jump to navigation

Marketing Automation – and the impact of WannaCry May 23, 2017

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in CRM, Cyber Security, Management, Marketing Automation, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Network Security.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

Simon the Hacker

As both an enabler and recipient of marketing automation activities, I’ve been very aware of the impact of recent cyber security events on email marketing, on both sides of the fence.

Being an avid photographer, angler and technologist, I belong to many groups and am the recipient of many marketing campaigns, many of them generated by marketing automation systems.

In my professional role of implementing Microsoft CRM and marketing systems I also see the world through the eyes of the marketers, help and assist with implementing the platform, and work closely with the related CRM data used in these campaigns.

Then all of a sudden along comes the big bad wolf. “WannaCry” malware has had an impact on the whole spectrum of e-mail based marketing automation activities. And again I find myself looking at this from both sides of the fence. There is a little bit of mistrust, often overdramatized by the press, but there is certainly a risk out there.

I open e-mails on my phone, my tablet, my work PC and my home computer, and probably like most people I skim the marketing material that I receive unless I have a particular interest and want to drill down – there is just too much content to read it all. But we are now cautioned to not open unknown e-mails or click on links we don’t recognize. Very good advice, but one can slip very easily, and the hackers often front the e-mails with names we know and trust.

These hackers make it more difficult for marketers to get information to me, as I might just be over cautious and ignore them, or even worse hit the spam button (when it is not spam) and then I stop receiving these e-mails.

From the other side of the fence, my customers are not happy, as their outbound campaigns can be hamstrung by a large event. I would imagine that any campaign distributed at the same time as this last worldwide malware attack would be severely impacted, which will have a direct impact as the returns of these campaigns may not be as high as expected.

Marketing automation, especially e-mail marketing using a nurture program to send out content or links based on background activities, or relating to data and customer interaction, may need to cater for “pausing” the program or branch activity should there be another world event. Email isn’t the only channel. CRM systems can produce mail merged documents that can be personalised, printed, folded, inserted into envelopes and posted.

Protecting your customer data and lists so that unscrupulous hackers do not gain access and use your lists to spam your customers should be a priority. And yet again as I sit on my personal side of the fence, I don’t want my monthly camera newsletter to stop, I want updates from my fishing club, and am happy to click on the links that they provide.

My original blog was going to be about deep predictive analytics in relation to marketing automation, and then this recent malware story broke. I’ll return to predictive analytics next time, and in the short term I’m expecting that the good guys will start to outsmart the faceless hackers in masks so we can all get back to normal.

 

 

That “Ah-ha”moment April 5, 2017

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in CRM, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Service, Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
add a comment

lampost (002).jpg

That “Ah-ha” moment happened when I saw Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service and Project Service working together harmoniously, It really made it come to life when we added some real data to the system for the first time.

I had seen and configured each of these components separately, but this was the first time we had configured them to work together.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service and Project Service are natural bedfellows. Often a business will create a project and the project itself will spawn multiple work orders. In order to really understand the complexities of anything, you often need to dig in and have a look at the lower level processes and detail, and view the whole process with real data.

Take for example an imaginary project that has been set up to replace all the old street lamps in a city precinct with a new range of eco-friendly lights.

The whole scope of work would be deemed a project. However the implementations through the various streets and shorelines would each be easily considered work orders or specific pieces of work to be undertaken by various teams or be termed a work breakdown structure.

Therefore there is a natural overlap between the field service component – i.e. the staff who will be on the ground physically removing the old lamp posts and replacing them with new ones – and the overall project, the project budget and the project service level agreement and reporting on progress so far.

There are natural dependencies in that the team who remove the existing lamp poles needs to be followed quite closely by the new team who are replacing these lights, and each of these teams may have separate reporting lines.

An electrician probably needs to be first on the scene to switch off the power or to ensure that the power has been isolated safely and the electrician may ultimately be a member of a different project team to the team performing the physical work as they all have different tasks.

However all the personnel will be responsible for capturing their time on a regular basis. The electrician probably of a shorter duration and the removal and excavation team considerably more. This also applies to the new light pole implementation team and then the electrician returning to the new installation to connect up the power and switch it back on.

