Unified Service Desk for Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Microsoft Dynamics

This is a simplified version to install, configure and use Unified Service Desk from Microsoft, which gives a unified view of the customer, integrating phone, SMS, Skype, contact details, case details and any other information that is relevant. We have used the Technet blog to create this.






India’s Godrej & Boyce adopts Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Case Study


India’s Godrej & Boyce adopts Microsoft Dynamics CRM



Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online for Customer Service – A study in process orientation

We are pleased to announce yet another successful implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 online. The client is a service provider based in Chennai who is in the business of chip level repair of notebooks and laptop computers.

Service Portfolio

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2011 Dashboard allows not just decision making, but also gives a holistic view of the quantum of work being processed and Time Management.

Service Manager Dashboard

Service Manager Dashboard

Work allotment is displayed on the Case Manager Dashboard

The company has a fully equipped service centre with repair facilities for each specific sub-system of the PC such as LCD Panel, Keyboard, Mother board and Operating System. The process flow is as follows.

Service Process

Some of the workflows we included are:

  1. When a case gets registered the customer will get a ‘Thank You’ email with ticket number.
  2. When Confirmation is required triggers a mail to customer asking Confirm that some additional work that  is needed.
  3. Writes Letter automatically to the manager asking assistance or approval.
  4. Write letters to Logistics enquiry about the Available products.
  5. SMS customer on completion status.

Microsoft Dynamics simple workflow configuration manager allows accomplishing these easy and efficient.


One of the biggest challenges we faced is that of cascading pick list and multi select fields since a PC could have multiple problems. Besides, descriptive notes had to be made with the complaint.

Multi Select Product List and Comment boxes

Based on the information filled in, we generate the case sheet, which is either printed or e-mailed to the customer. Barring Payment collection, every other part of the Service process is accomplished through the CRM.

Data Migration tips for CRM

The single biggest challenge for any CRM implementation, both for the customer and the implementer, is migrating data from XL sheets into CRM. The problem with XL sheets is that it can be filled in as the user likes. There are seldom any rules or pre-formatting done on XL sheets. Here are some examples of seemingly innocuous cell data that can be a challenge.

  1. A name like Mr. John Smith actually goes into three different fields in any CRM – Salutation (Mr.), First Name (John) and Last Name (Smith).
  2. An address such as 201, Meredian Towers, 328, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Bangalore 560001, Karnataka, India needs to be broken up into Address 1 (201 Meredian Towers), Address 2 (328 Mahatma Gandhi Road), City (Bangalore), Postcode ( 560001), State (Karnataka) and Country (India).
  3. The most complex of them will be multiple phone numbers in the same field. ‘Phone’ is a field type in CRM, and is normally restricted to 10 characters. XL will allow you to add multiple phone numbers separated by a comma or a ‘/’ but will get truncated on import. Same goes for multiple email ids.
Remember that you as a customer owns the data, not the implementer. It is in your interest to sanitize and make the best data available for import. There is no way to global search and find anomalies and auto-correct them. At best some CRM systems like Sage CRM will give you an error log. But the corrections have to be done manually.

Here are some tips to make clean data available for import.

  1. Use a pre-built template for data migration. All CRMs will give you templates for various entities of a CRM- contacts, accounts, leads, opportunities, customer complains aka cases and others.
  2. If you have data that you have cut and paste from the internet, such as URLs or mail ids, they leave a trace in the XL sheet which makes it impossible to convert into any other format such as csv or txt.  You are better off pasting the url/mail id into a notepad and then copying it into XL.
  3. Have separate cells or columns for key fields like First name, Last name, City, Postcode, State, Email, Land Phone, Mobile Phone, website etc.
  4. Do not add multiple people into a same cell (using Shift+Enter allows you a line feed within a cell in XL). This is a strict no no. Most applications when they sense a Shift+Enter in a cell, assumes that it is the end of the row and ignores the rest of the cells in the same row. Or worse, takes the next cell as the start of a new row.
  5. The same logic holds good for phone numbers and email ids. Each row must contain only one data element.
  6. Ensure the date format in your XL and CRM are the same. Though your XL will take the format from your control panel, CRMs need to be configured to adhere to a specific format.
  7. Migrate data in a phased manner. Even if you have thousands of records, import data in an incremental fashion. Migrate a few batches of 10, verify and correct the CRM as well as the XL sheet. Up the batch size to 50, 100 and so on. I would not migrate a batch size of more than 1000 records even if there are 50,000 records to be migrated.
  8. If you are migrating leads and opportunities, map the fields correctly for its contents. For eg, if the lead source in your XL has options like web/phone/e-mail/referred, the same four values must be present in CRM too. Same is the case with say a field like ‘Product Interested in’. Else the CRM will ignore unmatched records, or throw up an error. It is quite hard to predict what will the system do.

