Last week I had the privilege to talk at the Dynamics CRM Finland User Group meeting in Helsinki (quick recap available in Finnish here). When planning on what topic to choose for my presentation, I tried to think of something that would appeal to a wide audience of CRM users – both experienced consultants as well as key users who might still be relatively new to the product.
The common denominator for the group was, as the name suggest, that we’re all CRM users in one way or another. In this role we interact with the software in a variety of different ways, most likely several times during the course of a typical working day. As information workers, systems like CRM are our tools to get the job done. How effectively we succeed in this is largely affected by how much cognitive effort is needed to use these tools to shape the expected output.
So, I decided to talk about the many ways how we can sharpen our saws when it comes to Dynamics CRM. While every CRM environment is ultimately different from one another, due to the business processes we manage with it, the systems it integrates to, the user groups working with the application and so on, I believe there are still general design guidelines that apply to basically any organization using Microsoft Dynamics CRM. My presentation, “10 Tips for Designing a Great User Experience in Dynamics CRM“, introduces many of these guidelines that I personally try to follow when designing CRM solutions for customers. You can view the embedded presentation below, or if the content is not showing, then go and have a look at it on SlideShare.
While UX has always been an important piece of the puzzle when trying to convince business users that using a CRM system can actually deliver tangible benefits to them, rather than just serve as a management tool for keeping track of what the employees are doing, the launch of the Dynamics CRM 2013 version has really heightened the importance of designing solutions with a polished user experience. This is due to the fact that the refreshed user interface and new customization points available in the UI can be leveraged to deliver a much more usable business application than the CRM systems of the past. But: you also need to plan the flow of user interactions with much more attention to detail, because sloppy customizations will now stick out like a sore thumb.
The good news is that many of the new details in CRM 2013 (and CRM 2015, too) are easy to configure once you know the role of each platform component. You can do so much these days without writing a single line of custom code that the system customizer can easily have his or her plate full of CRM enhancement ideas to implement without ever consulting a .NET developer. That’s why it’s also good to think in advance how to prioritize the areas into which you invest your efforts. This Top 10 list of mine provides one example of such a tool, to help in identifying the low hanging fruit when it comes to making your CRM users happier and more productive with the system. If you have any topics on your mind that I forgot to include on my list, be sure to leave a comment below!
Oh, one more thing: if you’re a Microsoft Dynamics CRM user in Finland and would be interested in networking with other fellow CRM professionals, I’m glad to announce that there’s now a new Yammer network available for you: Dynamics CRM Finland User Group. Whether you’re from a customer or partner organization, please feel free to sign up for this network and come join the planning for future events and other ways to share Dynamics CRM knowledge and experiences with peers. Tervetuloa!