There will need to be some element of Health and Safety and or traffic management to keep the team safe as well as protecting the members of the public from possible falling lamp posts. This all needs to be planned, then recorded and should there be a mishap, adequate capabilities in place to remediate such eventualities.

lamp post project

This scenario depicted above, although very simple, has a large number of working parts and components that are all tied up with the joint concept of field service and project service, this needs to extend to the mobile application used by the teams.

Obviously this example can be likened to many businesses performing various project tasks. Consider that for each of the items on this simple flowchart, it could be necessary to change a status, update a time spent, make notes about what was right or wrong. Then from a reporting perspective, the completion of this Work Order for the lights in this precinct would show as complete, but would only show as a task completed on the overall project.

The different components activities and collected data all form a malleable information source that can be reported upon and ideally shown in some form of business intelligence dashboard with highlights and indicators to ensure that corrective actions can be undertaken if things are getting off track.

When you see all of this working together harmoniously within the one system, like me you may also get the “Ah ha” moment.

Lead v Opportunity – What’s in a word? March 20, 2017

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in Change Management, CRM, Microsoft CRM, Microsoft CRM 2016, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Sales Management.
1 comment so far

Lead v Opportunity

Recently we have been having some interesting discussions about the difference between a Lead and an Opportunity. We also have customers who use the word Prospect as part of their sales cycle and others use the term Deal. Getting this right is terms of how it is applied in your CRM system is very important, as is ensuring that everyone actually knows exactly what each term actually means and how they are used.

I will be discussing these in terms of their general interpretation as well as how the Microsoft CRM system views these records.

For many companies a Lead constitutes potential business with someone who they have not done any previous business with over the years, so for example a list of auto electricians in the local area could be purchased and this would be a list of Leads if you had not sold to them before.

Therefore in a typical sales cycle, you would market to the business, and eventually qualify or disqualify the lead, and a qualified lead becomes an Opportunity, which in turn can be won or lost.

So when does a Lead actually become an Opportunity?

This is normally based on qualification. So what constitutes qualification? It is generally accepted that at that stage in the process where it becomes evident that there is a chance whatever the % of winning the business, so the Lead is qualified when you believe that you “could” get an order.

A Lead is disqualified when there is no chance of doing business, however if there is a longer term possibility for example 12 months, should the Lead be disqualified? Should a follow up be created or should a long term Opportunity be raised?

There are advantages and disadvantages for both of these scenarios, and primarily this relates to reporting, and the real possibility that long term potential is actually forgotten, with staff moving on, and day to day activities getting in the way.

The one vexing question is what about potential for new products to existing customers, good old Marketing 101, states “That it is easier and less expensive to sell to existing customers than generate new ones” therefore if you sell yellow widgets, and introduce a new range of lime widgets, should you be creating Leads or Opportunities for each of your existing customers?

The moment you split this up you are also more than likely going to be looking at two sets of reporting metrics across your new range.

So the big question, can you have a Lead for an existing customer?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales is set up to accommodate this capability, the question is more, does this actually meet your business requirements?

There is no right or wrong way to do this, however the within the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 365 both options are available. Therefore I believe it is important to get in place a process and then stick to it. If the rule is Leads are only ever companies that you never deal with, then during the configuration the Existing Customer and Existing Contact fields could be removed from the Sales process so that users do not link these to existing customers

However the Lead functionality in CRM is very powerful, and if you elect to use this, when you create a lead for an existing customer, and then qualify this lead, the Opportunity inherits the “originating lead” field and this will allow for deep analysis on campaigns and the leads created.

A newly created Customer in CRM when a Lead is converted to an Opportunity also carries this data of the originating lead and therefore the source campaign. Over time you will be able to view the value of these customers based on the source campaigns. This can be valuable marketing material.

If you don’t set up a Lead and start the sales process at Opportunity, you potentially lose some of the reporting metrics that are related to the lead.

The term Prospect is also used by many organisations, if this is the case, it is possible to modify the naming conventions in your new system to reflect this, just as one could change Customer to Client if this is the terminology that you use.

Using a nurture marketing approach can also be quite helpful, where long term Leads or Opportunities are placed on a back-burner and the system will come up with a number of reminders in 8, 12 or whatever planned months time.

Over the years I have changed the term Opportunity to Deal for a few customers, where they felt they were chasing a deal and not an opportunity.

