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This year's festive season donations

This year's festive season donations

It’s that time of year when we look back and reflect and realize how fortunate we are to have what we have; warm homes, plenty of food, our health and good friends, to mention just a few of the positive aspects of our lives. Sadly not everyone is as fortunate as we are. It is important that we take the time to appreciate what we have, and to give back when we can.

This year, on behalf of all of us, Purely CRM will be making a $700 donation to the following charities: 

Ronald McDonald House Vancouver https://rmhbc.ca/

Covenant House Vancouver https://www.covenanthousebc.org/

Autism Community Training https://www.actcommunity.ca/

We wish everyone happy holidays and the best to everyone in the new year.

First hand witnessing the changing nature of work through CRM

First hand witnessing the changing nature of work through CRM

It starts with a simple task:  Codify a business process

Most companies realize they have a business process that is probably not as efficient as it could be.  Perhaps it is an Excel spreadsheet or an MS-Word document that is being passed around the organization in an inefficient manner.  There is often the realization that if they take the disconnected spreadsheets and forms and back-ended them into a database, they can easily eliminate wasted time, rekeying of data, and eliminating some simple review processes and calculations.

You end up codifying the entire department

What starts out as a task to eliminate inefficiencies in one business process inevitably sprawls into another department.  The touch-point of information with other departments or with customers and suppliers will definitely be inputs or outputs into the business process that you are making more efficient.  Why not modify those processes too while you are at it?  Before you know it, you have modified the business processes of an entire department.

Job roles will change

Changing business processes will also inevitably lead to changing job duties.  The mundane error checking of paper forms or re-keying of information into various spreadsheets or miscellaneous forms is going away.  What is left behind in a business process is the essence of what the job truly is and what only the human can accomplish.  The human element in business processes is not going away with the current changing nature of business processes through electronic efficiencies but is now focusing employees on the higher value evaluations that are needed in business processes.

We are removing the mundane work with technology and opening up our eyes to the true value employees (i.e., humans) play in a business process.

purelycrm.com

Key Takeaways from the Microsoft Partner Briefing 2017

Key Takeaways from the Microsoft Partner Briefing 2017

Many new features are coming, here are some of our highlights.

UNIFIED USER INTERFACE

For a simpler and more consistent user experience, all interfaces are now fully unified as of the Spring release, with the web browsers as an intermediate interface so far. The web browsers will move to a fully unified interface in the Fall 2017 release. Many common complaints and modernizations have been addressed, as well as tabs returning to the web interface instead of the dropdown menu. Multi-select option sets are coming too! There will be no more need to simulate a multi-select option set.

BUSINESS EDITION

The long-awaited Business edition plan is finally launching, suitable for SMB companies (<250 users). Simple to set-up and low cost, it is an easy starting point to purchase needed apps. As your organization grows, it will be easy to upgrade to the Enterprise plans. However, this update is delayed from June 1st to September 1st due to a big launch for the product that is scheduled at that time.

DYNAMICS MARKETING

A new and improved Marketing app is launching, with a much better module compared to the old module. There is a directional move towards the Adobe Marketing Cloud as a preferred solution, once Adobe has finished integrating with Cloud 365. This will be available for Business plan customers and Enterprise plans. 

 

See below for some of our photos from the briefing!

Lunch n' Learn!

Having a great Lunch n' Learn here at the office, great way to kick off the weekend!

Check out our Twitter and Facebook for more Purely CRM updates. 

What Makes a Project Successful?

What Makes a Project Successful?

The key elements to a successful project

Get to know your client

Completing a project does not only include meeting deadlines and completing tasks. Knowing your client and taking the time to fully understand their wants and needs can allow you to incorporate more elements that make that product specific to the company. In taking the time to understand them, it strengthens the connection between you and your client, creating a more well-rounded product. 

All hands on deck

Essential for an efficient project, the team must work like a well-oiled machine. In working together to achieve the project’s goals, it ensures that all ideas and opinions are heard, optimizing your team’s productivity and problem-solving abilities. With deadlines fast approaching, it will be guaranteed that your team will always be on time. 

Know your product

As the creator, you have to know all the ins and outs of your product. Without thorough knowledge, your product will not meet your client’s expectations, much less your own. To maximize efficiency, that knowledge is key. Along the way, your client may have different requests and expectations, or problems may arise. Knowing your product will let you give better or alternate solutions to what your customer is asking for, allowing you to give the best product that you can within the scope of your client.

purelycrm.com

What A Party!

What A Party!

