Adoption and Sustainment by PowerObjects [VIDEO]

Education is one of our four pillars at PowerObjects and one of the branches within that pillar focuses on adoption and sustainment. Watch this video to learn how our Adoption and Sustainment team helps clients with product training, process training, and change management.

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PowerObjects' Commitment to Education

What truly differentiates PowerObjects from other Microsoft partners is our deep commitment to training and education. We understand that an organization's success with Dynamics 365 is reliant on strong user adoption and advocacy, which in turn is dependent on focused product and process training as well as effective change management. Watch this video to learn more about our Dynamics 365 education offerings and how PowerObjects can help your organization succeed!

Start Stretching! It’s Dynamics CRM Training Time

Training, who doesn't need it? Whether you're a customer service representative, manager, salesperson, director, or even a CRM administrator, at some point you will need some kind of training on Microsoft Dynamics CRM based on your role within an organization. Training involves three major components: timing, audience, and content.

Each of these characteristics play a crucial role in training CRM users. It's important to get the timing right when deciding when it is most appropriate to initiate the training. Making sure you know your audience is critical when determining the level of expertise or exposure to CRM. In order to have a successful training, you must have the right content for the right audience and deliver it to them at the right time. There are other factors involved in successful CRM training, including the method of training and whether it is going to be remote or onsite. In today's blog, we will take a closer look at each one of these factors so that you can make be as effective as possible when training your CRM users. Now that you are warmed up, let's get started!

Training

Timing

Training is typically done after a CRM implementation is completed and before it goes live. In our experience, many clients have chosen to execute their training during the beginning of the project to serve as a preview of CRM. This is most common in scenarios when an organization has never worked with Dynamics CRM before or they are upgrading to a newer version. Training Planning needs to begin early in the implementation process. More often than not, you'll have to work around your end users' schedules, so it's never too early to start planning dates for training. Your project plan must include the time and budget that will be required for the training. This will help ensure a successful user adoption of your new CRM solution.

Audience

With its extensive role-based features, each user can access different functions in CRM depending on their job role within an organization. This means that you may have to organize training into one or multiple groups. In the simplest scenario, training is divided into two groups, end users and administrators. End users are those who will use CRM on a daily basis to perform their job based on their role within the organization.

If you're upgrading CRM with no changes to current business processes, then you may not need end user training at all. An exception to this may be if you are upgrading from 2011 or earlier, as the user interface changes dramatically from CRM 2011 to 2013. On the other hand, no matter what kind of CRM solution you are working with, your CRM administrator will need training so that they can manage the system effectively when the project is completed. Many organizations use the CRM administrator to train other users within the organization in what is referred to as a "Train the Trainer" approach.

Content

So now that you've scheduled the training and you know your audience, what's next? Now it's time to determine what to train the users on. The goal should be to help users discover what's new, what's changed, where to find it, and how to reach someone for help if needed. 

"We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it." - Galileo Galilei

Base your training content on your audience regardless of whether you are training end users or administrators. If you're trying to build a foundation on Microsoft Dynamics CRM for a new project team working with it for the first, then your training would focus on things like how to navigate CRM and overview of out-of-the-box business features to prepare the project team for planning the implementation. If you're training end users at go-live, you'd focus on their particular business processes. CRM training may also be needed after an upgrade, especially if you're implementing new features or upgrading from an older version of CRM. For a new deployment of CRM, administrators will be interested in things like how to configure or modify various components CRM, learning what the options are for customization, using OOB features versus custom code, etc. If the project is focused on adding new business functionality to an existing CRM deployment, then your training should focus on that specific functionality and your target audience should be users who will be directly affected by this change.

Remember, your training content should be concise. The last thing you want to do is bore the user so they stop paying attention and miss out on important information. Keep a mix of PowerPoint slides and live CRM demos and make sure to provide CRM how-to labs for hands-on experience.

Location and Method

Deciding between doing a training remotely versus onsite can be tricky. Onsite training is always the best choice but it's not always possible. Remote/online training is harder to facilitate and it's more difficult to stay focused as a learner. Despite the fact that online training saves time and travel costs – it's not always the best answer for promoting user adoption. Whichever option you choose, the most important thing is still the delivering the appropriate content and to the right audience at the right time. Some things to think about:

Training

Even though training often viewed as a distraction from the learner's real your real job, you can make sure it stays fun and informative by making sure you follow these basic principles.

