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Dynamics CRM Adoption

It lasts about a day for most (when looking at Vanilla Dynamics CRM), but other people get tripped up on it and their impressions linger. This is the first impression of the ease of use of the complexity and depth of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

In watching this (stickiness) I rolled around in my mind this thought.

If it takes 2 minutes and 58 seconds to show a video on a specific feature (advanced find) and this video is fairly comprehensive, is there still a possibility of total rejection by the user community?

The World of Dynamics CRM Help

Microsoft has a world of "XRM" within Dynamics CRM and as more and more of the framework matures we will see growth.

On my latest deep dive I have been looking at modifying Dynamics CRM Help and the general structure around how changes to Dynamics CRM help are supported in a multi-tenant world. In summary they are not (yet). The help files are stored with the application files.

But luckily there is some great reading material to get started with changes you might want to make to help in a single tenant world and customizing help is supported. You can read the complete Microsoft Dynamics CRM Configuration Guide on Technet and when talking HELP you can focus on this section.

XRM makes the big time

Microsoft takes off its xRM platform-as-a-service gloves 

Microsoft has been buzzing about Dynamics CRM as an XRM platform for development and it is a natural fit for the application - Twist on your Dynamics CRM hat and power users can do amazing things including solving complex business needs, add in developer energy and wow! Speedy Ramp Up

The concept is not without risks; (people do have to learn to work differently) however with the right level of training, the right twist to the Dynamics CRM hat and some outside the box thinking and learning by all - many new people can be flying down the relationship management and organizing highway.

It is not always about numbers

Crazy times often increase anxiety and anxiety in the sales management world has often been reduced by more numbers (more leads in the pipeline for instance) and yet this article makes some great points on taking the numeric approach to reducing sales anxiety.

Why Generating More Leads Isn’t the Answer to Greater Sales Revenue 

I particularly like these statement from the article:

"Initial segmentation requires basic research to weed out the prospects that really aren’t a match for your offering, and to group others into related categories you’ll want to target in similar ways."

"By nurturing quality leads over time, companies can forge deeper relationships that ultimately translate to business."


Part of me thinks it is wonderful that I am being alerted that my CRM Online database is going to have maintenance, but after seeing the below message every time I logged in for the last few weeks and then once the maintenance was completed seeing a new message with a date two weeks later I started to get a bit annoyed.

CRM Online Screen Shot

First the Dynamics CRM database does not need maintenance every two weeks even if it is hosted (onPremise database might get touched once every six months) and second this is just one click through that is a bit much if displayed every time someone logs in!

Adding insult to injury you get another message if you default to the administration tab on entry.

- Sigh -

Accounts in the Top 10, 100, 500, 1000 lists

There are some key things in the world that are occassionally interesting to users of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. One of those things is which of the current accounts within a CRM database are in the US Fortune 1000 list and another twist on the same might be which current Fortune 1000 accounts are missing from a CRM database.

Given that the Fortune 1000 list changes every year this would need to be updated regularly.

Another area within the world of vendors playing in the AICPA space might be which accounts are in the SourceMedia Top 100 List,

In other worlds and industries there are other Top 10, 100, 500, 1000 lists.

Is anyone doing anything creative with the above? 

Free Training

Just ran across a great post about some excellent available online training and best of all it is free! This made me realize that I needed to blog not only about this, but also about all the incredible resources from Microsoft Dynamics CRM with regards to training material. 

If you are a Dynamics CRM customer make sure you have total access to Microsoft Dynamics CustomerSource! CustomerSource is a great place to find white papers, videos, forums and links to all things Dynamics CRM.  

Additionally the Dynamics CRM Resource center is now packed with great little videos, one page quick help sheets and more. The Dynamics CRM Resource center is directly available from Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

In terms of other free classes and training from great colleges like MIT or via Microsoft and their extensive application stack check out this blog post from John F. Moore.

Give yourself the Advantage

It is hard enough to have success with any CRM application (tons of interesting case studies and white papers on this one), BUT without training and input from experience you are pushing the envelope hard.

Make time to attend a deep dive bootcamp, ask your questions, double check any and all assumptions.

The Future of LOB

Does the future of line of business applications require that you have or have access to developer skills? I would lean towards hoping that this is a temporary phase when it comes to LOB. 

As developer languages have matured they were moving to a level of user friendliness. Moving away from being masters of the language of 0s and 1s to a place where common english such as if-then-else statements allowed you to do some powerful things. As the programming languages mature will there be or has there been a roll back to a time where more specialists are required? Where the sophistication of options is so detailed that you need a masters or doctorate just to get a piece of the pie completed? 

And if you have a masters or doctorate in a specific language is there time to also be a generalist when it comes to various industry mastery? From the mastery of a specific industry vocabularly to the mastery of how the "tool" and the skills around a tool would be utilized to meet some other goal.

It bends the mind a bit.

Time for a Shift in Team Structure

The combination of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft SharePoint is powerful - Mix in Silverlight, scriptlets, good CRM, web and workflow design techniques and a dash of JAVA and pow and yet I have yet to totally see adoption and the right buzz around it. For instance I have seen Microsoft regional offices doing SharePoint and Office Demonstrations without CRM (confusing for this CRM Lady)  


Is some of this because the bundle's icing often takes a developer in addition to other very different team members? 


Is it because the vendor culture leans towards Microsoft Partners  "getting it" and "doing it" and bring it together? Yet the requirements push the envelope when it comes to traditional Microsoft partner structure on either the Dynamics or the Information Technology consulting firm (ITC) model. 


This new team culture could easily consist of a melding of: 

1) Developer (.Net, JAVA, able to see outside their former development focus to adopt a mixed development platform.  They need to work with built applications (XRM) and they should think like an ISV building libraries of scriptlets, living code that will take care and feeding and source potentially impacted by releases to the XRM platform)


2) CRM Industry expert (knowledge and understanding of the CRM industry and what a highly adopted CRM application can do for a business, as well as insight into failures and experience helping to move a company in high technology adoption) Sales process and Sales "think" and/or Service process and Service "Think" understanding is a very valuable addition.


3) Web Page Focus (background in the web page industry  - knowledge management, search content key word placement, search engine optimization, usability, serving up )


4) Marketing (new edge graphics understanding, Depth of around what Silverlight can do, understanding of what publishing tools are available, Creates graphics and color mastery, creative)


5) Project manager to set expectations and who understands the first four backgrounds, skills, habits and how much time it takes for each to do what is requested. Sets budgets and time....


6) Business Process Engineering, Usability, Workflow development around how data flows from point A to point B and the corporate asset potential around the time management and data management of this data. Similar to the Manufacuturing process engineers of earlier days.

The new team is different than anything Microsoft has done before and very different from many of the partner cultures.

The To-Do

Jim Glass posted his to-do list today with a question regarding what some of his friends were focusing on. I managed to get so much insight into his world that I thought it was only fair to return the favor. So here are things on my radar and on my to-do.

..... 1 month later .... ok all with the best intentions, but this landed in draft and managed to get stuck. So I am finishing it up with today's to-do flowing into this evenings tasks

1) Update the Business Requirements/Functional Specifications document with input from the technical team meetings completed yesterday

2) Add mocked customizations to vanilla environment for a more bundled reusable package

3)  Finish this mornings draft blog writing and post

4) Review/Confirm join requests for Linkedin Groups

5) Work on chapters

6) Gather more information on CRM Help File structure for extending (anyone want to pipe in on this one?)

7) Tweet