Halifax, Dartmouth, Fredericton, Moncton and St. John’s. They have an extensive fleet of roadside assistance vehicles in every major city center across the region.
Started in 1947, when the Maritime Automobile Association was re-established after World War Two, CAA Atlantic now looks after the four Maritime Canadian provinces. Today, they are known for their road-side assistance, travel agency, insurance benefits, and rewards program.
We sat down with Bret Ross, the Vice President of Information Technology at CAA Atlantic, to discuss how they stay connected to members during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Can you talk a little about your role and key responsibilities at CAA Atlantic?
My team is responsible for delivering infrastructure, applications, and web and digital offerings to CAA staff and members. We work on a broad spectrum of activities, ranging from implementations to maintenance. Ultimately, through technology, we help the CAA team maximize the value that they bring to our members.
What is the toughest part of your job?
Technology trends evolve at an increasing pace, so I need to make sure that we are in lockstep with those changes. Our decisions are made based on CAA Atlantic’s current and future business goals. We balance strong business capabilities with being cost-effective.
Security is also a big concern when it comes to our members’ confidential data. We make sure that our technology and processes minimize privacy risk and are aligned with industry best practices.
Can you talk a little about your history at CAA Atlantic?
I have been with CAA Atlantic since 2013, starting out as the Director of IT. I got promoted to Vice President in 2020. I was also the Council Chair of the Chief Information Officer’s Council at CAA nation-wide.
Can you tell me a little about CAA Atlantic’s history with Campana?
Since I started here, AXIS was already in place as the core backend system for our club’s business, including membership, roadside assistance, travel, finance, and accounting. In the past six years, the AXIS system has continued to evolve to meet our diverse business needs.
There have been quite a few enhancements, including monthly payment plans for members, business intelligence, new automated travel interfaces, enhanced roadside assistance mobile app, and new support for industry-standard platforms like Linux.
Amongst these new capabilities, a significant one for us was the introduction of AXIS Web Direct in early 2019. This module provided CAA Atlantic’s remote users the capability of conducting outbound membership campaigns without using the full Campana AXIS client.
AXIS Web Direct only required our remote users to have a web browser and established security credentials in our core backend AXIS system. This was especially key for us since we utilize a membership recruitment firm, working within their unique corporate infrastructure. Not installing new software with the third party was a key business requirement.
How would you have completed the same goal without AXIS Web Direct?
It replaced a legacy labor-intensive process for outbound membership campaigns. That manual system used a series of spreadsheets, encryption and file transfers between companies daily. The data captured by the membership specialists in these spreadsheets would have to be manually entered into our AXIS system on the next business day by our staff.
Now that we are using AXIS Web Direct, when a member joins through the membership specialists, they are immediately entered into our system in real-time. This has eliminated the lag time between a member joining by phone and actually existing in our live AXIS system.
Can you describe your experience in working with Campana?
Michael Estabrooks worked with us to implement AXIS Web Direct. I have worked closely with him over several projects in the past few years. His knowledge of our club’s business needs and processes, combined with his extensive knowledge of the Campana AXIS system, makes locking into business requirements faster.
That frees me up time to manage the expectations of my user base. Working together has increased predictability. User satisfaction with our IT Project delivery has also gone up.
What is the biggest benefit of AXIS Web Direct?
Overall, the system helps us be more streamlined. As mentioned earlier, new members are added directly to the AXIS system saving us from doing manual updates.
It also helps reduce risk. AXIS Web Direct is limited to what we want our outbound marketers to do, minimizing risk associated with data corruption. And member pay card data is protected by the same security throughout.
With AXIS, we find there is minimal support needed from our IT staff, which allows the team to focus on more proactive project-oriented work rather than being reactive.
How valuable has AXIS Web Direct been during COVID-19?
Having AXIS Web Direct already implemented removed any impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. All work, done by 20 external contractors, was remote before so there was thankfully zero impact.
How was the implementation of AXIS Web Direct?
Implementation and user adoption were strong. The project was delivered on schedule and on budget.
How much has AXIS Web Direct contributed to the overall success of your club?
The benefits of having a remote tool that can be used by a third party that is simple to support, scalable, and secure has added significant value. It has helped with member recruitment and member growth, which is significant to us.
It allows us to scale up resources working on outbound campaigns without any impact to member service or office space since the temporary staff are remote.