Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Getting Users on Board with Dynamics CRM 2015

In a previous post, I discussed some techniques for getting developers on board with your Customer Relationship Management implementation. Now for the real challenge...getting users to adopt your CRM.

The success of your CRM implementation hinges more on user adoption and data quality than any other factors.  Despite the arguable progress in software features, driving user adoption remains the most difficult challenge of CRM implementation.

Much has been written on the subject, such as Microsoft's training and adoption kit. Here are some highlights from my experience:
  1. Adopting CRM is not painless.  Help users understand that it will be hard work and sometimes frustrating, but the results will be worthwhile.  Setting unrealistic expectations of an easy process will make it harder to succeed.
  2. Show the support of upper management.  This means communications from leaders of your organization, attending meetings on the CRM project, and participating in implementation decisions.  Lack of interest can be contagious.
  3. Establish incentives for adoption.  Find those that fit with your organization's culture and which will work to motivate users.  For instance, in sales force automation, use a CRM dashboard as the centerpiece of every sales meeting, and don't discuss opportunities that have not been entered.
  4. Be sure to save enough funding and energy to provide training for users. Provide enough training but not so much that it seems overwhelming.  Don't train until your system is ready to use, at least as a proof of concept, because we forgot quickly without a chance to practice.
  5. During the adoption period, fix defects quickly and communicate problems to users.  Don't provide excuses to abandon the system.
Call me at 202-364-8822 x109 if you would like InfoStrat's help with driving adoption of your CRM system.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Moving Your Association to the Microsoft Cloud Part 1


Associations are often ideally suited to gain the most from moving their computing infrastructure to the cloud.  Industry experts point to cost savings, performance, and reliability gains you can achieve by moving your organization’s computing to cloud data centers. In order to make the most of cloud infrastructure, associations need a sound business case for moving to the cloud and an approach to determine which applications and servers should be moved and when. 

We recommend a gradual approach to moving to the cloud to minimize migrations cost and disruption.   This approach leads to a hybrid cloud where you will be using some applications in the cloud and some applications on premise.

InfoStrat has worked with national associations for over 25 years.  We have helped associations migrate to the cloud and have learned some valuable lessons along the way.

This blog series is written for associations that are beginning their analysis of the benefits and costs of moving to the Microsoft cloud.  Read the full whitepaper Moving Your Association to the Microsoft Cloud Step-by-Step.

Call me at 202-364-8822 x109 or email me at jimt@infostrat.com if you would like to discuss your needs and how we can help.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The DATA Act Driving Grant Management Automation

The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act enacted in May 2014 calls for making spending data available in open, standardized formats to be published online.  It is a continuation of transparency initiatives and lessons learned with experiences such as grants.gov, the 2009 economic stimulus under the Recovery Act and the spending site USASpending.gov.

Government grantees will have significant new administrative responsibilities.  Many organizations that were tracking grants in spreadsheets or documents will have to adopt more sophisticated automated grant management systems such as Microsoft Grants Manager to keep up with reporting rules.

For profit companies will lose some privacy as a result of this law.  Grant recipients will be required to disclose information including officer salaries.

Continued improvements to publishing grant opportunities such as grants.gov may make it easier to find grants. These reforms together are designed to improve the effectiveness of grant programs and to prevent fraud and abuse in such programs.

Call me at 202-364-8822 x109 or email me at jimt@infostrat.com if you would like to discuss your needs and how we can help.

For more information on grant management and Microsoft Grants Manager Plus, see my posts:

Microsoft Grants Manager Plus Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
6 Things to Look for in Grant Management Software
Estimating the Cost of a Microsoft Grants Manager Plus Implementation
Grants Manager Plus: Theme and Variations
Microsoft Grants Manager Plus
Online Resources for Microsoft Grants Manager Plus
Portal Options for Microsoft Grants Manager
Statewide Grant Management Systems

Usage Scenarios for Microsoft Grants Manager