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Seven Steps to a successful trial of Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE

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If you are planning on exploring whether Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE is the right CRM solution for you, you are in the right place.

Without doubt, a trial of any software is an essential step towards gaining confidence that it is a possible solution for you.  But there are good ways and less good ways to carry out that trial.  We see so many trials that deliver very little.  Yet, with a little planning you can get a very good idea of just how Microsoft Dynamics 365 will solve problems for you - how it will speed up your repetive processes, how it will give you that all-round 360 view of customers and how it will deliver you the metrics from across your business.

However, many people find that once they have set up a trial, it is more complicated.  They have managed to navigate through the trial creation process, but still there is more to it than they had realised.

Follow these seven simple steps to ensure your trial is successful.

Read more: Seven Steps to a successful trial of Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE

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Microsoft Dynamics 365 v9.02: More new functionality to make our customer service easier - here now

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is constantly changing. Barely before we have got our heads around the July 2017 – v9 release of Microsoft Dynamics 365 there is another one to contend with. However, trials set up at the moment are still on 9.0. The 9.02 upgrade is slated for general availability in April 2018, but not yet (as of 9th April). The good news is that the changes seem to be far less than those in the v9 release last July.  My free ebook on this July 2017 v9 release is available here.

The biggest technical change in this release is that the hubs – Sales Hub and Customer Service Hub, built on the Unified Interface - are now the default user interface.

This document is a high-level summary of the release notes.

This state of constant change is good, in that we can always fix more today than we could yesterday, but it does mean that we are never finished – there are always more benefits offer and more ways to solve challenges. In turn this means that everyone working in this space should be constantly investing in their education to stay abreast of the options, so we can always give the best advice or make the best decisions.

On 21st March 2018, James Phillips - Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Business Applications Group announced this release, and on 28th March 2018, Microsoft published the release notes. Phillip’s announcement of the 9.02 upgrade release included:

“Today I’m thrilled to announce the spring 2018 release for Microsoft Business Applications. We’re unleashing a wave of innovation across the entire product line with hundreds of new capabilities and features in three core areas: new business applications; new intelligent capabilities infused throughout; and transformational new application platform capabilities.
“As I talk with business leaders to learn what draws them to Dynamics 365, the answer is almost always the same: they want to digitally transform and believe Microsoft is uniquely capable of helping them succeed on that journey. Microsoft is the only provider of a modern, unified and intelligence-infused family of business applications that span the breadth of business processes – across marketing, sales, service, operations, finance, talent and commerce; all powered by a business analytics and application platform, built atop a common data model, on Azure, our planet-scale public cloud, connected to Office 365 and the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn.
“It is this collection of integrated capabilities spanning the Microsoft Cloud that supercharge Dynamics 365, creating what we believe is an unmatched platform for digital transformation.”

Here, I provide a summary of the CRM related changes, and make the release notes available to you.

Read more: Microsoft Dynamics 365 v9.02: More new functionality to make our customer service easier

How to market yourself and get booked as a speaker

Gill Walker in Business Woman Media

In this article published in BusinessWomanMedia, Gill shows a side of herself other than CRM.  Here she shares some of the lessons that she has learnt on the road to speaking.

marketing yourself as a speaker

In order to market yourself and get booked as a speaker you must first understand why you should consider speaking at events.  If you have a message, or you want to influence people, speaking is a wonderful vehicle to help you get your message to the right people.  Speaking allows you to communicate with a captive audience without running the gauntlet of phone and email gatekeepers.  It is also an opportunity to share with the audience your ‘real self’, which if you are providing a personal service, such as coaching or consulting, is often important.

Marketing yourself as a speaker isn’t about you, it’s about them. 

Read more: How to market yourself and get booked as a speaker

Users do not (want to) use your CRM - why, and what you can do about it?

Solving the user adoption problem with CRM - before it happens

Up to 85% of CRM projects are deemed to have failed, and when we drill into the reasons for the perceived failure, it is often one of three reasons:

  • Users do not use the solution
  • Users are still following complex, time consuming processing to get to the data and reports that they need
  • The reports do not give the complete information – which is often because the users are not using the solution.


Sound familiar?  Click here for a complimentary chat about your user adoption. 
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So why is there this failure in user adoption?  Why don’t users use the system?

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When we drill into the reasons that users are not using the CRM solution, we find three common reasons:

Read more: Solving the user adoption problem with CRM - before it happens

Three pre-technology steps to ensure your CRM success

Many – perhaps as many as 80% - of CRM projects are said to have failed. I have written about various aspects of this previously.

A CRM project should not be seen as an IT project. Yes, technology is important, but it is important in the same way that the engine is important to a car.  Without it, the car is not going anywhere, but a lot more as well as the engine is required to make it go anywhere.

Here, I will look at three steps that you, as project sponsor, business owner or manager, who wants a successful CRM project can do before technology becomes important and before IT people should be involved.  These three steps are:

  1. Education
  2. Understand your existing data
  3. Know what you need CRM to deliver

Three pre-technology steps to ensure your CRM success

Read more: Three pre-technology steps to ensure your CRM success

Seven essential questions to start your CRM journey on the right foot

Understanding that CRM is a serious undertaking that will deliver huge benefits, but is not without significant effort, is key to your CRM journey success.  However, although CRM is simple, it is not easy.  What do you need to know to start your CRM journey on the right foot?  This is where working with people who have a broad experience prior to your project, will pay huge dividends. 

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need to know

This ebook is a CRM Primer for all, which simplifies many of the questions so you can make the right decisions.

After all, you do not know what you do not know – as this blog article shows .

So how do you work out which kind of CRM solution is right for your growing business?  What are the seven key questions you need to consider? 

Read more: Seven essential questions to start your CRM journey on the right foot

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Opsis is an expert Microsoft Dynamics 365 consulting company. Our focus is your Microsoft Dynamics 365 success - not licence sales or billable hours. As Principal Consultant, Gill oversees all business operations and strategic planning and execution, yet she still believes in offering personal attention to each and every client, so as to understand their needs and offer tailored solutions.  We are based in Sydney, with clients in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and across Australia.  We offer Microsoft Dynamics 365 strategy, Microsoft Dynamics 365 scoping, Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation, Microsoft Dynamics 365 technical support, Microsoft Dynamics 365 advice and guidance, Microsoft Dynamics 365 training and mentoring.