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Showing posts from September, 2016

InfoStrat QuickStart for Dynamics CRM Frequently Asked Questions

My company InfoStrat offers a QuickStart packaged service offering to help clients quickly get up and running with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. We receive many questions on when the QuickStart is the best fit for your CRM project.  These are the frequently asked questions (FAQ).
How long does the QuickStart take? The QuickStart is a one-week engagement to get you and your users up and running with Dynamics CRM.  We provide templates for requirements and details such as user roles before the QuickStart begins. Why should I hire a Microsoft Gold Partner to help? If this is your first experience with Dynamics CRM, you can save time and avoid false starts.  Hiring an outside consultant can increase the priority of the effort and prevent the implementation from being stalled by competing priorities.  Which CRM module should I start with? We recommend you choose from sales, service or marketing based on your business priorities.  Who participates in the QuickStart? The most successful enga…

Victim Notification with SAVIN: South Dakota Goes Statewide

In July 2016, South Dakota rolled out a fully statewide SAVIN notification system using the solution from InfoStrat.  
The SAVIN solution provides victims with timely and accurate notifications of changes to offender custody and case status. Built on Microsoft Dynamics CRM, it leverages the best of breed technology which is regularly upgraded by Microsoft. It provides a wide range of tools for administrators including ad hoc reporting and query development, workflow management, internal alerting, integration with Microsoft Office, role-based security, and many other standard features. 
The SAVIN solution can be implemented on premise or in the Microsoft cloud. And it can be implemented as a stand-alone solution for a specific justice organization (Corrections Department, Jail, Court, Prosecutor, etc.) or as a complete statewide solution including data from multiple justice organizations.
Highlights of the South Dakota implementation include: Exclusive use of the NIEM Standard SAVIN d…

Microsoft Feature Wish List: Editable Grids in Adxstudio Portals for Dynamics CRM

When Microsoft acquired Adxstudio, it gained a powerful and flexible portal for Dynamics CRM.  A portal is essential for interacting with users outside your organization, such as customers, partners, suppliers and others.

My wishlist feature for today is an editable grid to allow users to easily add or edit multiple detail records from a web page.  For instance, it is handy to allow a grantee for Microsoft Grants Manager Plus to create a project budget and enter multiple budget line items from a single page.

Please correct me if this feature has been added since I last looked, or you have seen it in the Microsoft roadmap.

How Many CRMs Do You Need?

Managing relationships with people is the heart of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, whether they are customers, vendors, business partners, constituents or other people. So in that sense, there is hardly any organization that doesn't do CRM even if they don't own CRM software such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM or Salesforce.  The most common way to manage people is in your email such as Outlook contacts, or Excel spreadsheets with lists of people to whom you send mail or emails.

What we often find that our clients inadvertently end up with more than on CRM, because the same information on people is tracked in multiple systems.  Universities, for instance, may have separate systems for applicants, students, alumni, donors, and parents even though over time these may be the same people. Similarly, organizations that recruit members or employees end up tracking the same people over a long period of time.  The more overlapping CRM systems you maintain, the greater the…

Workflow Automation with Microsoft Flow and Azure Logic Apps

In June 2016, Microsoft released the preview of its Flow workflow productivity app.  This app allows you to create transactions that span multiple software products in a similar way to competitors IFTTT and zapier.  For instance, I might want an incoming email to save attachments to SharePoint or Dropbox, or generate a notification by text for an email sent from a key contact.

You can start with a Flow template and customize it to your business needs. Flow doesn't require programming and is simple to configure.

Today Microsoft offers connections to 45 services including Office 365, Twitter, Dropbox, Salesforce, MailChimp, and Slack.  Microsoft is adding more services and improving the performance and reliability of Flow.

What is even more exciting to me is that Microsoft offers an industrial strength workflow app for business customers.  Flow templates can be migrated to Azure Logic Apps  which allow developers to build complex and scalable workflows, and to create new connectors…

CRM and Marketing for Government Contractors

In earlier blog posts I have discussed how government contracting is different from other sales processes, and how to adapt your CRM system for the government capture (sales) process.

The traditional sales model which still prevails in government contracting is to target particular agencies and seek meetings with contracting officers and end customers.  There is no substitute for this sales activity on the ground, but government purchasers are slowly changing their behavior, and relying on online searches to find sources for products and services.

This trend increases the importance of marketing activities by government contractors, including better websites, social marketing, and search engine optimization.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM, especially combined with ClickDimensions, can help government contractors increase their visibility rapidly.

Here are some of the ways you can use CRM for marketing to government agencies:

Create landing pages on your website and track the behavior of vi…