17 Ocak 2008 Perşembe

CRM 3.0 Software Design Goals

Microsoft CRM is designed to resolve the common issues that historically caused problems during CRMimplementations. Some of the issues we've already reviewed include: offsite workers needing remote accessto data, multi-channel customer communications, and rigid software design. To solve these problems,Microsoft CRM targeted three software design themes:

Works the way you do

Works the way your business does

Works the way Information Technology (IT) expects it to

Works the Way You Do

Earlier CRM systems forced users to track information in multiple systems because the CRM software didn'tinclude all of the functionality, such as e-mail, calendaring, task management, and spreadsheets, needed forusers to complete their jobs. People performed their work with productivity tools such as Microsoft OfficeOutlook, Microsoft Office Excel, and Microsoft Office Word, but then they had to copy customer data into theirCRM system! This extra step caused negative user feedback because it slowed users down, createdadditional work, and forced them to learn an entirely new tool.

To address this problem, Microsoft CRM works directly within Office and Outlook so that users can performtheir normal job functions and track data in Microsoft CRM at the same time. Microsoft CRM is a server-basedproduct that you install and run on a Web server, and users can install the Microsoft CRM client for Outlooksoftware to work directly within Outlook. You can see that Microsoft CRM adds atoolbar to Outlook and adds Microsoft CRM folders to the Outlook folder list.

If your users know how to use Outlook, they already know how to use the key customer management tools in Microsoft CRM such as contacts, tasks, appointments, and e-mail. Microsoft CRM toolbar that allows a user to compose an e-mail message in Outlook and then simply click the Track In CRMbutton to save a copy of the message to the Microsoft CRM database.

This tracking concept applies not only to e-mail messages, but also to calendar items, contacts, and tasks. Byoffering this native Outlook experience to users, Microsoft CRM lets users work with their normal tools andeasily track and manage CRM data.

Real World

Believe it or not, many companies still require their employees to copy information fromtheir Outlook e-mail messages and paste it into their CRM systems. It sounds crazy, butwe've seen this process implemented at many companies, both big and small. The nativeOutlook integration of Microsoft CRM eliminates the need for this extra work.

Even if your company doesn't use Outlook, or if you use Microsoft Office Outlook Web Access, Microsoft CRMprovides you with additional user interface options:

Microsoft Internet Explorer Web browser

Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) using Microsoft mobile technology

Microsoft CRM also integrates directly with additional business productivity tools such as:

Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Word
Microsoft Exchange Server
Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies

By providing a tight integration with tools that your users already know, Microsoft CRM provides an extremelyrapid learning curve to ensure maximum user adoption. More important, it's designed to work the way yourusers work.

Works the Way Your Business Does

So you've seen how Microsoft CRM works hard to make life easier for the people who use the system on aday-to-day basis. Microsoft CRM also offers several benefits designed to accommodate the way businesseswork. In particular, these benefits include:

Web-based customization tools Because your business processes change rapidly, you can quickly andeasily customize Microsoft CRM by using Web-based customization tools. In addition to customizingforms and adding fields, you can create entirely new types of data to track and manage in CRM withoutwriting a single line of code.

Robust security model Microsoft CRM uses a role-based security model to provide you with incrediblydetailed and flexible security configuration options. You can structure the system so that users accessand edit only the information they need for their jobs. Yet, the security model remains agile enough toallow users to create ad hoc teams for collaborative work on projects and customer accounts.

Open programming interfaces Because businesses use more than one system for their operations,Microsoft CRM offers you an open programming interface that enables you to connect Microsoft CRM withalmost any type of external application, such as your company Web site, a financial system, or a companyintranet. The Microsoft CRM programming interface uses Web services, so you can use almost anyintegration technology or platform that meets your needs.

Business process automation Microsoft CRM offers you a Workflow feature to automate business
processes and repetitive tasks such as automatically creating follow-up tasks for new leads or escalatingoverdue customer service issues to a manager. You set up these business workflows by using a graphicaluser interface, so you can easily customize and revise them without programming code when yourbusiness needs to shift quickly.

Multiple deployment options You can choose how you want to deploy the Microsoft CRM software foryour business. You can purchase the software and install it onsite in your local network, or you can rentthe software on a monthly basis from a Microsoft partner who will manage all of the hardware, software,network, and security issues on your behalf. You can also switch from one deployment model to another ifyour business needs to change over time. Regardless of the deployment option you select, you canalways configure the security settings so that your remote and offsite workers can log on and access thesystem with no problems.

More Info Part II, "Customization," and Part III, "Extending Microsoft CRM," explain how you cancustomize Microsoft CRM to match your business process and procedures.

Works the Way IT Expects It To

If you're in the Information Technology (IT) department, we're sure you've worked with some difficult systems.Maybe the software used some proprietary database format that only three people in the world understand, ormaybe the software was so fragile that you didn't want to upgrade it for fear of breaking it!

Microsoft CRM isdesigned to work with the existing tools, applications, and infrastructure that IT professionals use every day.Some of the Microsoft CRM benefits specific to IT include:

Industry standard technologies Microsoft CRM uses industry standard network managementtechnologies for its foundation. It uses Microsoft Active Directory directory service and IntegratedWindows authentication for user and password management. Microsoft CRM stores all of its data inMicrosoft SQL Server for easy backups, restores, and failovers. It also uses the SQL Server ReportingServices platform as its main reporting engine, and it works directly with Exchange Server for sending andtracking e-mail.

Wizard-driven deployment When you install Microsoft CRM, the software checks for all of the systemprerequisites and tells you which adjustments you might need to make. Depending on your networkenvironment, it's possible to install the Microsoft CRM software with 10 clicks or fewer!

Failover and disaster recovery Microsoft CRM supports clustering for Web, database, and e-mail serverenvironments, so you can feel confident about the safety of your mission-critical data.

Zero-footprint clients Users can access Microsoft CRM by using Internet Explorer and still use thesoftware's rich functionality. In addition, you can deploy the Microsoft CRM desktop client for Outlook sothat you can use the software if your organization uses thin-client technology for your users.

Automation support You can install Microsoft CRM from a command line or via Terminal Services.

In light of these benefits (and many more that we didn't list), you'll find that Microsoft CRM works the way ITwould expect it to.