The BEST feature of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is the fact that it is highly Customizable.
Anyone who has worked with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 knows that it provides a wide range of tools and procedures to configure and customize the out of the box functionality to the organization they are supporting. You can go in and add or change Fields, Entities (Record Types), Relationships, Workflows, Charts, Grids, Iframes, you name it! CRM is easy to customize and adapt to any business model.
The ultimate goal for any CRM implementation is that the business adopts it and it helps drive better business results. The business though almost always likes to "Keep it Simple"…at least at first. In my opinion, the reason why Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is the best CRM system on the market is the high percentage of user adoption that CRM 2011 implementations generate. Your customizations/configurations are one of the biggest (if not the biggest) reason for high (or low) User Adoption but the solution is so easy to add and change it can quickly make the solution "Complex".
The WORST feature of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is the fact that it is highly Customizable.
For the majority of CRM Gurus out there, the fact that CRM is highly customizable is a blessing. They figure that the more customizations they put in place the easiest it is for users to adopt the system as they will "find the huge variety of options and detailed information within the CRM entities and records". Wrong!
When Microsoft set out to create a CRM solution, they were not thinking about how complex the system could be, they were thinking of how easy they could make it. Regular users (unlike CRM Gurus or CRM Administrators) love Simplicity. If they could use a CRM solution without having to ever open it they would use it more than other solutions that require more effort. This is why Microsoft created Microsoft Dynamics CRM form inside Outlook going out. Regular users can perform their day to day activities from Outlook, track any of their Outlook data in CRM and pull the information any of their co-workers contributed to CRM without ever having to leave Outlook. This is where Microsoft showed how brilliant Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is. The problem is the fact that CRM is not configured initially by regular CRM users, CRM Administrators or Gurus configure CRM and in my opinion the vast majority of CRM Organizations or Projects are created from the Administrator's perspective.
The reason why we are so successful implementing CRM is because we are on the same page with the creators of CRM 2011 at Microsoft, with the people who envisioned a system that would be simple and thus more adopted and useful for CRM Users. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011's configuration Toolkit should be used in most cases to scale the out of the box functionality down, not up!
Here is an example of how Zero2Ten Solution Architects handle CRM 2011 issues. We received this email from an existing customer that was looking for a solution to an issue he was having:
I want a couple of reports to be automatically emailed to me and the rest of the team once a week. I created the reports, but I'm trying to figure out how to automate this so they're automatically sent out. Any ideas? I'm assuming it's another workflow, but I couldn't figure it out. The specific reports I'm looking for are a list of all the leads and opportunities, per salesperson, sent out to myself and the sales reps (I can then forward on to other people such as admin, assistants, etc.). I know how to create the list in CRM without a problem, I'm just trying to figure out how to have that list automatically created once a week and sent out.
Would we have to pay hourly to resolve this? Will it require custom development? Would we have to get a quote first? Just trying to figure out how the process works thanks!
This customer also emailed this question to another CRM Consultant/Guru to be able to select the best option to solve his issue.
Here is Zero2Ten's response:
*Mr. Customer*, to solve this issue there is no need for custom development. If the report has been already created, run the report and hit 'CTRL+N', this will open the report on a new window, copy the URL of the Report and Build a workflow that sends a weekly email including this URL. Hopefully that solves the issue.
I would like to conclude this post with our Customer's response:
Wow… pretty impressive *Zero2Ten Solution Architect*, it worked!
I saved the links and have them put in Outlook Calendar for a recurring meeting every Monday morning when I need the reports. This helps make sure that the reports go out as scheduled every Monday… thanks for all your help!
When I asked another CRM "technical guru" who has years of experience working on CRM the very same exact question, this is the response he gave me:
Hi *Mr. Customer*
Since I am a Technical Architect at heart, I cannot leave any problem go out without a solution. So, I thought about this a lot and finally came to a conclusion which might be a little expensive depending on the infrastructure you have currently in your organization. Since you already know that email subscription are only possible with CRM on-premise so we need to find a way to get data from your online database to on premise. These are the steps:
1.) Buy a "Fee-Based Third party replication app" to synch your CRM online database to on premise.
2.) Install SSRS on the SQL server and use that to create email subscription. SSRS is a free component with SQL on Installation Disk 2 if you already own SQL.
Since you will have a local copy of your data, you will get extra ability to create much more complicated reports and dashboards. This will also give you a local backup of your database if you ever need it. If you do not currently have SQL server in your organization, this will add up to your cost. I can tell you, SQL is not cheap. Now, after telling this huge story. The good thing is that I can do all of this for you. I have done it several times before and it requires certain amount of configurations on SSRS server after creating the report. Basically, we have to configure your SSRS server to interact with your SMTP server to send out reports on a scheduled time.
This is a real life example of the difference in how *Zero2Ten Solution Architect* thinks compared to how other CRM gurus think. The solution above would cost us thousands and thousands of dollars to implement. *Zero2Ten Solution Architect*'s solution cost nothing and was done in 5 minutes.
Situations like this make me very happy with choosing Zero 2 Ten.
In summary, you have a big role as a CRM Architect to determine if the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Customization Toolkit will become the reason for success or failure of your CRM deployment!