How to Boost User Adoption of MS Dynamics 365 CRM apps?

Dream. Dare. Do – that is Suyati’s work principle in a nutshell.

  • Author:
  • Nayab Naseer

MS Dynamic CRM

Microsoft loves innovation and always rolls out new features on all of its products, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM is no exception to this. Software vendors often face the risk of low user adoption, hence they implement numerous tried and tested methods to increase the user base of apps. Of all, the best method is to let the user completely understand the manifold advantages of the software, so that they can use it effectively and recommend it to their peers. Here, we analyze the multiple business benefits that MS Dynamics 365 CRM brings to the table and the top tips to increase the user adoption of Dynamics 365 CRM apps.

If the seamless integration with other Windows applications and the robust Microsoft platform are not enough, Microsoft Dynamics comes with Cortana and Power BI that enable building intelligence into business processes. The platform is extremely adaptable, fast, and flexible as well, enabling stakeholders to get real-time insights and make instant decisions.

Related: Microsoft brings together Office 365 and Power BI Reporting

However, with power comes complexity, and a complex suite always runs the risk of low user adoption. The enterprise may have taken great pains and efforts to set up the highly powerful and sophisticated CRM, but the complex nature of the CRM makes users hesitant to adopt it. Low adoption of CRM leads to under-utilization and poor ROI.

A major reason why CRM becomes complex for the user in the first place is the CRM processes not being aligned to the business processes. What is desirable is the complete alignment of CRM processes with the business flow, but a perfect sync is a utopian idea. If nothing else, the business processes keep on changing in response to the extremely fluid business environment. In such a scenario, the best option is to make tweaks to the interface, to simplify the underlying complexity for the end-user.

So, what are the best feasible ways to make the CRM less complex for users? Here, we list a few:

Tip 1: Limited Custom Interface with App Designer

Most users are put off by a complex interface, cluttered with features and functionality they do not require, and are confusing in any case. Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers a ready-made solution to resolve such front-end complexity, through its App Designer tool. CRM administrators may use this tool to define new custom interfaces, picking and choosing the required dashboards, forms, entities, charts, and views. Each App Designer module gets a unique URL, which the intended set of users may access. 

Use the App Designer tool to simplify a complex CRM and create simple interfaces for different users or user-groups. All you need to do is to pre-plan the right business flows. Success depends on picking and choosing the right entities, fields, dashboards, access controls, and other elements for each user-set, making sure nothing is left out, and nothing superfluous gets in the way.

Tip 2: Incremental Approach with JumpStart 365

While the App Designer delivers simple interfaces, executing it requires technical expertise. Many users do not have resources handy, and would rather opt to deploy a limited set of features that they really need. At this point, JumpStart 365, a wizard-based solution, offers a viable alternative.

JumpStart 365 is a structured tool that automates the deployment of the CRM, and guides users to take the basic decisions required in the initial setup, facilitating a systematic implementation. Using JumpStart 365 enables easy installation of capabilities such as vertical packages and integrations, which many users may otherwise shun, owing to the overtly technical and complex nature of the installation. An added advantage is Jumpstart 365 allowing the user to test a vertical solution for a few weeks on a trial basis, before deciding whether to actually invest money on it.

In CRM, less is often beautiful. The incremental approach of installing a basic bare-bones version, and gaining competency in it before adding on features, is always a preferred approach than going full-blown from the onset and end up being swamped by the complexity. JumpStart 365 fits the bill perfectly well for users preferring the incremental way to simplicity.

Related: 6 Reasons to Integrate CRM and ERP

Tip 3: Custom and Semi-custom apps with Task Flow Designer

The Task Flow Designer, a new tool from Microsoft empowers CRM administrators to design micro-apps. Such micro-apps, which offer functionality limited to a specific task, may be offered to users who need to perform CRM-related tasks but may either be too overwhelmed with the traditional CRM interface, or for whom full CRM access may not be required or inappropriate.

Instances of a micro-app coming in handy are numerous. A sales executive may log into a micro-app to log updates after meeting a prospect, without having to take the trouble of accessing and navigating the full-blown CRM. The Task Flow Designer gathers the required information in a user-friendly way, and automatically updates the CRM. Several third-party sales intelligence apps, from vendors such as Kuvana, ToutApp, and Komiko facilitate essentially the same thing.

Tip 4: Explore Multiple Accessibility Options

In today’s dynamic, fast-paced and mobile business environment, a basic pre-requisite for user adoption is making the CRM available on multiple fronts. Integrating the CRM with existing systems such as email clients, MS-Word, the accounting software, calendar, the marketing automation suite, and other platforms offers an additional bonus of removing data duplication.

Microsoft Dynamics offers the unparalleled advantage of seamless integration with other Microsoft products, many of which are already in common use. For instance, using Microsoft Dynamics CRM within Outlook puts the CRM in close proximity, and a familiar environment to the user. In fact, many enterprises do not even inform users about a new CRM, and simply pass on the message “Microsoft Outlook has been upgraded”. An added advantage of using Microsoft Outlook client is the offline accessibility it provides.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers an in-built internet facing deployment (IFD) for online access. The IFD authentication model also enables access without having to log into the network, handy to access the CRM outside the corporate network. Enterprises may nevertheless want to explore developing custom apps to make online access as seamless and simple as possible for their users. This is more so to ensure mobile access, so essential in today’s mobility driven age.

Related: A Quick Glance at MS Dynamics 2016

Tip 5: Generic Ideas

Apart from these specific interface-related tweaks, some generic and time-tested approaches also work wonders in increasing user adoption:

  • Train users on how to undertake different tasks, and offer clarity on each element in the CRM suite. Effective training adopts real world ideas, convinces the user not just on how a feature works, but on how it would make their work easier.
  • Gamify the system, provide rewards to motivate the users, and give them a good reason to take the effort and master the complexity. The rewards could be anything from a simple gift card to a leader board listing, or anything else.
  • Use a reference hand guide for users to self-do things when there are no mentors around. Microsoft itself offers a wealth of resources including quick guides, how-to videos, eBooks and other technical materials for Dynamics 365. There is a large and vibrant community available as well.
  • Integrate and centralize all data, to make the CRM the one-stop shop for all information in the enterprise. Make a conscious effort to eradicate data silos. When the CRM becomes the focal point, stakeholders and users would feel comfortable using it.

Forrester Research estimates lack of user adoption is responsible for 70% of failed CRM projects. The Dynamics CRM is a powerful suite, but the real power derives only from its simplicity and user-friendliness.

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