Tag Archives: Adoption

5 User Adoption Tips with CRM

CRM Blog 5 User Adoption Tips with CRM

Plenty of organizations roll out new technology only to find that they are struggling with end user adoption. Here are 5 tips to help achieve high end user adoption with Dynamics 365 or any CRM system, in no particular order.

5 User Adoption Tips for CRM

1. Offer ongoing training and support materials in a variety of formats. As you likely already know, people learn differently. Some people (like me) learn best when actually doing something. Others learn well by writing, and others by seeing. Strive to cater to all types when training, especially when rolling out new technology. Plus, it helps to break up the training by doing different things. Movement in a training is good too; it helps break up longer in-person training sessions.

Here are some things I’ve done to offer ongoing training & a variety of support materials:

  • Reference Manuals: separate for users & managers
  • Webinar training
  • Job aid / quick reference guide
  • Lunch & Learn: one topic, 15-30 mins
  • Short video clips on intranet with single topics
  • Live in-person training & demos
  • Blogs
  • One-on-one / small group screen share sessions

2. Always have a leave behind. No matter what training I do, I always have a leave behind. Sometimes it’s a simple how-to, other times it is a complete user reference.

3. Involve users during the business requirements stage. It is extremely important to customize for your end users. If they aren’t using it, management can’t get reports out of it! Customize for your end users while meeting business requirements from management.

4. Keep your system simple. Nobody wants to fill out 25 required fields. Streamline your business processes, have a minimum number of required fields and keep your forms clean (you can leverage out of box permission levels for this).

5. Identify CRM Ambassadors and empower them to help you!

Have you identified other ways to increase end user adoption with CRM? What has worked for your organization?

Beringer Technology Group, a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution. We also provide expert Managed IT ServicesBackup and Disaster RecoveryCloud Based Computing and Unified Communication Systems.

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Overcoming Contentions: How to Encourage Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales Adoption

CRM Blog Overcoming Contentions: How to Encourage Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales Adoption

MS Dynamics 365 for Sales vs Salesforce Learn more about Dynamics 365 for Sales features

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, also known as Dynamics CRM, has become a powerful tool that, when successfully implemented, can greatly increase sales revenue and improve customer retention by as much as 27%. Successful implementation can be difficult however, partially due to reluctance by sales representatives who are unwilling to overcome the initial learning curve that comes with the software. To help smooth over the initial transition process, here are three ways in which you can encourage your sales representatives to begin using CRM to assist them in sales:

1. Communicate Financial Benefits

The ability to improve lead management should be communicated to sales representatives, as well as the potential financial benefits that stems from it. D365 for Sales helps sales representatives better track and follow up with potential sales leads. This has resulted in businesses reporting upwards of 30% increase in sales revenue per sales rep.

2. Emphasize Personal Accessibility

With D365 for Sales now available on the Cloud, sales reps are granted increase accessibility and mobility. Reps will be able to receive up to date business information from their colleagues sent straight to their mobile devices, allowing them to quickly respond to clients and further improve relationships with customers.

3. Add Compensation Reporting to your CRM System

Instant gratification can be a powerful motivator for sales reps. One of the reporting features that D365 for Sales offers is it allows sales reps to view their updated commission statements whenever they please. Sales reps should be encouraged to track their commission rates, and in doing so motivated to improve their performance and increase their close rates. D365 for Sales has dozens of useful features for you to utilize. Why not further explore all the features Dynamics for Sales has to offer by checking out our course catalogue at WebSan University?

Heimdall Sham, Digital Content Creator, WebSan Solutions Inc., a 2014 Ontario Business Achievement Award Winner for Service Excellence

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Part 2 – User Adoption with Microsoft CRM/Dynamics 365. Do you have it?

CRM Blog Part 2 – User Adoption with Microsoft CRM/Dynamics 365. Do you have it?

In the last post I examined the main reasons for CRM project failure. In this and future posts in this series, I will dissect each of the reasons and offer guidance on how to avoid these pitfalls and/or how to recover from them.

The topic for this post will be – Lack of Proper Requirements Analysis Before Implementing. This is a significant cause of user adoption challenges or problems and ultimate failure. I have seen many companies select a CRM system based on a demo versus the project’s actualrequirements. One challenge in a lot of businesses is that they don’t have formal processes which makes defining requirements much harder. If you don’t have at least high level business processes defined, I recommend that you add business process planning at the forefront of the CRM planning.

The first step every business that is considering investing in CRM technology should perform is requirements analysis.