As mentioned above, there is no right or wrong, but take a minute, pause for a while and consider what is best for your organisation, and whether, if you change, will this change be easily accepted across the business. If you have been calling something “Prospects and Suspects” for many years and this in inculcated into the corporate culture, then it may well be a small price to pay to keep it this way.

 

 

Rating my Bank as a CRM Customer January 16, 2017

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in CRM, Microsoft CRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Tags:
add a comment

bank-call-centre

Over the Christmas holiday I had the requirement to deal with my bank, where I have been a customer for over 15 years. I wanted to add one of my accounts to my Internet banking portfolio as well as conduct some other business relating to the business account run by my wife.

Banks as we well know were all early adopters of CRM systems however many banks still have lots of different systems and full integration is not a reality where silos of data do still exist within different departments.

I made my call, and as usual the bank employee needed to validate who I was, this is fully acceptable and a process I understand. Once they had figured out that I was who I said I was, things should really get easier, one would expect that all my information would be available.

Happily this seemed to be the case initially and they were able to add this existing account to my portfolio, however this is where it got more complicated, I had to be transferred to another department to handle my next query. CRM systems with contextual case data being able to be sent from one agent to another is something that has been around for a number of years, and I think my bank has more or less got this working, as the next agent I spoke to seemed to mostly understand what I was asking about.

They did however ask me some details about the business account just to validate again that I was who I said I was, This was not obtrusive in any way but probably unnecessary.

The outcome however is that they wanted to send us some documents to be completed, scanned and returned to them by e-mail, again a perfectly acceptable process and something that one would easily expect to find within a CRM system.

The documents were e-mailed to my personal e-mail address that I had confirmed on the call, however they were also e-mailed to my work e-mail address that the bank has an alternative. I did not ask for the mail to be sent to both accounts, there is no problem with this as I can access both e-mail accounts remotely. The CRM system should have sent content to only one e-mail address unless I specifically requested otherwise.

The documents had also been prefilled with certain information such as our address and full names etc. however some of the fields that they wanted completed is information that I know they have on hand and included my phone number and e-mail address, which shows that the mail merge was not as effective as it could have been. They also sent me a further document to be completed “If we are not existing customers” this was most bizarre as I am a customer and have been for many years.

So how do I rate them? I would give them 8 out of 10 for use of their CRM and other systems when dealing with me. Why only 8? Well I think the transition from one department to another could have been smoother, they get marked down on asking me to complete some information that they already have, and for supplying the extra form that was not needed.

I have not as yet received any survey or feedback form, but expect that will be the next action in this process if their CRM system is really comprehensive.

Overall however I think they are doing a good job, and hopefully many more companies will follow this example and be able to offer this form of comprehensive capability when dealing with a customer on the phone. Case management is very important, but it is very important to do it right.

 

Are the people working on your system Certified? March 10, 2016

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in CRM, Microsoft CRM 2016, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Training.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Beetle 700 by 438

As a young chap I had a 50cc motorcycle and then upgraded to a VW beetle, both of which I serviced myself, using the manual, plus some hints from my Dad I was able to change the plugs, adjust the timing and replace all the filters etc.

However today if I look under the bonnet of a new car, I can hardly recognise anything, and am sure that if I had a go with some spanners, screwdrivers and other tools I would make a really big mess. I therefore assume that the technicians at the garage actually know how to interact with this new technology.

Software has now reached an interesting juncture, products such as Microsoft CRM are now exceptionally complex with many very deep layers of functionality and when it comes to ERP systems such Microsoft Dynamics NAV again there is a staggering amount of capability inherent in these systems.

The software manufacturers are doing a wonderful job of trying to make complex software easy to use and intuitive. Hiding menus seems to be one of the methods that are used, the experts however do know how to get in behind the scenes.

On a smaller scale, just take for example Microsoft Word, how many of you have actually clicked on every menu at the top and investigated every single functionality? The product is bristling with features that many are just unaware of, unless you have taken an advanced course, or like me curiosity has made you go looking at all of the menus.

This brings me onto the subject of certification, to really get the best out of your CRM or ERP software you really need to be dealing with people who are certified in the product. I also encourage the end users of these systems to undertake advanced user training themselves. It’s not quite the same certification needed by your local doctor and not really a matter of life and death. However as is the case with my high tech motor vehicle, I feel much better when I realise that a certified person is actually doing the work, especially when he is working on the brakes.

