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Ryan Plourde, Crowe Horwath

The Benefits of CRM Integrated versus Stand Alone Project Management Software – Part 2

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In part one of this post we talked about the limitations of a simple CRM system as well as a dedicated stand-alone project management system for managing project delivery. Now let’s share the good news about the advantage of an integrated solution.

Advantages of integrated Project Management solutions

How well any Project Management (PM) software does its job depends on many factors, but one in particular is crucial: that the correct information is input by users. That is one reason PM software that’s integrated into a CRM system makes so much sense. It has all the main advantages of stand-alone PM software with the added advantage of having much of the information already available through the CRM; it doesn’t have to be input again. That saves time, increases efficiency and greatly reduces the risk of error.

In practice, it means that once a sale is confirmed, the related implementation project can be initiated immediately using the same software suite and the same data that was gathered during the sales cycle. The only new information that has to be input is the particular project’s unique data. Typically, that data and any updates are entered by the customer’s project team leader in consultation with key team members. That maintains data integrity while ensuring that the whole team remains fully aware of customer expectations, as well as the project’s progress in term of tasks, scope, milestones, budget estimates and fulfillment dates.

Another important advantage of an integrated PM system is that throughout the project cycle, as deliverables are being worked on, the project team can obtain much of the nitty-gritty information it needs by directly consulting the data that was recorded in the CRM system during the sales cycle. That should include notes made by the salespeople, emails exchanged with the customer, records of phone calls and meetings and quotes provided prior to the sale. That direct access to customer-contact history increases the project team’s efficiency by reducing how often they need to directly contact the sales team or the customer.

An integrated solution suits many types of businesses

CRM integrated PM is of value to a broad range of businesses whose common characteristic is that they sell services or products the delivery of which is project based. Their services or products have an overall budget, are produced separately or as individual blocks and their production has a definite start and end time and can be broken down into related but discrete tasks. Integrated software ensures that deliverables are produced within those parameters and that the entire project is completed on schedule. In addition to keeping the project and the individual tasks on schedule and within budget, the software’s time-entry component keeps track of hours for billing and cost accounting purposes.

The CRM integrated PM system works because it’s an easy to use, highly efficient end-to-end solution – one system manages the whole customer relationship from first lead contact to completion of deliverables. It doesn’t require a project management qualification to use it – a new user becomes proficient after just a few days because of its uncluttered, intuitive interface and its timesaving inline editing which enables users to quickly edit data while checking the project’s tasks and milestones in the data grid view without having to open individual records.

Significant benefits after projects are completed

In addition to the advantages during a project, the benefits of AbleBridge’s integrated solution extend beyond the end of a project. Here are three principal ways:

  1. The data in the CRM system and the PM module, which concerns every stage of the customer relationship from first contact to project completion, is easily accessible to both the sales and the project teams. So, if a repeat customer instigates a new project, it can be set in motion very quickly. Indeed some systems allow a project to be saved as a template so that a new project, which uses most of the parameters of the completed project apart from project-specific data, can be started very quickly.
  2. Integrated Project Management for Microsoft Dynamics CRM gives the company a potential competitive advantage because one customer’s project often serves as a useful template for the project of another customer in a similar business, enabling faster completion of a new customer’s sales cycle and faster initiation of the project cycle.
  3. The integrated system gives a business full visibility into all of its customers’ projects, both current and completed, enabling the company to fine-tune its practices and procedures, thus leading to overall higher efficiency and lower costs.

AbleBridge Project Management for Microsoft Dynamic CRM

To maintain a competitive edge, a business must give its key employees tools that do more than just solve a problem; they must inspire their users. AbleBridge is a committed design leader in CRM and Project Management solutions. The company’s project management module Project Management for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, is an innovative solution with broad functionality, yet is easy to use and requires little training. By leveraging the customer data in your CRM system, AbleBridge’s integrated real-time PM module provides clear, linked visibility across the sales and project functions and its intuitive interface contributes to user satisfaction to deliver increased productivity and reduced overhead.

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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