At Sträva we typically will not engage with a client for a new implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM/365 without a requirements analysis and project planning phase. This approach is used no matter the size of the project or the client. We offer the requirements/planning phase separately and independent from a full implementation allowing a business to engage for only that phase of the project before committing to a full implementation. This approach allows us and our client to fully understand the project (and budget) before engaging for an implementation. It also allows our client to get to know us and experience the value we bring to the table prior to committing to a longer term project and relationship.

We recommend that our clients form a project team for the CRM initiative. This team should consist of:

  • Project Manager – The client-side person who will manage the project
  • Executive Sponsor(s) – It is critical to have executive engagement and support in the project
  • Business Sponsor(s) – These are typically managers/leaders that will be more involved in the project than the executive(s)
  • End Users – Developing a CRM project in a vacuum almost guarantees user adoption issues. You need the input of the people who will be using the tool every day to make sure it will provide value.

The first step in requirements analysis is to define the overall goals andobjectives for the project. This should start at the top with the executive level. The executive team has a good understanding of the current challenges and future direction of the company. When we interview executives regarding goals andobjectives, we ask a series of questions that guide the executives through the process of articulating the outcomes they are looking for from the CRM initiative. Examples of executive level questions:

Continue to our blog for the full article

About the Author: David Buggy is a veteran of the CRM industry with 18 years of experience helping businesses transform by leveraging Customer Relationship Management technology. He has over 14 years experience with Microsoft CRM and has helped hundreds of businesses plan, implement and support CRM initiatives. David is the President and Founder of Strava Technology Group, a firm that is 100% focused on helping businesses achieve success with CRM. To reach David directly visit our web site.

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Explore your Office 365 Adoption Data in Power BI

Today we are pleased to announce the release of the Public Preview of the Office 365 Adoption Content Pack in Power BI.

The content pack combines the intelligence of the Office 365 usage reports that are available for you in the admin center with the interactive analysis capabilities of Power BI, providing rich usage and adoption insights. With these insights, admins can drive more targeted user training and communication that helps them transform how their organizations communicate and collaborate, enabling a truly modern workplace.

For more details on what the content pack has to offer, check this blog post by the Office 365 team.

a76fe21f ba2c 4be2 81e9 453a5cb3d9ac Explore your Office 365 Adoption Data in Power BI

Get started with the content pack

To connect to the content pack, you first need to enable it in the Office 365 admin center. On the Usage Reports page, you will see a new card at the bottom of the page where you can opt in to the content pack. This step kicks off a workflow that generates your historical usage trends. This data processing task takes between 2 and 48 hours, depending on the size of your organization and how long you’ve been using Office 365. After data preparation is complete, it’s ready to show in the content pack. Please follow the steps described to connect to the content pack for your organization.

2c2b8aae f3ac 48fb b6b9 f2f885cd2036 Explore your Office 365 Adoption Data in Power BI

Please note that you must be a global admin or a product admin (Exchange, Skype for Business, SharePoint) to connect to the content pack.

Learn more

You can find additional information about the content pack, including FAQs, in the following support articles:

If you have questions, please post them in the Adoption Content Pack group in the Microsoft Tech Community. Also, join us for an Ask Microsoft Anything (AMA) session, hosted by the Microsoft Tech Community on June 7, 2017 at 9 a.m. PDT. This live online event will give you the opportunity to connect with members of the product and engineering teams who will be on hand to answer your questions and listen to feedback. Add the event to your calendar and join us in the Adoption Content Pack in Power BI AMA group.

Let us know what you think!

Try the public preview of the Office 365 Adoption Content Pack in Power BI and provide feedback using the feedback link in the lower-right corner of the Usage Reports page in the admin center.

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Microsoft Power BI Blog | Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft accelerates modern BI adoption with Power BI Premium

Power BI was first made generally available in July 2015. Since then, Microsoft’s driving vision for Power BI has been to enable users across roles, disciplines and industries to sign up for the service in seconds and get business value by drawing insights from their data within minutes. Our relentless focus to drive access to insights at scale has helped Power BI reach more than 200,000 organizations, and the breadth of this global community continues to directly contribute to Power BI’s evolution – to date more than 400 features have been added to the service as the result of input from more than 50,000 users.

Introducing Power BI Premium

Today Microsoft is taking the next step in its commitment to empower people and organizations with access to critical intelligence: introducing Power BI Premium. Power BI Premium builds on the existing Power BI portfolio with a capacity-based licensing model that increases flexibility for how users access, share and distribute content. The new offering also delivers additional scalability and performance to the Power BI service.