 

Cases, Jobs and Work Orders in Microsoft CRM & FieldOne Sky March 8, 2016

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in CRM, FieldOne Sky, Microsoft CRM 2016, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, service management, Uncategorized.
Tags: ,
add a comment

single van on move

This is the second in a series of posts relating to FieldOne Sky, the new Field Service module that is available within Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

The first post can be found here: https://ivorw50.wordpress.com/2016/02/11/field-service-management-in-microsoft-crm-fieldone-sky/

Right from the start, Microsoft Dynamics CRM has had a service module. It had basic case management and a knowledge base, in recent years this has been with the introduction of SLA’s entitlements, routing rules and case creation automation, and an overhaul to the knowledge base.

Case management is the natural pre cursor to service management, for example a customer calls in with a problem, a case is raised and thereafter a technician is despatched to resolve the issue. They are in effect complementary activities when looked at from the overall service perspective.

Case management can stand on its own, and the Unified Service Desk offering within Microsoft CRM may be all that some companies require where the case creates a simple job which may be handled by a service team. A good example of this is where every job is exactly the same and there is no need to specifically schedule the work. This could relate to someone who just has to read a meter at various locations during the day.

FieldOne Sky however is predicated on the notion of a Job or Work Order which is spawned by a case. There are obvious exceptions to this rule, however most of the scenarios outlined in the previous blog all could be linked to a case record. From the local government official sent out to inspect and report on compliance to the delivery person scheduled to deliver a new fridge, all of these work order records could be created from a case or incident record.

There is something that needs to be done, information about the work is recorded and the person undertaking the work will be obliged to update this information and probably indicate a time of arrival and departure in order to facilitate billing. This is what a work order is all about.

Let us look at two of the many fields that are found on a Work Order to explore the scale of the application.

Primary Incident Type

An Incident or Case can have a type for example “broken stove”, this incident type will have a number of characteristics associated with the type. These include the Default Work Order Type, the Duration and whether this incident must inherit data from agreements or contracts.

What this means is that just by creating a case of a particular type, the resultant Work Order is going to be populated with data that has been set up in the background.

The type of work order will be used to determine the specific resources that are required in order to complete the work, and are available to be scheduled based on current availability. The reality for many field service managers is that “everything is urgent” and a lot of flexibility is often required to manipulate the schedules to see that everyone ends up happy. Therefore the scheduling engine needs to be sophisticated enough to deal with this reality.

In order to highlight the deep drill down complexities of the FieldOne Sky application let us look at another field on the work order that drills down to other records which in turn drills down to more records.

Primary Incident Customer Asset

Another capability of the system revolves around the identification and intelligent recording of customer assets. The Asset record in CRM is the repository for data about a specific asset as can be seen below. Therefore a case and the resultant work order can be related to an asset.

Assets can have parent records and even be linked to a “Master Asset” and have “Sub Asset” levels to allow for granular componentry. Leveraging the standard CRM product module an asset can even be known and discovered with a price, unit of measure, and be linked to relevant price lists.

 CRM Asset

 

The preferred resource can be set on an asset. When you drill down to resource you are able to discern that it contains all the information relating to the capabilities, skills, rates, locations etc. of the resource to be used in the algorithm for scheduling. The preferred resource could be a vehicle with an inventory of spares, which could be classified as a warehouse from a system perspective.

Once configured correctly, a work order created as an outcome of a case has all of the metadata required in order to provide the person attending the call with all of the relevant information to perform the work, and report back, effectively closing the case once complete.

Therefore as can be seen, just looking at a small sample of the fields in this module of Microsoft Dynamics CRM there are deep functional capabilities that are available which will be able to address Field Service requirements for most applications.

However as is the case with the introduction of any new system, good analysis up front is never wasted and once the requirements and specific nuances and operational methodologies of the business are understood the configuration of the system can be planned and effectively implemented.

In my next post I will look at the scheduling aspects of this application.

 

Rapid Growth Syndrome February 12, 2016

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in Change Management, Management, Microsoft CRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Training.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Who moved my Cheese

Many of us have experienced this, working for a small innovative business where the sum of all the energy is transformed into great products or exceptional services. This requires the organisation to grow, hiring even more innovative and creative people and the cycle continues.

