Category Archives: CRM

Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update: Application Platform Separation

d365 update 4 1 300x225 Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update: Application Platform Separation

Historically, the CRM workloads for Dynamics 365 contained Sales, Service and Marketing functionality as core or base system functionality. Recent functionality such as Field Service or Project Service were offered as apps or solutions that can be installed as required. There was not an option to exclude Sales, Service, or Marketing. For example, if an organization’s only function was to manage incidents or tickets, and therefore had no use for Sales and Marketing, there was no way to only install the service module and turn off the sales or marketing functionality. Well, hold onto your hats folks because, with the July 2017 Dynamics 365 Update, all that’s about to change.

072417 1957 Application1 Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update: Application Platform Separation

Figure 1: Application Platform Separation – July 2017 Release

Application Platform Separation looks at extracting the Sales, Service and Marketing functionality from the core application into distinct app modules that can be installed independently of each other. This will be seamless to the end user and will not affect any functionality as available today for the Web, Mobile or Integrated Service Hub. The diagram below shows the changes for separating the Sales, Service and Marketing functionality form the Core CRM (or xRM Server).

072417 1957 Application2 Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update: Application Platform Separation

Figure 2: The Sales, Service and Marketing functionality which were part of the core “CRM Solution” is not extracted as separate solutions, independent and outside of the xRM Server.

Why the Separation?

Separating out the application functionality from the platform provides several benefits:

  • Clear separation between the code base for the platform features vs the application functionality
  • Updates and enhancements to Sales, Service and Marketing can now be done independently of platform or each other leading to faster releases and feature enhancements
  • Specific solution can be imported and developed on as required leading to developer productivity
  • Invest in and improve the solution infrastructure and follow app module / solution structure for sales, service and marketing

Inside the Separation

So, how exactly is the separation done for extracting the application functionality from the platform? Here are a few highlights:

  • On the Server Side, Application code is moved to plugins using Custom Control Framework (CCF)
  • All entity metadata has been extracted into solutions
  • On the Client Side, ASPX controls have been moved to Custom Controls
  • ASPX dialogs have been moved to meta-data driven dialogs
  • JavaScript have been moved to Typescript with the latest client APIs

072417 1957 Application3 Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update: Application Platform Separation

Figure 3: The Platform Stack without the Sales, Service or Marketing functionality

To learn more about the Application Platform Separation and many other new features of D365 July update, be sure to tune in to our nine-part webinar series – starting Tuesday, July 25! Register now.

Happy Dynamics 365’ing!

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PowerObjects- Bringing Focus to Dynamics CRM

Calculate the Cost of Microsoft Dynamics 365

CRM Blog Calculate the Cost of Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Microsoft Dynamics CRM) is a cloud ERP/CRM system run on Microsoft Azure that includes Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Marketing, Project Service Automation, Operations and Financials.

So, how much will all this cost to own and operate?

The CRM Software Blog has put together a Quick Quote Wizard to calculate an estimate, based on basic information that you provide about your business needs, that will help you determine if Dynamics 365 will be a financial fit for your company.

On the right-hand side of each page of the CRM Software Blog, you’ll see the bar: Request Instant Quote Dynamics 365/CRM. That will lead you to the brief questionnaire asking about your CRM needs – size of company, number of users, level of support required, etc.

With that information, the Quick Quote Wizard will crunch the numbers and automatically give you an estimate of software, installation and ongoing costs associated with a Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation. While the quote is not binding, it is a good place to start when you are presenting a budget for your CRM solution.

Your Quick Quote includes the cost of Microsoft Dynamics 365 (Dynamics CRM) license subscription, annual software assurance maintenance plan and estimated implementation and training services provided by a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Partner.

This Quick Quote is intended as an estimate for budgeting purposes only. To find a Microsoft Partner in your area that specializes in implementation, integration, customization, training and support of Microsoft Dynamics 365 visit our directory of Dynamics 365/CRM partners. Based on an in-depth discovery of your needs, the partner you choose can provide you with an accurate final proposal.

Try the Quick Quote Wizard today. It’s free, it’s easy and it’s instant.

