I have been very impressed with Microsoft’s latest incarnation of CRM. Dynamics CRM 2011 is a real leap forward in functionality terms from Version 4, and it now gives an air of established maturity and a product that will hold up very well against any of its competitors.
We’ve installed a few now at dhc – both on-premise and online. There’s one thing that has struck me over the Version 4 installations; that, because of the increased functionality, we need to pay even closer attention to the way in which the software is delivered to our customers. The possibility for users to get bogged down in the additional features is greater and therefore extra thought must be given to how the systems are deployed.
When you are considering deploying Dynamics, the following items are key points to consider:
Functionality. Only go for the functionality that you really need. Don’t insist that you must have the pretty front-screen graph just because it is pretty. Does it deliver valuable information without detraction from the software’s main use?
Working with Users. Ensure that you bring the users along with you as you plan the database. In most cases, this just means keeping up a regular communication with them throughout the planning stages. This way, the users will feel involved and hopefully be keen and excited to get started when the CRM D-day arrives
Simplify the screens. We help clients to turn off the screen menus if they don’t need to use them. CRM 2011 also gives you the ability to have different screens per user group allowing the removal and re-arranging of fields if they’re not needed. As an example marketing could see all the contact’s marketing opt-out information on the main contact screen but sales would have this tucked away at the bottom of the screen. This makes the user’s experience as compact and focussed as possible
Training. With increased functionality, focussed training becomes even more important. Ensuring that the user can hit the ground running with CRM increases the likelihood of confident adoption.
It may seem like simple advice but it’s easy for people to lose sight of this in preference to the more exciting goal of fantastic functionality. Don’t make the mistake of cutting corners only to be left with a software solution that no one uses!