Education provider Matters In Gray uses Riva for compliance

As a government-funded education provider, Matters in Gray (MIG) relies on Riva to capture all communication regarding its hairdressing and retail training programs from Office 365 into Sugar for compliance. With all communication needing to be captured, the real challenge was making it happen automatically. The staff and trainers at MIG are very busy with their programs and lack the time to manually input data into the CRM. When MIG’s partner, Evolution Marketing, recommended Riva to meet those needs, the organization knew it had found its match. Today, Riva captures all interactions, emails, and calendar items between several cloud-based systems for MIG, allowing office staff and trainers to focus on their work.


Matters in Gray are training and education specialists who have delivered flexible hairdressing and retail qualifications since 1991. Pursuing the highest quality standards in training, MIG has made it their mission to be the most highly regarded education provider in the hairdressing and retail communities. MIG services national and international students in this exciting space, and the dynamic team maintains links into the best hairdressing and retail organization to ensure they are current, creative, and cutting edge. Their education program provides pathways into relevant industries through apprenticeship training at college, the workplace, school-based programs as well as flexible full-time and part-time college-based courses.

The Challenge

As an education provider, MIG operates in a government funded space. Hence the company adheres not only to industry standards but also to government regulations. At the same time, MIG communicates with a broad range of business owners, students, prospects, and government education representatives. This put the organization in a position of needing to capture all communication reliably into CRM – not only from an organizational perspective, but also for compliance. Before MIG moved from Act! Contact Manager to Sugar, a local plug-in was in place to capture the information needed for compliance. However, the company soon found that the plug-in wasn’t capturing the information reliably and tended to drop off. In addition, plug-ins come with their own set of challenges, as they need to be locally installed and managed, and they tend to break easily.

Main requirements

  • Able to operate within government funded space
  • Ability to capture all communication necessary for compliance
  • Reliable integration that works consistently and seamlessly
  • Ability to manage multi-level communication – from students to business owners to government

When Sugar was implemented in early 2016, MIG knew that they needed something that would capture all email correspondence reliably. This is when MIG turned to SugarCRM for advice. We asked Anthony Gray, Managing Director at MIG, why he chose Riva. “In a way Riva chose us”, Anthony answered, smiling. He then continued: “SugarCRM recommended Riva. We were told that it works well with the CRM, so we decided to go with that.”

The Solution

Riva has been offering server-side sync since 2008, and is market leader in this space, with a great wealth of functionalities and experience. While the alternatives for server-side sync were slim, Anthony found that he wasn’t let down by Riva, especially compared to the plug-in he was using before. “The long-term goal for us was adaptability”, Anthony explained. The mobility aspect provided by Riva, and the option to connect to other solutions with a cross-platform capability, were clear advantages for MIG.

“We are in the education field, so capturing all communication is the main advantage for us,” said Anthony. Because MIG operates in a government funded space, the company now uses Riva for compliance – namely for tracking and showing all interactions.

At the same time, MIG operates a busy daily schedule and its staff and trainers don’t have time to learn and adapt to a new system. So apart from being reliable, the synchronization solution also needed to be easy to use. “Previously with Act!, we had a connector that wasn’t capturing every communication, or it dropped off. Now we have visibility, the auto-sync happens in the background, it is very easy to use, and we now capture all information automatically,” Anthony explained.

Main Riva advantages

  • Ease of use
  • Reliable communication capture
  • Auto-synchronization leaves staff free to focus on their work
  • Full visibility for compliance
  • Efficiency – little training required

MIG’s CRM advisor, Evolution Marketing, was also very pleased with the outcome of the company’s move to Sugar and Riva.

“MIG is able to operate completely from the cloud for their CRM, document management, accounting, and office productivity suite”, said Darren Flood, Managing Director at Evolution Marketing. “When we first met them they were using a hosted terminal server and traditional windows-based products. Their new cloud-based business operations stack includes Sugar, Xero Accounting, Document Management, and Office 365 which all users can access via a web browser. All these products are integrated with each other.”

As for compliance, “Riva was integral in enabling MIG to automate the capture of email communications between students, trainers, and office staff to ensure a complete history of communications. It also allowed trainers to work from their preferred mobile devices and have their appointments sync into CRM, which completed the 360-degree view of the relationship history with their students.”

The Results

Ever since Riva was implemented by Evolution Marketing, MIG hasn’t looked back. “Riva has simplified the experience for MIG staff by automating email and calendar sync and at the same time enriched the customer view in CRM”, Darren explained. Today, Riva takes care of all sync and integration requirements for MIG, with a focus on email and calendar sync. Anthony is very pleased with having the ability to bring all his systems into alignment.

“Riva provided us with ease of transition when moving to new systems and needing new solutions. The fact that we are now capturing such a large amount of communication between our clients and ourselves has been positive”, he said.

Darren agreed: “Riva is essential for organizations wanting seamless, automated integration between their CRM and their email and calendar productivity suite.” This holds true not only for organizations where compliance is involved, but also for all other organizations looking for the most reliable solution for workflow optimization, system integration, and CRM adoption. Whatever your requirements – Riva just works.

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