Great Turnout

It was amazing to see so many of our customers come out to the Purely CRM 2015 Holiday party this year.  We were honoured with the opportunity to see so many of our clients in a casual setting like we had.  We would like to thank each and every one of you who had the opportunity to come out and mingle with us.  Next year we will have to pick an even larger venue!

A Fabulous Year

We can not believe that another year has already past!  The time just flies when you spend the time doing what you love and have great, great customers.  We have been growing so fast that we have actually had to move offices twice this year because we have simply outgrown our old spaces.  Not only has our customer base grown, but our staff have grown enormously as well.  We all look forward to finishing up the year with a full head of steam and continuing to service our customers with what we love to do most: consult on customer relationship management software.

We Wish You All Happy Holidays!

The Purely CRM Team

Purely CRM's New Fabulous Office In Yaletown

Purely CRM's New Fabulous Office In Yaletown

We've moved

With an open floor plan concept and multiple breakout spaces, Purely CRM's new office is a fabulous place to work.  In addition to the functional aspects of the work space, the aesthetics of the exposed brick, the old growth lumber, and the spiral staircase in the entrance way add a level of interest to the space.

Twelve specialized CRM experts.  One office.

The Vancouver office is home to twelve specialized Dynamics CRM consultants.  These consultants are currently working on various Dynamics CRM projects in BC, Alberta, and North Carolina.  Each one focused specifically on customer relationship management projects with a focus on Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Address has changed, but phone number is the same

+1 (778) 668-3969
Suite 200 - 1290 Homer Street
Vancouver, BC  V6B 2Y5
CANADA

Come by and visit.

 4 Things Satya Nadella Plans for the Future of Microsoft

4 Things Satya Nadella Plans for the Future of Microsoft

Daniel B. Kline recently wrote an article for The Motley Fool where he quotes Satya Nadella in a letter he wrote to Microsoft employees ...

First, we will reinvent productivity services for digital work that span all devices. We will also extend our experience footprint by building more business process experiences, integrated into content authoring and consumption, communication and collaboration tools.
— http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2015/06/30/4-things-satya-nadella-plans-for-the-future-of-mic.aspx

And ...

All these experiences will be powered by our cloud platform — a cloud that provides our customers faster time to value, improved agility and cost reduction, and solutions that differentiate their business.
— http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2015/06/30/4-things-satya-nadella-plans-for-the-future-of-mic.aspx

This puts Microsoft Dynamics CRM clearly in the role of playing a platform.  This is good news.  We are finally seeing a direction provided by Microsoft leadership and it is generally in line with the direction that the tech community would like it to go on.

To read the full article, go to the following:  --> LINK <--

Two Must Know Things About CRM Today

Two Must Know Things About CRM Today

Is the CRM world about to change?

Are These Two CRM News Items Connected?

The first news item is Microsoft's goal of getting to $20 billion in cloud revenue by 2018.  That would imply that Microsoft will triple its' cloud revenue in the next three years.  In 2014 Microsoft had cloud revenue of $5.5 billion.  Based on Microsoft's latest quarterly earnings report, they are on track to have cloud revenues of $6.3 billion in 2015.  So, how are they going to get to $20 billion in three years with the current rate of growth?

The second news item is that Salesforce has hired financial advisors to help it because they were approached by a potential acquirer.  It is unlikely that Salesforce would hire the financial advisors if they were not truly approached to be acquired.  What is not known though is who approached them.

Who Are The Potential Suitors?

There are only a handful of companies who could potentially acquire a Salesforce company as they are currently worth $47 billion.  Those suitors most likely would be Oracle, Microsoft, SAP, Google, and IBM.

I am going to eliminate Google and IBM from this mix.  Google is, essentially, an advertising company and so I think it is a long shot that they would want to get into the CRM business.  IBM would have to get heavy financing to make this deal happen as they only have $8.8 billion in cash on hand.

SAP would also have to take on heavy debt if they wanted to acquire Salesforce.  SAP only has $5 billion of cash on hand and would have to finance the rest of the acquisition.

This leaves Microsoft and Oracle as contenders in this acquisition.  Microsoft has $95.4 billion in cash on hand and Oracle has $13.7 billion in cash on hand and another $30 billion in marketable securities.

What Happens To Microsoft Dynamics CRM If Salesforce Is Bought?

There are three possible scenarios that could play out if Microsoft would acquire Salesforce.  The first scenario is that nothing drastic happens.  Salesforce would be branded as a Microsoft product and both the Dynamics CRM product and Salesforce product would continue to coexist in the marketplace.  This is not unforeseeable as Microsoft has GP and NAV accounting products and has not combined them yet.  In fact, in the short run, this is the most likely scenario.