By CRM Software Blog Writer,

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Lead, Transform, Operate: A Three-Step Imperative for the Modern CFO

websitelogo Lead, Transform, Operate: A Three Step Imperative for the Modern CFO

Posted by Tom Kelly, Senior Director of Product Marketing

CFOs today face several ever-evolving challenges. Digital disruption continues to change the way business gets done everywhere from self-driving cars to closing the books. Additionally, businesses embracing hybrid business models that are bridging the internet-brick and mortar gap need to experiment and innovate without spending significant amounts of capital and resources. Meanwhile, globalization demands that companies comply with local laws and accounting requirements while simultaneously managing operations in each country. And, as if all of this is not enough, regulatory burdens continue to grow and the CFO still needs to hit the quarterly numbers.

In order to be successful in this ever changing, chaotic business environment it is essential that a CFO:

  • Lead by Focusing Resources on What Matters Most
  • Transform Proactively and Reactively
  • Operate the Finance Function Effectively and Efficiently

Lead by Focusing Resources on What Matters Most

No one is better positioned to help the organization concentrate on priorities. It is the CFO that leads the planning process, establishing the goals and how funds will be invested each year. Business acumen and expertise are important skills for a CFO to be able to focus the organization on key deliverables, but just as importantly the CFO needs a scalable infrastructure that can provide a single source of truth and actionable business intelligence. Combining business acumen and expertise with NetSuite’s unified data model, the CFO can deliver on actionable business intelligence across the entire enterprise by putting real-time data in the hands of the decision makers, on any device, at any time.

If the new model is successful, and the business grows continuously, the CFO needs to be wary of interrupting business momentum when the need to scale demands a new system and infrastructure. That’s where cloud platforms can future proof the business to scale, adapt and evolve. More importantly, multi-tenant cloud platforms ensure that customizations are carried forward and innovation is always current.

Transform Proactively and Reactively

The best way a CFO can make sure that the organization thrives is to put in place a flexible infrastructure that can react to an ever-changing environment. Today’s CFOs need a platform that does not compromise between scalability and control. As competitors innovate offering new products and/or services and new business models arise CFOs will need not only the functionality to deal with emerging challenges such as recurring billing but also a flexible platform to test and trial on newly emerging business models. In retail for example, businesses need a platform to test and configure a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, or in a bricks and mortar store.

As business goes global, the CFO has to facilitate the transformation of multi-currency, multi-lingual, multi-book and different statutory requirements with efficiency. Failure to do so can result in degrading a company’s operational consistency, controls and visibility into foreign operations. Companies that have very large, rigid headquarters systems that cannot be quickly deployed forgoes the effort and the result is less visibility, less operational consistency and control. In these situations, the goal of maintaining one version of the truth is unobtainable.

Operate the Finance Function Effectively and Efficiently

While leading and transforming, the CFO has another thing to do – run the finance function in an effective an efficient manner. In some cases, this can be more demanding than anything else a CFO does, but it must be done, and done very well. With the ever-increasing amount of regulations, tax laws that are local, state, national and international, maintaining strong internal controls and corporate governance, and reporting information that is accurate, actionable and readily available can be enough of a challenge by themselves. Embracing the right software platform can make managing this menagerie simple.

Today’s CFOs should look at software companies that have considerable experience with organizations across industries, that can use that experience to ensure that best practices for things like corporate governance and controls are baked into the standard offerings. It is also important to get the information into the hands of decision makers in a timely and accurate manner. The standard approach of generating reports is (often through Excel spreadsheets) is no longer sufficient. CFOs need a system that puts actionable business intelligence and alerts in the hands of decision makers in real-time via mobile devices.

Are You an Old Version CFO?

Gone are the days of the Bean Counter! New regulations, new business models, the advent of big data, and exponential technology improvements requires that the CFO handle broader responsibilities beyond effectively and efficiently operating the finance function. Financial acumen is a must for today’s CFOs, but they must also possess strategic skills to help transform the organization and be able to have operational insight to lead. Using the old heavy rigid ERP offerings will not provide the tools to be nimble and break out of the “Old CFO’ mold.

Learn more about how NetSuite makes a CFO’s job easier, more strategic.

Posted on Thu, July 20, 2017
by NetSuite filed under

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SEO, SEM Rule Retailers' Marketing Budgets

Retailers have been focusing on technologies to measure and assess customer response, and have been using the data they produce to drive e-commerce decisions, suggests a study of 136 enterprise retailers at the 2017 eTail West Conference held earlier this year.