Don't be afraid to get users' feedback after the training, as it can help to drive how to change course in future trainings if need be. And beware, not just anyone can be a trainer. Use discretion when choosing the trainer and don't just assume that anyone on the team will be able to pick it up and run with it – it's a good idea to include your in-house trainer in the project team early so they get familiar with the new CRM solution long before go-live. Having the right people involved makes all the difference and can make or break the training's effectiveness.

There's a reason that education is one of the four pillars of CRM success at PowerObjects. Organizations that invest in Microsoft Dynamics CRM education have vastly increased user adoption, which in turn ensures they get the best return on their investment. Our education team has many resources to help you get the most out of CRM, including events, trainings and workshops so don't hesitate to take advantage of them by reaching out to us for your training needs, anytime!

Happy CRM'ing!

New Year, New Mobile Experience: Mobile Controls in Dynamics CRM 2016

Working on the go presents a unique set of benefits and challenges. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 includes some great new features designed to optimize and address some of the user adoption issues previously found on mobile. These features increase the user experience for Microsoft Dynamics CRM apps for both tablet and phone users. In today's blog, we'll be going over the mobile controls in CRM 2016. Let's get started!

Mobile Controls
Having less time and precision while working on the go is a known challenge. In Dynamics CRM 2016, Microsoft introduced over a dozen new Mobile Controls that can replace any standard data entry field on forms for phone and tablet clients. These mobile-only controls are improved versions designed for hands-on tasks like entering data and provide a more appealing and faster way to consume data while on-the-go. Let's take a look at how each of these controls can be used.

Controls for Working with Numbers

Number Input: This control shows up when a user enters the field change mode. Tapping on + and - allows the user to enter numeric data faster, while tapping on the number itself allows the user to enter data using their mobile keyboard, making this one of the 'no loss' options for mobile data entry.

mobile controls

When this control is not in edit mode, it appears as a normal field:

mobile controls

Radial Knob: This is an excellent control for showing numeric values with a circle presentation. Data entry is completed by turning the knob to dial in a value, providing a fun way to view margins or percentages of completion. The range is fully configurable to suit your needs.

mobile controls

Arc Knob: The arc knob is another great way to track progress visually. Again, the range is fully configurable to suit your needs.

mobile controls

Linear Gauge: Drag values across a preset range or tap ahead to jump to a preconfigured step. Users can also enter data using their mobile keyboard when using this control.

mobile controls

Linear Slider: Used for numeric entry just like the Linear Gauge, except that the numeric entry from a mobile keyboard is not possible here.

mobile controls

Bullet Graph: One of the richest interfaces for working with numbers. This tool helps users quickly discern how the entered number lines up within a marked range and target number objectives.
The control appears normal with no data or during an edit:

mobile controls

After data entry, it's a whole different visual experience:

mobile controls

This control has settings for minimums and maximums for the overall range. A setting for "good" or "bad" values adds shading and values for a target value, all of which can be calculated fields based on others on the form, creating a very dynamic experience. For example, below is a Quoted Order Price of $70,000, which is well under the $80,000 target value set by the Budget field. As you can see, we are beyond the "good" shading earlier in the graph and nowhere near the "bad" shading at the end of the graph.

Mobile

Star Rating: Used to replace the entry of a whole number on a scale of 0 to 5. Simple yet effective way to view a rating.

Mobile

If your data is not 0 to 5, try creating a calculated field resulting in a value in the 0 to 5 range, then chose to only show this new field on your mobile client. The best part is that the read-only mode of this control stays just as colorful!

Mobile

Controls for Better Data Entry

Option Set: Used for visual representations of relatively short option sets. Clearly view selected and other options without entering the field's edit mode. To change, simply tap on the new value.

mobile controls

Titles of options that are too long to fit will be obscured with ellipses.

Flip Switch: Displays as a traditional two-option field.

mobile controls

mobile controls

Input Mask: Helps users fit data into a predetermined input format by specifying it ahead of time. It appears as normal control:

mobile controls

When in edit mode, the Input Mask is revealed:

mobile controls

This is useful for phone numbers and other region-specific data entry.

Auto-complete: Want to help your users select common responses or select from a list of known options? This control improves a text field entry by presenting options as the user type. Values can be taken from a view of existing records or values from an option-set field not necessarily on the form. The control appears normal until in edit mode.

mobile controls

Once the user enters edit mode and begins to type on their mobile keyboard, the results from the provided source are displayed, improving the speed of entry while keeping the quality of data high.

mobile controls

Alternatively, this control's drop-down menu can be selected to view the options if the user wants to see what options are available. Month of the year is a great scenario for this control field as the true drop down is too long.

