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Showing posts from July, 2016

10 Questions for Firsthand Marketing Research

You can hire marketing researchers to study your market, and read studies that others have made in your industry to understand which marketing techniques are most effective. You should also consider yourself as a sample of one and pay attention to your behavior as a way of injecting some common sense into your marketing plan.

Ask yourself questions like these:

Do you pick up the phone when a telemarketer calls at your home?  At your office? When you find out who is trying to sell to you, do you think more or less highly of that brand?What do you think about companies that show up high on organic web searches?  Is it different that they way you consider those that purchase ads from search engines?  What about those that have ads and also score high in organic search results?How many pages of search results are you willing to read before giving up?  How many products or companies do you need to find before you consider you have researched the competition? Three options, ten options? Mor…

Understanding Microsoft AppSource and Dynamics 365

On July 6, 2016, Microsoft announced the introduction of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft AppSource. Scheduled to be available in the fall of 2016, Microsoft Dynamics 365 will allow new ways for customers to consume Microsoft's current CRM and ERP cloud offerings based on business functions such as financials, field service, sales, operations, marketing, project management and customer service.

Microsoft AppSource will be an online store for cloud services from Microsoft and third party providers such as InfoStrat and other Microsoft partners.  Microsoft expects to offer more than 200 business SaaS apps, add-ins and content packs when AppSource launches.



The announcement garnered quite a bit of response in the press, including the Wall Street Journal and Forbes
Although all the details of Dynamics 365 have not been announced, the essence is bundling and un-bundling of products and features from Microsoft's extensive Dynamics catalog.  Microsoft is enhancing the integrat…

Statewide Grant Management Systems

State governments are slowly moving toward standardization of their grants management systems. Grant management software has been a small niche for many years, and government agencies tend to allow each grant program to choose its own software package, leading to duplication of cost and effort as well as making consolidated reporting difficult.

The rise of cloud computing is leading to consolidation and standardization of those grant management systems.  Major cloud providers have entered the market, and have invested in government cloud facilities which comply with rigorous U.S. Government security requirements and governance standards such as FedRAMP and FISMA.

Microsoft is one of the key players in grant management with its Grants Manager Plus solution running on Dynamics CRM Government as well as its Azure Government platform.

Choosing large vendors is a way for government to reduce the risk that a supplier will go out of business or its product will be retired after an acquisitio…

Microsoft's New Dynamics CRM Product: Project Service

Microsoft has intensified the pace of innovation in Dynamics CRM, adding a broad set of new capabilities in recent versions of Dynamics CRM Online.  Most of these have been from companies that Microsoft acquired, such as Customer Service (Parature), Field Service (FieldOne), gamification (FantasySales Team), and Marketing (MarketingPilot).

Project Service, the latest addition, was developed in-house by Microsoft.  It offers an end-to-end solution that helps sales and delivery teams track project delivery activities.

Project service helps you:
Estimate, quote, and contract workTrack time and expensesPlan and assign resourcesEnable team collaborationCapture time, expense, and progress data for real-time insights and accurate invoicingProject-based contracts
Project contracts relate quotes and orders to project plans, financial estimates, labor pricing, and billing arrangements, like time and materials or fixed price. The contract highlights key metrics, including profitability and feasi…