The business is growing, and then suddenly some of the processes seem to no longer work, and one solution is to throw people and resources at it, employ a HR person to handle all the interviews, Employ project managers to manage all the projects implement a CRM system etc. and before you know it the business is transforming from the small clique of initial staff members into a company structured organisation.

Very often this is happening in an industry where there are a number of other companies in the same market all facing the same issues and all growing simultaneously, (like the dotcom boom) so why do some succeed and other fail to gain the traction needed to progress?

One has to look at how well they managed the “Rapid Growth Syndrome” and there are a number of key aspects to evaluate.

Among other things this syndrome affects People, Process and Technology.

People

Are the management hires suitable, qualified and flexible enough to work within a rapidly changing environment?

One needs to ask the following hard questions if you are promoting one or some of the original staff members into these newly created management positions. Are they capable to hold these positions? Will this stifle their creativity? And more importantly do they have the experience and temperament to manage staff? Sometimes the really creative people just don’t want to do those roles, however as the business is growing they are compelled to take on these responsibilities rather than have an outsider come in and suddenly become their manager.

Process

Suddenly with a large influx of staff, some at a junior level, will come the implementation of rules, where in the early days the core group might go out for long lunches or take some time out to be very creative now this process and activity is frowned upon and sometimes actively discouraged as it is setting an incorrect precedent for new staff.

Business processes need to be put in place and followed, some of the start-up entrepreneurs that I have known over the years are dreadfully poor at paperwork and are happy to admit this openly. They cannot be seen to flaunt the new processes which are being implemented generally to streamline and keep the business efficient, so they leave and create another startup.

Technology

With growth comes the realisation that data needs to be captured, processes need to be in place to use and manage systems. Therefore there is often a requirement for some new systems, be they CRM, ERP, Manufacturing, Time Keeping or whatever. The implementation of any system needs to be well thought out (even if delivered in an agile manner) and if the new system is going to be that important, it is vital that its implementation does not impose constraints on the business.

In my solution consulting role I visit many organisations and therefore have first-hand experience of this syndrome at work. It’s a balancing act and there is no silver bullet. A deep understanding of change management is probably the most important element. Remember this is not new, this has been going on for years and there are plenty of case studies of organisations that experienced this, therefore is still amazes me to see organisations falling into these traps and making the same mistakes all over again.

See this very good article on how slack time can aid innovation https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-slack-time-so-important-innovation-phil-mckinney?trk=hp-feed-article-title-like )

But back to the central point, why do some succeed and others fail? I believe that adaptability is probably the major key along with the propensity to continually innovate, this still needs to be deeply inculcated into the culture of the business even as it grows.

In one organisation where I worked we provided all staff with a copy of the book “Who moved my cheese” by Spencer Johnson which is a really good business parable on change management and adaptability. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_Moved_My_Cheese%3F we were able to see a marked improvement in the acceptance of some of the changes we were implementing as the business grew.

And to quote Haw from the book, “If you do not change, you can become extinct”.

 

Field Service Management in Microsoft CRM (FieldOne Sky) February 11, 2016

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in CRM, FieldOne, FieldOne Sky, Microsoft CRM, Microsoft CRM 2016, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, service management.
Tags: , , ,
2 comments

Lion True blank and white 700 by 438

 

With the release of CRM 2016, Microsoft have included a fantastic field service module with the application. This is an add-on solution therefore is not visible with new installs. As is the case with the lion in the picture above it’s there if you look for it. However once installed as a solution a whole new world of functionality is going to be available for you.

I have recently heard some statistics from Microsoft that there are many more people out there who have jobs where they have to go and install things, fix things, inspect things, deliver things etc. than salespeople who go out and sell things.

I believe that they are correct, and this has been an area where there have always been bespoke and vertical systems developed to cater for such roles, typically in the operational space of a business. However in reality having this type of functionality as part and parcel of your CRM system makes a whole lot of sense to me.

So there you have it, yes Microsoft Dynamics CRM now has fully comprehensive field service capabilities within the application. This augments the case management functionality and updated knowledgebase. This blog is the first in a series that will outline the functionality and put into context how it actually all works and what you can do with the application.

I would like to dig a little deeper into the whole concept of people who do things. For example there are many tradespeople who need to install and maintain equipment, appliances, systems, installations etc. They need to be routed to their jobs, they may need to consume spares and accessories. They will need to record their time and ideally should have as little down time as possible between calls. If they have to replace the product in order to return it to a vendor, they need to record this, if the product or service is under warranty their actions are likely to be different should this not be the case.