Signature/Pen-input: This enter-once control allows remote users to collect signatures on their mobile devices.

mobile controls

The user has the option of clearing and starting over, but once the submit checkbox is selected, the value is set as read-only. There is no web version of this control, so be sure to hide it on the web version of the form.

Controls for Improved Presentation

Calendar: Users typically don't view their phone calls or appointments in a list, they virtually see them on a calendar.
Calendar controls can be used to replace a traditional list of records that represent time-centric activity into a more meaningful and user friendly calendar view control. This control can be used on dashboard, entity list view, or as a sub-grid within another form.

One place where this calendar control is enabled by default is in the Activities area, which is launched from the main menu in both tablet and phone apps. Here is what it looks like:

mobile controls

mobile controls

Website Preview: See a glimpse of a web URL text field. Small preview is enabled only after entry or existing value is present.

mobile controls

Multimedia: Perfect for audio or video materials linked using URL fields and is a great choice for a visually powerful sales process or just saving a few taps and loading screens just to show linked media.

mobile controls

Next Steps 

Want to learn more about CRM mobility? How about a glimpse into a day-in-the-life-of scenario highlighting these and many more new exclusive Dynamics CRM Mobile 2016 features? Check out our recorded webinar from our Mobile Solutions Practice, Why Go Mobile with CRM 2016.

Happy Mobile CRM'ing!

Red, Orange, Purple . . . Oh My! Color Themes in Dynamics CRM 2016

Working on the go presents a unique set of benefits and challenges. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 includes some great new features designed to optimize and address some of the user adoption issues previously found on mobile. These features increase the user experience for Microsoft Dynamics CRM apps for both tablet and phone users. As we mentioned in a previous blog post, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Online Update 1 introduced a brand new feature, CRM Themes. With Themes, organizations have the ability to uniquely brand their CRM system using colors, imagery, and more. Today we are happy to report that in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016, the theme colors now carry over into the Mobile clients, too, which increases user familiarity and adds your brand look and feel to your mobile CRM experience!

There are three new ways that you can use color in CRM Mobile apps:

1. The navigation bar color is now carried over to the CRM for phones app.

2. Custom mobile controls adopt the process flow control color on mobile forms.

3. All specified or custom entity colors carry over to mobile navigation.

Below are a several "colorful" examples of some themes and entity colors applied to a mobile experience:

Color

Color

Color

Color

Color

Next Steps

Want to learn more about CRM mobility? How about a glimpse into a day-in-the-life-of scenario highlighting these and many more new exclusive Dynamics CRM Mobile 2016 features? Check out our recorded webinar from our Mobile Solutions Practice, Why Go Mobile with CRM 2016.

Happy Mobile CRM'ing!

How to Ensure a Successful CRM Implementation and Adoption

Implementing a CRM system can seem like an overwhelming and daunting project. There are so many technical components to consider. There’s choosing the application; procuring and configuring the necessary hardware; determining the features and functionality to include; developing integrations to other systems; and finally going live with this great new system. Too often, however, all the planning and effort that go into the project does not bring about the expected results and the system is not readily adopted by users.

So what can you do to help ensure better adoption of the system and ultimately a successful project? There are many things to consider beyond just the technical planning and implementation. Below are a few best practices used by organizations who have successfully implemented and adopted CRM within their organization.

1. Management Buy-in

CRM implementations can be a significant investment in both time and money for an organization. To gain the most value from the investment, it is imperative for your leadership team to be committed to the project, not only with providing the funding, but also with being a driving force in the leadership of the project. When employees see a committed leadership team, they are more likely to understand the importance of the project.

2. Involve Users Early

It is important to recognize that any new system brings about change to an organization. Sometimes the change is welcomed and at other times it is not. In either case, with change comes uncertainty for the people affected by that change. Uncertainty can lead to fear of the unknown and sometimes people reject the system before it is even fully implemented. To help mitigate this risk for your project, it is beneficial to include the voice of the user in your implementation process. This might mean interviewing representative users from various groups and incorporating their thoughts in the requirements. It may also mean including some users in the design and planning or ensuring they are represented by someone who understands the end-user processes. Regardless, you should make sure to communicate with users from the planning stages all the way through to implementation and post-implementation follow-up to help ease the fears caused by the unknown.   Many times users who are involved can become champions of the system and spread the excitement about the benefits the new system will bring.