  • Flexibility to license by capacity. Power BI Premium introduces expanded licensing flexibility to help organizations equip users with the appropriate level of access to the Power BI service based on their unique needs. For example, many organizations contain users who aren’t actively creating BI content, but require the ability to consume content distributed to them. Power BI Premium enables Power BI Pro users to publish reports broadly across the enterprise and beyond, without requiring recipients to be licensed per user.

  • Greater scale and performance. Organizations using Power BI Premium will be able to customize performance based on the needs of their team, department or the organization itself. The offering consists of capacity in the Power BI service exclusively allocated to each organization and supported by dedicated hardware fully managed by Microsoft. Organizations can choose to apply their dedicated capacity broadly, or allocate it to assigned workspaces based on the number of users, workload needs or other factors—and scale up or down as requirements change. A calculator is available to help with capacity planning.

  • Power BI apps. Along with the freedom to license Power BI for enterprise deployments, we are evolving content packs into Power BI apps to improve how users discover and explore insights at enterprise scale. Available today, Power BI apps offer a simplified way of deploying dashboards and reports to specific people, groups or an entire organization. Business users can easily install these apps and navigate them with ease, centralizing content in one place and updating automatically.

  • Extending on-premises capabilities. Power BI Premium introduces the ability to maintain BI assets on-premises with Power BI Report Server. Power BI Report Server is an on-premises server that allows the deployment and distribution of interactive Power BI reports – and traditional paginated reports – completely within the boundaries of the organization’s firewall. With Power BI Premium the same number of virtual cores an organization provisions in the cloud can also be deployed on-premises through Power BI Report Server, without the need to split the capacity. Organizations can choose Power BI in the cloud, or elect to keep reports on-premises with Power BI Report Server and move to the cloud at their pace.

  • Embedded analytics. With Power BI Premium we’re also advancing how Power BI content is embedded in apps created by customers, partners and the broad developer community. As part of the new offering we are converging Power BI Embedded with the Power BI service to deliver one API surface, a consistent set of capabilities and access to the latest features. Moving forward we encourage those interested in embedding Power BI in their apps to start with Power BI Desktop and move to deployment with Power BI Premium. Existing apps built on Power BI Embedded will continue to be supported.

Simplifying the free Power BI service

Just as Power BI Premium simplifies large-scale BI deployments, today we’re also simplifying the distinction between Power BI Pro and the free service. While the free service is intended for personal use and Power BI Pro enables collaboration, we’ve received feedback that functional differences between them have created confusion for users. Going forward, we will improve the free service to have the same functionality as Power BI Pro, but will limit sharing and collaboration features to only Power BI Pro users. Users of the free Power BI service will benefit from access to all data sources, increased workspace storage limits, and higher refresh and streaming rates. These changes will be effective June 1, and you can read more on the Power BI Community. Power BI Desktop continues to be available for free.

Learn More

Power BI Premium will be generally available late in the second quarter of 2017. Initial SKU and pricing information is availablehere.

  • Register for the Microsoft Data Insights Summit in Seattle on June 12–13, where we will have dedicated sessions on today’s announcements.

  • Register for our upcoming webinar on Power BI Premium.

  • Sign up to receive updates when Power BI Premium is available to purchase.

  • Read about the Power BI apps preview.

  • Learn about migration for existing Power BI Embedded customers.

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CRM Adoption 2017 Survey

CRM Blog CRM Adoption 2017 Survey

CRM Adoption 2017

There is no denying CRM solutions are a substantial investment for the average company. As CRM software development begins to focus more on the user experience, adoption rates have increased dramatically. As well, cloud technology has taken CRM, what was once considered an enterprise solution, and leveled the playing field to make it cost-effective for small and midsize businesses. Now the word is getting out about this powerful tool as an online solution with a subscription-based model. Still, CRM has barriers to adoption.

Whether you have a CRM you currently use, or you’re one of less than 30% of companies who have not yet invested in a CRM platform, we would like to hear from you. Your feedback on this 30-second survey will become part of an infographic on CRM Adoption 2017.

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Slack Enterprise Grid adds functionality, eyes big business adoption

TTlogo 379x201 Slack Enterprise Grid adds functionality, eyes big business adoption

Business communication tool Slack has set its sights on some big fish with its latest product: Slack Enterprise Grid.

Slack currently has roughly 5 million daily users among small and medium-sized businesses. The new Slack offering is aimed at adoption by businesses with more than 500 employees.

The move into larger businesses comes with new functionality, including search, business intelligence and analytics tools. These improvements will allow for easier communication between teams, better search to look for information across a company’s entire system and will suggest content and contacts to a user. Employees will also be able to communicate and interact with those in other departments in their enterprise through Slack without being bombarded with every message.

