The CRM 2013 Quick Start is a first look at Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and all the new features that have been included. In the CRM 2013 Quick Start you will find details that can help … Get the book
If you’re a Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner in EMEA then eXtremeCRM is definitely an event you don’t want to miss. This spring the event was arranged in Warsaw, Poland, and I had the pleasure of not only attending but also contributing to some of the content at the conference. Together with 8 other CRM MVPs, we all presented in our own sessions, did a joint “ask the MVPs” showcase and also got the chance to talk with many of the awesome Dynamics CRM community members at our Team eXtreme Pitcrew booth. Thanks to everyone who came around to compete in a lap of Forza 6 with the MVPs!
It was the first eXtremeCRM event where I was not only attending the breakout sessions but also speaking at one session of my own. The topic that I ended up covering was something that has been touched upon also in this blog a few times: user experience of CRM systems. In addition, the focus of my presentation was specifically on the no-code configuration possibilities and how they can impact the solution UX, in good and bad. (It seems to be a common misconception among the MVP’s that I would know something about writing custom code, when in fact I’m almost illiterate when it comes to the CRM SDK. But anyway…). You can find my presentation slides below, or access them via this direct link to Docs.com.
In my session I covered quite a wide variety of topics. To start with, I wanted to address the business impact of CRM system UX and provide some tools for demonstrating why user experience not just about application usability but really about the organization’s ability to deliver great customer experiences. Then I reviewed some of the basic CRM customization best practices that we all should keep in mind when configuring our solutions (but which are all too easy to forget when dealing with schedule constraints in CRM deployment projects). I then explored the concept of how Dynamics CRM could be made to feel more responsive to the end user’s actions via tools like Business Rules, Quick View Forms and Real-time Workflows. Finally I highlighted the importance of continuously maintaining the UX of a CRM environment when both the platform, the usage patterns as well as the ecosystem around it keep on evolving at an ever increasing pace in the cloud.
At eXtremeCRM there’s never a shortage of interesting sessions to attend, nor the amount of great new CRM roadmap insights that Jujhar Singh and the other members of Microsoft’s organization are there to share with the community. In an attempt to capture some of the highlights from the event, I compiled them into the following Sway presentation that includes content shared on Twitter via the #eXtremeCRM hashtag.
That’s all for today, but do check back for the next blog post where I’ll be sharing some of the results from the Voice of the Customer survey that we did for the MVP session at eXtremeCRM.
My favorite podcast by far is CRM Audio. In fact, it’s the only podcast I regularly follow, since whenever I put my headphones on, quite often it will be for playing something from Spotify or Mixcloud to keep me from being distracted by people talking around me. Anyway, the podcasts that Joel, George and Shawn record about the latest news from the Dynamics CRM world together with their guest stars always provide some interesting insights that you can’t catch from the blogosphere. If you haven’t subscribed to it yet, I encourage you to give it a go.
In episode 21 of CRM Audio, titled “That’s Not A Survey”, these CRM tipsters explored the brand new Voice of the Customer solution and discussed how to position it in relation to other tools like ClickDimensions Surveys and the likes. As you may have noticed from my previous blog post, I’ve also spent a bit of time playing around with VoC, since I see quite a lot of potential with this XRM based survey engine.
One of the misconceptions around VoC that I’ve come across a few times before was also mentioned in the podcast was about conditional questions in a survey. It’s quite a basic requirement from any more advanced online surveys that the remaining questions should be adapted based on the earlier answers that the user has given. Call it “skip logic” or conditional show/hide, this would be something that a well designed survey would often need to apply, so that it adapts to the customer’s scenario being studied and can branch into different directions if parts of the questions are not relevant in a particular path. The misconception here is that in the Voice of the Customer survey designer UI there doesn’t appear to be a way to define such conditional logic. However, VoC does have this functionality already today.
Being a very recent addition to Microsoft’s portfolio, and having been delayed from the original CRM 2016 release schedule, the features of VoC aren’t very well documented at the moment, nor is there much training material available for instructing users how to get familiar with the tool. The regular readers of Surviving CRM might recall that VoC was actually called Mojo Surveys when MS acquired it one year ago. This means that documentation does exist, but it just hasn’t been remade into Microsoft’s format yet. Here’s a little tip: Google for mojo surveys filetype:pdf and see what you’ll find…
How the “skip logic” is done in VoC surveys is via a feature/entity called Response Routing. Found from the related records menu under a survey record, this is where you can define both the response conditions under which the routing should take place as well as the response actions that should be carried out when the conditions are met (or not met). A condition would be associated with the response given to a particular question and evaluated via “equal/greater/less” type of operators. Below you see a simple example of a single condition per response routing, but you could also group multiple conditions together via AND/OR operator.
The actions that you can take based on the conditions are split into two categories: client and server. As you may guess, the client side actions are performed during survey runtime, similar to client side scripts on CRM forms. Server actions are not performed until the survey response is submitted into the CRM database (like plugins), at which time it will be too late to affect what questions were presented to the user. So, the most interesting actions will be client side, which allow us to determine show/hide actions for questions or sections of a survey page, skip to a specific page, end the survey or even direct the user to a whole different survey.
In the example of the eXtremeCRM MVP Survey which I published together with my previous post, I added a Response Routing on the page 1 question “are you attending eXtremeCRM 2016 in Warsaw”:
If the user selects the answer option “Definitely!” then a further set of three questions will be revealed underneath that question on the same page. Similarly, because I also built response actions for the reversed scenario, if they change the answer value and click “I’ll have to skip it” then these additional questions are again hidden in real time on the survey page.
