Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2017 — What Matters Most in the New Release
Microsoft released its Dynamics CRM 2017 today — now with a new name of Dynamics 365 Enterprise customer engagment apps. From my review and perspective, the most significant new features include customer Insights generated from Azure machine learning, a new visual workflow design tool, improved enterprise business intelligence capabilities, more telemetry for health and performance monitoring, and inline editable grids.
Dynamics 365 for Customer and Relationship Insights are services which aggregate customer data from the CRM software and external sources such as social media in order to draw inferences which influence relationship health scores. More Dynamics 365 CRM ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 12/01/2016 Permalink Comments Posted in CRM Software
Dynamics 365 — The Future of Microsoft Dynamics
Dynamics 365 was announced today as the next generation of Microsoft's Azure-hosted business services. From an ERP and CRM software perspective, Dynamics 365 is mostly a change to branding and bundling. While the ERP and CRM software hasn't changed, the messaging is clear that what were separate applications are morphing and being offered in a more flexible consumption model.
This new Microsoft business application bundling includes some new product names of what were previously called Dynamics AX, Dynamics CRM and Project Madeira arranged into two editions. More Dynamics 365 ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 10/10/2016 Permalink Comments Posted in CRM Software
CRM Software Market Share Report 2016
CRM software buyers often consider CRM market leaders to have staying power and be relatively safer bets. CRM software publishers use market share figures to jockey for competitive position, convey strength and infer buyer confidence. However, most CRM software leadership claims are based on unsubstantiated disclosures and a variety of different measures such as install base, growth or other ways to slice the market.
This CRM software market share analysis looks at three sources in order to compare data points, remove bias and rank the top CRM software solutions. More CRM market share report ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 9/11/2016 Permalink Comments Posted in CRM Software
Agile Best Practices for CRM Software Deployments
Agile is a group of principals which promote collaboration among self-organized teams, close customer involvement, iterative and adaptive implementation methods, and the frequent delivery of incremental software releases.
Agile methods are built on the empirical process which embraces the three pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation. This foundation gives agile the unique ability to manage unclear or fluid requirements, and quickly respond to changing requirements. Agile is a powerful tool for organizations seeking methods to respond to the increasing pace of market and industry change.
Scrum is the most popular agile framework. This framework is intended for developing and sustaining complex products and consists of Scrum teams along with their roles, events, artifacts and rules.
When CRM software deployments follow these rules, the agile process shifts project planning from software requirements to well-defined business outcomes, and brings more visibility and predictability to the project.
Agile CRM software implementations also offer several advantages over waterfall deployments, including increased user engagement, increased application ownership by the business and outcomes that align with business objectives.
But as recognized by agile adopters and cited in the Definitive Guide to Scrum, Scrum is simple to understand but difficult to master. As a certified Scrum Master I can attest this statement and as somebody who has leveraged agile methods for many large CRM software deployments I'm going to share some experiences and several learned agile best practices. More Agile CRM best practices ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 8/28/2016 Permalink Comments Posted in CRM Implementations
Salesforce versus Microsoft Dynamics CRM
I’ve been an active participant in the CRM software industry for 27 years, and had the good fortune to work with the top four CRM systems. However, while Oracle and SAP have viable CRM products for their ERP install bases, their CRM market share is in decline. It's clear the chase for the top CRM software position has reached a two horse race. Salesforce is the market leader and Microsoft Dynamics CRM is the challenger.
I've also been writing Microsoft Dynamics CRM reviews and Salesforce reviews for clients, analysts, CRM publishers and the public at large for many years. However, prior to this post I've never put these two market leaders into a direct comparison.
Determining the best fit CRM software solution is of course subject to your specific business objectives. But with said, there are 10 objectives commonly shared in CRM software selections that I’ve used to illustrate the similarities and differences between Dynamics CRM and Salesforce. More Salesforce versus Microsoft CRM ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 7/31/2016 Permalink Comments Posted in CRM Software
Agile versus Waterfall for CRM Implementation Success
Waterfall implementation methodologies have been the norm for over two decades of CRM deployments. These approaches are often visually depicted in cascading or linear diagrams and follow a progressive sequence of phases (for example, Requirements to Design to Development to Testing to Deployment). A significant risk with this implementation approach is that it can be unforgiving as success or failure is realized in largest part at the end of the project, thereby severely limiting remediation measures if outcomes don’t match objectives.
Agile methods such as Scrum are an alternative to predictive methods such as waterfall. An agile approach defines the business goals and success criteria in smaller increments, delivers continuous subsets of high-value features and puts them in the hands of users as fast as possible. This provides the development team with faster product verification so they may continue to deliver iterations which align with user expectations or adapt their output to counter for missed or changing expectations. More agile CRM ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 7/10/2016 Permalink Comments Posted in CRM Implementations
How Agile and Scrum Improve CRM Software Success
CRM failures are legendary. According to the analyst firms 30-50% or more of CRM implementations fail to meet their objectives or fail outright. I've been in the CRM industry for 27 years and my observation supports the analysts' gloomy reporting.