3. Implement in Phases

Whenever possible, it is best to implement CRM in phases. The initial phase should contain enough functionality to improve processes and start to generate excitement about the capabilities of the system. Limiting the functionality in the initial phase provides users with a manageable amount of learning to do, while still gaining benefit from the system. After users have had the opportunity to digest the initial phase, the next set of functionality should be implemented. It is often not be necessary to have a significant lag between phases.

4. Business Process First, Technology Second

Although CRM is a technology, the driving force behind it should be the business processes, not the technology. A CRM implementation will be more successful if it fits the intended business processes rather than forcing the business processes to fit the system. It is sometimes tempting to adopt a “build it and they will come” ideology, but this can lead to poor user adoption as the system does not adequately address the business requirements needed. Taking the time to define the business processes which will be addressed by the system and then designing the system in a scalable manner to meet those requirements will lead to a more successful implementation

5. Provide Training

Training is an important element of any new implementation. Without the proper training, users may have difficulty learning the proper use of the system.  As a result, they may become frustrated and resistant to using the CRM system. At this point, the data in the system may become incomplete and untrustworthy, which can lead to further frustration. Without allowing time for training, it can appear as a lack of commitment to the system from the leadership team. Training should ideally be role-based in order to allow users to easily understand what they need to do in relation to their job function. Whenever possible, training should be ongoing and provided in small sections to increase the retention of the information learned.

6. Gather Feedback

Provide users with the ability to provide feedback and suggestions for changes in the system. This allows for the continual improvement of the system and helps ensure that the system stays relevant. A CRM system implementation should not be thought of as done once it has been implemented. It is only just the beginning! The most successful CRM implementations are those that continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of the business.

That’s all for today, readers! For more information on CRM User Adoption, check out the following:

We hope that with these tips, your CRM implementation goes as smooth as possible! Engaging with PowerObjects can make this entire process seamless and easy, so contact us today with any questions about how we can help you succeed!

Happy CRM’ing!

Drive CRM Success through Better User Adoption - 2-Day Workshop

2-Day Dynamics CRM User Adoption Workshop

What are the ingredients for CRM success and how can you ensure all these ingredients are present? Join PowerObjects for a 2-Day CRM User Adoption Workshop and learn how you can drive user adoption and increase your success with Dynamics CRM. This workshop will be led by Gretchen Opferkew, Director of Education at PowerObjects, and takes place July 30-July 31st, 2013.

In this workshop, you will:

Who is a good fit for this workshop?

For travelers, recommended Lodging is the Marriott Townplace (525 North 2nd Street · Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401), which is a couple blocks from the PowerObjects office. Lunch will be provided.

Learn more & register

Using Expression Blend and Sketchflow to Visualize a Portal Designed for Dynamics CRM

Introduction

Many of the projects here at PowerObjects utilize some form of a web portal to access or update Microsoft Dynamics CRM information. In the past, they have used various forms of design documents to reach consensus with customers regarding the desired feature set of each portal. One of the challenges to this approach is that most of us don't like to read lengthy technical documents, and neither do our customers. This can lead to missing requirements, inaccurate processes and potentially low CRM user adoption. To help alleviate this risk, we have used wireframe documents that give customers a visual representation of what the portal will look like, but they lack interactivity.

On several recent projects, we have begun using the Sketchflow component of Microsoft Blend to solve this dilemma. Sketchflow is just one of several available "mocking" tools that allow you to produce an interactive sketch of your final product. This sketch can be distributed to multiple users and facilitates feedback through Sketchflow's markup features. The following blog is a brief walkthrough of how to build a sample Sketchflow.

Getting Started

Sketchflow is part of Microsoft Expression Blend 4 Ultimate. To create your project:

  1. Open Microsoft Expression Blend 4 and click New Project from the File menu.

    expression blend and sketchflow

  2. Choose WPF Sketchflow Application or Silverlight Sketchflow Application. Expression Blend allows you to use the XAML markup created by Sketchflow in other applications if you wish. For example, if you were using Silverlight for your portal or maybe even a Windows 8 XAML application, this code could be reusable. In our case, we are just using the sketching benefits so choosing WPF is fine.
  3. Sketchflow allows the user to write C# or VB code as one method to add interactivity to the sketch flow (if needed). The default language is C#.
  4. Once you have named your new project, click OK to get started.

