If you’re in the early stages of a CRM project, you need an idea of what’s involved and how long it’s going to take to get Microsoft Dynamics CRM up, running, and improving the efficiency and productivity of your business.
With Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, in theory you can start using the software almost straight away. If you’ve previously enrolled in the free 30-day trail, you’ll already have a good idea of how the software works and what it can do for your business. To really get the best from the software however, there are a few other things you need to do.
To work out a realistic timescale of how long it is going to take to deploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM (whether that be Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, partner hosted, or on-premise) you need to provide your Microsoft CRM business partner with as much detail as possible on what you’re looking to achieve from your new CRM system. This will include your key aims and objectives, your business processes, the problems you’re looking to overcome using CRM, which departments within your organisation will be using the product, the number of users, your current infrastructure, and the complexity of your project.
Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers straight away – your Microsoft Dynamics CRM business partner will discuss these areas with you and help you along the way. To be able to get an accurate time (and cost) estimate for larger or more complex projects you’ll need to work with your business partner closely to properly scope, identify, and define your requirements.
So, what’s involved in deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM and what influences how long the project is going to take? As you’d expect there are quite a few things to think about. However, to work out the amount of the time it will take to successfully deploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM (or any other good quality CRM software) you will usually need to take into account:
- The analysis of your business requirements, internal processes, project objectives, and the scope of the CRM project
- Looking at how you want the software set up and the corresponding configuration
- Software installation (for on-premise)
- Cleansing and formatting of existing data (often underestimated)
- Getting your existing data in to the new system (not always but usually applicable)
- Testing the system – by the business partner and by your own users
- Training of users and administrators (which can sometimes include ‘train the trainer’)
- If your system is highly configured you may want to develop your own user guides and documents
- ‘Bedding in’ and system reviews
The above steps are not exhaustive and there are other factors which can also influence the amount of time the project is going to take. Examples of these include selection of the right business partner, availability of resources, internally communicating and ‘selling’ the project, contract negotiation, and so on. Again, depending on the size of your project and the type of your organisation, you may want to play safe and include thinking and administration time (for example the time it takes to get decisions or formal sign-offs for each stage of the project).
As CRM software goes, Microsoft Dynamics CRM deployment is usually pretty straightforward. To provide some figures on how long it takes to deploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM, here’s a typical example. Let’s assume you have 20 users in Sales, Marketing, and Senior Management. Your requirements are not overly complex and you’ve chosen Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to improve your lead and campaign management, sales processes and pipeline visibility, improve customer communications and account management, and get some better, quicker management reporting. You have limited existing customer and prospect data, but what you do have is comprehensive, accurate, and up to date.
In this example, because you’ve chosen Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, cloud deployments are often quicker (not always, but in this case probably), so you should be able to get up and running comfortably in about four weeks. If your requirements are more complex, for example you’ve decided you need more configuration based on your unique business processes or integration with other systems, it could typically take up to three-months. If this was a pilot project to expand out to say 200 users on multiple sites, and it identified that more development or configuration work would be beneficial, it could take longer.
If you’re in the UK, looking to implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM in your business and would like an accurate quote, more details of what’s involved or a more precise estimate of how long your project will take, contact the CRM specialists at TSG.