Wednesday, November 23, 2016

November 2016 Blog Review

Before everyone runs off for Thanksgiving, we can take a few moments to be thankful for all the CRM blogs in the world and the knowledge that they bring us. I am so thankful for CRMUG and how much I have learned over the years. This past year I was stretched and presented in webinars and at CRMUG Summit. It was such a great experience and I hope to present even more in 2017!

Now let's catch up on the news from the past few weeks.

Speaking of CRMUG Summit - check out Ledgeview Partners post: CRMUG Summit '16 Highlights Dynamics 365 Announcement

PowerObjects was sharing lots of great content here are a few I recommend you take a look at:

RSM shared Fully Utilizing the Business Process Flow in CRM. This shows some ideas for how to combine Business Process Flows with Workflows, custom fields and other out of the box customization to make a more robust solution. Your Business Process Flow can do more than just show users which fields to fill out when.

Sonoma Partners shared Activity Feeds are Made of This. There may be some confusion about Activity Feeds vs Yammer vs Activities so this blog walks through what entities are involved in Activity Feeds and how to use them effectively.

 Jukka Niiranen also posted about 365 in Reflecting on Dynamics 365. This talks about the change in CRM technology and how Microsoft is changing with the introduction of PowerApps and Flow.

As always, I encourage you to stay up to date with CRM Tip of the Day!

That's all for today! Have a great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

CRMUG Summit 2016 Recap

CRM MVPs at the Medic booth just hanging out with CRMUGDC

Another awesome year of CRMUG Summit has come and gone. It was a great event!

If you attended, be sure to download the slides from the Summit Community. If you did not attend, be on the lookout for the "Best of Summit" Webinar series open to CRMUG members. I would recommend Basics of Becoming your Organizations CRM Guru (recording) and Advanced Techniques for Becoming your Organizations CRM guru (coming up on 11/17).

There was lots of discussion about the new Dynamics 365 release at the main keynote with Scott Guthrie and the CRMUG General Microsoft Keynote with Jujar Singh. There are so many great plans on the horizon like Cortana integrated intelligence, editable excel grids in CRM, and visual process flow designer. Keep your eyes open and looking for the exciting things to come.

Another highlight of the week was being selected as Chapter Leader of the Year for my work with the Washington, DC chapter. It is such a great honor and I am so thankful to be a part of a great chapter! I hope we can continue to grow and provide great content in 2017. (You can read the press release here)

So excited to be Chapter Leader of the Year!
Check out below to see my takeaways from some of the sessions I attended.

Post Launch: What Happens Now
Dan Madden, SEI Investments

This session was a great discussion of the user adoption story at his organization. They took some risks and drastic steps to ensure the CRM project was a success including purging old/bad data and short forms.

Here are my top takeaways:
  • The problem with hands on training is that people start Outlook and stop paying attention, minimize distractions
  • Focus on high-level features then provide support and deeper training post-launch
  • Record training sessions so these can be sent to users, takes away scheduling issues with training
  • Marketing adoption is very important! If marketing doesn't have adoption they will be pulling users out of CRM and into Spreadsheets. If users need to update data twice (CRM and spreadsheet) they will stop using CRM
  • Make use of dashboards! Do not release these on Day 1, wait until the data is there to support it. Incorporate the high level financial goals of the organization and present this data so users can see how they are achieving in these areas. Show users what their data is doing and powering - real time and transparent reporting
  • Keep forms small and expose necessary fields as others are filled in.
  • Look for meaningful wins but be careful which projects you take over (can be sunsetting other people's projects)
  • Look to solve the business and data needs, you do not need to take advantage of all new features

Keys to Marketing Automation in CRM
Dean Jones, PowerObjects

This partner showcase for PowerObjects' PowerNurture discussed what marketing is and the goal of marketing. He discussed that it is very difficult to quantify ROI for marketing because you do not know what it means. We cannot actually tell what can be attributed to the marketing. Plus everyone has a different definition of marketing.

The suggestion was to start simple and then continue to add to your marketing solution. Keep in mind you don't just market to leads, you market to customers too!

Tactical tools can help you to execute your marketing message but you need to define your marketing plan and message before this. Marketing must take ownership of this plan. Market to leads and customers in your CRM, the focus must be on both. Also the recommendation given was that all of your marketing data should be kept in CRM so you have a full picture of the person.

You want to send the right message to the right person at the right time. The shot gun approach to marketing is less effective than a targeted message.

ABC's of CRM Training
Malin Dell'Amico, Wells Fargo
Kristi Cohen , Wells Fargo

This was a great session about things to keep in mind with CRM Training but most can apply to any training you are involved in.

During training: Start off by telling users how CRM will benefit them. Show them how it will make them more efficient. Also communicate the expectations after training - what is the timeframe for using this knowledge, what are they expected to know, etc. Keep a positive attitude in training so your enthusiasm will spread to them. Also acknowledge issues and teach them how to handle them (for example, if there is duplicate data teach them how to merge. Also try to organize your training for it follow their processes and flows together.