As you can see, VoC does already contain quite nice functionality in the first version that’s been released now. There are many more features to discover, such as piping dynamic data fields into surveys, so let’s hope that Microsoft will publish tutorials that showcase the real potential of these VoC surveys – not to mention the possibilities of what you can do with the response data as it flows into your XRM environment!
One word of warning is in order here: currently there’s a known issue with the Voice of the Customer solution that will break the CRM v8.0 OData feeds (the new OData v4 endpoint) if you install it into your environment. If you then try to build a report with Power BI Desktop and want to use CRM Online as the data source, you may run into an error dialog saying “The field ‘regardingobjectid_msdyn_surveyresponse’ already exists in the record.” Microsoft is aware of this bug and is working on a fix, but if you are relying on Power BI for your production CRM Online reporting, then it’s maybe better not to deploy VoC outside of your sandbox environment just yet. [Read more…]
As you may have heard, the long running Microsoft Dynamics CRM & ERP conference Convergence is no more. Microsoft has revised their event catalog and is now instead encouraging people to attend either the brand new Envision conference for business level discussions or Ignite for the technology platform updates. However, since both these events are much more generic in nature than the Dynamics focused Convergence used to be, it does leave quite a gap in the market for the CRM application deep dive content. Also, there’s nothing in the MSFT event calendar that would directly cater to the Envision and Ignite crowd in Europe, so anyone from around here who doesn’t want to spend too much time on a plane (and mentally in between time zones for the relatively short period of the conference) may not be quite as excited about these changes as the marketing message coming from Redmond might want them to feel.
Luckily the Dynamics CRM ecosystem isn’t dependent on only the events that Microsoft arranges. CRMUG has been building up their presence also on this side of the Atlantic and is now launching their first European Congress this spring in Stuttgart. eXtremeCRM is a long running event that has been catering to both the US and Europe partner audience for many years already and they’ll also have an event nearby very soon, as eXtremeCRM 2016 Warsaw takes place on April 18-21. So, whether you’re working on the customer’s side of the table or consulting a variety of different organizations on how to best take advantage of Dynamics CRM, there’s bound to be the right event for you where you can meet professionals like yourself, exchange ideas with them and hear presentations from knowledgeable members of the #MSDynCRM community on what’s hot (and not) in the CRM space.
It’s been a while since I’ve been to a CRM conference myself but this year I decided to make room in my customer projects calendar for attending one, since one doesn’t simply survive in this business with content you can find from online sources and social channels. So, I registered for the eXtremeCRM Warsaw event early on and then decided to also suggest a topic I could do a presentation on. The suggestion got approved, which means… well, the picture of yours truly right underneath Jujhar Singh says it all!
I’m honored to have the opportunity to join such a prestigious list of speakers in the eXtremeCRM 2016 Warsaw event. I wont of course be competing on the level of Jujhar (who BTW seems like exactly the right man for the Dynamics CRM GM position, based on our encounters at the MVP Summit) but will rather be focused on preaching what I know. Which is all about how to make the most of the XRM platform when you don’t know how (or just don’t want to) work with the API’s but rather need to leverage the built-in customization tools. My session is titled “Killer UX: Delivering a Great CRM User Experience without Custom Code” and what I’ll try to do is show how anyone who knows his or her way around the solution configuration UI can make a real difference in what Dynamics CRM as an application feels like for the end users to work with.
Now, I should of course be working feverishly on my presentation slides already, but here I am just reading and writing blog posts like I always do. If you’ve ever encountered a situation where instead of focusing on completing the important work that has a deadline approaching in the distant but all too inevitable future, you find yourself wondering around between Twitter and YouTube instead, then you know the feeling. Well, speaking of online videos, there just happens to be an excellent TED Talk from Tim Urban on the topic “Inside the mind of a master procrastinator”. You really should watch it because A) the Instant Gratification Monkey inside your brain will totally love the distraction, and B) it’ll help you better understand the dynamics of (not CRM but) procrastination.
“Hey, get off the wheel, you Monkey! We haven’t even finished this blog post yet! Grrr…”
In addition to myself, there are also eight other awesome CRM MVP’s who are coming to Warsaw. We’ll all be having our own sessions of course, but in addition to that, there will be a joint session where the audience can present questions to all the CRM MVP’s in the room on the latest CRM 2016 Spring Release in particular. Now, as we were thinking about what’s a good way to coordinate such a session, it occurred to me that “hey, why couldn’t we use CRM for this?” More specifically, wouldn’t this be a great opportunity to showcase the new Voice of the Customer functionality that’s very recently been made generally available for CRM Online customers?
As it turns out, Voice of the Customer (or “VoC” as we’ll all end up calling it) allows you to easily design surveys on any topic that you’re interested in collecting data on. If you haven’t yet explored this great new addition to the XRM family of add-ons that Microsoft has integrated into the core Dynamics CRM product offering, you could start by watching this introductory VoC video on YouTube. Or, you could see a VoC survey live in action by answering our eXtreme MVP Survey.
The survey is mainly targeted at those who are planning to attend the eXtremeCRM 2016 Warsaw event, but there’s nothing stopping you from taking it if you can’t make it there. The survey starts with some questions about the event and closes with a “feedback form” that you can use for submitting your questions to the CRM MVPs in advance, to be answered in the live event (time permitting). It also contains a few questions about how you feel about the upcoming CRM 2016 Spring Release, so I’m planning to also experiment with some of the analytics capabilities that these XRM style surveys offer us. I might even write a blog article about how the VoC experiment worked (unless the ‘Monkey gets its way again), so it’s all conducted in the name of science! (No marketing spam will come from this survey, it’s my personal CRM Online trial org that will disintegrate within a couple of months.)