“When dealing with enterprises that have a lot of different departments, you can’t have a Slack team with 30,000 employees,” said David Markovich, founder of ChatOverload, a New York-based Slack consultancy. “Some enterprises already use Slack but would have one group for accounting, another for marketing and so on. Those individual teams, if they wanted to talk to each other, they didn’t have that option.”

Slack Enterprise Grid opens up the ability for enterprise departments to communicate with each other. By using these “federations” of teams, different departments can interact where and when they need to without being bogged down by every incoming message.

“[Slack’s] announcement is significant in that organizations can now try the free version of Slack, then migrate to Grid if they find that adoption has grown across multiple departments,” said Alan Lepofsky, vice president and principal analyst at Cupertino, Calif.-based Constellation Research Inc. “This satisfies the need of IT — scalability, central licensing, administration — while still providing the teams the flexibility to customize usage for their own needs.”

[Slack is] going to be offering more services for enterprise. David Markovichfounder, ChatOverload

These workspaces for teams can be organized by administrators who can control permissions and configure integrations on a per-workspace basis, according to the Slack Enterprise Grid blog post.

Hoping to move into regulated industries, Slack Enterprise Grid is HIPAA and FINRA compliant as well as SOC 2 and SOC 3 certified. Financial corporation Capital One was one of the beta users for Slack Enterprise Grid, moving roughly 12,000 employees onto the product, according to public reports. 

“They’re going to be offering more services for enterprise,” Markovich said. “They’ll work with IT on security and offer more in-depth analytics. Those things definitely held back large enterprises from moving over to Slack.”

Slack is also partnering with several other technology enterprises, including SAP, where Slack will build a portfolio of bots that will integrate with SAP. The bots will assist with travel expenses by integrating with Concur and with performance management by integrating with SuccessFactors. In September, Slack had partnered with Salesforce to integrate the functionality into the Salesforce platform.

“It’s important to see enterprise software vendors like SAP creating integrations for Concur and SuccessFactors,” Lepofsky said. “As this validates that Slack is not just for techies and developers.”

While Slack has been working on its enterprise move for some time — including writing all new code, according to public reports — the timing can be interpreted as a shot across the bow at Microsoft, which announced Teams in November, a similar company communication tool that is expected to focus on large enterprises.

“For Microsoft, it’s a potential upsell in the enterprise space where companies are using Office 365 and Outlook,” Markovich said, “unlike Slack, where you have to go in on the ground floor for an enterprise.”

The gamesmanship between Microsoft and Slack continued this week, as the day prior to Slack’s unveiling of Slack Enterprise Grid, a blog post from Microsoft said that in the last month “30,000 organizations across 145 markets have actively used Microsoft Teams,” even though the product is still in beta. Microsoft expects Teams to be available in the first quarter of this year.

This back-and-forth comes after Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield wrote a blog post and took out a full-page ad in The New York Times the day after Teams was announced in November.

“We’re glad you’re going to be helping us define this new product category,” the blog and ad both read. “We admire many of your achievements and know you’ll be a worthy competitor. We’re sure you’re going to come up with a couple of new ideas on your own too. And we’ll be right there, ready.”

A price for Slack Enterprise Grid was not available; businesses must apply directly to Slack to obtain its new offering. Slack for Teams has three pricing scales including a free option, an $ 8 per month per user standard option and a $ 15 per month per user plus option. Both standard and plus have discounted rates for annual billing as opposed to monthly billing.

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ECM, collaboration and search news and features

Is This the Real Life or is it Just Fantasy? Peeking into Actual Adoption Rates of the IoT

IoT this, connected devices that. Are companies really delving into the Internet of Things – and if so, how are they going about it? Keep reading for some true insight into IoT adoption, which is based on actual data about real-life IoT trends and challenges for the enterprise.

The IoT has been a hot topic lately. The 2016 holiday season saw vendors like Amazon and Google aggressively promoting a new generation of “smart” devices for the home. The Dyn network outage in October highlighted the new types of security risks that connected devices are posing. These trends helped bring the IoT onto the radar screens of the masses for the first time.

