Category Archives: Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Selecting the Right Implementation Partner for Your Business Solution

If it’s time to replace or upgrade your CRM or other business software, you already know the importance of choosing the right solution.  No doubt your search has led you to industry leader Microsoft Dynamics 365. But there is another equally important decision to be made, and that is your choice of implementation partner.

Why is your choice of implementation partner so important? Can’t just anyone help you “plug in” the system and be on call to handle your questions?  The short answer is No.  There are factors that differentiate technology firms, and giving attention to them will make the difference between success and failure, between satisfaction and disappointment.  Don’t assume anything; be as careful with your choice of partner as you are with choosing your technology.

So, how do you make the right decision? By being educated on what to look for in a partner, what to ask, and what to avoid. To help you make an informed decision, here are some important questions:

Is their experience industry specific?

Don’t be influenced by a partner’s long list of impressive clients. Not all industries have the same processes, regulations, and challenges. Be sure that the technology partner you’re considering has extensive experience not only with the software but working with businesses in your field.  You’d expect that they also work with other industries, but be sure they have a team that specializes in your unique needs.

Are they big enough, but not too big?

Big implies resources and stability, but there is such a thing as being too big for your needs. With a big firm, your project may get bogged down in bureaucracy. Ironically, with more people involved in decisions, they may take longer to make. Every little request or change must go through channels.

Big firms with lots of clients will naturally have to prioritize, and it only makes sense that they would put more resources toward their bigger clients.  This may leave you somewhere down the list relying on their less senior consultants.  Look for a partner that treats you like you are their biggest client, even if you aren’t. When it comes to size, you need an organization that’s large enough to support you, but nimble enough to meet your unique needs efficiently and expertly.

Can they think “outside the box?”

Big companies often have set protocols that make it difficult to be creative.  If your project doesn’t fit their mold, they may try to force it, leaving you with a product you don’t want, or they may charge you excessively for a customized solution. A more flexible company will work with you to ensure that your solution is a good fit for your business.  Look for a partner that embraces your needs and thinks creatively to give you the exact right solution and can meet your budget.

Are they a good match for you?

Have you ever had to work closely with someone with whom you just didn’t click, someone who didn’t “get” you or your firm’s personality? Don’t let that person be your implementation partner. Stressful work relationships can create misunderstandings, complications, and ultimately a failed project. Your team needs to be able to work well with your partner’s team. Look for a partner that communicates well with your people. Ask for references and follow up on them. Don’t assume you know the partner because you’ve met the sales team. Insist on meeting the people who will actually work on your project.

When you’re working with a technology partner, it’s critical that they know their tools and trade inside and out – and yours, too. AKA is a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner in Cloud, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and we have proven industry and business expertise.

Select your implementation partner with the same care you take in selecting your software.

Are you ready to find the right partner? Contact our experts at AKA Enterprise Solutions and let’s talk about your financial services software solution.

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Row-Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

row level security 300x225 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

Power BI offers a suite of security features to help restrict data. One way to do this is with Row-level security. Row-level security (RLS) with the Power BI Desktop can be used to restrict data access for specific users, filtering data at the row level, and defining filters within roles.

In today’s blog, we’ll go over how to set-up this feature in Power BI and an example of how you can use it in Dynamics 365.

What you will need:

  • Power BI Desktop
  • Dynamics 365 Organization linked with Power BI Service

In this example, we’re going to be using an Excel file composed of 10,000 fictional Orders, across multiple companies, located on the West and East Coasts. Our goal is to have a single Dashboard viewable within Dynamics 365 that displays the records appropriate per role.

Our starting point will be the image below, all orders put into a simple Orders Dashboard.

071618 1449 RowLevelSec1 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

Defining Roles within Power BI Desktop

1. Select the Modeling tab.

2. Select Manage Roles.

071618 1449 RowLevelSec2 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

3. Select Create.

4. Provide a name for the role.

5. Select the table to apply a DAX expression.

6. Enter the DAX expressions. This expression should return a true or false.

071618 1449 RowLevelSec3 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

7. Select Save.

Viewing a Role within Power BI Desktop

Once your role has been created, you can view the results of the role by executing the following steps:

1. From the Modeling tab, select View as Roles.

071618 1449 RowLevelSec4 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

2. The View as Roles dialog allows you to change the view of what you are seeing for that specific user or role.

071618 1449 RowLevelSec5 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

3. Select the role you created and then select OK to apply that role to what you are viewing. The reports will only render the data relevant for that role.

071618 1449 RowLevelSec6 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

Compared to the image we saw earlier; the difference is clear:

071618 1449 RowLevelSec7 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

We are now ready to assign the role to a new user.

