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Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 Implementation For Large Corporation - Overview

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 Implementation For Large Corporation - Overview

Since December 2005 we are talking about Microsoft CRM version 3.0. In the case of established corporate business we usually deal with such legacy environment as IBM Lotus Notes Domino (predecessor of all the modern CRM applications as well as legitimate generic CRM platform), integration with Microsoft (such as MS SQL Server) and non-Microsoft database platforms and applications: Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle Financials and custom Oracle databases, IBM AS/400 and RS6000 DB2 applications, SUN Java II EJB (as eCommerce front and back ends). Microsoft CRM should be integrated with existing applications and there is no way to simply switch all the corporate ERP to become Microsoft Windows workshop. Let's look at Corporate MRP for large corporation and how Microsoft CRM 3.0 could contribute and be a part of its computer environment. 

 

o Sales Module. You should probably begin with simple. If you are facing sales department reshaping (from computerization standpoint) - you can apply all your MCSE skills and knowledge to install, integrate (with MS Exchange, Active Directory, custom MS SQL databases) and train Sales people to use MS CRM as their sales automation software. It is pretty intuitive: you register Sales Lead, then move it to the Opportunity (where you can create a quote), then move it to Account/Customer and then you can use MS CRM Outlook client to print Sales Quote with Microsoft Mail Merge technology (MS Word format template with your company logo and quotation lines). If you start with Sales module - the investment (MS CRM software license cost) will be optimized/minimized - all the other departments will be working with their "legacy" CRM applications, such as Siebel, SalesLogix, Lotus Notes Domino, custom CRM systems, etc. 

 

o MS CRM Security. Security comes one of the firsts when we are talking about corporate environment. In MS CRM you have two conceptions: Owning and Sharing CRM objects. You can share object with unlimited number of groups, the drawback of sharing - shared object (Lead, Opportunity, Account, Contact) doesn't show in my Leads, my Opportunities, my Accounts, etc. as well as in MS CRM Outlook client calendar 

 

o Integration with Microsoft Dynamics GP 9.0/Microsoft Great Plains. Microsoft CRM 1.2 had Microsoft Great Plains CRM integration tool, utilizing BizTalk behind the scenes and our company used it to move MS CRM Customers and Orders into our Accounting - Microsoft Great Plains 8.0. With the version 3.0 of Microsoft CRM and Microsoft Dynamics GP 9.0 we see that Scribe Software is the champion with the integration between the two - however Scribe Software dictates the price for its integration tool 

 

o Integration with IBM Lotus Notes Domino. This was relatively long story. Both Microsoft Business Solutions and Lotus Software were reluctant to recognize and support Microsoft CRM Lotus Notes Domino connector, written and supported by Alba Spectrum Technologies, beginning with MS CRM 1.2 and Lotus Notes 6.0 (when Java agents were introduced for IBM Lotus Domino). Then, when Microsoft Business Solutions lost Microsoft CRM sales to such client as Caterpillar in LATAM to Saleslogix CRM - Microsoft in Sao Paulo changed its position. Now Alba Spectrum connector is recognized by Microsoft and is on the way to be recognized and recommended by IBM as well. One of the main reasons to keep utilizing both CRM solutions: Lotus and Microsoft - to optimize software licenses cost - IBM Lotus licenses (used in Legal, Production/Manufacturing, Customer Support) and Microsoft CRM licenses (used in Sales & Marketing departments) 

 

o International Considerations. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is preferred Microsoft Business Solutions CRM worldwide, however Microsoft Dynamics AX (Microsoft Axapta) and Microsoft Dynamics NAV (Microsoft Navision/Navision Attain) have their own CRM modules. Integration between Microsoft Great Plains exists, plus integration with Navision and Axapta is and will be available through third parties. If you are Multinational corporation with manufacturing facilities in Latin America, Brazil, Africa, Asia, Australia - and you would like to use one of MBS ERP products in your headquarters: Axapta, Navision, Great Plains or Solomon (Microsoft Dynamics SL). Localization question is relatively simple for Microsoft CRM 3.0 - it is easily translated to Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, German, French, Russian, Polish, Chinese, Dutch, Japanese, etc. 