Another possible scenario is that Microsoft phases out Salesforce and integrates its' good components into the Dynamics CRM product.  If this were to happen, it would have to happen over a long period of time because this would be no trivial task.

And the final possible scenario would be that Dynamics CRM would be slowly wound down and the Salesforce product would take over.  Again, it would take time for this to happen if this scenario were to play out.  And, Microsoft would most likely create some sort of transition plan for its' existing Dynamics CRM customers if this were to happen.

I want to leave you with these thoughts and questions:  Is Microsoft the mystery potential acquirer?  Does Microsoft need this acquisition to hit its' target cloud revenue goals?  Is this simply a rumour or strategy on the part of the potential buyer to tie up potentially large pipeline deals for Salesforce because the potential acquisition makes their buyers hesitate?

What are your thoughts?  How would this acquisition impact you?

purelycrm.com

The Risk With CRM Resources

The Risk With CRM Resources

What makes a good CRM Consultant?

The Right Stuff

When I was 13 years only I remember watching the 1983 movie “The Right Stuff”.  The movie was about the “space race” and the team of pilots/astronauts who eventually landed on the moon.  I remember thinking what makes these people special other than the obvious reasons.  What makes this particular group of people have the right stuff?  After all there were thousands of qualified people to choose from.    Was it there superior intellect, the superior athletic ability, stamina, or is it something else that is difficult to quantify?    History tells us that these people were handpicked to achieve a monumental task.  They were all experts in their fields and excelled and what they did.   They had an extraordinary task to accomplish under “extraordinary” circumstances and they succeeded but sometime as great risk and loss.

The Wrong Stuff

Later in life I actually became a commercial pilot and during my flight training I watched an educational movie called, strangely enough, “The Wrong Stuff”.  It was a documentary whose aim was to point out the breakdown in the cockpit during stressful circumstances such as in-flight emergencies.  There were many different responses by flight crew depending on their background, training, and individual personalities.  Some ex-military fighter pilots tended to over control the cockpit which caused them to stop delegating important tasks to other crew members.  Some civilian pilots had a very hierarchical approach to the cockpit as well.  The captain was considered the “boss” and his judgement was seen as the last word and not to be questioned by the other crew members.  There are many cases when the co-pilot or flight engineer sat idly while the captain crashed the plane.  It seems very counter intuitive that the same people who could fly a space craft to the moon could be a detriment in a commercial airliner cockpit, but you have to understand….these are two different approaches to a similar task and therefore require different skill sets.  A flight to the moon is a risky business while flying a commercial airliner is supposed to be routine.  The differentiator may seem small but in reality it is very big.  Today’s commercial airline pilot will fly the same plane daily and is expected to keep everything within very strict limits at all times.  The crew mitigates the risk to passengers, themselves, and the airplane.  They typically have years of experience which helps them to foresee any potential problem and act long before something terrible happens.  So the real difference between a commercial airline pilot of today and a NASA test pilot is the risk tolerance.  This says nothing about the underlying capabilities of each group.  Just the approach to the task.

CRM — Crew Resource Management?

In order to correct these problems the aviation industry implemented a new training program known, coincidently, as CRM (Crew Resource Management).  The intent was to break down the hierarchal structure in the cockpit and have crews work together as a team instead of as individuals.  CRM is now a standard in the aviation industry and you’ll want to bet the captain on the next flight you take has had lots of training in it.

CRM vs CRM — Parallels

As a Microsoft CRM consultant I see a lot of parallels between these two worlds.   I have worked with many different consultants on a variety of different project over the years.  Every consultant I’ve worked with has had different approaches to implementing CRM.  Some approaches were slightly different and some radically different.  Even when skill and experience are equivalent the approach is sometimes the factor that indicates to me whether they have the “Right Stuff”.   

Understanding Where You Are Going

For Purely CRM, the “Right Stuff” is a consultant who not only takes the time to understand the client’s requirements and processes but also ensures that they stay within budget and scope while mitigating risks.  This usually starts by having a clear picture of where we are going, setting expectations, confirming them with the client and working to meet the objective.

It’s a great thing to know a lot about CRM, but if you attempt to fly the client to the moon when they only needed to go to “New York” then you are not doing a good job as a consultant.   If the client needs to go to “New York”, then the right approach is to carefully plan the route, check the weather, do a preflight inspection, make sure we have enough fuel, and set off to our destination.  While en-route we may need to make slight course corrections but we know exactly where were going and how were are going to get there.

This is truly the difference between a CRM consultant with the “Right Stuff” and a test pilot.

CRM is the new ERP

CRM is the new ERP

Has CRM become the new ERP?

I took some time to talk with Robert about how CRM has changed over the years and has slowly overtaken ERP systems as the system of choice to expand into other operational areas.

