The “Process Whisperer”…you should buy his book.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 has a very robust workflow capability, known as Processes within the system. There is a wealth of capability waiting to be harnessed, like that of an unbroken Thoroughbred. Horses and their owners have Monty Roberts, known as the “Horse Whisperer”. Well, believe it or not, Dynamics CRM has had our own “Process Whisperer” this whole time within the CRM MVP ranks…Richard Knudson.  Now you can get his vast knowledge of processes in a great reference title. I have mentioned Richard Knudson in past blog posts, namely “Using Dialogs to Create an Application for Services“, his knowledge on Processes and Dialogs within CRM 2011 is second to none. His multi-part series on Dialogs on the Dynamics CRM Trick Bag is fantastic. However, “Building Business with CRM” is one of those books that every CRM consultant or business user should not be without.

Buy Richard’s book at http://www.crmbizbook.com for your own reference, to help your practice or for your customer who is about to take over the day-to-day ownership and maintenance of their internal business processes enabled through Dynamics CRM.

Visit Richard’s blog at http://www.dynamicscrmtrickbag.com for a ton of great Dynamics CRM information, including this blog post on his “Top X Fave Business Process Tips & Tricks”. Included on this post are the following video recordings:

Part 1: Introduction; Bulk Edits v. Update Workflows; Limitations of BPs; working with closed records and read-only fields; different versions of long-running processes

Part 2: Advanced Find, dashboards, Sales Pipeline report and the Sales Pipeline funnel chart

Part 3: Working with Hyperlinks and Record URLs

Part 4: Business Process Security: who can run on-demand processes, who can create them, who triggers automatic workflows

Part 5: Dialog Process Tips

Special Thanks to Richard for helping me out personally in expanding my knowledge on Dialogs and Processes within CRM 2011!

Advertisements

Achievement Unlocked – CRM User Value

Achivement Unlocked - CRM User Value
Understanding what your provides your clients the same feeling as when an XBOX achievement pops on-screen goes a long way to achieving user value and adoption.

I celebrated the 10th anniversary of the XBOX this week by playing and completing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (on Veteran difficulty…just sayin’). As I repelled the seemingly endless waves of the fictitious rogue Russian Army throughout Europe, a couple of achievements popped-up  on screen after completing a level. That made me think…while the achievement does slightly inflate my ego and provide a brief, albeit unwarranted, sense of accomplishment, it also tells me that I am playing the game correctly.

So, I thought, it stands to reason that a similar tactic could be taken when it comes to CRM implementations. No, I am not saying that users get “achievements” when they successfully track an e-mail or complete a task…(although that would be kind of cool) but there are ways within CRM to provide users with cues, both visual and process based to inform them of successful use of the system. This can provide an easier path to higher user adoption for the new or hesitant CRM user. Some examples include Dashboards, Dialogs, Notifications and Color coding indicators.

Dashboards
Dashboards provide insight to management on business KPIs such as an Opportunity

Dashboards can present user relevant information to drive adoption

pipeline reporting, which clients have received touch points, or case distribution by subject  area. When combined with Goals, they open a window into a users success working in CRM. User based metrics can motivate a new CRM user to higher adoption levels based on a feeling of accomplishment and overall user value. These metrics can also provide training and support areas the ability to analyze negative usage trends that could lead to training opportunities to improve user adoption.

Dialogs
Dialogs provide the ability for users to update CRM records through an on-screen prompt and response mechanism. This improves the chances for more accurate data collection as users are directed to what information is required and how to enter it correctly. Tips on best practices or corporate procedures can also be included within the pages of the prompt and response. For new CRM users who may feel intimidated by the sheer number of fields available within a contact record, for example, dialogs cut right to the specific needs of the business process. This reduces the feeling that CRM “wastes time” or working in it can be a hassle. Also, dialogs can launch processes to automate follow up actions or workflow based on the prompt and response page input.

Notifications

Notifications are available natively through the CRM Outlook client for appointments, tasks and phone calls that a user is assigned within CRM. However, these notifications are simply reminders to take the action. CRM also allows for custom notifications such as e-mails sent to the user to inform them that an activity has been assigned, approval is required, or a phase of a sales process within an opportunity has been completed. These notifications can contain links to underlying activities or detailed process information. How you choose to notify your users about actions is limited only to your imagination.

Color coded indicators
Adding color indicators to CRM provide users immediate feedback on the status of a record or the result of actions taken on the record. Gonzalo Ruiz has written a great article on his blog on a few methods for adding color to the CRM experience.

In summary, Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides a rich platform to not only support your relationship management initiatives, but do so in a manner that enables your sales force and support staff to achieve more.