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The Design Language of Your CRM Solution, Part 2 - What a User Really Needs from CRM

by Jukka Niiranen
Power Platform Advisor, Niiranen Advisory Oy

In part one of this article we looked at the original design intent of many CRM systems, including Microsoft Dynamics CRM, whereby the process came first, then the user. That remains the underlying principle built into the DNA of typical enterprise software. Note that it doesn't mean anyone was specifically or intentionally de-prioritizing the user productivity improvements to be gained from these information management tools. I believe most people involved in designing, developing, customizing, deploying and supporting such systems do care about the user experience, because they also are the users of such systems, even if not within the very same context.

Viral applications aren't sold to management, instead they are adopted by the end user. This flips the whole scenario from top-down to bottom-up. Management does not enforce a choice of tools, instead they approve the choice that their subordinates have made through their own selection process, which in itself has likely included unstructured, non-hierarchical collaboration amongst peers. Due to this major shift in thinking, building a viral CRM system doesn't mean you simply change the focus of your product brochures and marketing pitches to emphasize the user perspective rather than the management benefits. No, I'm afraid you will need to design a different kind of a system altogether.

The fundamental components of the system may not be all that different, no matter which approach is being used (process vs. user). The objects and actions forming the typical day of marketing, sales or service personnel aren't dictated by the choice of CRM system, rather they are defined by the operational processes that the business runs on. Reflecting back to a Dynamics CRM system, what this means is that the entities, activities and relationships between these ...

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About Jukka Niiranen

Working at Digital Illustrated in Finland, Jukka helps users make sense of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and guiding organizations to make the most of their Microsoft platform investments. 10 years of CRM experience from the field, heavy user of Microsoft's CRM solution since 2005. In addition to my blog, you can follow my #MSDYNCRM posts on Twitter or add the Surviving CRM page to your circles on Google+.

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