• Michael Intravartolo

5 Ways Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Users Prepare for Successful Deployments


If you are new to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Onliine, there can be a lot to learn about the product, and even more to prepare for in rolling out the solution to an organization. User adoption of an enterprise system is always challenging, and CRM Online's mix of SaaS capabilities, customization, and periodic updates from Microsoft mean that system administrators must carefully manage mission critical processes in sales, service, and marketing.

So where does a new CRM system administrator start to ensure a great rollout? At a recent online panel discussion hosted by CRMUG, What are you Expecting from Dynamics CRM Online, users discussed some of the steps they recommend new users take to ensure that their experience with the product starts fast and exceeds expectations.

Define your processes

When it comes to implementation, it really helps to identify what your processes should look like, which then makes it a lot easier for the CRM implementation because you have an idea about what it should do, according to another panelist.

"Because we didn't have those processes already, [our company] sort of implemented in a couple areas with 'what can the system do,' versus 'what are our needs," he says.

Establish an update schedule, with clear expectations from users

After you've implemented Dynamics CRM Online, it's important to establish a modification schedule.

"So rather than making changes as they're requested, it's a good idea to establish a mod schedule so your developers are not always under the gun to get things out," he says.

Another panelist noted that it was critical to have ongoing conversations with the users of CRM.

"You have to create a feedback loop so you know what's working, what's not working as well as to help prioritize the changes in pipeline, to help understand where the pain points are," he says.

And try as you might to avoid mistakes, you're still going to make them, the panelist says.

"So you have to be able to embrace them and be able to laugh at yourself a little bit as well as say positive and flexible so that when you're communicating these problems to the users, you're on the same page." he says.

Set up a development environment.

One of the key things to think about is setting up a development environment after you've launched. A dev environment will allow you to continue to grow and improve your system, said one Dynamics CRM system administrator.

"You want to be sure you're not testing in your production system," she said.

Prepare for Outlook integration

The panelist also says that because Outlook is important to Dynamics CRM Online, the client machines have to be optimized to run Outlook.

"Especially if a user has big mail files, Outlook requires a lot of system resources," he says. "Beef up the memory. Get an SSD drive in there. See if you can put limits on the size of their mail files. It's also important to keep Office and the CRM client and IE up to date and patched."

Tactics to maximize user adoption

In response to an attendee question about tips to achieve maximum user adoption, one panelist said it is important to ensure you have leadership that is behind you.

"The main reason organizations fail at adoption is because they don't have it being pushed from the top down," she says. "It's also important to do small things to help adoption - setting up the system in a way that people are going to accept it."

Another panelist said his company has organizational champions - people who are plugged into Dynamics CRM and are willing to help other people learn the system and troubleshoot.

"The pockets where adoption is highest are where we've been able to find people who are excited about the product who then get their peer excited." he says. "We spend time, if we find someone who is starting to get excited, fanning that flame and making those people feel really supported and they help magnify that out to the organization.

It's also important to find out what is important to the users, according to another panelist.

"Maybe find out what's attractive to them, for example, the InsideView Insights was a really attractive option for a lot of our users and that got them involved in using it, "he said." Once you've done that, then I think it's important to tell the executive team some things that they don't know, i.e., show them some information that's available and it shows a trend that may counter some other reports that are out there. So that vies them another perspective and another bit of information to chew on."

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