Enterprise retailers with at least US$ 500 million in annual revenues participated in the study, which was a joint effort of Adam Software, an
Aprimo company; WBR Digital; and ChannelAdvisor.

Multichannel enterprise retailers comprised 81 percent of respondents, pure-play online retailers 11 percent, in-store-only retailers 4 percent, and other types of companies the remaining 4 percent.

Enterprise retailers have been implementing customer experience strategies across multiple channels, the researchers found. They have been seeking out intelligent data solutions to obtain a 360-degree view of customers across multiple channels and marketplaces.

“Digital retailers are likely to have reversed the classic stock focus on having goods to sell as the business model, to building a base of loyal customers they assist in buying what they need,” observed Andy Mulholland, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

“A digital retailer acts more as a personal shopper using intelligence to make every aspect of your buying activity feel right,” he told CRM Buyer.

Marketing Spending Priorities

The top four spends for retailers, according to the study, are the following:

  • SEO/SEM – 79 percent of respondents;
  • Online display – 77 percent;
  • Social media – 65 percent; and
  • Email – 64 percent.

Social media was the highest spending priority for only 3 percent of retailers and the second-highest for just 14 percent.

Social media is “rarely the leading channel in a marketing strategy,” noted Jeffery Parrish, Aprimo’s director for retail and consumer goods.

“Because many retailers are focusing marketing investment in digital channels, social media icon inline shop SEO, SEM Rule Retailers' Marketing Budgets is a very prominent channel and component of the typical retail marketing mix,” he told CRM Buyer. “Investment in social media management, technology, and social media influencers make it understandable that this would be a top four channel of investment.”

Retailers spent the least on channels through which data can neither be significantly acquired or applied — such as direct mail, radio and TV, print ads, trade shows and events.

Optimizing a Multichannel Strategy

Retailers have been redesigning their online buying experiences to accommodate a multichannel strategy, the study found.

However, 46 percent of the retailers surveyed across channels considered their performance only average.

“Each retailer has their own marketing mix with winning channels, and many retailers struggle to find equal levels of success across channels,” Parrish explained. “This perspective is largely due to the difficulty for retailers to adopt multi-attribution models.”

Consumers are moving toward making online purchases via mobile devices, but only 33 percent of enterprise retailers considered their mobile app performance above average or excellent; another 37 percent considered it below average or poor.

One company attempting to remedy the problem is
Curalate, which on Thursday released Curalate Showroom, a tool that lets companies make their social media channels shoppable on mobile.

Curalate’s platform lets companies tag any image or video to create a Showroom, posting the link to any marketing channel selected.

Curalate’s algorithm creates a feed of recommended products for consumers to browse.

The goal is to effect “a major jump in time on site and a big drop in bounce rate as consumers engage more and stay on site longer,” Luke Butler, Curalate’s manager of strategy and operations, told CRM Buyer.

The Challenges of Personalization

The retailers surveyed sought to personalize the customer experience — but that is easier said than done.

“Generally, when marketers just dabble with personalization they run into issues because they’re not using good enough data,” said Andy Zimmerman, CMO at

“With deeper, better data and machine-learning-driven affinity modeling, marketers can be much more effective at driving 1:1 relevant experiences that truly engage visitors,” he told CRM Buyer.

Many marketers are getting more funds for personalization, said Zimmerman, because it’s “an investment that can be justified with quantitative analysis and intuitive logic.”
end enn SEO, SEM Rule Retailers' Marketing Budgets

Richard%20Adhikari SEO, SEM Rule Retailers' Marketing BudgetsRichard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology.
Email Richard.

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CRM Buyer

Useful Dynamics CRM 2016 Web API Queries – Part 1

Web API is a new platform feature of Dynamics CRM 2016 that exposes CRM data over OData (Open Data Protocol). Web API offers REST based endpoint which can be used across a wide variety of programming languages, platforms, and devices.

Since Web API is intended to replace existing SOAP base endpoint I started using the Web API feature in JavaScript web resources to query for data.

Here are some queries which I found useful:

Use the plural name of the entity when querying for data

image thumb Useful Dynamics CRM 2016 Web API Queries   Part 1

When using the Entity Name as it is the result will be an error “Resource not found for the segment”.