Assigning Roles in Power BI

1. Navigate to the Power BI service.

2. Go to DATASETS and click on the ellipses to the right of the name.

3. Click on SECURITY.

071618 1449 RowLevelSec8 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

4. Enter the name of the user or group you want to apply Row-level security to.

071618 1449 RowLevelSec9 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

5. Click Add.

6. Click Save.

Now that we have a working Power BI Dashboard with Row-level Security applied, let’s look at how it renders in Dynamics 365.

1. From the Dashboard, add a new Power BI Dashboard and select the Dashboard you published to the Power BI service.

Note: if you are not presented with the option to create a new Power BI dashboard within Dynamics, you may need to enable Power BI on the Reporting tab in System Settings.

071618 1449 RowLevelSec10 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

2. Share the Dashboard with any user or team who will need access.

071618 1449 RowLevelSec11 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

That’s it! Maximizing the report in CRM as Power BI and CRM administrators, you’ll be able to view the Dashboard with the entire data set.

071618 1449 RowLevelSec12 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

If you sign in as a Standard User and view the same Dashboard, we get different results from Row-level security in Power BI. From this screen, we can also leverage Power BI to dig into the data appropriate to their role.

071618 1449 RowLevelSec13 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

Row-level security in Power BI gives you the ability to restrict data at the row level based on true or false statements for users or groups. Leveraging the compatibility of Dynamics 365 with Power BI, we can use Row-level security to show users within CRM only the rows appropriate to their role.

You can achieve the same results by putting your data into CRM and using CRM Security Roles, however, here are a few reasons you might want to use this method instead:

  • Not wanting to store data in Dynamics 365 due to storage space or business decisions.
  • Needing to manage one Dashboard instead of multiple ones per user/ team within Power BI.
  • Business doesn’t want to run an integration between the data warehouse and Dynamics 365.
  • Not wanting to modify existing security roles or business unit security in Dynamics 365.

In the situations above, Row-level security with Power BI offers us an option to present the clearest information with reduced administrative overhead to Dynamics 365 Administrators. To learn more about Power BI, check out our Power BI Showcase.

Happy D365’ing!

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PowerObjects- Bringing Focus to Dynamics CRM

PowerApps Hackathon Event Recap

HACKATHON 1 300x225 PowerApps Hackathon Event Recap

On July 1, PowerObjects hosted its first ever company-wide hackathon. The goal of the daylong competition was to empower PowerObjects employees to truly “Live the Technology” and gain hands-on experience with Microsoft PowerApps. PowerApps is one of Microsoft’s Business Applications that allows users to create custom mobile apps on a cell phone, tablet, or computer without any coding or development experience.

We had a tremendous day with nearly 20 different apps created across the globe, showcasing rapid development in PowerApps! We learned a lot and at the end of the day we increased our organizational knowledge around this very powerful tool. Check out a few of the apps that our employees created during the PowerApps Hackathon.

GPS Locator

Connectors: Flow, Bing Maps and Dynamics 365

What the App Does:

This apps allows users to quickly view nearby records by utilizing their physical (GPS) location and displaying all customers within a given radius based on the address field entered in Dynamics 365.

How it works:

hackathon 2 PowerApps Hackathon Event Recap

By connecting Microsoft Flow to Dynamics 365, users are able to capture the geo-codes of the out-of-the box address fields (street, city, county, country, zip code) and map the data to the address 1: latitude and longitude fields. Using BingMaps API in Microsoft Flows, the latitude and longitude data is returned in to PowerApps. Displaying a list of nearby customers along with their record details.

Delivery Tracking

Connectors: Azure and Google Maps

What the App Does:

This app is designed to allow drivers to view a dynamic list of deliveries scheduled for a specific day with an optimized route and ​barcode scanner to track delivered packages.

071218 1856 PowerAppsHa9 PowerApps Hackathon Event Recap

How it works:

Azure Functions and Flow are used to call Google Maps API, which launches an in app navigation screen that displays the optimized route for the current deliveries scheduled for the truck. The PowerApps Media Barcode can then be used to scan barcodes on packages​ to indicate a successful delivery. Once a package is successfully delivered the app automatically updates and begins navigating to the next location.  

Field Reporting

Connectors: Dynamics 365

What the App Does:

One of our current customers needed an app that all employees can use when in the field or during off-hours to collect information needed to create a new opportunity. ​

071218 1856 PowerAppsHa10 PowerApps Hackathon Event Recap

How it works:

This app connects to the Dynamics 365 entity “Opportunity Create” that allows team members to easily schedule a follow-up communication and assign that activity to the appropriate project manager or owner in CRM. ​The user can collect data and on-site photos from the potential customer and associate the information to an existing record in Dynamics 365. The data collected in the “OpportunityCreated” entity then ties to a dashboard to allow CRM to review the contact information collected and create a formal opportunity via their existing native processes.