Fortunately, agile deployment methods are showing significant promise in improving CRM success. However, like most innovative frameworks there is more talk than action, and the actions tend to lack consistency. I'm going to use this blog post to share how agile methods can be used to reduce risk and dramatically improve the quality of your CRM software implementation.
Agile is a set of governing principals and Scrum is the most popular Agile framework. As the name would suggest, agile is about agility. Most know agile as a sprint-based method which applies an adaptive and iterative development or deployment process in order to give users greater control over the final solution as they can vision short term goals, quickly iterate and affect the solution's progress and direction from one sprint cycle to the next. More agile CRM ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 6/19/2016 Permalink Comments Posted in CRM Implementations
Change Management and CRM Success – The Inseparable Link
Change is a process not an event. That's why change management plans must adapt to each stage in the project life cycle. Enterprise software deployment phases vary by implementation methodology, but for purposes of illustrating change impact during a CRM software implementation I've taken a lowest common denominator approach of using the most typical deployment phases of Design, Development, Deployment and Operate. The below change evolution diagram is simple and immensely powerful in forecasting resistance to change and planning your change program.
More CRM change management ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 5/30/2016 Permalink Comments Posted in CRM Implementations
Why Change Management For CRM is in Need of Change
Change is the impetus behind improvement, innovation, evolution and viability. Customers and markets are rapidly evolving. If businesses are not following suit, they are falling behind and deteriorating. However, even with this reality, change is often endorsed by the few imposing the change and contested by the majority receiving the change. For the recipients, change brings uncertainty, skepticism and anxiety.
That's why Organizational Change Management (OCM) strategies are needed to offset the natural resistance to change and sustain the benefits of new business strategies, enabling technologies and business transformation initiatives. More CRM change management ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 4/30/2016 Permalink Comments Posted in CRM Implementations
CRM Consolidation — Getting From CRM Siloes to Enterprise Wide CRM
A common challenge of large companies is the consolidation of many separate and siloed CRM systems into a single, enterprise-wide CRM application. Many times large or decentralized businesses accumulate separate CRM systems via acquisitions or departmental initiatives. Here are some recommendations and program governance measures to help get everybody on the same application. More CRM consolidation ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 2/13/2016 Permalink Comments Posted in CRM Improvements
Microsoft Power BI Review
Microsoft has long been providing Business Intelligence (BI) platform technologies such as SQL Server Analysis Service (SSAS), but has long been absent from delivering client or presentation layer technologies such as Online Analytical Processing (OLAP). Excel Pivot tables have been around for a while and can facilitate simple multi-dimensional analysis, but Excel’s flexibility threatens data integrity, Excel’s memory limitations limit data set volumes, and this type of solution falls far short of enterprise data warehouse capabilities.
Power BI is Microsoft’s answer to completing the BI continuum. More Power BI review ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 2/13/2016 Permalink Comments Posted in Microsoft CRM
The Future of CRM Software
CRM is a business strategy aimed at growing mutually rewarding and profitable customer relationships. CRM software is the enabling technology for CRM strategy. However, there is a disconnect as most CRM systems are internally focused on what's good for the company but lack both purpose and capabilities which inspire customers to grow their relationships with suppliers.
The next generation of CRM technology is needed for two reasons. First, businesses need new strategies and supporting technologies to proactively respond to more empowered customers. Second, CRM software is a 23 year old customer data management technology that lies somewhere between mature and commoditized. It's time for a technology refresh. Here's what's needed for the future of CRM software.
A New Purpose
CRM software must transition from an internally focused, sales driven, customer data management application designed for monologue communication, process efficiency and cost reductions, to an externally focused, conversation driven, customer engagement application designed to engage customers in dialogues across channels, deliver consistent and rewarding customer experiences, and build customer relationships based in part on goals important to customers. More CRM future ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 1/9/2016 Permalink Comments Posted in CRM Software
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 — What Matters Most in the New Release
Microsoft released Dynamics CRM 2016 today. The goals for this release include improved integration with Office 365 and Azure machine learning; new customer service capabilities; continuation of mobile; inclusions of the recently acquired FieldOne and FantasySalesTeam applications; and a list of new CRM enhancements that includes tighter integration with Excel/Word and some improvements to the Outlook client.
From what I’ve seen so far, the new features likely to get the most utilization include offline mobile and tighter integration to Excel and Word templates. This later feature continues Microsoft's 'productivity' theme and will facilitate common use cases such as the creation of proposals or the export of pipelines to Excel, Pivot tables or Power BI. I also think the improved integration with Cortana and Azure Machine Learning looks promising, but is still in early days.
Microsoft's prior release of the Unified Service Desk (USD) – a configurable framework for integrating what is often a plethora of contact center applications so that agents can get a unified view of the customer – signaled its intention to put much more emphasis in its customer service application. The Dynamics CRM 2016 release continues the customer service evolution with updated forms and a dashboard it calls the Interactive Services Hub. More Microsoft CRM release ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 12/13/2015 Permalink Comments Posted in Microsoft CRM