GET    http://testserver/testorg/api/data/v8.0/mag_consumersetup?$ select=mag_name&$ filter=contains(mag_name,’Test’)
     “code”:””,”message”:”Resource not found for the segment ‘mag_consumersetup’.”,”innererror”:{
       “message”:”Resource not found for the segment ‘mag_consumersetup’.”,”type”:”Microsoft.OData.Core.UriParser.ODataUnrecognizedPathException”,”stacktrace”:”   at

Using the plural name of the Entity by added ‘s’ to form mag_consumersetups resolves the issue.

GET    http://testserver/testorg/api/data/v8.0/mag_consumersetups?$ select=mag_name&$ filter=contains(mag_name,’Test’)
http://testserver/testorg/api/data/v8.0/$ metadata#mag_consumersetups(mag_name)”,”value”:[
       “@odata.etag”:”W/\”1257828567\””,”mag_name”:”Test A”,”mag_consumersetupid”:”e0b6ae92-4230-e711-80bf-00155d048d78″

Querying a custom entity with Business Process Flow enabled

image thumb 1 Useful Dynamics CRM 2016 Web API Queries   Part 1

When querying for all field values of Entity records the error “Property ‘stageid’ is of an unrecognized EdmPropertyKind”.

GET    http://testserver/testorg/api/data/v8.0/mag_consumersetup?filter=contains(mag_name,’Test’)
     “code”:””,”message”:”Property ‘stageid’ is of an unrecognized EdmPropertyKind. Entity mag_onboardingrequest has duplicate navigation property names. All property names (Navigation and Structural property) must be unique in an Entity “,”innererror”:{
       “message”:”Property ‘stageid’ is of an unrecognized EdmPropertyKind. Entity mag_onboardingrequest has duplicate navigation property names. All property names (Navigation and Structural property) must be unique in an Entity “,”type”:”Microsoft.Crm.CrmHttpException”,”stacktrace”:”   at Microsoft.Crm.Extensibility.OData.CrmODataEntityTypeSerializer.CreateSelectExpandNode(EntityInstanceContext entityInstanceContext)\r\n   at …………

Query only the fields you need by specifying a select statement and field names

GET    http://testserver/testorg/api/data/v8.0/mag_consumersetups?$ select=mag_name&$ filter=contains(mag_name,’Test’)
http://testserver/testorg/api/data/v8.0/$ metadata#mag_consumersetups(mag_name)”,”value”:[
       “@odata.etag”:”W/\”1257828567\””,”mag_name”:”Test A”,”mag_consumersetupid”:”e0b6ae92-4230-e711-80bf-00155d048d78″

Querying an Action that has multiple output parameter with a least one of type EntityReference

image thumb 2 Useful Dynamics CRM 2016 Web API Queries   Part 1

POST    http://testserver/testorg/api/data/v8.0/mag_TestMultipleOutput
     “code”:””,”message”:”Resource not found for the segment ‘mag_TestMultipleOutput’.”,”innererror”:{
       “message”:”Resource not found for the segment ‘new_TestMultipleOutput’.”,”type”:”Microsoft.OData.Core.UriParser.ODataUnrecognizedPathException”,”stacktrace”:”   at

Workaround is to change the ContactOutput type from EntityReference to String and return a json string representing the contact record.

image thumb 3 Useful Dynamics CRM 2016 Web API Queries   Part 1

POST    http://testserver/testorg/api/data/v8.0/mag_TestMultipleOutput
http://testserver/testorg/api/data/v8.0/$ metadata#Microsoft.Dynamics.CRM.mag_TestMultipleOutputResponse”,”StringOutput”:”test”,”ContactOutput”:”{ \”contactid\” : \”FA2A2CA9-B0FC-E211-A2E0-00155D0C8359\” }”

Use JSON.Parse to convert response from a Json string into a response object then JSON.Parse the ContactOutput string to obtain the contacted.

image thumb 4 Useful Dynamics CRM 2016 Web API Queries   Part 1

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Dynamics CRM integration with SharePoint- Can we do better- PART 2

The issues build into the out-of-box (OOB) CRM integration with SharePoint, are described in the post “Dynamics CRM integration with SharePoint- Can we do better

In this post I will describe how Dynamics SharePoint Organizer (SPO) offers better integration between SharePoint and CRM.
Dynamics SPO trial version, can be downloaded here.