PowerScan

Connectors: Dynamics 365

What the App Does:

This app allows you to use your mobile device to scan bar codes, QR codes, and business cards to deposit data into Dynamics 365. Instead of having to purchase a third-party scanner at a trade show to do the exact same thing and then get a CSV file to import into Dynamics 365. The app scans this information at trade shows, events or just anytime where you can verify the information, then qualifies and assigns the leads in real time.

071218 1856 PowerAppsHa11 PowerApps Hackathon Event Recap

How it works:

The out-of-the box PowerApps Camera captures and stores images as Notes or Attachments using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Text. These notes are can then be set Regarding to the Trade Show Lead record. OCR Text is processed with Regular Expressions to determine the type of data. Name, Email, Telephone, Address, etc., is saved to the Trade Show Lead record. From here, PowerApps can be used to launch Google Maps for driving directions, send emails or call a lead directly.

Want to see these apps in action?

PowerObjects is a Platinum Sponsor at this year’s Microsoft Business Applications Summit happening in Seattle, Washington July 22-24. Be sure to visit our team of experts at booth #1 for exclusive demos and experience the power of Microsoft’s end-to-end Business Application Platform solutions for yourself. You can register for the conference with our code: HCL100dc to receive a $ 100 discount.

Happy D365’ing!

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PowerObjects- Bringing Focus to Dynamics CRM

Agile or Waterfall?

agile 300x225 Agile or Waterfall?

As Microsoft Dynamics 365 projects evolve, the overarching question that project managers need to ask themselves is “which framework best fits my project?” In this blog, we discuss some pros and cons of the “Agile” and “Waterfall” frameworks that might assist you in deciding which is the best fit for your project.

Waterfall

This framework is named “Waterfall” because each life cycle is a sequence that flows downward in a series of phases. Typical phases are Feasibility > Plan > Design > Build > Test > PROD > Support.

Pros:

  • Waterfall is a structured process defined in phases with deliberate deliverables in each phase.
  • There is an emphasis on documentation such as requirements and design documents.
  • Requirements are defined in advance with little flexibility in allowing change once requirements have been signed off.

Cons:

  • Changes in design must go through a formal change control process that can impede timelines and budget.
  • Oftentimes stakeholders aren’t completely sure of the design they are asking for. Waterfall is rigid in its design and its ability to change with the clients evolving requirements.
  • The inability to change things done in previous stages.

Agile

The agile framework is based on an incremental and iterative approach. Instead of all the planning being up front, the framework allows for changing requirements over time.

Pros:

  • Change is part of the process and not seen as a weakness to designing the product.
  • Since delivery is iterative, issues and problems tend to come to light much quicker.
  • User feedback is crucial throughout the entire lifecycle of the project.

Cons:

  • Documentation can sometimes be neglected. The Agile Manifesto refers to the value behind working software then comprehensive documentation.
  • Planning tends to be less “fixed” since the requirements are continually growing as the product evolves.
  • There is a risk that the final product may look quite different from the original design.

The goal of each framework is to deliver a functional and quality product. At the end of the day, everyone who is contributing to the Dynamics 365 project must collectively decide on the best approach.

Be sure to keep checking our blog for more Dynamics 365 tips!

Happy Dynamics 365’ing!

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PowerObjects- Bringing Focus to Dynamics CRM

Dynamics 365 Monthly Update-June 2018

Quick Links: Featured News | Updates and Releases | Additional News | Training Corner


Featured News


Dynamics 365 Versions

As updates are deployed to the Dynamics 365 service, there are two separate versions that are tracked:

App Version: Application version represents the binary version that is deployed to the Dynamics 365 servers. These updates contain product improvements and bug fixes that are delivered through application code changes.

DB Version: Database version represents the version of the organization’s database. These updates contain customization changes to support new features, product enhancements, and bug fixes.

There are two primary scenarios where the App Version and DB Version will not match.

App-only Update: As Microsoft continues to increase the frequency of updates to Dynamics 365, it is common for a release to only include application updates with no database updates required. In such a scenario, the App Version will be incremented, but the DB Version will remain the same. On a subsequent release that involves both application and database changes, the versions will once again align.

Update Sequence: During the update sequence, application servers are updated first, followed by the update of the organizations themselves. Multiple organizations are batched together and updated concurrently to speed up the overall release. Depending on when an organization is picked up for processing, the versions may not match during this window of time.

What should customers do when the versions do not match?

As described in the scenarios above, it’s entirely normal for the App Version and DB Version to occasionally differ. The application is built specifically to support compatibility with previous database releases, so mismatched versions are generally not a cause for concern.


Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Readme/Known Issues

Review the Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Readme/Known Issues for important information on services and applications availability, security requirements, known issues and possible workarounds.


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Updates & Releases


New Application Feature: Activity Logging

Protecting data, preserving privacy, and complying with regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation are some of the highest priorities for a business. It is critical that organizations audit the entirety of data processing actions taking place to be able to analyze for possible security breaches. The Activity Logging feature in Dynamics 365 provides this capability for the use of Office and Dynamics 365.