Application Layout

Let's take a quick look at the layout of Expression Blend with Sketchflow. The first area of interest is the Toolbox and specifically three sub-groups of controls; containers, text boxes and buttons/combo boxes. Right clicking on these icons will give you a popup submenu of xaml controls that you can use in your sketchflow. Controls with Sketch in their name have a specific "sketch" look and feel as if they were sketched out on an artist canvas or a whiteboard. It is best to use sketch controls because it reminds the user that this sketchflow is not the real application but a mere "sketch" of what the final product will look like.

Toolbox



Screens

In Sketchflow, screens are equivalent to pages in a website or windows in an application. The Sketchflow Map window gives you a graphical representation of the screens contained within your sketchflow. There are two types of screens; connected screens (blue) and component screens (green). Our login screen is a good example of a component screen. The login controls we will build later our imbedded within our home screen. Connected screens are simply screens that are connected to one other to show navigation between pages.

Design Canvas

The Design Canvas is where we drag our controls and design our Sketchflow application. In the first screen screenshot below, there is an exclamation point on our main screen. This markup indicates that the component Login screen does not show because it is empty. In the second screenshot, you can see the added a sketchy button to the design canvas. The design canvas has zoom and view code capabilities as well. If you like to work in code, you can always click the XAML icon "<>" and see your controls representative in the XAML markup (see screenshot)

Properties, Resources and Data

Along the right hand side of the screen are three additional windows; Properties, Resources and Data. The Properties window allows you to edit the individual properties for selected controls. The resources window allows you to edit styles and resource dictionaries. And finally, the Data Window gives you access to create local data entities that can be used to bind sample data to controls. We will discuss the data capabilities later in this post.

Using Sketchy Controls

We will start our sample, but creating the required login controls in our login screen. For this sample, we won't wire up any security, but just use the login component screen to give you an idea of how the component screens work. So let's get started.

  1. When you created your project, you should see one screen name "Screen1". Rename this screen to Home. Double-click the tile of the screen in the Sketchflow Map window and change it to Home
  2. After you have renamed the screen, move your cursor over the word home. You should see a sub menu drop down below the word.

  1. Click the third icon to Create and Insert a Component Screen.
  2. Name the screen "Login"
  3. Double-click just to the left of the header in the new window. This will open the login screen in your design canvas.

  4. In the objects and timeline window, click the Layout Root element.

  5. Clicking on this element will display the control's properties in the properties window. Find the layout group and change the width and height to 400. This will enlarge our canvas and give us room to drag our controls.

  6. Right click the "T" icon in the Toolbox window to display the subgroup of controls. Left click the first control; BasicTextBlock-Sketch. We will use this control for our username label.

  7. With this control selected, move your cursor back to the canvas. Left click on the canvas and drag your new control to the appropriate size. You can always change it later.

  8. After releasing the mouse button, change the text inside to "Username".

  9. Right click the TextBlock icon from the toolbox again and choose the BasicTextBox-Sketch icon. Drag the text box control to the right of the TextBlock control you created in the previous step.
  10. Click the F5 key to run the project. After a few seconds, Blend will open up a new window and display your application in the Sketchflow Player. It should look something like this.

  11. Close the player window and repeat steps 8-12 to create a password TextBlock and TextBox

  12. Right click on the Button in the toolbox and left click the Button-Sketch control. As we did previously, move your mouse back to your design canvas and click and drag the button just below your password text boxes. Change the label button by updating the text in the Common Properties section of the Properties window

  13. Click F5 again to run the application. The viewer is interactive. You can change the text inside of the text boxes and click on the login button. Review your login screen and close the viewer when you are finished.

Navigation

If you are doing a single page portal or application you could simply continue to add fields on this single screen and not bother with navigation. However most portals have several pages, so let's look at how we navigate between pages.

  1. In the Sketchflow Map window, move your mouse over the home page header and click the first icon in the sub menu; Create a Connected Screen. Rename the screen "Accounts" as you did with the login screen. Your screen should look like the following:

  2. Switch back to the login screen by double-clicking the login screen icon or clicking the login screen tab at the top of the design canvas.
  3. Right click the login button and choose Navigate To from the menu and then choose Accounts in the sub menu.

  4. Click F5 to run the application. When the viewer is display, click the login button to navigate to your blank Accounts screen.
  5. Put a Button-Sketch on the accounts screen.
  6. As you did previously, right click and choose navigate. But this time, choose Home. This will allow you to return to the Home from the account screen.

  7. Press F5 again and test the navigation by clicking the Accounts and Home buttons.

Sample Data

Now that we have successfully built a few pages and the navigation, let's add some data and display it on our Accounts screen.