There are also people who have a role where they need to inspect things, for example fire extinguishers, or swimming pool fences, building consents, roads, graffiti, street lights, cleanliness in restaurants the list is endless. They also need to be able to record what happened, take photos, plan additional meetings, make notes of non-compliance to name but a few.

Government officials from both local, central and state along with individuals from NGO’s and non-profit organizations are often sent out to interact with other people and groups, sometimes to inspect things, notify and pass on information, hold meetings, collect information and to otherwise engage with stakeholders, and when the resources need to be allocated by skill, location and urgency some form of system and planning is required.

Consider also the need to be able to book, schedule and arrange these visits so that the correct person with the correct skill, equipment, availability and even spare parts is scheduled to undertake this work. This is no simple task it requires some interesting algorithms and geo map coordination with knowledge of expected and actual timeframes to complete specific tasks. You should be able to book an individual to make a call to resolve a problem and have the certainty that you can book the next appointment and be confident that your representative will be on time and generally not be delayed due to poor planning.

Once you have a field force out and about with vehicles and or people all over the place, this needs to be graphically represented on maps, running sheets and calendars which will give the organisation the capability to react to ever changing situations, redeploy assets and reschedule others on the fly.

Where the business model has a sales team who also have interactions with the same customers or stakeholders to whom these service specialists are attending, they also need visibility as to when the install took place, who repaired the item, who raised the case, when a restaurant was inspected and the appropriate findings etc. As FieldOne Sky and CRM are in effect one system, this is visible, this is normal, this is just standard good old fashioned CRM.

And what is more, all of this needs to be possible from a mobile application so that the person undertaking the role is able to undertake their work from anywhere at any time connected or not.

Think for a moment about resourcing, how do we actually determine the rules that need to apply to get the right person allocated to a job? Do rules have dependencies? Can you fix a stove if you don’t have the correct components in your van? What happened to previous cases, are there knowledge results and learnings that can shorten the duration of a call by pre-empting a solution for the person on the ground? These are all elements that need to be configured and set up in the background to enable the system to operate effectively.

What I am describing is a range of functionality that has a fair degree of complexity all of which is catered for within this FieldOne Sky application in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. It is a very large application, it has almost the same number of entities that are found in CRM, a multitude of menu items and a host of configuration settings all of which will be detailed in this series of blogs.

This is a view of some of the items on the FieldOne Sky menu. Most of these items have dependencies on other items and specific functionality to enable the whole system to operate correctly.

Field One Settings

 

Although this is a large application, being part of Microsoft Dynamics CRM means that it can also be used very effectively by small to medium sized businesses without the necessity to have one system for CRM and another for field service management.

Next week I will start on Cases, Jobs and Work Orders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CRM used as a Data Cleaning Tool November 26, 2015

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in CRM, Management, Microsoft CRM 2015, Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Tags:
add a comment

There is often a lot of talk about poor data within CRM systems and sadly this tends to be the case in many instances. However it is possible to make use of the system itself as a mechanism to assist in data cleansing. It might sound anachronistic that bad data sitting in a system, can actually use that system to assist in cleansing the data, I will outline how this can be done. It is not quite a self-cleaning oven, not yet.

By the creation of Views, Special Advanced Find’s, Business Process flows and by adding “Data Cleansed” fields to various forms and by monitoring these elements, Microsoft Dynamics CRM can indeed assist in the cleaning of data.

Views

For example a view can be created that shows all customers with no Business Phone or Address. The criteria being all records where <field> “does not contain data”, and other filtering as necessary.

This view would facilitate a view for management on how many records still meet this negative criteria, and by keeping records one can manage how these numbers decrease on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

The same as is done for performance, you can create a chart from these views in a data cleaning dashboard. And unlike the performance chart, the objective is to see the graph shrink.

Fields

If a field is added to CRM for Account and Contact, which gets updated with a date once the record has been cleansed. It is possible to pull reports from the system showing the number of records updated over a specific period.

What is best in this scenario is for someone to validate that the record has been cleansed and is up to date by selecting a tick box field, this then becomes read only and also populates a date field and also records who performed the action.

A similar process can be undertaken on an annual basis where records are checked for completeness.