How does this differ from past audit logging?

Audit logging covers enabling and viewing logging for specific entities and attributes. What is logged is largely based on the context of the activity. Open a record and activities such as who created the record, what values were entered and changed, who updated it, etc.…are logged for that particular record.

Activity Logging has two significant differences with prior Microsoft Dynamics 365 auditing:

  • Administrators can log user and admin activities across Office and Dynamics 365 apps.
  • Auditing occurs at the SDK layer of Dynamics 365 which means much more data is logged than just activities.

For more information on this feature and how to set it up, review Enable and use Activity Logging.


Portals Capabilities Release 9.0.6.7

Portal capabilities version 9.0.6.7 for Microsoft Dynamics 365 is now globally available for all customers.

This release includes Portal host version 9.0.6.7 and Solution Version 9.0.6.1 (for Dynamics 365 org version 9.x) and 8.4.6.2 (for Dynamics org versions greater than or equal to 8.1).

New solution packages will be available after portal host upgrades have been completed globally. The portal host will automatically be updated by Microsoft, but action must be taken by your organization to upgrade the solution packages. Until the solution packages are updated, some enhancements will not be available to portal administrators and/or users. For instructions on how to upgrade the portal solution packages, please refer to this Knowledge Base (KB) article.

New Features:

Dynamics 365 Portals app: The Dynamics 365 Portals app provides a new experience to configure and manage the online platform to communicate and collaborate with customers.

Reset a portal: Customers can now reset a portal if they plan to move to another geolocation or to another tenant, and don’t want to use the portal anymore. For more information see Reset a portal

Change the base URL of a portal: Customers can now change the base URL of a portal after it is provisioned. For more information see Change the base URL of a portal.

Resolved issues include:

  • Fixed: Global Search was ignoring special characters like double quotes(“) or ampersand(&) when Facets were enabled in the Portal.
  • Fixed: Entity list action buttons were getting rendered in the opposite direction.
  • Fixed: Create related record action didn’t work when invoked through Entity list and only worked within entity forms.
  • Fixed: Not all records were shown in Dynamic Lookup set filter when the selection mode was checkbox or radio button.

For more information, review this KB article.


Universal Resource Scheduling Updates

Requirement Calendar

Schedule anything in Dynamics 365 using Universal Resource Scheduling (URS). Customers can enable scheduling for any entity including custom entities. For example, customers can enable scheduling for the opportunity form and schedule marketing visits for the opportunities. This same functionality is available for the case form and scheduling time to work on cases.

URS also includes a requirement calendar to create requirement details. When creating a resource requirement, each requirement record is associated with a calendar. On the requirement form, there is a “modify calendar” option on the ribbon bar, which allows customers to modify the calendar for the requirement.

clip image003 thumb Dynamics 365 Monthly Update June 2018

For more information how to use this feature, review this post on the Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Team blog.

Extensibility Documentation

Detailed documentation for URS scheduling extensibility is now available. For more information and additional resources such as sample walkthroughs and an overview video, review this post.


Field Service and Project Service Automation Update Release

The latest update to the Field Service and Project Service Automation solutions for Dynamics 365 is now available. This release includes improvements to quality, performance, and usability, based on customer feedback and requests.

Field Service enhancements (v7.5.1.37)

Resolved issue:

  • Fixed: Cannot add new line for revised service quote

Project Service Automation (v2.4.4.30) Enhancements

Resolved issues include:

  • Fixed: Unable to add any lines to the project contract if the contract has 2 lines for same project.
  • Fixed: After clicking update prices, the actual cost/sales of tasks become 0
  • Fixed: Resource Requirement is not taking project work template into consideration while creating generic resources
  • Fixed: Time entries refresh issue on importing bookings

Universal Resource Scheduling Enhancements

Note: Improvements and bug fixes for Universal Resource Scheduling apply to Field Service and Project Service Automation as well as to other schedulable entities in the Sales or Service applications.

Improvements include:

  • Display completely unavailable resources with Schedule Assistant
  • Search icon added to resource search bar on Schedule Board
  • Selecting resource in hourly Schedule Assistant loads booking panel

Resolved issues include:

  • Fixed: Changing settings on Schedule Board vertical view removed demand panel when in Schedule Assistant.
  • Fixed: Users can no longer create rating values outside specified range on rating model.
  • Fixed: Issue booking work order service tasks if the entity was enabled for scheduling.

For more details and to see previous release notes, review this blog post.


Microsoft Social Engagement 2018 Update 1.6

The Microsoft Social Engagement 2018 Update 1.6 is now available.

New and updated features:

  • When an administrator assigns a Social Engagement license to a user, this user will get Power Analyst and Responder permissions. This enables users to create search topics and engage in conversations with other authors.
  • The retention time for Social content has been reduced to 15 months.
  • Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols 1.0 and 1.1 are disabled.