It requires immense patience and understanding of the data migration process into any application. It is not an exercise in replacing XL sheets with something more expensive and what may look like a painful substitute. But the organization needs a CRM to interact with its customers, potential buyers and in building ongoing relationships.

Oracle Publishes case study of CRM on Demand implementation at the Pride Hotels

  http://thepridehotel.comIndustry:Travel and Transportation

Annual Revenue:

US$22 million



The Pride Hotel Reduces Performance Reporting Times from Seven Days to Real Time

Since opening its first hotel in Pune in 1988, The Pride Hotel Group has become one of the fastest growing hotel chains in India. The company currently operates 12 hotels in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Nagpur, Pune, Salem, Ranipet, and Alleppy. It has three brands: Pride Hotels, offering five-star hotel accommodation; Pride Biznotel, catering to business travelers; and Pride Resorts, providing moderately priced hotels in tourist destinations. The Pride Hotel Group also plans to open further hotels in Kolkata, Mumbai, and New Delhi by 2012. It has 10 sales and marketing offices across India with 72 sales and marketing employees, as well as a further 1,500 hotel staff.



  • §  Create a reliable, integrated customer relationship platform for the sales and marketing team, so they no longer have to rely on the property management system used by individual hotel managers

  • §  Integrate data from 10 sales and marketing offices into one database instead of using separate manual spreadsheets

  • §  Enable 72 employees in different offices to monitor and track customer accounts and exchange lead information without relying on emails

  • § Accommodate the group’s rapid growth and expansion plans


  • § Engaged Oracle Partner Belladonna Information Technologies to deploy Oracle CRM On Demand, providing sales and marketing staff with integrated end-to-end customer account information, such as contact details and booking requirements

  • § Enabled sales and marketing staff from 10 different offices to instantly access and track leads and opportunities information from across the group by integrating customer lead capture data

  • § Reduced time taken to generate critical business reports, such as employee product revenue and performance reports, from five to seven working days to real time

  • § Created analytical reports such as customer lead and opportunity generation metrics for sales managers, which were not possible while using the property management system

  • § Provided sales staff and managers with customer snapshots, which enables more efficient marketing, targeted directly at customers based on their previous bookings and requirements

Oracle Products & Services:Oracle CRM On Demand 
Oracle Partner:Belladonna Information Technologieswww.belladonnait.com    “Oracle CRM On Demand is a flexible, secure application with deep reporting capabilities. We are the first hospitality group in India to implement Oracle CRM ON Demand and as such have developed a customer relationship system that is one of a kind.” – Tridib Ghosh, Associate Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Copyright © 2011, Oracle. All rights reserved.

Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation and/or its affiliates.

Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Published April 2011



Take your time rolling out CRM, hurry and you stumble!

Typical CRM life cycle

We have done over 50 CRM deployments with world’s leading brands of CRM solutions for the small and medium enterprises and this is a summary of our learning.

  1. Do not underestimate the time and effort in implementing a CRM solution for your company. You wouldn’t want to spend a few lakhs of rupees to replace existing Excel Sheets.
  2. Study what you want the CRM to achieve. For eg.,
    1. Tracking of daily sales activity
    2. Tracking of sales pipeline
    3. What are the sales reports that I need from the CRM, which cannot be obtained from an Excel sheet, or takes a great deal of time to compile
    4. Distinguish between must have features and desirable features.
    5. Whether you like it or not, Sales is a people driven function and not a process in most Indian firms. IT industry leads this with Sales people being portrayed in larger than life pictures.
    6. Drive the implementation top down, not bottom up. You need to firmly tell the users that CRM is a corporate resource just like office, laptop, mobile phone and everything else and the choice of CRM or the decision to implement them is not open to discussion.