Dynamics SPO has two main functions:

Email2SharePoint – Upload documents to SharePoint by emailing them to CRM Queue, which activates CRM plug-in, that uploads the files attached to the Email, and save them in SharePoint with the related metadata / columns retrieved from the Email (read more)

Add SPO functionality to CRM Entity – A better way to integrate entities with SharePoint document location, and how to save relevant metadata to the document, retrieved from the attributes (fields) of the CRM record. A functionality I am going to describe, in details, in this post.

What is SPO functionality?

The function of SharePoint Organizer (SPO) is as it sounds, a methodological and consistent way, to organize documents in SharePoint, so that they can be easily found, when they are needed. In a nutshell, use less folders and more relevant metadata retrieved from the attributes of the CRM record.

The SPO function is a simplified way to upload documents to SharePoint. The CRM user, while he /she is in the record form, can upload files from hard disk, from documents attached to Notes, and from documents attached to Emails, related to the record, which are Emails where the Regarding field is the record we upload from. SPO function is also more efficient and time saving function to upload files to SharePoint. It allows multi-selection of files to upload in one step, unlike similar function in CRM OOB, which requires an upload of one file at a time, and only from the hard disk. In other words, with CRM OOB, to upload a file attached to an Email, it firstly needs to be saved to hard disk and only then it can be uploaded to SharePoint.

CRM OOB defines the folders and folders names where documents will be saved in SharePoint. SharePoint user finds it difficult to find documents spread over many SharePoint folders and without metadata to support SharePoint search functionality.

SPO uploads document to configurable folders and with metadata based on the attributes of the entity. As an example, when configuring the integration of Invoice entity with a location in SharePoint, you can also select the attributes: Name, Total Amount, Customer, Due Date, and Email address of the related Contact, as metadata columns in SharePoint. You can then use this meaningful metadata for search and metadata navigation in SharePoint. Updating payment due date from CRM to SharePoint, can trigger a SharePoint workflow to follow up payment on due date.

While configuring SPO, you can enable / disable overwrite of existing document in SharePoint, as well as to delete or keep the original attachments after they are uploaded from Emails to SharePoint.

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

5 Key Elements of a Winning Employee Advocacy Program

5 Key Elements of a Winning Employee Advocacy Program 351x200 5 Key Elements of a Winning Employee Advocacy Program

Two million blog posts are written every day. You can only imagine how many other content pieces are out there. This information overload makes it extremely tough for marketers to stand out. Sometimes, all it takes is one viral infographic or video, but most times, that isn’t the case. Rather than focusing on what content to publish, you should also be focusing on who delivers your content.

This is where employee advocacy comes in.

The idea is to simply get employees to share your content across their personal social networks ‒ to tap into their connections to help grow your reach, engagement, and conversions exponentially. While there’s no universal strategy for running an advocacy program, there are some things you can do to maximize its ROI. To get started, here are five key elements to include:

1. Quality Content

Above all, the content that you provide employee advocates should be of high quality. But what defines “quality content”?

Quality content can range from a 4,000-word eBook to a 1-minute video clip. It can take weeks to produce, or just a few hours. There’s no set criteria for creating quality content. However, you need to make sure that employees are sharing content that exceeds their audience’s expectations. Focus on content that is valuable yet super engaging.

Starting with the latter, you can make your content more engaging by:

  • turning average blog posts into beautiful infographics;
  • adding short GIFs and videos into your social content; and
  • posting polls and statistics that get people involved.

Next, don’t settle for one type of content ‒ go for a variety of original and curated pieces. Original content includes eBooks, case studies, webinars, blog posts, etc., that your marketing team created. Curated content consists of valuable articles and resources from third-party websites that educate your audience in a less self-promotional way.

Moreover, creating content that is valuable boils down to matching your readers’ intent. Take advantage of employees’ ability to gain insights and opinions about their audience; then use this information to create content that they’ll be interested in. This will also empower your advocates by proving their impact in the program.

2. Personalization

Now, more than ever, customers want you to connect with them on a real and personal level. Employee advocates add this element of personalization by putting faces to your brand. They create a human bridge between your company and customers.

Taking this element of personalization to the next level, you can increase engagement by getting employees to share content that’s relevant to their role in the company and to the particular audience. For example, consider your salespeople. What type of content do they enjoy sharing? What type of content is going to best resonate with their audience?