For more information review this blog post.


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Additional News


Microsoft + GitHub = Empowering Developers

Microsoft announced an agreement to acquire GitHub, the world’s leading software development platform. GitHub is a great resource for Dynamics 365 developers. From Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, “Microsoft has been a developer-focused company from the very first product we created to the platforms and tools we offer today. Building technology so that others can build technology is core to our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”

For more details on the why behind the purchase and the opportunities ahead, review this blog post from Satya.


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Training Corner


Removing records from the AsyncOperationBase/WorkflowLogBase table

When an async workflow is triggered in a Dynamics 365 organization, a record will be created in the AsyncOperationBase table to track the processing of the async job. Additional records will also be created in the WorkflowLogBase table to maintain logs for the workflow execution.

Business Process Flows also store BPF stage transition and action logs for the BPF in the WorkflowLogBase table.

For organizations that use workflows or business process flows heavily, these table will grow over time and eventually become large enough to introduce performance issues as well as consume excessive storage in the database.

Customers can leverage the bulk delete system job under Settings > Data Management > Bulk Record Deletion to delete unneeded records from these tables.

For details on how to setup the bulk delete system job, review this blog post.


Transforming Customer Engagement at Microsoft

With the rise of mobile and social technologies, customers are now more powerful than ever. Their always-connected status and ability to find information in seconds puts them in control of their own experience, and this trend has forced businesses of all sizes to rethink how they engage and connect with their customers. Businesses are no longer focused on “touch points” during the marketing, sales and customer service process, but instead find a need to engage in meaningful, ongoing relationships that involve frequent online and real-world interactions.

Your Roadmap for a Digital-First Business provides insight on how businesses can stay relevant as unprecedented processing power, revolutionary cloud storage, and continuous connectivity change the face of business. This e-book provides ideas on how Dynamics 365 helps businesses:

  • Reinvent productivity and enable a data-driven culture.
  • Optimize and enhance analytics and mobility.
  • Create new delivery systems and models for HR services.
  • Test new products and services at a fraction of the cost.

Microsoft Business Applications Summit

Microsoft is bringing together the Dynamics 365, Power BI, Excel, PowerApps and Microsoft Flow communities to connect and collaborate at the Microsoft Business Applications Summit. The summit takes place in Seattle, Washington, July 22-24. This is a perfect opportunity for Analysts, Business Users, IT Professionals and Developers to advance their skills, learn about applications that are critical to their business, learn how to simplify the management of data and identify key elements of the platforms to help drive innovation.

For more information and to register, visit the event website.


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Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement in the Field

How to Use Connections in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales

using connections in dynamics 365 crm 2 625x352 How to Use Connections in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales

In this video by our Dynamics 365 CRM support team, we’ll look at how to use Connections in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales to create searchable relationships between entities.

Connections add valuable layers of relationship information to your records. For example, you can connect a contact to multiple accounts, which is highly valuable for companies that deal with agents or brokers who represent multiple organizations.

Connections also allow Dynamics 365 CRM users to track old relationships if a contact moves to a new organization. You can simply create a connection between the contact and their old account.

But these are just two common examples. Connections enable Dynamics users to create any number of relationships between any entities.

Once those Connections are in your system, they can be searched in Advanced Find, so your connections also improve user navigation through your records.

See below for video and instructions on setting up Connections in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales:

1.) Open the record you wish to make a connection from.

2a.) Click Connect on the command bar.
OR
2b.) Click the down arrow ∨ next to the record name, then click Connections > Connect.

You’ll see a Connection popup:

New Connection Window Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales CRM 625x584 How to Use Connections in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales

3.) Click in the Name field, then scroll to the bottom and choose Look Up More Records.

4.) Choose the entity type you want to connect to in Look for, then select a record and click Add:

Lookup Record Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales CRM 625x585 How to Use Connections in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales

5.) Add a role and/or description to your Connection.

6.) Click Save & Close.

Voilà! Your connection has been created.

By Peter Wolf
President, QuantaCRM

Follow me on Twitter @CRMWolf

About QuantaCRM

QuantaCRM is a Microsoft Gold partner out of Chicago, IL with nearly two decades of experience helping small and medium-sized businesses implement and succeed with CRM.

Our OnTrack CRM Success System enables CRM success from implementation to adoption and beyond, and our top-notch Dynamics CRM support team ensures you get the most from your CRM!

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Can Better Technology Help Network Marketing Teams Reach Their Potential?

The days of distributors selling product out a stockpile in their garage are over. The direct sales and network marketing industry has transformed from that information-poor selling environment to one that is rich in information about the buying and selling behavior of both distributors and customers.

 Can Better Technology Help Network Marketing Teams Reach Their Potential?

Is your organization effectively using all of this data to maximize the performance of your distributors and help them reach their potential?