 

o Competition. We already mentioned Oracle E-Business Suite. From SAP - you should consider SAP Business One with its CRM module and integration with Microsoft Office/Outlook (this is not related to Mendocino SAP mySAP SAP R/3 or SAP all-in-One project with Microsoft - SAP Business One has its own original integration with MS Office) 


Microsoft CRM Integration & Customization: SharePoint Document Gateway 
 
MS CRM is very close to document workflow automation, including Microsoft Office documents: Words, Excel, etc. The document workflow was perfectly automated about 10 years ago in Lotus Notes Domino. In this small article we describe the solution based on MS CRM integration with MS SharePoint. 
 
Microsoft CRM is new player on CRM applications market and it is gaining its market share. Having different paradigm in its design (it stakes on Microsoft OS and technologies and completely disregards alternative platform, such as UNIX, Linux, Oracle, etc. based). Microsoft CRM market is very diversified: from small (5 users) to large (several hundred MS CRM User licenses) and it serves variety of industries: Transportation, Logistics, Lawyers, Pension Funds, High-Tech, and many others. Deploying technologies, like Windows Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange 2003/2000, SQL Server, Crystal Reports Enterprise, Biztalk, Microsoft Outlook, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Great Plains and Navision in close future - makes CRM a beloved system for Microsoft oriented IT departments. 
 
Let's go right to the topic. 
 
Major issue with storing documents in MS CRM in the form of attachments to Activity is inability to work on these attached files in cooperation with other colleagues, who do not have to use CRM. When several service people serve requests from the same client this is required. Currently you can use alternative way when you store office documents in the folders of your file system and when modifying document, you save it and reattach to CRM. This is inconvenient, because first it requires all your editing users to have CRM licenses, which delays CRM implementation. 
 
We seem increasing popularity of document storage systems, like Microsoft SharePoint, Oracle Files, etc. Such systems, being implemented gives you time savings, related to documents revisions and versioning, approval cycles and workflows, web access through web-portals systems and the like. 
 
The target of our product is Microsoft SharePoint integration with MS CRM for document storage. Let's take a look at the high level technical realization details: 
 
oMain modification from the MS CRM side is standard system behavior change when you open attachment in Activity. Standard unmodified CRM suggests you to store documents in the file system. Modified version sores document in SharePoint Document Library (the required library is subject for setup by MS CRM system administrator) or keep it in MS CRM as is (for documents of minor importance). From the moment of saving the document in SharePoint Document Library it is not stored in MS CRM - CRM will now store only the link/reference to the document. Also you are given the ability to open and modify the document at the place of opening, which speeds up MS CRM user performance substantially. 
 
oTable, storing the links to the documents sits in separate database and doesn't deal with MS CRM tables (you know that you are banned to do structure changes in MS CRM db) 
 
oDocument saving into MS SharePoint process occurs in MS CRM and with its assistance - SharePoint bridge, which does addition and update for the existing document into destination Document Library with MS SharePoint Web Services calls 
 
oUpon the addition into Document Library, MS CRM - SharePoint bridge registers the document in the special table for the future data extraction or notification mechanism registration 
 
oThen, interested users can work with the documents just using MS Office 2003 or other programs/editing tools, assuming these tools have access to MS SharePoint 
 
oFeedback is provided by MS SharePoint Event Handler component. This is special handler, inspecting document change status, transferred from MS CRM to document storage (SharePoint), and report Activity owner on the changes with home page notifications (User home page in MS CRM). User in turn can review the history of the document editing - who, when and where is the change 
 
oOpening Activity, where document is "attached", and in fact placed into MS SharePoint Document Library, and pressing opening button, MS CRM user gets live version of the data 
 
oThis approach allows you seamless work with MS CRM document in the whole informational space of your company 
 
oAdditional enhancements to this product might be document library management directly from MS CRM (web interface - meaning remotely), administrative interface for MS Sharepoint documents revision, ability to create reports on the document storage status, rights/access management (Author, Reader, Contributor etc) from MS CRM, portal pages integration into MS CRM to name a few. 



