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Integrating CRM Software and TreePlotter™




Resolve tree service requests faster by letting TreePlotter and CRM software collaborate

July 12, 2023 | Alec Sabatini, Michael Tregonning

Integrating CRM Software and TreePlotter from PlanIT Geo

Some of our municipal TreePlotter clients face a common obstacle.

They have a system for logging resident requests, generally called a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, that is distinct from TreePlotter. Getting tree-related requests into TreePlotter INVENTORY, where they can be resolved by forestry or parks staff, requires manually duplicating the request. It’s not ideal from an efficiency standpoint.

We’ve also heard from clients who love using TreePlotter, but are facing a push from government higher-ups to unify all departments under the same CRM software. Fear not! There is a solution for both of these obstacles: an API integration between the CRM system and TreePlotter.

With an integration in place, when a citizen submits a request about a downed tree on their street through a city’s online portal that information automatically populates within TreePlotter. This solution does require some coding muscle, but it is entirely doable with the right resources and support.

First, let’s define what “API integration” means and then take a look at a recent CRM integration example from the Manningham Council, Australia.

What Is An API Integration?

Think of an Application Programming Interface (API) as a sort of digital translator.

Through a collection of protocols and tools APIs facilitate communication between software. An API integration refers to two applications that connect through an API to perform some joint function. API integrations facilitate helpful software collaborations all over the internet, such as Google Maps calling up business hours and reviews when you click on a restaurant location.

We created the TreePlotter INVENTORY API to give our clients the flexibility to create similar time-saving partnerships. Through our API, developers can link map features and other data in INVENTORY to other applications. Creating these integrations ranges from simple copy and pasting to complex coding projects. Integrating a CRM with TreePlotter is on the more complex side, and interested cities need to have a developer on hand to build the integration.

Manningham Council CRM Integration Project

The City of Manningham, in Victoria, Australia, has significant tree cover thanks to low-density suburbs and patches of remnant bushland. Along with tremendous environmental benefits, their robust urban forest also creates 5,000 to 7,000 tree service requests a year.

Starting in early 2022, PlanIT Geo’s Professional Services Team met with members of the Manningham Arboriculture team to work through goals for the integration. From there, Manningham Council’s development partner, CRM Online, took the lead coding the integration, while PlanIT Geo staff provided troubleshooting support. The City launched their two-way API integration in December 2022.

Now, when residents report a tree issue through the city’s online portal it automatically generates a service request within TreePlotter. From there, Council Arborists inspect the tree and allocate work to internal staff or contractors. When that service request is marked complete within TreePlotter, the city’s CRM updates the issue as resolved. I reached out to Michael Tregonning, Coordinator of Parks and Natural Environment with Manningham Council to get the inside scoop on the project.


TreePlotter Manningham API Integration

What was the origin of this integration project?
This was instigated over 3 years ago in an effort to improve efficiencies from a customer service perspective. Historically, we managed requests through a paper-based system. Manningham needed an organised approach to addressing public requests, but also needed the ability to build a history of inspections and works.

How has the integration improved operations?
Service Requests now get instantly uploaded to TreePlotter and are prioritised in accordance with our service level agreement, which has reduced admin time. Council Arborists get instant vision over new inspection requests.

What resources and people most impacted the project’s success?
I needed an open-minded and supportive manager and IT department. It was also helpful that both the Team Leader Arboriculture, and Business Support Officer Arboriculture are tech savvy, very proactive, and passionate about improvements to their department and customer satisfaction.

How is it working so far?
We are seeing some general improvements in workflow, including reduced administration in the office and more effective response capabilities in the field. There are additional changes planned for the integration to create even greater efficiency. Requests are currently all categorised as inspections and require staff to complete inspections on-site to be prioritised. In the second phase, we hope to have requests instantly prioritised when the call is received by customer service, so some requests will go directly to contractors or internal ground crews.

Would you like to learn more about what’s possible and what’s required to launch an API integration? We’d be happy to talk it through. Reach out to your account representative or send a message to our team to start the conversation.




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