3. Factors to be considered pre implementation:

  1. What data do we have to capture? Accounts/Companies, Leads, Contacts/People, Sales opportunities, forecasts, targets etc. Clarify from the vendor if a certain type of forecast is possible to be captured. Most CRMs will capture revenue forecasts, but not quantity forecasts. So if you want the number of bottles of a product to be sold, and not the value of sales, that may not be easily achieved.
  2. What are the reports that we need? Most of the implementations that we have done have clear description of the fields, screens and to some extent workflows. But reports get taken up only after the first three are done. It is better to realize that report formats also play a vital role in determining how the data is captured. If the data is not captured, there is no way of reporting it.
  3. How do I make this a success? Identify some users who you think will commit time and interest in testing the application, or give inputs to the implementation vendor instead of thrusting this down the throat of some unwilling users. The commonly heard excuse is, “I don’t have time to use CRM”.
  4. What are the infrastructure requirements? Most CRMs today are available in the SaaS model, but still you could have unforeseen issues like support for Firefox or Google Chrome, or availability of the software on an Apple Macintosh.
  5. Integration considerations: If the CRM is expected to integrate with your ERP, or Financial Accounting System or any other back office system, you need to be absolutely clear what is possible and what is not. For instance, if your organization uses Tally, it is not easily integrated with most applications. So if you expect Accounts Receivables to be made available online to your sales people, you will have to take a NO for an answer, at least for the time being.
  6. What is the credibility of the implementation partner? In order to conclude the sale, your product vendor will be happy to thrust upon you a partner who possibly is the cheapest. But how about the cost of failure of your CRM project? Make sure that you have a partner who has a proven track record of successfully implementing CRM solutions.

4. During the Implementation process:

  1. Most companies take into account only the time required for the vendor to customize the application. The big mistake in this assumption is that your organization will take a lot more time to test and roll out the application to all users. During this period, you will need the support of the vendor to handhold and make necessary changes requested by you, and that time has to be factored in and paid for. Product vendors will tell you that their CRM can be implemented in 6 weeks. That is the IT industry’s equivalent of “up to 50% off in a garment sale”.  There is no need to compare how much time others take to implement, what is important is how much time you need.
  2. Put someone who understands your sales process as the Project Manager from your side so that the queries the vendor comes up with are addressed quickly and correctly. Often, the answer given by the PM is overruled by a higher up which not only delays the project, but also leaves your credibility with the vendor in doubt.
  3. Have a good set of users from various geographies, product groups etc.  test the application for you. They can also double up as internal trainers at a later point.
  4. Take your time to roll out the application across the organization. Each location or team may come up with new suggestions, objections and queries. You will need to address them and get the buy in. Else, the usage of the application will vary widely.  Please remember that to a majority of users, this is their first time experience working with a CRM. This is especially relevant in non IT sectors of the industry where the usage of a PC is mainly restricted to working with Email and MS Office products.
  5. Keep the Integration piece as a separate part of the project. This can be the most painful and frustrating part of the implementation.  Two heterogeneous applications will never work together easily; let alone two different vendors and their teams.
  6. Incentivize your star CRM performers: During your quarterly sales meetings, if you have awards for top performers in various categories like revenues, location etc., add a couple of awards for 3-4 quarters to send a message that the organization takes CRM investment seriously.

That means that like any other application deployment, you have to give yourself a fair chance to reap the benefit of your CRM deployment.  Your customers will be happy for the fact that your processes are now in line with their demands and expectations.

Further reading can be done here: http://www.online-crm.com/risk_management.htm  http://www.smartsellingtools.com/blog/2013/08/the-9billion-crm-debacle/

And some more: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/572379433862928263/

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