Using a Microsoft Dynamics Solution Integrated with Outlook for Better Time Management

Fact: more is expected of you than ever before at work, and that means you have to figure out how best to manage your time to help you prioritize your tasks and free up time to get them done.

In a recent webcast, Bill Hoffman, productivity and time management expert at Microsoft Corporation, talked about some common time management challenges you face and how intelligently integrating data between Microsoft Outlook, Dynamics ERP systems, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM can address these challenges by putting the right tasks and the right information in front of workers, making them more productive.

"When I say, ‘Today it is me but tomorrow it is us,' I mean I want the mindset to be, ‘Let's think of the whole; let's think of the greater good; let's think of if I share this information with every person would it help them do their job better?'" Hoffman asked. "The foundation of our success is to every interaction we have and our commitment is to managing the time we put in at work, at home around working on the highest priority interactions."

Hoffman pointed to the proliferation of disparate systems as a major point of inefficiency in people's daily work.  For example, in every company there are users who have to access various systems to get different kinds of information about customers.

"I've got my ERP folks doing A/R collections and AP vendor management on the financial solution. I've got my sales folks using the CRM solution. I've got my marketing folks using this cool online marketing tool. I've got the operational folks using a warehouse management solution and something else," he said. "And we don't see each other's stuff often. And rarely are we able to see and interact at the communication level and the data level."

Having disparate systems means IT folks have to spend a lot of time on the phone talking to people who don't have access to the information they need to do their jobs, he said. Conversely, IT employees also have to waste time on the phone because they don't have access to certain data like financial information they need to do their jobs.

"The foundation of our success is communication and interactions internally and our ability to prioritize those interactions and how we could reduce the amount of unnecessary and redundant interaction by giving people access to data in an interaction management system-and that's an integrated ERP and CRM system integrated to calendaring and task management in Microsoft Outlook," Hoffman said.

For example, since collecting money is the life blood of every organization, if an invoice goes past due you could use an integrated or interaction management solution-in this case Outlook and Microsoft Dynamics GP-to have a phone call task automatically created and included in Outlook.

"It will give you the ability to prioritize your day and nobody had to create this, the system created this," he said.

So you call the customer who asks that you call back on Friday. But you know getting her on the phone on Friday will be difficult at best.

"You ask the customer if she's available at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, and from the same screen that was automatically created you can set an appointment with one click for 11:30 on Friday morning integrated to Outlook," he said. "She accepts that meeting and the chances of her showing up go up exponentially."

Using an integrated system is not only a mindset but a commitment to helping other people do their jobs better. An integrated ERP, CRM and Outlook solution allows people to see what's important for them to do their jobs, Hoffman said.

About Linda Rosencrance

Linda Rosencrance is a freelance writer/editor in Massachusetts. She has written about information technology for 10 years. She has been a journalist since the late 1980s. She wrote for numerous community newspapers in the Boston area, where she covered politics and was a high-profile investigative reporter. She has freelanced for the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald. She is the published author of four true crime books "Murder at Morses Pond," "An Act of Murder," "Ripper", and "Bone Crusher" for Kensington Publishing Corp. (Pinnacle imprint). She has just started her fifth true crime book for Kensington.

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