If you’re not using artificial intelligence tools to increase your average order size and frequency, you may want to take a look at what you’re missing.

Artificial Intelligence: The Turnkey Technology You’re Not Using Yet

Artificial intelligence sounds complicated, and when you get down into the nuts and bolts of the technology, it is.

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However, what you need to know is simple:

It can plug right into your organization and your business support systems (like CRM) very simply. This allows it to learn your business and perform high-value tasks, freeing up human labor for the things humans are best at. The most relevant form of artificial intelligence today is the chatbot, or “bot” for short.

Deploying artificial intelligence in the form of a bot is like giving each of your distributors their very own assistant.

There are two main ways that a bot can integrate with your team:

1. By prompting your distributors to take smarter actions

2. By taking those actions automatically

You can use AI in both ways simultaneously if you choose to do so.

How Does It Work?

AI plugs right into your CRM and other business support systems, which enables it to process massive amounts of data about the behavior of people buying your products. Using this data, it can do things like the following:

1. Determine who’s most likely to buy, what product they’re most likely to buy, and what message they’re most likely to relate to. The AI can pass this data to distributors, who can spend their time pursuing the best candidates with the right offers.

2. Point out the areas in a high-ranking distributor’s downline where he/she can have the biggest impact to boost sales numbers and/or grow the team this month.

3. Independently message customers who have opted into chatbot communication and remind them of special offers or points that are expiring, offering to complete the transaction right in the chat.

4. Increasing average order size by identifying the personalized upsells for a customer that have the highest probability of acceptance, and offering those during the customer’s checkout on your website, during an instant message chat, or prompting a human contact center rep with the right upsells during a phone conversation with the customer.

Does any of this sound like something your team needs?

The good news is, it’s not that hard to get started. JourneyTEAM’s AI and chatbot experts can help you get started with some simple, high-value scenarios that will get your feet wet and help you see the possibilities for AI in your sales organization.

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By: Dave Bollard and Eric Raff
JourneyTEAM | Technology Solutions

JourneyTEAM is an award-winning consulting firm with proven technology and measurable results. They take Microsoft products; Dynamics 365, SharePoint intranet, Office 365, Azure, CRM, GP, NAV, SL, AX, and modify them to work for you. The team has expert level, Microsoft Gold certified consultants that dive deep into the dynamics of your organization and solve complex issues. They have solutions for sales, marketing, productivity, collaboration, analytics, accounting, security and more. www.journeyteam.com


Top Microsoft Creative Design and Public Relations Firm. Get the help you need to market your product or organization. https://utcreative.com

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Microsoft Tools that Increase Performance in Asset Management by Extending CRM

CRM Blog Microsoft Tools that Increase Performance in Asset Management by Extending CRM

Part 3 of a 3-Part Series: How Asset Management Firms are Redefining Sales and Services Using CRM and More

Most technology solutions can’t meet what asset management firms need to be more profitable, productive, and successful. “Horizontal” CRM solutions like Salesforce or point solution like SalesPage, you are probably missing opportunities. Microsoft Dynamics 365 the capabilities to meet these needs and more.

In this 3-part series, we show you how CRM as an operational platform goes far beyond traditional CRM. “Does Your System Measure Up? What Asset Management Firms Need in CRM Software”, outlined the must-have components of a CRM software solution for Asset Management. “5 Reasons Why Asset Managers Should Make Machine Learning Part of Their Daily Routine…and Why Their CRM Software Should Help,” dived into machine learning and predictive analytics. Part 3 discusses tools beyond CRM provided by Microsoft–tools which you likely already have–that will help further improve performance.

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The right tools can mean the difference between a productive day and a frustrating one for an asset manager.

No doubt, your organization is already using some Microsoft applications such as Outlook Exchange, Word, and Excel. Is your CRM connected to these tools? It should be. Tracking email activities, appointments, phone calls, and tasks with your Office tools integrated directly with your CRM software will help you make the most of all your systems, saving time and resources.

If your CRM software doesn’t directly sync with your other Office systems, you can’t do things like inline editing with Excel online, use Excel templates to import data directly from CRM, or distribute an updatable Excel spreadsheet.

LinkedIn and Microsoft Dynamics 365/CRM

Since Microsoft owns LinkedIn, the integration between Microsoft Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn is very powerful. Records in your CRM, for both companies and individuals, can automatically be linked back to LinkedIn Sales Navigator. If a contact’s email address in CRM matches an email address in LinkedIn, you will automatically see that person’s information. Likewise, within LinkedIn Sales Navigator, if you want to track a new lead, it can be synchronized between LinkedIn and CRM. This benefit is available only with Dynamics 365/CRM

Other asset management tools and Microsoft Dynamics 365

Of course, you use Outlook, Excel, and Word. But Microsoft Office 365 has so much more to offer asset managers.  Because OneNote integrates with Dynamics 365, you can take notes at meetings and then easily distribute them or store them for later referral within your CRM. SharePoint and OneDrive will also integrate with your CRM at the individual record level to facilitate sharing and collaboration.