Video

Tasks in Outlook versus CRM versus SharePoint

Why write this blog post?

Microsoft currently has a 51% worldwide market share of the business email and collaboration market according to the Radicati Group; and, I would be willing to wager that the percentage is much, much higher in the North American market.  As consultant, I am in and out of many different organizations that use Microsoft products and I am often asked how tasks in Outlook work in conjunction with tasks in SharePoint.  And as I do Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementations, I am also asked whether tasks should be held in SharePoint or CRM on projects.  So, I decided to hunker down and write a quick blog post on the differences, similarities, and when & where Outlook, SharePoint, and/or CRM should hold tasks.

What is Outlook good at?

Lets first look at what tasks in Outlook are good for.  To do this, I want to start from the premise the Microsoft Outlook is a PIM (I.e., a personal information manager).  Since Outlook is a PIM which organizes your email, tasks, contacts, and appointments, it is used by many people to manage their personal tasks.  Now since most businesses use Outlook for their employees in the office, many employees mix and mingle their personal email, tasks, contacts, and appointments with work email, tasks, contacts, and appointments.  So, Outlook is good at taking care of both the basics of personal and the basics of business task management.

What is SharePoint good at?

SharePoint is Microsoft’s entry into the collaborations and document management arena thru a customizable web application platform.  One of the items that SharePoint allows placed onto its’ customized collaborative work areas are “task list” components that hold tasks.  These “tasks” are contextual in terms that they are in reference to the collaborative work area they have been placed under.  In addition to being in context of the collaborative work area they are under, additional custom field (I.e., meta data) can be placed against tasks to store additional items against each task.

What is Microsoft Dynamics CRM good at?

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a customizable customer relationship management system.  It is a CRM system that essentially provides an organization with a rapid database development tool with a pre-defined set of tables for sales, marketing, and customer service.  When companies get Microsoft Dynamics CRM and start to gain proficiency with it, they soon realize that getting this product is like obtaining a big box of lego.  One of the sets within this lego box is task management.  Task management is stand alone, but can be made relational to any of the other bits of sales, marketing, customer service, and customized work that is found in the system.

Synchronization options

Outlook and CRM

Outlook and CRM offers native two-way integration with the addition of the “CRM for Outlook Add-In” into Outlook and a setting of the synchronization filters in CRM.  If someone chooses to “track” a task from Outlook into CRM, they would simply click a button in the ribbon of their Outlook.  CRM creates a copy of the task and places it into CRM where it still remains connected to the task in Outlook.  So, if the task is updated in CRM, it would be updated in Outlook as well, and vice versa.  And since Outlook is found on peoples’ phones and tablets, the task is synchronized two-ways here as well.  Going the other direction, from CRM to Outlook, tasks created in CRM automatically get pulled into Outlook with synchronization filter settings.  A typical synchronization filter setting would be to pull in all the tasks that where assigned to you.

Outlook and SharePoint

SharePoint 2013 and Exchange Server 2013 now allow for task aggregation in SharePoint and then a choice to synchronize these tasks with the user’s Outlook.  The flow here is from tasks that are initiated in SharePoint.  There is a limitation that tasks created in Outlook have no out-of-the-box solution to synchronize with SharePoint; however, tasks that are in Outlook as a result of being synchronized from SharePoint can be updated in Outlook and those changes will be reflected in SharePoint.  And again, because Outlook is synchronized with users’ phones and tablets, we have synchronization occurring across phones, tables, Outlook on the desktop, and SharePoint.

CRM and SharePoint

At this point in time, there is no out-of-the-box functionality provided by Microsoft that would synchronize tasks across CRM and SharePoint without the use of Outlook.  Outlook must be used as the intermediary.

Conclusion

In all my time consulting at various companies across North America and Europe, I have not seen many instances where employees actually use tasks within Outlook.  However, tasks in CRM and SharePoint are often used.  The advantage of the tasks in CRM and SharePoint over the native Outlook tasks is that the tasks are held in context (I.e., the task is found in a particular collaborative project site where it is relevant or against a particular business entity in CRM that it is relevant, like against a sale).

What I have found, though, is that when people get used to using tasks in CRM and SharePoint they soon would like them also showing up on their phones and tablets; and, for this to occur it is probably most logical that we use Outlook as the intermediary or build some custom mobile solution to view the tasks.

So, my final conclusion is that it depends on the job you have in mind on whether the tasks should live in SharePoint or CRM.  Keep the tasks in context of what you have to do.  And if the users insist on having the tasks show on their mobile devices, then weigh the pros and cons of using Outlook or building a custom mobile solution.