xRM: Strategies in Action

By harnessing the power of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, xRM can deliver a new and more flexible way to manage relationships.   Here are just a few examples: 
  • A large, state government-based organization uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM to manage its teacher certification program.   In the system, contacts are educators.   Each educator has areas in the system for tracking their schooling, work history, and certifications. The system also contains a portal so that educators can, for example, update their personal information and pay certification fees online. 
  • A major financial institution wanted a system to better manage the process by which they review and interview potential hires.  Using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, a solution was built to track candidate documents (resumes and cover letters) and schedule all activities held during the process of recruitment, like the initial screening, resume review and finally, interview. 
  •  A U.S. Air Force command utilizes Microsoft Dynamics CRM to receive, disseminate, and track the chain of organizational tasks and resulting sub-tasks within their organization and from Air Force Headquarters at the Pentagon.   In this system, accounts are organizations and contacts are users and action officers charged with the coordination and response to policies and procedures.
  •  Our most recent xRM implementation involved a national sports governing body.  The organization needed a system which would consolidate operations between it and its many associations—up to 110 of them.  We created a CRM template solution which leveraged our hosted infrastructure.  This template is fully customizable and can be developed to suit the individual requirements of each association.  The system now provides a centralized entry point for disparate data sources, something which improves workflow and communications between associations. 







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CRM’s Role in a Challenging Economy

In today’s economic climate, customer loyalty can separate who will stay in business and who will go under. In fact, improving customer loyalty and experience are listed in Forrester’s Trends 2009 report as the top two concerns of business executives.


That’s why companies should demand more from their CRM solution.   To help you navigate through these times, we are offering this informative Microsoft Whitepaper, “Customer Relationship Management: The Winning Strategy in a Challenging Economy,” which covers such topics as the role of CRM, maximizing customer profitability, evaluating your marketing mix, criteria for technology adoption and more.  To get additional details, download it here.

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What is Unified Communications?

With the current global business environment, people need to find, communicate, and collaborate with each other as quickly and easily as possible. Businesses want a product that maintains the competitive edge yet is user friendly, cost effective, streamlined and increases efficiency. Microsoft Unified Communications is the solution. It helps businesses reduce operating costs of travel, telecom and IT, while enabling them to improve business outcomes in more sustainable ways.

Unified Communications unites messaging, voice, video, IM and calenders. It is fully intergrated with all Microsoft products. When phone services become software, are managed by a server, and are delivered to desktop applications, interesting things happen:

  • The computer starts to work like a phone.
  • The phone starts to work like a computer.
  • Voice mail becomes email

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What’s New: Social xRM, Part Two

Forrester Analyst Jeremiah Owyang projects that in two years, social networks like Facebook and Twitter will become even more powerful than company websites and traditional CRM systems.  Customer relationships will be built on these platforms and growth will be driven by community and individual brand advocacy.    xRM comes into play again in this new era of “Social Commerce”—it’s a framework that can manage all existing relationships and pave the way for developing new ones as well. Read more about the future of social media and what it means for CRM, here.


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What’s New: Social xRM

Facebook just hit its 200 million user mark and Twitter’s increasing popularity is the big story so far this year.   Many companies are using social networking and micro-blogging sites such as these for their marketing efforts, but did you that they can be used to improve your customer relationships?  Twitter, for example displays some xRM key characteristics, including access to customers—or in this case potential customers, and relationships—specifically those built between Twitter followers.   The opportunity for companies lies in the management component of the equation.  Leveraging brand interactions profitably will require some serious out-of-the-box thinking, which is what xRM is really all about.  Read more about Twitter in this arena here. 

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The Buzz Around xRM

Here’s an interesting tidbit about Microsoft’s xRM Platform as a Service initiatives and what it all could mean for the company’s competitors.  The article also goes on to talk about how ING and the US Air Force in Europe are using some “out-of-the-box” thinking and leveraging Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0  to manage their vendor and personnel relationships, respectively. 



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What’s New: SaaS on the Rise

In these times of shrinking IT budgets, companies are looking to save money on implementations without sacrificing performance.  That’ where SaaS (Software as a Service) comes in.  It’s the least expensive front-end version of Microsoft CRM. The software and hardware are all paid for on a month-to-month basis—in essence, allowing customers to only pay for what they use.  This Computerworld article details some new trends in the SaaS arena.  For more information about our SaaS pricing options, click here



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What’s New: Wireless Re-charging

From time to time, we’ll post information that we think might be of general interest to everybody.  There’s an article in The Economist this month that talks about wireless re-charging for mobile devices.  It looks like at some point in the not-too-distant future we’ll be doing away with power cables for Palms and Blackberries! Read more here 


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Second CRM Incubation Week

Microsoft CRM Incubation Week was so successful that another one is being offered!  This 2nd CRM Incubation Week will take place at the Microsoft Technology Center in Boston, MA, from April 20th to April 24th.  Participants will spend their time on training, prototype development and evaluation by a panel of industry specialists for various prizes. 


The event itself is free but you do have to plan for your own travel expenses.  Teams of three people can be nominated by e-mailing Sanjay Jain at Sanjay.Jain@microsoft.com Nomination criteria includes team strength, originality of the idea, and creativity in leveraging CRM as a platform. For more nomination details, click here  

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XRM Strategic Analysis

We strongly suggest starting your CRM process with our Strategic Analysis. When we are done, we might recommend that CRM is not the right product for you. Rarely does our analysis take more than one week. We interview users at all levels and ensure that proper expectations are set accurately. Additionally, part of our deliverables is a success criteria document that can be used with any CRM implementation partner. The Strategic Analysis is all about education. We educate you on CRM and via in depth information gathering sessions, educate ourselves on your business.

Here is an outline of our approach and what it entails:

  1. High-level strategic analysis.
    • Three days on-site at your business.
    • Approximately two days are spent compiling documentation reg.
  2. Educating the customer.
    • Detailed CRM Overview to give you an idea of what CRM can really do.
    • We give you a customized CRM demo.
  3. Due diligence efforts.
    • Streamline questionnaires are given so we can further understand the scope of work.
    • Further shadowing and requirements gathering are given.
    • A comprehensive mock up is attained.
    • Providing a detailed statement of work with expected cost.

CRM is a strategic long term decision for your company. More often than not companies are simply not prepared to start the process. They have not performed enough due diligence and they are not 100% clear on what value they are going to get from the solution. Additionally, they have no specific and documented short and long term goals for the product. Our strategic analysis will answer all your questions up front, before you make any large investments. We feel this process is one of the best investments your company can make.

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