CRM Hacks to Increase Sales for Your Mid-Size Business 
 
While most companies know what a CRM solution is, few CRM Consultants effectively guide companies how to properly use CRM to generate their extra sales. This especially holds true for mid-size companies who do not have pockets as deep as their larger competition. Making maximum use of this tool can make an enormous difference in their top line. 
 
CRM, as we all know, are great tools to help companies get a 360º overview of their entire customer data. It links the data to the rest of the data management systems in various other departments of the organization. It is also worth mentioning that Salesforce, Microsoft or any other Open Source CRM Development Services, have changed the way mid-size businesses use their CRM platforms. 
 
The real utility of these amazing software, however, is how it helps companies build a customer-centric business model that automatically bonds all the departments to fill one, clear objective of the company: keeping the customers happy. 
 
Let us explore a few tricks and hacks that are sometimes forgotten by companies while using their CRMs. 
 
Enhancing Traditional Sales Methods: 
 
Most mid-size companies in the U.S. use a combination of traditional and new age processes to drive sales. By traditional, we mean cold calls and face-to-face appointment setting. These processes are majorly dependent on human-generated sales leads. 
 
One should keep in mind the power of relationship building in sales. For years, sales agents have built up their databases for prospect clients directly on the field or from other third-party sources. This valuable lead base is often lost when the employee leaves the organization. Manually entering the acquired lead contacts into the system at the office takes up to 15 productive workdays in a year, in a typical traditional sales setup. 
 
When you implement an automated CRM mobile app with your field sales, reps can enter the data into your system in real time. The organization has to communicate to the sales agent the benefits of having such a system as it becomes much easier for them as well to manage their own data. 
 
In our CRM consulting sessions, we cannot stress enough how this newly acquired lead data is important to an organization. It directly connects to the rest of your data system. It can also be easily traced if the particular lead was previously acquired by another sales agent, and whether there is a previous good or bad history with them. Such a process reduces the sales cycle so sales agents will not have to run around to find out about the lead. 
 
Managing Digital Leads: 
 
Digital leads, as the name suggests, come from digital sources. Digitally generated warm and cold leads may come from your email list, paid campaigns or other website referrals. This information is taken into account for your CRM Integration. 
 
If the same client has been generating queries from various digital sources engaging in conversation multiple times, and visiting your website multiple times, it most likely indicates they are interested in your product and there is a high chance one can convert them. Sales managers can segregate low-hanging leads this way using the CRM data. 
 
Even for the emails going out to your email list, CRM data helps in designing special campaigns. It also can personalize the offer to fit into something they are really looking for. 
 
Relationship Management: 
 
In account-based or high net worth selling, relationship management is undoubtedly the key to acquire, retain and upsell to clients of the mid-size business. CRM is now a highly customizable tool that lets you capture detailed information about the decision-making process. 
 
Apart from a history of complaints, such as RFQs for example, one can also capture personal details in the CRM. For instance, their favorite past time. It could be tennis for a few, and golf for others. This means when you schedule your next client meeting, you can plan it accordingly and help them meet other like-minded professionals. This can help strengthen your customer-client relationship. 
 
Even for service agents in mid-size companies, in-depth data about client history can help them create better offers. They can also have more meaningful conversations, even if the last relationship manager has left the organization without a hand-over to the next one. 
 
AllianceTek Inc. works hand-in-hand with CRM Implementation in organizations. We also help you realize its true potential with our extensive experience with mid-size CRM Solutions. 
 
CRM solutions offer multiple ways to help mid-size companies generate sales. CRM platforms effectively guide companies and users how to effectively use CRM to generate extra sales. When you implement an automated CRM mobile app with your field sales, reps can enter the data into your system in real time. 

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