After training: Provide something for them to use as a recap when they get back to the office. Embed videos inside CRM and links to training materials. Make sure to mark these as new when they are updated. Ensure there are power users to help with questions and additional training.

Potential Pitfalls: Check you have the right level of management buy in (not just the very top). Users should know that the training is critical, ensure that it is their top priority and limit the distractions while in class. Ensure users understand that other people are using the same system and how processes affect their data.

Different Strokes: Business Rules vs JavaScript
Donna Edwards, Tribridge

Many people are using Business Rules to replace Java Script on their CRM forms or for new form enhancements. Donna recommended to use Business Rules when you can. These should run faster because Microsoft is controlling the code, JavaScript is controlled by whoever wrote it. Keep in mind that there can be odd interactions between Business Rules and Java Script so test extensively.

Business Rules can run on the client or the server. Client (form level) will require a user to interact with the form. Server level does not require a user interaction and it will trigger even when records are integrated.

The run order is as follows: system JavaScript, custom JavaScript, then Business Rules in the order they were activated.

  • Business Rules can be included in a solution when moving between environments
  • Always set the counter action (else if)
  • Do not have JavaScript and Business Rules taking action on the same field

Getting Started with Excel Templates
Adam Vero, CRM MVP

Please download the slides for this session! So many great tips for getting started with Excel Templates along with general advice for better Excel reporting. Here were my top takeaways:
  • Dynamic Export vs Excel Templates
    • In Dynamic Export you must maintain one approved version, this is difficult to control as people may edit their personal versions
    • Dynamic Exports can include data from other versions, CRM query is built in
    • Excel Templates stores the columns but not the filters, you can choose which view you want to uses each time you run it
    • Excel Templates are managed in CRM, so users will always get the most recent version
  • Keep raw data on one tab. Make a new tab for calculations and one for the final report. Work and data tabs can be hidden.
  • If you change the template, you need to deactivate and create a new template with the same name. If done mid-day, users will need to refresh.
  • When using PivotTables, use the GetPivot data formulas to extract data from the Pivot
  • Keep your colors consistent for related dimensions for consistency within and between reports

Tools for CRM

Two more great sessions I attended were XRM Factor (6 tools, 2 minutes each, live voting, non-stop excitement!) and 8 Tools for Developers and Admins. Both provided some great tools you should check out to see if they could work in your organization.

  1. Fiddler - web debugging proxy
  2. Task Workflow Tools - custom workflow steps to extend your workflows
  3. Mobile Task Flows - walk users through tasks in the mobile or phone app
  4. Ribbon Workbench - visually edit the ribbon
  5. CRM Bookmarklets - JavaScript saved as bookmarks to "hack" your CRM (edit read only fields, show hidden fields, etc.)
  6. XRM Toolbox - pretty much anything else not on this list (and some on this list) that you might want to do with CRM. I recommend the metadada document generator to look like you did a lot of work!
  7. Metablast - visual utility for exporting metadata
  8. CRM Snoop - Plugin Troubleshooting tool
  9. LinqPad - Easily run .NET code
  10. CRM DevTools - Chrome extension visible in the F12 developer area with lots of helpful functions for admins. Downloaded as soon as I got back to the office. It is worth it just to remember the debug and diagnostic links
  11. KingswaySoft - SSIS Integration toolkit

Monday, November 7, 2016

October 2016 Blog Review

October has been a very busy month for CRM. We have had the announcement for Dynamics 365 and of course CRMUG Summit (my recap coming soon, see Sonoma's right now). Let's jump right in to all the blogs that have been flying around throughout the month.

Ledgeview Partners showed us how to create mappings in Auto-Populate Opportunities with lead Data in CRM.

PowerObjects walks through a workflow example in Using Workflows to Switch Between Business Process Flows Automatically.

Hitachi wants to keep everyone's CRM systems running smoothly and shared 15 tips and Safegurards to Speed up your CRM Server.

Sonoma Partners also posted performance tips this month in Dynamics CRM Performance Considerations. This focuses on changes inside of CRM (security, views, etc.) whereas Hitachi focuses a bit more on server and more technical items.

Also check out RSM's Two Easy Ways to Improve CRM Forms. This shows some ways to use web resources to quickly make changes such as moving check boxes to the other side or adding instruction boxes.

Everyone struggles with CRM for Outlook troubleshooting. To assist with this the Microsoft support blog posted a multi-part series giving information and troubleshooting tips. Here are a few parts I would recommend:
Of course we should also talk about Dynamics 365. So start off with PowerObjects' What is Dynamics 365? and then for more information read Hitachi Solution's Understanding Dynamics 365: What you Need to Know and How it Affects your Business.

That's all I have to share. Anything I missed? What exciting news have you been following?