  1. Make sure you have the Accounts screen active in your canvas.
  2. Click the Data tab in the upper right hand corner of the application. Select This Document and click the first icon that looks like a database. From the drop down menu, click New Sample Data

  3. Rename the data source to Accounts and change the Define In attribute to This Document. Click OK.

  4. Expression will seed your data source with a collection and two sample fields; Property 1 and Property 2. Property 1 is a string and Property 2 is a Boolean (yes/no).

  5. Double-click each property and change their name. Rename Property 1 to AccountName and Property 2 to IsCustomer.

  6. Click the icon next to the word Collection that has a database and pencil. This will open the Edit Sample Window. Expression blend creates fake data for you automatically. You can update this data with more appropriate fake data if you choose to. Click OK to close the window.

  7. In Sketchflow, there is no Sketchy data grid. However, we can use the standard XAML datagrid to display data. In the Assets tab, click the Data menu under the Controls ,menu and choose DataGrid. Return to your canvas, click and drag the data control onto your screen. When dragging the control, Expression Blend will give you the dimensions. I would make it approximately 150 pixels high by 400 wide.

  8. Click and drag the Collection object inside the Data tab and place it on top of your data grid.

  9. Expression Blend will tell you it is about to bind the grid to your collection. After you have released the mouse, your data control should look like this.

  10. Click F5 to review the application. Expression Blend allows you to edit the data inline within the data grid. Keep it mind, the updates are not stored anywhere as this is just a mocking tool.

Distributing to Users

Now that we have a basic sample application, let's see how we distribute it to users.

  1. Click the file menu and choose Package Sketchflow Project

  2. When the package process is complete, Expression Blend will open up a Windows Explorer window with the results of the package. To have users review your Sketchflow, send them this folder and have them execute the executable file. In this example, the file is named BlogSample.exe.

  3. The executable runs the same viewer that is used when you run the project from within Express Blend. The user can interact with Sketchflow and add feedback.

  4. Using the feedback window in the lower left hand corner, the user can make annotated notes (graphical and test) regarding their feedback.

  5. After the feedback has been entered, the user can export the feedback and send you the file. Click the drop down icon next to the folder in the upper right hand corner of the feedback window. Save the contents of the file.

  6. To view the feedback in Expression Blend, click the Window menu and click Sketchflow Feedback. This will open the Sketchflow feedback window next to the Objects and Timeline Window. Click the Plus icon and select the feedback from your user. After you have imported in the feedback file, you can show or hide the feedback for each user by clicking on the "Eye" icon. The feedback will be displayed inside the design canvas as shown below. You can import multiple feedback files from users.

Conclusion

Sketchflow is a powerful mocking tool built directly into Expression Blend. Mocking can be a significant time saver and will help your project mitigate potential risk by allowing users to "see" what a system will look like when complete. In this example, we tool a very simplistic portal example and built a few pages to show you what was possible, but we only scratched the surface of what is possible. For more information and several extremely helpful videos on Sketchflow, visit http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/expression/cc197141.aspx

Happy CRM'ing!

CRM User Training: Great Training Leads to User Adoption

You might be tempted to give Dynamics CRM user training a lower priority. After seeing how much CRM 2011 looks and feels like the Microsoft Office products we all know and love, it’s easy to assume that your users will be able to figure it out on their own. Yes, the software is intuitive. The Save button is the blue floppy disc icon that has been around for years; the buttons are all in the Ribbon, just as in Office 2010.

Consider this: when you choose to implement Dynamics CRM, why do you outsource some of the work? It’s not because the CRM system itself is extremely complicated. It’s because you have complicated business processes and need the CRM experts to help you translate those processes into a technical solution. When you’re thinking about training, remember that you are training your users on new processes, and a new way of doing their job. Although it’s helpful to provide a 10 minute navigation review, pointing out the Save button and the Ribbon, the heart of the training should focus on business processes.

CRM user training leads to user adoption!