Generally, your salespeople are more likely to share thought-leadership pieces, industry-related reports, and articles from well-known publications, because these help to position them as knowledgeable and professional. On the other hand, content that’s technical in nature will be perceived as less relevant by your sales team ‒ and similarly, by their audience.

3. Simple Sharing

Another way to set your employee advocacy program for success is by fostering an environment of easy and effortless sharing. Whether advocates are attending a conference or sitting on the bus, it’s important to make it as simple as possible for them to share a large amount of content, no matter where they are.

By using a proper social advocacy platform, you can make tasks like sharing content an easy daily routine for employees. Rather than having to search for content on their own, employees who use an advocacy platform like Oktopost are guided on which content topics to post, when to post, and how to do so. Giving employees the necessary tools will get the ball rolling in your program and ensure that more content gets shared.

4. Incentive Strategy

Employees are the most essential asset of your marketing initiatives. Failing to incentivize them will result in less content being shared. Research shows that 69% of employees would work harder if their efforts were better appreciated.

Having a well-planned incentive strategy makes a huge difference and can really boost the ROI of your program. For now, here are a few examples of strategies that companies implement:

  • Monetary Rewards: Offer monetary rewards such as Amazon gift cards and movie vouchers ‒ or even upgrade advocates’ LinkedIn profiles to ‘Premium.’
  • Learning Opportunities: Give advocates the opportunity to improve their skills and expertise in the form of seminars, guest lectures, and training activities.
  • Recognition: Acknowledge employees for their involvement and contributions in front of their co-workers to boost their sense of confidence and accomplishment.
  • Fun Activities: Invite advocates for a fun and easygoing activity like a movie day or a night at a bar. Such a reward should be offered to the team or department that achieved the highest performance in the program, for example, the most content shared or the most clicks generated.

The type of incentive strategy you choose will depend on the number of advocates you have, your company’s hierarchy, and the personas that make up your program. For example, advocates from sales are more likely to value monetary rewards, while marketers will most appreciate public recognition.

5. Measurement

It’s easy to launch a program and then just hope for the best, but to make it a big success you must track and analyze its performance every step of the way. First, ask yourself what “success” looks like in your program. Is it the impact on reach? The increase in social chatter about your company? Or maybe the growth in the number of leads? By setting specific KPI’s, you can determine what’s working and what’s not. You can understand if your content needs improving, if you’re posting to the right channels, and if you’re reaching the right audience.

It’s important that you accurately tie these metrics to individual employee performance and to ROI. For the latter, you’ll need an advanced platform like Oktopost. Oktopost consolidates all of your social media marketing activities in one place for easy management and reporting.

In your advocacy program, Oktopost allows you to track everything from which prospects converted, to which employee brought in the conversion, to the type of content the employee posted. It also enables you to measure the metrics gathered by your advocacy program in the ecosystem of your other marketing initiatives. The more you measure and make adjustments, the more successful your program will be.

A winning employee advocacy program requires a lot more than giving employees content to share. Implement these five elements for a sustainable and fruitful program that can be tied to ROI, and help your employees spread the word about your brand.

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5 ways CRM can improve employee performance

CRM Blog 5 ways CRM can improve employee performance

If your employees’ productivity has dropped off, you need to fix the situation immediately because these problems typically don’t resolve themselves. A CRM solution like Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales can help this issue.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, Marketing and Customer Service is a robust CRM (customer relationship management) tool that can solve a number of office problems that directly impact your employees’ productivity. Here are five ways this CRM can improve employee performance:

  1. Strengthens communication: Managers can access a greater amount of accurate information, which provides depth to their presentations and meetings. This CRM solution can also dissolve office silos.
  2. Increased solution integration: Microsoft Dynamics 365 can sync with Microsoft Outlook, allowing employees to integrate their contacts, calendars and tasks into the CRM platform. This improves performance because employees don’t have to waste time flipping back and forth between programs.
  3. Boosted flexibility: Companies are beginning to adopt wearable solutions and allow employees to bring their own devices to work. Both can be hooked up to a CRM solution, allowing employees to access the system even outside the office.
  4. Enhances intranet and internal marketing: Brand champions are formed when companies market themselves internally to employees. With more data available, managers can build out their intranet and other internal communication offerings.
  5. Improves accountability: Because all data is stored in one platform, managers have greater access to employee-focused statistics, such as sales information or emails.