In light of developments like these, you may be tempted to think of the IoT as a revolutionary new type of technology that is rapidly changing the way we compute.

blog truck Is This the Real Life or is it Just Fantasy? Peeking into Actual Adoption Rates of the IoT

The Real State of the IoT

But that’s not quite right. Yes, connected devices are an increasingly important part of the tech market. To gain true perspective on the IoT’s past, present, and future, however, it’s worth keeping the following facts in mind:

  • The IoT is not at all a new idea. The term itself was coined more than a decade ago. Smart devices for the home, like Internet-enabled refrigerators, have been around since the late 1990s.
  • The IoT remains a very broad and vaguely defined concept. It includes smart consumer devices like thermostats and Philips Hue light bulbs. But it also involves remotely controlled traffic lights, sensors that retailers use to monitor inventory and even – believe it or not – bulldozers.
  • The extent to which IoT devices integrate with traditional computing infrastructure, and the ways they connect to it, vary widely. Most smart devices in the home connect to commodity servers using traditional networks and IP addresses – a familiar paradigm. But more obscure protocols, like long range wireless, are also an important part of the IoT, especially in settings where implementing traditional network infrastructure is not feasible.

What facts like these show is that – despite the recent headlines made by certain segments of the IoT market – it’s better to think of the IoT as a relatively traditional computing paradigm that is slowly but steadily evolving. It’s also one that encompasses much more than the smart consumer devices that first come to mind when most people think of the IoT.

blog nest app Is This the Real Life or is it Just Fantasy? Peeking into Actual Adoption Rates of the IoT

IoT Adoption Trends

That the IoT is now as new as many people think does not mean that companies aren’t eager to invest in it. A Gartner study in early 2016 found that 29 percent were already using IoT technology, and another 14 percent planned to invest in it by the end of the year. The overall value of the global IoT market will surpass fourteen trillion dollars by 2022, according to Cisco.

IoT adoption rates and valuations are even higher within certain industries. A summer 2016 survey of retailers and logistics providers reported that 64 percent were already using IoT technology, for instance. Within manufacturing, IoT market size is expected to triple between 2015 and 2020.

IoT Challenges, and How to Overcome Them

It’s clear, then, that there is a lot of interest within the enterprise in investing in the IoT. But the fact that the IoT remains poorly understood shows that companies run the risk of making mistakes because they are not prepared to address all of the challenges posed by moving to the IoT. In order to invest in IoT technology successfully, companies should be prepared for the following:

  • Integrating data from diverse sources. 69 percent of CIOs report data integration as the biggest challenge they face in implementing industrial IoT technology. This is no surprise, given the fact that IoT devices and networks vary so widely. To solve this data integration challenge, organizations need tools that can aggregate information from a variety of sources.
  • Making sense of IoT data. The more devices and networks you have on the IoT, the harder it becomes to assure that the data they produce is actionable. To meet this challenge, enterprises have to deploy data analytics solutions that can interpret information in diverse forms.
  • Integrating IoT devices with legacy infrastructure. As noted above, not all IoT devices can simply connect to commodity servers using the standard Internet protocol. Enterprises that want to make the most of IoT connectivity need solutions that can facilitate connectivity and data exchange between new types of devices on the IoT and the old infrastructure that companies already have in place, like mainframes. Enterprises should not expect to rebuild their infrastructures from scratch just to make them IoT-friendly.
  • Securing IoT data. The expansion of the IoT is breeding a whole new generation of security risks. By compromising IoT devices, attackers can wreak real havoc on critical infrastructure. This makes securing IoT data – both on IoT devices themselves and on the servers that help to store and analyze that data – absolutely essential.

Fortunately, tools to help enterprises overcome the challenges to IoT adoption are already here. These include Syncsort’s collection of solutions for easing data storage and data analytics on infrastructure composed of diverse devices and networks.

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Syncsort blog

Driving Power BI adoption in your organization – Learn how Microsoft does this at scale

At Microsoft leaders across the company have committed to fostering a data culture and are often asked how to drive this type of change. An internal program designed to drive adoption of Power BI internally has been at the center of this cultural shift.  

Through a combination of training, a comprehensive communication strategy, and user-centric features and design, BI@Microsoft drives adoption of our data culture with Power BI. This program enables our employees to use data visualization, business intelligence and statistical analysis in their day-today jobs. Employees were previously limited by a mindset that they didn’t have the technical skills or time necessary to model data. Or they thought the data was not available or accessible. The BI@Microsoft program has proven that data driven decisions are possible at every level of the organization, while also creating loyal fans that influence their teams to use data to make informed decisions.  

As Microsoft’s “First and Best” customer, Microsoft employees have the responsibility and privilege to be the first people in the world to use Microsoft products in production. With Power BI, we are not only the first customer, but because of the reach and scale of our company, we are a great example of an active and engaged global Power BI user bases.   

