Tag Archives: Reporting

Business Reasons for Upgrading Your CRM System

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 – Business Reasons for Upgrading  

Dynamics CRM 2011 has a long list of added features that make it a desirable upgrade for a company currently on a previous version of Dynamics CRM. While these features are meaningful and easily digested by technology professionals that work with CRM, it can be more difficult to communicate the advantages of an upgrade to C-Suite executives so that budgets are approved.

The following list represents core benefits that can be communicated to executive level staff in a way that will resonate with them.

Sales Goal Management

Sales leaders and individual sales professionals now have the ability to set and track sales activity metrics.

Dashboards & Charts

Default dashboard views for each user can be defined at an organization level. Each user has the ability to configure unique dashboards for their use. Charts can be added throughout the application to provide a graphical representation of data.








Tracking changes on company, contact, prospect and other data in CRM is native. This contributes to user adoption and advances the reality of a “one view” of all corporate client data.

Simplified System Ehancements

The forms in CRM are now easier to enhance and the time to implement needed functionality is reduced. This is an improvement on existing functionality so that the system can be configured as business needs change.


The Processes “Dialog” feature provides interactive guidance to each professional as they use the CRM system. This guides users through the completion of tasks in CRM.

Client Record Ownership

Multiple professionals across multiple divisions can be assigned as account owners to a single client. This will better define what business divisions have ownership related to a client relationship.

SharePoint Integration (Document Management)

SharePoint 2007/2010 integration is a standard feature that can be used to share documents that need to be accessible both SharePoint and CRM.

Field Level Security

Individual records through the system can be displayed or hidden based on business division, group or individual permissions.

– Tim Thorpe

A special thanks to guest blogger Tim Thorpe who is the Director, Global Marketing & Communications at Black & Veatch Corporation based in Overland Park, KS.  You can reach Tim at + 1 913-458-8415 or via email at ThorpeTN@BV.com.  More about Tim can also be found at his About.Me site!

Note.  Special thanks to Jon Strand for the original comprehensive list that these topics were drawn from. You can visit John Strand’s blog here.

Supersized reports with your CRM?

Should we really be super-sizing our meals or anything for that matter?  I think most of us have learned over the past decade that going big is not always best.  I remember 30+ years ago when this picture was taken that an individuals options were limited and ordering fast-food meals provided a right size experience.  So what does this have to do with CRM and reporting?  I see customers trying to implement CRM systems with supersized reporting requirements which can produce a disastrous user experience. 

I was at a customer function this past week and was asked about best practices directly tied to CRM dashboards and reporting.  The customer’s question was specific to report performance and user experience when individuals are empowered to create personalized dashboards or reports.  Could building personalized dashboards drawing from the entire CRM data model bring the CRM system to its knees?

The promise of most CRM platforms today is empowerment at the user level and surfacing actionable analytics to drive productivity.  Most CRM vendors featured in the Forrester Wave report are on the right track with this message, but customers must take the time to think this part of the CRM implementation out to manage expectation and work within CRM systems capabilities.

I will attempt to provide my recommendations when looking at this topic during requirements, planning, implementation build out, go live and ongoing maintenance.  I will try and break down the topic in buckets around reporting requirements, options & best practices to follow –

Reporting Options:

Reporting Requirements:

  • Executive views that provide all up snapshot of the complete dataset.
  • Manager views that provide regional or divisional sets of data.
  • Individual views that provide personal performance or territory analysis.
  • Broad need to view information that resides outside of CRM.

Reporting Best Practices:

  • Limited administration functions of report writing to prevent performance challenges.  Most CRM systems allow role based user access to lock this down to accommodate.
  • Pre-filter a report so that the dataset is manageable in size.
  • Limit a report to display information from a specified time period, rather than displaying all records in the CRM database.
  • Do not make a report with a large dataset or a complex query available on-demand to all users.
  • Schedule a snapshot in Report Manager during a time schedule when the system is lightly loaded.
  • Deploy the report through a CRM tool then use reporting platform to run the report at a scheduled time, with the results posted.
  • Move global dataset reporting outside of CRM for more complex data mining.


  • Phase 1 CRM deployment should be supported with:
    • System supplied dashboards for all user types based on feedback. 
    • Incorporation of dynamic reports that auto refresh upon access will demonstrate strong productivity gains and drive system buy in. 
    • System canned views with option to personalize individual views.
  • Phase 2 adjustments should include:
    • Power user administrative rights to personalize dashboards and reports based on strong guidance. 
    • Feeds via iframe from legacy systems to augment system reporting can be introduced.
  • Phase 3 should open up:
    • À la carte to users you believe understand the creation, use cases and impacts of all reporting types.

Resources links – Microsoft BI, Crystal Reports., CRM Analytics, Forrester Wave, Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services, iframeSaaSOn-premises & Advanced find.

I always encourage system governance by a user and administrative CRM committee who meets on a monthly basis to discuss how to improve the use and adoption of any CRM systems.  Reporting should be one topic that is an ongoing debate in this process to insure user adoption.

–          Tracy