To learn more, read The TM Group’s recent blog:

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Nonprofits, Increasingly Eliminating the Pain and Cost of Grant Accounting

websitelogo Nonprofits, Increasingly Eliminating the Pain and Cost of Grant Accounting

Posted by Maggie Tallman, Whole Offering Product Manager, Nonprofits

Most nonprofits depend heavily on grants from philanthropic foundations, corporations, government agencies and high-net-worth individuals. Accounting for how those grants are spent, however, is one of the biggest financial administration pain points facing these organizations.

Nonprofit accounting teams exhaust untold hours on painstaking spreadsheet labor to tie grants to donor-specified requirements with specific time and use restrictions. The result can be high administrative costs that divert limited resources from a nonprofit’s core mission. It can mean delays and manual errors in reporting back to donors, and in filing IRS 990 disclosures.

Ultimately, that can affect financial and accountability metrics on Charity Navigator and similar websites, frequently used by prospective donors to assess a nonprofit’s worthiness of funding. The nonprofit risks a vicious cycle of high costs, diminished trust and transparency, and declining grant revenue.

This week at the InsideNGO Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., NetSuite is showcasing powerful new capabilities that transform how nonprofits handle grant accounting. Simply put, NetSuite is making it dramatically easier for nonprofits to track how, when and where a grant is spent on any given project, down to the line-item transactional level.

This helps nonprofits better manage complex revenue streams from multiple sources, and meet strict compliance, reporting and donor requirements.

New grant accounting capabilities are a focal point of SuiteSuccess for nonprofits, a unified industry cloud solution that combines industry leading practices developed in 1,000+ NetSuite implementations at nonprofits, a new customer engagement model and business optimization methods. Out of the box, SuiteSuccess includes more than 250 industry-specific reports for better operations and decision-making right from the start.

In addition, a new capability called SuiteKey enables easy setup of segment combination codes to automate data entry of transactions against a particular grant, elevating efficiency and visibility into a grant’s lifecycle. Other grant accounting highlights include:

  • Grant records in NetSuite include all relevant terms, conditions and milestones so that vital information is in a single place.
  • Projects linking back to grant records allow for automated time and expense tracking for billable and nonbillable transactions.
  • Dashboards provide drill-down reporting into all transactions related to a grant record, including journal entries, vendor bills and expense reports.

SuiteSuccess for nonprofits embodies NetSuite’s long track record of leading practices and best-in-class functionality into a unified solution, with new grant accounting capabilities among the innovations that equip nonprofits to eliminate needless manual work and focus on excellence in achieving their core missions.

If you’re at InsideNGO, please stop by booth #44 to explore how these and other NetSuite capabilities can dramatically improve your financial and operational efficiency.

To learn more, our SuiteSuccess for nonprofits video series offers an overview of the solution and a deep dive into specific capabilities.

Posted on Fri, July 21, 2017
by NetSuite filed under

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20 Findings from a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Upgrade Audit

CRM Blog 20 Findings from a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Upgrade Audit

Our client, let’s call it ACME Inc., wanted to upgrade Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 to Microsoft Dynamics 365 and SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2016. What is the first step?

Crowe’s implementation methodology always starts with an analysis phase, especially when it comes to CRM version upgrades.

With CRM version upgrades our analysis phase comes in the form of a CRM system audit. We audit the current CRM software version and catalog the areas we feel will need extra attention while preparing for the CRM upgrade.

Crowe’s CRM system audit is the investment in time we make to ensure our customers’ success and often we don’t charge for our CRM system audits. This upfront analysis will save everyone time, money and frustration and it’s the key to ensuring a successful upgrade.

We hope that by sharing this specific examples from a fictional client we can illustrate best practices and let you know what you should expect from your next upgrade project.

The “ACME” Dynamics CRM to Dynamics 365 Analysis

During the analysis phase our goal was to verify that there were no issues that could prevent a successful migration from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 to Microsoft Dynamics 365 and SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2016.

During this process Crowe developed an understanding of the current architecture and implementation of ACME, ran various tools to detect potential issues (such as a CRM custom code analysis) and ran trial migrations to validate that the solution could be upgraded. Most importantly, we proactively provided feedback and recommendations for each of our findings.