BI@Microsoft is a program inside Microsoft IT which is responsible for the BI tools Microsoft employees use. We are responsible for two key things, driving rapid internal adoption of Power BI and influencing the Power BI product group so that it builds a product that meets the needs of large enterprise customers like Microsoft. This virtuous feedback cycle ensures we build better products for our external customers.

clip image0029 thumb Driving Power BI adoption in your organization – Learn how Microsoft does this at scale    

The purpose of this blog post is to explain how we drive adoption of Power BI at scale so that you can learn from our best practices and implement a similar method. That way you too can get the most value out of your Power BI licenses. Like you, we are always striving do more with less.  For that reason, our program is focused on reaching and influencing the behavior of employees at scale.

The BI@Microsoft program uses basic principles of change management to enable change inside the company. We focus on different activities based on the product lifecycle and recent updates. We might start the cycle over again when promoting a big new feature. The principles drive the following behaviors:

  1. Awareness—Employees are aware of the product and its features
  2. Understanding—Employees understand the benefits of the product and its features
  3. Enablement—Employees learn or know how to use the product and its features
  4. Adoption—Employees usethe product regularly

clip image0049 thumb Driving Power BI adoption in your organization – Learn how Microsoft does this at scale

We manage our program in what we call workstreams.  We’ve found this way of structuring the work very effective, and I think it will be easy for you to see what applies to your situation.  We will briefly explain each of the workstreams, and you can determine which of them are most appropriate for your company to help you get the most value out of Power BI.

Here is a list of all our workstreams, a description of each, and examples of tasks and goals that may apply to an external company.   We will limit this discussion only to the activities that a company outside of Microsoft would benefit from.

  • Strategy and Program Management
  • Power BI Subject Matter Expert (SME)
  • Website
  • Training
  • Service & Support
  • Social & Community
  • Reporting & Telemetry
  • Advisors
  • Suppliers

This illustration summarizes all the worktracks and prioritizes which to focus on first.

clip image0069 thumb Driving Power BI adoption in your organization – Learn how Microsoft does this at scale

Strategy and Program Management:  Our leadership team determines the strategy of the program and provides overall program management. This workstream aligns the program strategy to drive adoption of Power BI to your corporate BI and data strategy.  If you don’t have a corporate BI or data strategy, this is a great opportunity to determine one. At Microsoft, we were fortunate that the launch of Power BI aligned with our CIO’s drive to foster a Microsoft data-driven culture within Microsoft. Activities include but are not limited to:

  •          Obtaining executive sponsorship and communicating it
  •          Aligning program goals to corporate goals
  •          Planning strategy and execution, and measuring the program
  •          Obtaining program resources and budget
  •          Managing all the other workstreams

Power BI Subject Matter Expert (SME):   For the program to succeed, at least one person in the program must be a Power BI subject matter expert (SME).  This person (or persons) is a BI professional with deep experience and knowledge of how the company uses BI, and helps the program make all decisions related to Power BI usage inside the company. Activities include but are not limited to:

  • Understanding Power BI and how your company will use it
  • Continually learning and keeping current with the Power BI roadmap and features
  • Sharing knowledge about Power BI roadmap and features with the program and the company
  • Power BI content and timing for all other workstreams
  • Liaising with Power BI product group and Microsoft on behalf of your company
  • Advising the program and employees on features, timing, training
  • Vetting or creating content to publish through all workstreams
  • Planning and executing any early adoption and testing programs for employees

Website:  We created and manage an internal website for Microsoft employees to help them easily find all the information they need to adopt Power BI.  Our internal website is a critical component of our program and we use it as a platform for communicating the information employees need to adopt Power BI at scale. The internal website is a combination of curated public information about Power BI and company-specific content.   We use it as an anchor to publish and centralize the content we think employees need to use Power BI, which includes but is not limited to:

  •          Home page for announcements, easy-to-find links, the latest news
  •          Internal blog for Microsoft company specific content or confidential news
  •          Curated content from public Power BI sources
  •          Best practices for using Power BI
  •          Company-specific guidance (e.g., Microsoft IT security guidance for using Power BI with confidential data)
  •          How to get support on Power BI
  •          How to participate in our internal community
  •          How to meet with our advisory services
  •          List of preferred suppliers to hire for Power BI projects
  •          All training options—public and internal

A view of the internal Microsoft BI website.  We update this weekly with the news from not only Power BI, but all Microsoft BI related products like the recently announced Azure Analytics Services.

clip image0089 thumb Driving Power BI adoption in your organization – Learn how Microsoft does this at scale

Marketing:  A essential element of our program is our marketing.  Marketing the resources we make available to employees is critical to driving adoption at scale.   We use our marketing channels to communicate everything from how to make the best use of new features, to examples of how other teams are using Power BI, to corporate guidance on data security. We use standard marketing techniques like segmentation to target the right message to the right people at the right time.  We also promote the adoption and use of other BI backend tools like Cortana Intelligence Suite and Azure Analysis Services. Activities include but are not limited to:

  •          Segmenting users via telemetry and existing email distribution lists in the company
  •          Sending monthly newsletters to our three user segments: business users, analysts and developers
  •          Sending weekly training summary
  •          Planning and managing targeted marketing campaigns. For example, we are planning a marketing campaign in support of new security features that shipped recently that now make it possible to use Power BI to analyze our most confidential corporate data.