Working on a proposal response to an RFP and being able to collaborate directly within OneDrive and have that linked back to the RFP (which is posted inside CRM) is just one of many examples of how SharePoint integration within Dynamics can make an asset manager’s day much more productive.

Microsoft Teams allows you to pull data from your CRM, OneNote, OneDrive, SharePoint and other applications for sharing and collaboration. If you are using market data feeds about a particular opportunity or account, that data can appear in Microsoft Teams and become the viewpoint from which you can reference all the collaboration about a specific item within CRM.

Power BI, with its reporting and analytics, is critically important for asset managers. Consolidate your CRM data with data from other sources for a single, complete view.

Microsoft Flow is the way to integrate your CRM with other business-critical tools. Flow is an integration point to Dynamics, but also to the entire suite of Microsoft products and it extends connectivity to dozens of third-party applications that you may already have.

Power tools help you customize your systems without having to touch code

Azure Machine Learning has a visual tool that allows you to apply of algorithms and learning mechanisms for data to produce Web services that can be used within CRM to evaluate the likelihood of winning a specific RFP.

PowerApps lets you extend your data beyond CRM into more of an XRM model that creates custom user interfaces by drag and drop, no coding required, for a smartphone, PC, or tablet.  External data and CRM information can coexist using Microsoft’s Common Data Service. Gathering transactional data across the industry allows asset managers to see which firms are trading on your buying agreements, and where to focus your sales efforts.

If you’d like to explore more ways that Microsoft Dynamics 365 can help you leverage the best asset management tools, contact our financial services experts at AKA Enterprise Solutions.

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Learn, Use, and Manage Microsoft Flows with these 2018 Updates

Biz App Microsoft Flow 300x225 Learn, Use, and Manage Microsoft Flows with these 2018 Updates

The Microsoft Flow team has been hard at work making important improvements this year. Flows are easier to learn, use, and manage than ever before. In this blog we share a few of our favorite updates to Microsoft Team Integration, Approvals, Sharing Flows, and the Flow Documentation site!

Microsoft Teams Integration

This goes beyond the Teams connector, which already allowed you to create Flows that could take actions in Teams, for example by posting a message. This gives you the ability to interact with Flow from inside Teams. The first step is to install the Flow app from the Team store.

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Go to the More Apps menu in Microsoft Teams to access the Flow app. The Flows tab shows your flows and team flows. The Approval tab shows sent and received approvals and the Conversation tab allows you to interact with Flow Bot.

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Flow Bot can tell you what it can do, provide you with a list of flows it can run, run a scheduled flow on demand, run a manually triggered flow that does not have inputs, and show the description for a flow.

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Approvals

Modern approvals in Flow allow you to quickly set up an automated approval workflow for your data in many systems. Proposed content in SharePoint, Twitter, Visual Studio, and more, can be set up such that actions are automatically taken once the proposed content is approved. Approvers receive emails notifying them of the approval request and users can interact with approvals in a unified Approvals Center in Microsoft Flow.

What’s new in modern approvals? The detail of the approval request can now have rich text, lists, links and tables using Markdown. In addition, approvals you receive can now be reassigned to a different person.

The new History tab in the Approvals center shows all requests, both sent and received. Filter by title or direction and sort ascending or descending by date. Click on a row to see the details of an approval request including the comments and the exact time of the request.

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The modern approvals connector is now built on the latest version of the Common Data Service for Apps (CDS for Apps). This allows you to build flows that act based on the status of approvals you receive or send. For example, you can build flows to notify you of new approval requests, remind you of pending approval requests, or notify you when a request you sent is approved. Use the template created by the Microsoft Flow team as a starting point. Modify the data operations, variables, and conditional actions to fit your scenario.

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Sharing Flows

We have been able to share flows by adding people as co-owners, or (for manual flows only) adding them as run-only users (which makes the flow button available to them in the mobile app). Now, it is possible to add an Office 365 Group (including a Microsoft Team) as the co-owner or (for manual flows) as a run-only user. If the flow has steps which interact with a SharePoint list, the list can be invited to be a co-owner of the flow or (for manual flows only) as a run-only user, giving access to the flow to all members of the list.

When you add owners to a flow, you will see exactly which connections and permission are being provided to them.

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Since a shared flow always runs with your connections and data, it’s important to evaluate whether you trust the author of the flow and whether you agree with the actions in the flow before running it. When running a flow, we can now see details of all the actions and connections in the flow, including details of SharePoint sites accessed by the flow, if applicable.

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Documentation Landing Page

As you can see, Microsoft Flow is growing and improving all the time. To help you find the documentation most relevant to where you are in your Flow journey, the documentation page now has links to different content for different audiences. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate user, expert or admin, there is a path for you. This makes it easier to find information you can use right away so you can get started having fun and being productive with Microsoft Flow!