In this example, Crowe documented a total of 20 findings and classified these findings by severity:

  • 3 High severity
  • 10 Medium severity
  • 7 Low severity findings.

Crowe Analysis & Audit Findings and Recommendations 

Title Type Severity Recommendation
Document Locations on ACMECRM need cleanup. CRM Low Crowe recommends addressing these issues during the document migration effort. We will create a separate development environment and these issues will be addressed during that time
Unsupported stored procedures on production database CRM Low Crowe will remove the unsupported stored procedure code and replace with supported stored procedures.
Unsupported JavaScript CRM Low Crowe will modify the JavaScript with supported and compliant code.
Development is out of sync with production CRM Medium Crowe will recreate the development environment for the ACME migration. As this is done we will make sure that there is parity among the components of the development environment.
No documented solution requirements Documentation High Crowe recommends that a comprehensive business analysis effort be performed on the ACME solution to clearly define the specifications of the solution. This effort should be performed with and validated with the business owners.
Lack of recovery plan Documentation High While an enterprise level recovery plan may be in place, Crowe would recommend that a recovery plan be created for the ACME solution. Crowe can help recommend an appropriate disaster recovery plan.
Lack of current system architecture documentation Documentation Medium At the end of the effort to migrate ACME to CRM 2016, Crowe recommends documenting the new CRM system architecture. Crowe can provide examples of what we’ve provided for other customers.
Too much auditing enabled in production CRM Low Less field level auditing increases system performance. Crowe has put together an appendix to help ACME in this effort. We have provided a list of entities, fields, on form indicator, and audit indicator. Crowe will help ACME evaluate if the selected audited fields truly need to have audit capabilities enabled.
Lack of temporary data cleanup in CRM document creation tools Dynamics CRM Low Crowe will create a bulk delete job to run on a regular basis to free up resources for other activities. This will significantly increase system performance.
Unused fields Dynamics CRM Low Review unused fields with business owners and delete the fields that are not needed. Crowe has provided a list of fields which are not visible on the CRM forms but are still listed in the database.
Complicated portal document management architecture Portals/ Dynamics CRM Medium Crowe will perform an analysis of the document management architecture to leverage newer components of the Microsoft Dynamics product suite and improve overall performance.
Lack of server log review and corrective actions Process Medium Crowe will review the error logs on all ACME servers. We noted several areas of concerns on some machines that we would recommend ACME evaluate.
Lack of CRM solution management Process Medium Crowe will develop a solution strategy with ACME and implement this new solution strategy for upgraded ACME solution.
Lack of content database in SharePoint SharePoint High Crowe will set up the new SharePoint sites with a content database. As part of the migration Crowe will move the data from the existing repository to a content database.
Lack of standardized folder naming SharePoint Low ACME should review how the SharePoint folders are created and possibly implement measures to standardize the folder names. A standardized naming convention can make management of the SharePoint folder structure significantly easier down the road.
Two SharePoint servers and architectures SharePoint Medium Crowe will perform the consolidation as part of the migration process. We anticipate that a slightly larger set of servers will be needed to handle the additional content.
SQL Server in an optimized environment SQL Server Medium Crowe will help ACME confirm that the virtual machines are properly configured for SQL Server and optimal performance.
Job Run History CRM Medium Crowe will review the active processes and dialogs and determine which jobs should record a job history. We will then make recommendations for which ones should be removed. This will increase performance.
SharePoint ULS Logs location and size SharePoint Medium As part of the migration effort Crowe will place the storage of ULS log files on a non-primary drive and will restrict the disk space usage to 10GB of data so that there is a known quantity of information being stored. This is particularly important as SharePoint usage increases.
Portal Software End of Life Portal Medium Crowe will help ACME develop a strategy to address the upcoming end of life for the current portal product in use and identify portal solutions offered by Microsoft.

This customer could feel confident that we were starting their upgrade project with a clear understanding of their technology and a detailed picture of what needed to be done to make their project a success.

If you want to work with a partner with a proven track record and a strong project methodology, Crowe CRM can help.

Contact us at 877-600-2253 or [email protected]

By Ryan Plourde, Crowe Horwath, a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Gold Partner

Follow us on Twitter: @CroweCRM

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