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Ryan Plourde, Crowe Horwath

The Benefits of CRM Integrated versus Stand Alone Project Management Software – Part 1

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The truth is, CRM systems are limited when it comes to managing sales-related deliverables.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software systems are invaluable at doing what the name suggests: managing an organization’s relationship with its customers from the time they become leads to when they make their first purchase to after-sales follow-up and nurturing future sales opportunities.

But what about after managing the project after the sale? Managing deliverables requires coordinated input from various departments and for that reason, it is crucial that it be managed accurately and efficiently.  In part one of this post, we’ll discuss some of the common solutions businesses are using (and their shortcomings).  In part two, we’ll discuss a better solution and how it can benefit businesses in the area of project delivery.

Common Project Management Solutions

Most organizations use some form of project management (PM) system to ensure that each task of the deliverables cycle begins and ends on schedule and within budget. Methods vary greatly but often rely on an assortment of software aids from spreadsheets like Excel, the calendar feature of applications like Outlook or physical aids like whiteboards and paper documentation.  More structured methods may use similar aids, but adhere more rigidly to the methodologies of the project management industry. Both of those solutions, however, are fraught with problems ranging from data duplication and human error to the logistic difficulties of keeping independent monitoring and recording methods updated and synchronized. To overcome those hazards, organizations can manage their projects with the help of dedicated stand-alone project management software.

Dedicated Project Management Software

Because even apparently simple projects have numerous critical and interdependent elements, using PM software provides significant advantages. Three of those advantages stand out:

  • PM software streamlines otherwise complex processes leading to efficiency in various steps. Combined, these efficiencies will reduce the project’s overall duration and cost.
  • PM software considerably lowers the possibility of human error, especially errors related to scheduling. It provides the team with extensive information about the project’s progress at every stage and flags potential problems like delays or cost overruns well in advance.
  • PM software provides real-time and detailed project status visibility. This will increase the team’s confidence and reduce stress levels thus contributing to even more efficient project implementation.

Downside of Some Stand-Alone Solutions

Not all project management software is suitable for all businesses; many stand-alone systems are overly complicated. The terminology used in the interface and the methodologies employed presuppose that users have specific project management qualifications and experience in the supervision of very complex projects like highway construction, aircraft assembly or large-scale domestic appliance manufacture. For most businesses, however, this degree of complication is unnecessary, generating confusion while offering no significant additional benefits. The complexity of the software can actually discourage team members, resulting in reduced job-satisfaction and lower productivity.

So, those are the limitations of a standard CRM system and also of a stand-alone project management system.  Stay tuned for part two where we’ll introduce an integrated solution that will cover both simple and complex project management of deliverables right within the software that you are likely already using.

For more information about Project Management for Microsoft Dynamics CRM contact AbleBridge at 877-600-2253 or [email protected]

By AbleBridge, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gold Partner, www.AbleBridge.com

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One Response to “The Benefits of CRM Integrated versus Stand Alone Project Management Software – Part 1”

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