Case Study: Sasaki

Marketing Systems


Transitioning Sasaki’s marketing and project data from an obsolete ERP platform to modern CRM tools was a marketing intervention that none of the project’s major stakeholders had the bandwidth to direct. After almost two years of internally-led efforts, Sasaki Associates engaged Design-product Systems to assess data quality, and prepare data for migration. What might have been a short implementation project became an extensive investigation that addressed long-avoided data issues.

Design-Product Systems Migrates 60 Years of Project Information To Cloud-Based CRM

Sasaki was looking to transition its marketing data out of a home-built Lotus Notes database and into a state-of-the-art, contemporary CRM system more friendly to remote and mobile computing. Sasaki’s CIO called DPS in after various internally-led efforts had faltered due to more immediate marketing, IT, and client-driven priorities.

In the course of three months, DPS:

  • identified how the data in three different databases interrelated, and corrected several bad assumptions
  • catalogued every project the firm had done in the fifteen years Lotus Notes was in use,
  • evaluated each data field for data completeness and quality, and identified what Sasaki could discard,
  • strategized how to bring data that was important to marketing the firm into a normalized format,
  • standardized key values that conformed with Deltek Vision and Google’s Zoho CRM tool.

DPS generated a standardized and de-duplicated dataset to hand off to consultants that specialize in both Deltek Vision and Zoho CRM. DPS worked in parallel with several internally-driven projects that would consume this data. These were: the marketing team’s implementation of Zoho CRM, and the Strategies group’s redevelopment of the Sasaki Search Engine and data warehouse.

Our work was developed in an Access database with automated SQL to build the dataset. Deduplication could not be done by commercially-available third-party software. DPS worked with marketing and accounting personnel to properly identify duplicated or unidentified projects using available archival sources. DPS devised a process that could be re-run as new information became available. DPS also interviewed Sasaki senior personnel.

Sasaki’s project information and marketing log archive databases were particularly intricate, and were the last Lotus Notes databases still in active use. DPS devised, and later perfected, a method for gathering data from three Lotus Notes databases into a consolidated form in Microsoft Access. The automated process was repeatable, so that modifications could be easily incorporated when new specifications became known. DPS cleaned and deduplicated records with input from Sasaki’s archivist, marketing team, principals, and project managers.

Following this project, Sasaki’s IS and Marketing team completed the transition to Zoho CRM, and retired Lotus Notes within fifteen months of starting work. DPS provided the abstract understanding, the methodology, and the clarity necessary for success. At a signature moment – the firm’s 60th anniversary year – DPS worked diligently to preserve the company’s legacy, and ensure continuity in its marketing capabilities.


  • Improved access to marketing data
  • Recovered missing or inaccurate project numbers
  • Reconciled project numbers to project numbering scheme
  • Resolved project numbering ambiguities
  • Eliminated variants of client names and regrouped projects accordingly
  • Improved integration with other firmwide project-based accounting and management software

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Systems Specialist


Years of Projects

Years Legacy System was in Daily Use

Contributors from 3 Departments

Months to Retire System