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Want to learn even more about Microsoft Flow? Join PowerObjects, this year’s Platinum Sponsor, at the Microsoft Business Applications Summit on July 22-24 in Seattle. Register with code HCL100dc to receive a $ 100 discount.

Please note: there are three different Flow plans. Microsoft Dynamics 365 applications and Office 365 plans may include Microsoft Flow Free, Microsoft Flow Plan 1, or Microsoft Flow Plan 2. To learn about pricing and features, please visit the Microsoft Flow Plan site.

Happy Dynamics 365’ing!

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How to Prepare for a Dynamics 365 Global Data Migration

global migration 300x225 How to Prepare for a Dynamics 365 Global Data Migration

You have decided to implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 across your global enterprise. You know the value this will bring to your organization, but you also know there are going to be challenges, especially in a global implementation.

For data stewards, architects, and product owners, data migration can be a daunting task and just one pillar of a large global implementation. The migration will affect every part of the project, from end users and developers, to testers and trainers. There are lots of questions to ask and decisions to make. How much data are we going to bring from our legacy systems? Does Germany have the same data as the UK or Singapore? What languages are represented in my master data? Do all countries sell the same products? Are all the product names and numbers the same in each country?

Undertaking a large scale, global data migration can take months or even years. In order to execute this successfully, we are going to talk about some initial thoughts and questions to prepare for in a Global Data Migration.

Develop a Strategy

You know your destination: a single, consolidated, global system. Sounds awesome! It’s quite a path to travel in order to get there. Let’s put together a roadmap.

1. Survey Systems and People
It’s important to understand what systems, countries, and user groups are going to be part of the migration. If you envision a single global system, you need to start sharing that vision, and understanding all the pieces that will make up that system. Do we have three countries, ten, fifty? How many systems per country are we dealing with? Does everyone have their own customized system or shared systems? What users are going to be impacted? Just the sales team? Or are the call center, marketing, and IT groups impacted too?

2. Put Up Some Boundaries and Define Scope
You likely are not going to migrate every object and every field for every system part of your organization. If we do that, we will never be done. What are the critical data points that drive your business? What master data needs to be saved, what data is coming from other systems, and what data is garbage? If you ask these questions, you can identify the core data elements to focus on during the migration, saving time and money.

3. Define a Governance System
Already have a data governance group? Great! Don’t have one setup yet? Now is a good time to think about it. You are going to have many hard questions being raised by the business. “Why can’t we keep all this data?” “Why does France get to determine the values in the drop-down list?” “I absolutely ‘NEED’ this field to do my job.” All of these questions and more will be asked, and you need someone who is both informed and empowered to make these decisions quickly and definitively. Without governance, you can wind up bogged down in endless meetings, changes, and revisions with no end in sight to the migration.

4. Make a Plan for Old Data
What is your data warehousing strategy? Do you want to archive all historical data? Are you going to keep your old systems around? As previously mentioned, not everything will be migrated and you must determine whether to preserve historical data for compliance/legal reasons. Archiving can be expensive if not planned properly, but by putting some thought into this, you can potentially save historical data without breaking the bank and keep the new system lean and clean.

There are a thousand other questions that are going to be racing through your mind. This is just a framework to get started in thinking about your migration project. As we can see with just these basic points, you are going to need some help in order to get this project done.

Assemble Your Team

You have your roadmap in your pocket, or at least the outline of one. Who is going to own this migration? Who is going to answer all the questions from the users and leadership?

The migration team is going to be as diverse as your organization. You will need representation from every country and every system. Here are some thoughts on the kind of people you might need:

  • Data steward/migration project owner – At the end of the day, you need someone in charge of this migration, one person empowered to make the final decisions.
  • Governance board – A group of 3-5 people who represent a cross section of the business (both business units and geographies), who are informed about the project and drive the vision of the future state of the system. This group is empowered to make decisions when users cannot decide, they also approve changes and set global definitions.
  • Migration tech lead – You need someone with the technical knowledge of the various systems to help coordinate the gathering of source data, can help determine the method and approach to migration, and can take responsibility for working with both the source and target systems.
  • Country leads – An individual per country who can elicit requirements from their country, but can make some decisions about what is critical and what is not. The first line of review for user requirements.
  • Country techs – These are the local tech folks who know the system, can answer questions about why things are the way they are and help pull data out of their systems.
  • Country users – The real source of knowledge about what the system needs to do, where data lives, and how they use existing systems. The key is finding a user or two that are real power users, and can be objective about what data they need and what they can live without. These will also be the folks responsible for validating the data once it has been migrated.

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One of the key aspects to having an effective team is keeping them engaged in the planning process, and sharing the vision of the future system. Keep the team invested by keeping them informed and involved, and you will be able to drive towards a successful global data migration.

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