SharePoint & MS Dynamics CRM – together we are strong

I don’t know what was first: customer relationship management or collaboration – the fact is both is based on information which is stored in any system – locally or on server or in the minds of your staff. Most important is that many companies are using software to improve their processes along CRM, Collaboration and other issues (document management). And on top they are using different software for different subjects. You can imagine what comes next? Right – How can we bring those data together? At the moment they are separated by systems. Or most employees are not able to see all data due to licencing problems and therefore don’t have all information on their board.

If your company uses SharePoint and other systems, it might be interesting to integrate them. SharePoint offers a lot of possibilities to extend it, integrate other systems, different sources, etc (e.g.: Business Connectivity Services, Excel Services, Performance Point Services, InfoPath via Webservices, Custom Code). Let’s assume that the CRM System is Microsoft Dynamics CRM. What scenarios might make an integration necessary or interesting?

While you should think why it might be necessary in your company now i guess you first think the area Sales, do you? Ok, why not – we first look at sales, but i would also talk about Service Requests and Marketing. What opportunities do we have?

Sales

The sales area offers functions like

  • team and area management
  • lead management
  • opportunity management
  • account management
  • forecast and analysis
  • target management

That’s a lot! Let’s see what we can do here. In this case you are an account manager or from sales and always on the road to your customers. Would it be nice to have a route planner on a map which shows you the best route to your customer for the day? I think this should be possible with asp.net and the integration into SharePoint. Another idea would be provide a form where your staff who are not belonging to sales can give input where there might be leads or if they heard about new projects at your customers. Or even news, if someone of your company get information that one of your customer is planning a new production he could easily give this information as input using your SharePoint Portal.

Service Requests

The service is about the management of compliants, knowledge and service planning as well as reporting.

This is one really interesting topic. Let’s see: compliants are never the things you want to have, but if you have it, you can use it to improve your service, product or relationship to your customer. It is the feedback from your customer cause he is not happy about something. With SharePoint you could do many things:

  • Offer a form in which the customer can insert his complaint
  • Provide a list with the complaints which are not closed for your staff so that they can work on it

Well knowledge management is a huge subject, which i can’t cover completly here. But at least we could think about some nice integration. At first i would think about including those information into the search of SharePoint, so that everybody can easily find information and knowledge which is already documented.

The service planning is your turn – please leave a comment in which scenario you would integrate it into SharePoint!

Marketing

In this section you’ll find campaign and event management as well as mailing support and customer selection.

In this case you can use SharePoint as UI – list all your public events on a page (internally or externally). Maybe provide also a registration form which sends the data directly into your CRM. After that you can use CRM in order to use mailing, newsletter, or other campaigns. You can collect customer data in your form. But: Pay attention to data privacy if you collect data from endusers.

I hope i can give a live example in the near future.

Well, keep in mind there are many reasons why to integrate them. But never forget to ask if it is really necessary – what are the improvements for user, what are the benefits? Makes it your process better?

I woul appreciate your thoughts on this subject and of course your experiences.

..:: I LIKE SHAREPOINT & CRM ::..

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Karsten Pohnke About Karsten Pohnke
He is Consultant for SharePoint Solutions for collaboration, communication and business processes. He provides his customers applications based on standard features as well as development or combining the power of several microsoft tools like Dynamics CRM. In his free time he tries to collect tipps and worthy experience in this blog.

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