In this blog, we highlight a lesson learned when we used a Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement online data source connector, called Instance Web API, for Power BI reports.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM has become an integral part to how Cenergistic runs a growing nationwide business and delivers client services. The switch to Microsoft Dynamics CRM delivered an easy-to-navigate and affordable solution tailored to fit Cenergistic’s unique business processes. Dynamics CRM integrates smoothly with other applications and tools. Cenergistic’s internal processes are streamlined to allow for easier billing and invoicing. Their consulting teams create custom views and dashboards and enjoy access to a 360-degree customer view whether in the field or the office. Sharing information between different programs around the nation and researching client issues online whenever needed empowers Cenergistic to deliver the highest level of client service.
“We used to email Word or Excel documents around. Now we track everything in Dynamics CRM,” says Colandrea. “We’re using the Dynamics CRM platform as the basis for new energy-saving software tools we’re building. All the information will flow into one system. That’s how we run our business now. We run our business through Dynamics CRM.”
Cenergistic already had a number of tools from the Microsoft stack in place in addition to other external applications and a data warehouse built with Microsoft SQL. Integrating their Salesforce.com solution with these existing platforms and tools required additional steps, burdening Cenergistic’s IT staff. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the integration became much easier. “We tried to make Salesforce.com the backbone of a comprehensive ERP solution for the company and it just wasn’t working. It was very difficult to do everything we wanted to do with Salesforce.com being the only non-Microsoft service solution that we had,” says Colandrea.
With Dynamics CRM, integration of all services was instantly easier. To prepare client billing before the conversion, employees had to look through many different reports, log information into different locations, and track information in Microsoft Excel. With the new integration capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Cenergistic has improved productivity and streamlined finance department processes.
“Before Dynamics CRM, it could take two hours to prepare billing for a single client. Now, with Dynamics CRM tightly integrated with Microsoft Great Plains throughout the entire client lifecycle, the billing process has gone from two hours to 10 minutes,” says Paula Johnson, Cenergistic’s Chief Financial Officer. “This saved time adds up and keeps me from having to hire another accountant. As we grow, we can better utilize our resources and allocate employees’ time.”
The user interface and navigation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM has also benefited Cenergistic as it’s now easier for users to navigate the system. “We were very attracted to the way the Dynamics CRM navigation works. We found Dynamics CRM much more modern and accessible for our users’ different devices. It’s a feature we were looking forward to—and it turned out to also be a great benefit for us,” says Colandrea.
One of those added benefits is that with the easier navigation, users are inclined to enter more data into Dynamics CRM. “We track a lot of information, so a priority was decreasing the amount of time needed to enter data—and the result is that our people actually provide more useful information. Dynamics CRM gave us greater flexibility in data layout and views, and we are huge fans of PowerObjects’ PowerPack Add-on, PowerGrid. We built very streamlined ways for them to enter and view information in Dynamics CRM with the help of PowerGrid.
When it’s easier for users to access and enter that information, they end up putting more data in. That helps everyone here serve our clients better.”
The ability to create customizable views in Dynamics CRM is also a significant benefit for the Cenergistic team. Users in the field and in the office now have instant access to the data they need to view each day. “Ask any of our users and they will say that the custom views in Dynamics CRM are unparalleled. To a much greater extent than before the conversion, users are creating their own customized views of data, writing their own custom reports, and setting up the tool according to their preferences. They can be laser-focused on their individual
responsibilities,” says Colandrea. “Dynamics CRM has become the ‘home’ for our staff, instead of just a tool where they entered or found information and then logged out.”
With Dynamics CRM, Cenergistic’s engineers and consultants can share information with colleagues around the nation—delivering better client service and helping them quickly get the best solutions for clients. Dynamics CRM gives Cenergistic a full view of each client, which the consulting team can easily access to review the status of any client’s energy program. “When our consultants need to learn more about a client, the first thing they do is check CRM and get the full 360-degree view of the situation,” said Colandrea. “Our consultants and engineers can track their clients’ implementation process better than they could in the past.”
In the past, no one went out of their way to praise our information systems, but within a month of launching Dynamics CRM our team was telling us this was the best change we have ever made. We have 100% adoption in Dynamics CRM and are currently building more applications that use the software platform. I’m excited to see how much this change to Dynamics CRM can power additional savings for our clients.