Joe CRM’s Top 10 Rules for Dynamics CRM User Training:

  1. Cover the “Must-Do” First. Make a list of all of the things you can do in your CRM system. Out of that list, select the items that the users must be able to do in order to do their jobs. In the first round of training, only cover these items. Schedule follow-up trainings to cover advanced topics, such as Advanced Finds.
  2. Create a Quick Reference Guide. This guide will cover everything that a user must be able to do within CRM. Depending on your business processes, this could be 2-3 pages or 30-40 pages. Provide the guide in paper and electronic form. Include screen prints and diagrams, as appropriate. Add a section on Tips & Tricks, such as “type and tab” functionality on the lookup fields and underlined values in a View are hyperlinks.
  3. Have a Facilitator’s Guide. Creating a detailed Facilitator’s guide will allow you to pass the training onto another member of your team to train from. This guide should tell the facilitator where to click, what to say, and when to take breaks. The guide should also go along with a PowerPoint if the training is occurring in-person.
  4. Take Breaks. Don’t try and push through a full day of training with only a lunch break. Every 2 hours, take 10 minute breaks to allow users to make phone calls and check e-mail. This will also help to keep their minds fresh.
  5. Show, Then Do. If your training is 8 hours long, do not spend 4 hours straight teaching, then the next 4 hours with the users in CRM. Instead, spend 5-10 minutes teaching one function of CRM then have the users do it themselves for 10 minutes.
  6. Explain What Customer Relationship Management Is and Does. Some of your users may have experience using a CRM system. For others, this may be the first time. Spend time going over what a CRM system is and what it is going to do to help them do their jobs more effectively.
  7. Put up a Parking Lot. Don’t pave paradise, but you need a place to write down questions and requests. While you want to encourage users to ask questions, some may not be appropriate to answer at the time. Write them down and make sure you loop back around at the end of the training. You can cross of the questions that were answered during training, and get back to the questions that weren’t covered.
  8. Set Class Rules. Although you’re most likely teaching adults, you still need to set rules. No cell phones, laptop screens down or monitors off unless told to turn them on, minimal distractions.
  9. Teach to the Middle Curve. Every classroom has superstar students and less-than superstar students. The majority of the class will be somewhere in between. Set your agenda and level of detail to those students. After training, work with the users on the lower rung individually to catch them up.
  10. Keep Class Sizes Small. A lecture hall of 50 users will be difficult to control and questions will be left unasked. 10-15 is an ideal number. If you have a large organization, consider having multiple trainers. You could also train managers, provide them a facilitator’s guide, and require them to train their teams.

BONUS TIP: Know your team. If you have remote sales users who will not pay attention to an online training, make them travel for in-person training. If you have a user who will create disturbances, make them sit in the front of the room. If your team is driven by chocolate, keep a bag of chocolate at your podium and toss out to users who are asking or answering questions. If your team is driven by acknowledgement, print off “CRM Champion” certificates for them to hang by their desk. CRM is a big investment, and you do not want to skimp on training and risk poor user adoption.

We've got several other blogs on increasing CRM user adoption that you may also find useful:

Happy CRM'ing!

Dynamics CRM User Adoption with Jane CRM

Microsoft Dynamics CRM user adoption by Jane CRMDear Jane CRM,

I've noticed that Joe has been hogging the limelight. I thought I'd shoot a question your way. I need a few tips on how to increase our Dynamics CRM user adoption of our Dynamics CRM. Got any?

--Sincerely, Need Some Tips in Akron

Dear Akron,

Thanks for the question. I am always excited to offer my top 5 lists. I have found a mix of things help CRM champions get end users to enthusiastically use Dynamic CRM.

  1. Answer the question, "What's in it for me?" – Letting people know how the CRM makes their jobs easier is a great incentive for getting them invested in using the application. Let them know what their tools are.
  2. If it's not in Dynamics CRM then ignore it – This sounds harsh, I know. Kindly let users know that even if they have an opportunity, it must be in CRM for it to exist on the Pipeline. Don't be satisfied with a sales executive coming to the weekly sales meeting with a post-it note containing all their opportunity information.
  3. Clear Communication - Offer clear metrics to let users know when and how they'll be measured. For example, set target dates by which users must make changes or what information managers are reviewing.
  4. Get User Feedback – Users have opinions too! Getting their feedback not only generates great ideas for improvement, it also gives the users a chance to participate and feel invested in the application.
  5. Provide Training – Users weren't born knowing your internal business processes or how Dynamics CRM works! End user training helps users see the forest for the trees, makes them better users, and reinforces that company leadership is invested in the information they are working hard to provide! Give me a call if you'd like help to defining a clear training strategy.

Keep the enthusiasm alive in Akron!

Sincerely,

Jane CRM

CRM ExpertMicrosoft Dynamics CRMCRM How To

Fill Your “Last Mile” Gaps with PowerApps

"Last mile" is a major buzzword right now, especially as it relates to PowerApps. To understand the concept behind the buzz, let's consider a company that spends millions of dollars on CRM and other software to help induce customers to buy their product. Perhaps the various parts of said product are created in multiple countries, shipped to the US, and driven across the country to stores or warehouses to facilitate a customer's purchase, all of which is nicely tracked in the CRM. Then, after all that complexity, the sale falls apart in the "last mile," which is the seemingly simple act of delivering said product to the customer's house.

