5 Ways Project Managers Can Benefit From Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

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The global launch of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 online has no doubt been exciting for MS Dynamics CRM users worldwide, and as we wait for the release of on-premise and partner-hosted versions to complete the CRM 2011 experience, what better time to outline just exactly how project managers can reap the benefits of some of the new functionality of MS Dynamics CRM 2011.

IPM Global’s development team has worked hard to ensure project managers using our project management solution built on the MS Dynamics CRM framework will be able to enjoy all the new features of CRM 2011 too. So we thought we’d share with you five features that will have a big impact on how you use IPM and that we think are worth getting excited about:

1. Conditional formatting

By far one of the most exciting developments to MS CRM in terms of its application in IPM, conditional formatting lets you set rules that can change the appearance of certain items in a list. For example, you can set items in a list to turn red if they are overdue, which means you can see at a glance which parts of your project need immediate action.

2. Dashboards

Before CRM 2011, there was no way for users to view different parts of the project from the one screen. In IPM, viewing information from different aspects of your project at once either involved visiting multiple screens, or running a report. Now, with the introduction of customizable dashboards, users can display their desired snapshots of information from all over IPM and CRM in the one place.

3. Customizable lists

In keeping with Microsoft’s ability to provide flexible, customizable software solutions, users can now choose which columns to display for all lists in IPM and CRM. In a list of contract items, for example, you choose which information you want to display and do away with any unnecessary columns.

4. Role based forms and field level security

These are technically two new features, but I’ve grouped them together for the sake of simplicity. With role based forms and field level security, users can only view certain forms, or certain fields on a form, according to their security role. This is ideal for project managers dealing with potentially sensitive information such as contract amounts, as you don’t have to restrict access to whole forms in order to keep certain pieces of information private.

5. New user interface

Finally, the most immediately noticeable change is the user interface. CRM 2011 has done away with tabbed views, which means more information is displayed in the one window and can be expanded or contracted to suit your needs. This also means less swapping in and out of different windows, which had been confusing for some users. IPM will also adopt this new interface so you get all the benefits of a less confusing layout when managing multiple sets of data on your projects.

These are just some of the features of CRM 2011, so to find out more about how your project management needs can benefit from this new application, contact Scott Drushella at IPM Global USA.

By Reef Fielding, IPM Global: the creators of IPM – a Project Management Solution Certified for Microsoft Dynamics CRM

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