Training:  Another important component is ensuring that employees have the training they need to learn how to use Power BI. Because we started using Power BI before there was a formal public training program; we built a lot of our own training. You are lucky, there now is a wealth of publicly available Power BI training that you can use for your company!  Now that there is great public training is available, we have scaled back our custom training resources significantly and now leverage the public Power BI training as much as possible. Here are the activities we still do with regard to training:

  •          Identify and curate the best training and provide links to that from our website
  •          Host “Applied BI” 30-minute presentations in which internal users explain how they used Power BI to solve their business problems
  •          Host internal Dashboard in a Day training classes. This class content is available to partners for external delivery.
  •          Host monthly Office Hours where users can ask questions of the Power BI SME(s) and experts in the company
  •          Publish a weekly training summary with the best training published that week and upcoming live sessions
  •          Enable users to subscribe to internal training communications through a distribution list to receive all notices about upcoming training opportunities

Here’s a glance at the training page on our website where employees can find the best curated public training information, internal-only training opportunities and a link to sign up to our training newsletter:

clip image0109 thumb Driving Power BI adoption in your organization – Learn how Microsoft does this at scale

Support:  Microsoft has an internal HelpDesk for employees to find solutions to technical problems.   We use the Microsoft IT HelpDesk for all major applications used in the company including Office, Skype, and Windows. BI@Microsoft worked with the Power BI team and the IT HelpDesk team to streamline support for Power BI through the formal IT HelpDesk processes. To adopt Power BI, you will also want to determine what is the best support mechanism for your users and how you will integrate that with the standard help facilities or help desk you have for your users. Activities in this worktrack for you may include:

  •          Understanding your corporate technical support processes
  •          Determining how you want to provide technical support for Power BI for your users:
    •    Use the free support
    •    Use your company’s or corporate technical support processes to streamline support
  •          (Optionally) Purchasing a support contract for Power BI through Microsoft
  •          (Optionally) Establish a process for your internal technical support to escalate to Power BI through your support contract
  •          Communications to your employees about how to get support for Power BI through your company

Social & Community:  A workstream that we believe is very important to the success of adoption of a viral product like Power BI is the social & community workstream. We heavily leverage this workstream to increase employee awareness of Power BI, amplify our internal marketing campaigns , and give users a safe place to ask each other questions and get answers. You can use the Power BI public community or build your own community using your own internal social tools. We have an extensive Yammer community with many active members helping each other with Power BI questions. Tips for success for an internal Power BI community include the following:

  •          Provide a safe place to ask questions and get answers
  •          Identify experts in the company to help others
  •          Run contests to increase adoption through competition and fun—see the Annik custom visual contest as an example of a great community activity
  •          Host regular meeting to increase the number and expertise of your champions
  •          Plan and execute community activities that match your corporate culture to encourage users to engage and help each other

Strategic Advisors:  We have a small team of BI advisors who engage with key internal BI teams creating Power BI solutions for large internal teams.  These advisors work with the BI teams to ensure they are aware of and using all the resources available to help them adopt Power BI and facilitate their progress.    In your company, you could take a similar approach to ensure large internal Power BI projects are successful.

Reporting:   Finally, in alignment with our data-driven culture, we continually measure our program’s impact.  We analyze Power BI user activity and combine it with user surveys, interviews and focus groups to help make decisions on how to run and improve our program.   For example, we track employees Power BI usage and correlate it to delivery of internal training to see if the training was effective in helping employees use Power BI.   User activity is available to the Power BI admin settings which takes you to the Power BI audit logs.

We measure and report on nearly every aspect of our program to inform our decisions, including but not limited to:

  •          Power BI usage by division, team, and manager (MAU, WAU, DAU)
  •          Training attendance and activity
  •          Usage of our website
  •          Social activity

You can pick and choose which of these workstreams are most appropriate for your company and would likely yield the best results based on your corporate culture. Use them as examples and tailor them or similar activities to your company.

