The Wonderful Unintended Uses of Dynamics CRM

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Many people know the story behind the Post-It Note. In short, a chemist at 3M inadvertently invented a low tack adhesive in his quest to create a super strong adhesive.  After five years of trying to promote his adhesive within 3M, a colleague thought it might be perfect for holding his bookmark in his hymnal. Fast forward to today and we see that this little idea, temporarily sticking a piece of paper to another object, has turned into one of the most prevalent office supplies in business today.    This use of a product beyond its initial intention drives so many of the products we see today and can also be found in an implementation of Dynamics CRM.

By far, the greatest initial pull to implement CRM revolves around the efficient tracking of both the sales cycle and the marketing of products to customers.  In that space, it can bring both of those facets of a business into focus and can truly drive both increased sales and market penetration. But wait, what if we took a lesson from the Post-It note and applied it to our CRM system?


I was talking to a client one day about the arduous task they had of onboarding new employees. Many hours were spent with all of the required paperwork, office assignment and the numerous other tasks it took to just get someone in a position to actually do work.

Onboarding employees involves many different departments and people.

  • IT/IS will be involved in procuring the appropriate technology and services
  • Facilities has to find a place for them to sit
  • HR has responsibility for seeing that corporate expectations are set (where to park, what to wear, etc.) and that benefit elections are defined
  • Training will want to make sure they are proficient in the technologies or products of the company
  • Finance needs to have all of the required tax and deposit information
  • Legal may need NDAs or non-compete documents

And likely others have to have some input before the new employee can “get down to business”.

Not only are there a lot of tasks that need to be performed but many are order-dependent.  After all,it doesn’t do much good to have a computer and monitor waiting for a new employee if he has yet to be assigned a place to sit!

Dynamics CRM excels at streamlining just his kind of process. With its extensive list of activities, the ability to customize them or create your own, and a workflow engine that can manage the appropriate distribution and timing of the required events, onboarding should be able to be managed like a well- oiled machine. The tasks could be started prior to the new hire;s first day with an email sent to IT to get their computer ordered and ready.  Facilities would be contacted to procure the work space.

HR and legal would be alerted to have the required documents prepared and ready to go and so on.  After each step is completed, the system would be updated and the HR person could log into CRM and see exactly where the person was in the onboarding process.  After the new hire started, training would be assigned and they could update their status as they progress through the program. This would not only show where they are, but also better prepare the next department for their part. You could even have CRM create appointments on the calendar of the supervisor for their quarterly or bi-annual reviews.

The process would provide consistency and metrics to determine what could be changed to increase efficiency and to measure the effectiveness of the efforts put into this all too important function inherent in all organizations.  The options are limitless when you really start to look at it!

There are other “unintended uses” of the investment you have made in Dynamics CRM and this is but a taste of what’s out there when you put aside the “CRM is for sales and marketing” mentality and really grasp the power that you have to transform how your business operates.

They sky really is the limit.

by Customer Effective

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