This is a big issue across industries right now, as customers have high (and constantly increasing) expectations for flawless execution, service, delivery, etc. To that end, it is becoming tougher every day to meet the standards set by the likes of Uber and Amazon, and thus "last mile" gaps are created.

In this blog post, we will show you how you can build last mile solutions to ensure your users:

  1. Can get what they want, when they want it, wherever they are.
  2. Can get information easily, seamlessly, and painlessly.
  3. Adopt the bigger Dynamics 365 implementation through these apps!

In the example below, we'll look at how an employee who is always (or mostly) on the road can use a Power Apps app to:

…all with minimal clicks!

In the home screen below, we have a list of contacts that the user owns. (Note this "gallery" can be filtered based on various conditions.) For each contact, we can do the following with a single click:

  1. Call
  2. Text/SMS
  3. Get driving directions to their location from user's current location
  4. Email
  5. Check calendar + schedule appointments

last mile

Digression: At the very bottom is a "robot" icon. We have integrated a QnaMaker.ai chatbot with this app that does not require any coding. More on that in an upcoming blog post!

Notice that not all contacts have the same icons. That is intentional! If we don't have a contact's mobile number, we make our users know that by hiding the call and text icons (another option is to "gray out" the icons).

The first three icons under Yvonne McKay perform calling, texting, and getting driving directions – with a single click, as shown in the video below:

 

Clicking on Yvonne's fourth icon takes us to the next screen, where we can add as many email addresses as we want, compose an email, and send it to everyone.

Note: The email screen integrates Power Apps with Exchange, making it a breeze to find coworkers to add to emails.

 

Clicking the final icon for each of our contacts allows the user to do two things: check calendar and schedule appointments. As a bonus, our app once again connects to Exchange to:

  1. Show the current user's appointments first
  2. Schedule meetings with coworkers – by picking a date and duration of the meeting, the app shows all the times that work for everyone without conflicts.

 

The screen is doing a lot here, and the coolest part is that we're using one of the out-of-the-box screens that are available within PowerApps. In other words, you wouldn't need to write a single formula to adopt this functionality!

Bringing it All Together

So, what are we really doing here? Essentially, four things:

  1. Surfacing information from a certain data source. In our example, contacts are coming from Dynamics 365, but the source can be SharePoint, Excel, or any other.
  2. Providing users the ability to interact with their customers and co-workers easily, creating a wow! factor for everyone involved.
  3. Encouraging user adoption.
  4. Helping to close those last mile gaps!

Apps like this one are extremely quick and easy to build. In our next blog post, we'll show you the formulas that our Power Apps designers used to build this app. Until then, learn more about Power Apps here and be sure to register for our upcoming webcast, PO TV Live Webcast: Providing a Better Customer Experience with Power Apps.

As always, Happy D365'ing!

User Acceptance Testing: What You Need to Remember

Just like any software system, testing is crucial for a Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation. A project's success hinges on a system that users have tested and approved. One of the advantages of Dynamics 365 is that it is easy to make tweaks and changes and deploy those without much ado. In this blog, we review a few best practices that every successful implementation needs.

1. Don't have to wait until the scheduled UAT to expose users to Dynamics 365. Include as many users as is efficiently possible in the design reviews during the development phase. Users who have gained some familiarity with the system will understand the nuances better and have a smoother adoption curve.

2. Setting expectations is crucial. Make sure your users are aware that there will be issues that will come up during testing – and although it may seem like a major roadblock, most of the times it is resolved by a simple fix. When the right expectation is set, user adoption is better. If you want to know more about user adoption, check out these blogs – User Adoption, You say tomato, I say tomato and Tracking CRM User Adoption, Made Easy.

3. If users are moving away from a legacy system, they need to understand that the new system is not going to be an exact replica of the old system. That would defeat the purpose of implementing a 'new' system. New might mean an improvement in the business process itself, new terminologies or different steps they need to take.

Remember, UAT and the following deployment does not have to be the ultimate step in your CRM journey. New features and functionalities can continue to be implemented post go-live. A system is never going to be 'perfect.' Delaying the launch to keep making changes to the system is not necessarily a wise move. Define your ideal system and realistic objectives and once you have reached them, begin testing.

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Happy Dynamics 365'ing!