To help you understand more about how we did this:

Finally, I’ve made some Power BI feature requests that will make the effort to drive adoption at scale easier for others.  I hope you will take a look at these requests and vote for the features you believe your company would benefit from using and even make your own requests.   https://ideas.powerbi.com/forums/265200-power-bi-ideas/category/180799-adoption

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Engagement Strategies That Inspire CRM User Adoption

Engagement Strategies for CRM Adoption CRM Software Blog Image Engagement Strategies That Inspire CRM User Adoption

A well-executed CRM deployment will change the way you do business by transforming your relationships with prospects and customers, and by refining and revamping internal processes. But for CRM to achieve its full potential, it must be embraced and actively used by all stakeholders.

Resisting change and clinging to what’s familiar are part of human nature, even when such resistance works against us. What can you do to improve user adoption and ensure CRM success? Use value selling techniques to convey CRM’s worth to employees, just like you do with prospects and customers!

Employees need to understand CRM’s importance to the business and how it benefits them personally. Closing more sales, earning higher commissions, and meeting performance goals can be powerful motivators. So can improving customer satisfaction and net promoter scores. Like anything else, if users understand how CRM can make their life better, they are more likely to learn and use it.

Here’s how you can generate excitement and increase user adoption by engaging employees before, during and after implementing your CRM system.

Start with the Configuration Process

Would you embrace a system that doesn’t solve your problems or help you excel at your job? Of course not. Users know best what will help or hinder their success, and appreciate being part of the solution. Ask, listen, and include their real-world perspective when configuring CRM.

To ensure CRM delivers value to diverse stakeholders, the needs of every group should be represented as the system takes shape. We recommend working with carefully selected delegates from sales, marketing, customer service, accounting, and any area that impacts the customer experience.

Validate that CRM captures the data each group needs, and provides reports, views and dashboards that support decisive, goal-oriented actions. Solicit feedback on the effects of planned process changes. Seek ways to make customer activity transparent and promote collaboration across groups. And make sure the benefits of CRM are accessible on all appropriate devices and platforms.

Test Before Going Live

When users help configure their own CRM solution, they are naturally invested in its success and will gladly participate in acceptance testing before going live. Now it’s time for them to experience how CRM meets their needs and lives up to its promise. And you will learn what lies ahead in terms of system development, training and employee acceptance.

Use the testing phase to uncover blocks to user adoption and take steps to address any impediments, now or as future enhancements. Once convinced of CRM’s value, these users are instrumental in persuading their peers to accept CRM and support the organization’s mission in deploying it.

Training, Training, and More Training

CRM training takes many forms throughout the lifecycle of the system. Unfortunately, when training is approached as a “one size fits all” endeavor, user adoption and organizational satisfaction suffer. Comprehensive training and educated, enthusiastic users are essential for CRM success, so build your program with the following considerations in mind.

  • Value Training: Give users the big picture on how CRM makes everyone more successful. Share your hopes and expectations for CRM, and emphasize the positive results of the inevitable process changes. Demonstrate the tools they’ll use and explain the rationale behind key reports and activities. The more users understand CRM’s value, the more valuable it becomes.
  • Operational Training: This is where most training programs start and end… learning how to enter data, select criteria for views and reports, and perform basic tasks. Consider expanding operational training to explore what’s happening behind the user interface, and show how CRM works to create transparency and provide nuanced customer insights.
  • Role-Based Training: Generic training creates inefficiency when users they have to extrapolate whether something is important to them. To avoid this common pitfall, each stakeholder group or security level should receive separate training that focuses on their specific tasks, reports and goals. This is an important step toward autonomy and mastery of CRM.
  • Executive Training: Leadership should set an example and actively use CRM to develop successful business strategies. Every C-level employee should know what insights are available to them through CRM dashboards, analyses and other tools. They should also know how to monitor progress in every department and align each group with organizational goals.
  • Progressive Training: Once users master the basics, it’s helpful to deepen their working knowledge of CRM with more advanced training. Topics can include uncovering hidden trends in CRM data, analyzing reports, and using data to enable complementary activities such as marketing automation, event management, customer mapping and financial reporting.
  • Device Training: If CRM is deployed on multiple devices or platforms, there may be functional or technical differences in how CRM is used in each environment. Understanding these potential disparities is key to sustaining the productivity of remote and mobile employees.

User acceptance can’t be mandated, but it can be earned by including select users in the CRM process from inception to implementation and beyond. It’s also essential to with a technology partner who understands the direct relationship between adoption and CRM success.

With comprehensive planning that emphasizes user engagement and a robust training program, you will be rewarded with a CRM system that changes employee behaviors and drives strategies that improve sales, marketing, and organizational performance. Call me at 330-929-1353, extension 224, for more insights.

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