Targets can be set and this can be linked to incentives. Again special views get run on all records that have been classified as cleansed to ensure that the standards are being kept.

Once the system is live and all the data is clean, these fields can be removed from the forms if required.

Business Processes

You can create a business process that requires data to be collected, cleansed or otherwise updated. This business process will immediately alert you to the fact that the customer record is incomplete. Again some reporting can be effected on these processes.

 Excel

You can create an advanced find, select every field that is on the form, and export to Excel, have a look at all the white space where there is no data. You can then populate the Worksheet and reimport this back to CRM

The functionality of Excel to copy down data can also be used, especially where you may have multiple contacts at an account record and the addresses are incomplete, export them all, and copy down the addresses and other static data and reimport.

Address Validation Software

Address validation software where postcodes and complete addresses can be sourced from databases can be used to populate the CRM system. Although there is normally a cost involved in implementing one of these tools and they generally require some integration and setup, the results are very powerful and once implemented you can inspect and update existing records, and ensure that new records address details are always accurate and up to date.

More importantly someone needs to be made custodian of the data and be held responsible for its accuracy and completeness. This needs to be at executive or senior management level.

 

 

Change Management for CRM Implementations November 20, 2015

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in Change Management, Management, Microsoft CRM, Microsoft CRM 2016, Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Tags: ,
add a comment

Water14blog

In the last few weeks I have again been reminded that as CRM 2016 nears there is a huge amount of technical and application related tweets, blogs and other postings filling the airwaves, the list of the new features in Microsoft Dynamics 2016 is staggering.

And meanwhile back on the front line some companies may be struggling with the reality that the introduction of any new system, technology or process involves change. It is evident that some of the new functionality if embraced, will require a level of change.

In order to illustrate the impact of change I will just highlight one feature out of the current Microsoft Dynamics CRM offering and outline what change means just for this single context.

Consider for a moments the “Goals” functionality, this is a very powerful and sophisticated toolset that sells easily to higher management, where the reality for the implementers and users is that the introduction of this functionality is likely to involve some considerable change in the day to day operation of the business.

For example once the functionality has been implemented there will be the capability to showcase total visibility as to the Target and Actual, for any number of metrics that can now be measured. And as we all well know from management 101, “If you can’t measure it, it is hard to manage it”.

However to implement this functionality encapsulates a lot more than just this measurement. For example In order to have targets for phone calls and appointments set in goals, it would also mean that the users have to create, complete and then close those appointments and phone calls in the application. This could be another change to the current process, accompanied by a very real possibility that there may be a little resistance from the ranks at this change.

There are therefore many steps and logical machinations that require change management just for this one small single aspect of the system, and if as is the usual case the implementation is using many more of the wonderful elements of functionality within the Microsoft CRM system there is scope for change management for each and every one of these, there is a ripple effect right across the business.

You really can’t address this with a blanket statement “There will be change” and expect that everyone will rally around on day one and gladly embrace all of the changes.

So what can be done? There is no magic wand, however when organisations are undergoing rapid and considerable change either by the introduction of new systems and processes or even as the result of takeovers and acquisitions some form of change management fundamentals need to be implemented, these can range from the appointment of a Change Management Officer, through to some adequate training for the project managers and administrators who will be implementing the new systems or processes. The overarching element is communication, something you need to be really good at, if you are driving any form of change.

This is a training issue, a management issue and ultimately a corporate responsibility issue, as the introduction of a new system may involve some considerable capital outlay the effect of which needs to be maximised and not wasted.

I think another look at the aviation industry is in order, an Airline introducing a new airliner will need to train the pilots to accept the changes in technology, however the cabin staff need to be trained on the emergency procedures for this aircraft, the ground staff, fuelling and loading cargo specialists need to be trained on the changes that are needed, the list just goes on and on. Everyone has to accept the changes, adapt and ensure that the new processes and procedures are in place. This program of change will be thought about, planned and executed, there is no time or place for non-compliance.

Unfortunately far too often I hear of systems being implemented without the requisite change management planning and even more disturbingly a lack of training. Both of these activities take time and have a cost, an investment that just needs to be made. So when I am on your project, expect to hear my change management chant regularly.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Everything CRM and other cool stuff

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Team blog

Everything CRM and other cool stuff

Hosk's Dynamic CRM Blog

All views and opinions are personal opinions of the Hosk