Microsoft Data Insights Summit is almost here!

Just a quick note to let my guests and regular readers know I will be at the Microsoft Data Insights Summit next week. http://datainsightssummit.com/

I am really looking forward to the event and just dropped a blog post over at my Green Beacon home. Read more about why we are going and how you can still benefit even if you are not able to attend.

https://www.greenbeacon.com/insights/green-beacon-to-attend-2016-microsoft-data-insights-summit/

If you are in the Seattle area or plan to be at the Summit as well, let me know. I am always open to connecting with folks.

Thanks!

Mike

I am joining Green Beacon Solutions as Director of Customer Experience

Hello All,

I have joined Green Beacon Solutions, a Microsoft Gold Certified Dynamics CRM partner, as Director of Customer Experience.

In my new role I will focus on the intertwined worlds of Green Beacon LogoCustomer Relationship Management (CRM) and Customer Experience Management (CEM). And yes, there will be a heavy dose of business intelligence and mobility as they are an important part of an overall customer focused program.

I will continue to post content here on my personal blog and will provide additional content on our Green Beacon Blog.

See my first post on the Green Beacon Blog here: https://www.greenbeacon.com/insights/what-is-the-role-of-a-director-of-customer-experience-and-what-does-it-mean-for-our-customers/

An interesting factoid on “what is a green beacon”. Beacons, in the maritime world, are directional markers. You can think of them as “traffic signals” that guide operators safely along the waterways. They also identify dangerous areas and give directions and information.

I find that so appropriate to what we do; provide direction and help companies and people safely navigate through their CRM journeys. Pretty cool.

About Green Beacon

Since 2001, Green Beacon has been implementing and supporting business solutions built on leading customer relationship management platforms, including Microsoft Dynamics CRM. A Microsoft Gold-Certified Partner, Green Beacon specializes in large-scale CRM implementations that put clients’ strategies into operation.

By combining deep technical expertise with years of experience in a range of industries Green Beacon works closely with organizations to transform the way they do business. This highly collaborative approach has earned us an unmatched reputation for delivering ongoing return on investment.

The company is headquartered in Newton, MA, and has with offices throughout the United States. For additional information, visit: www.greenbeacon.com.

Gartner Magic Quadrant for BI and Analytics 2016

Microsoft in Leaders Quadrant…Again!

As I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago http://www.michaelhammons.com/gartner-magic-quadrant-for-bi-and-analytics-2015/ the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for BI and Analytics 2016 has been officially released.

If you didn’t catch last year’s MQ, here is a link: Gartner Magic Quadrant for BI and Analytics 2015

And here is a link to the 2016 version: Gartner Magic Quadrant for BI & Analytics 2016

A summary of the 2016 highlights of Gartner’s assessment on Microsoft BI below.

Microsoft is seeing strong uptake due in large part to substantial product improvements as well as very aggressive pricing. The Pro version is a very affordable $9.99 per user per month. Compared to pretty much any other BI and Analytics options available, it is the most cost effective.

Here is one of my favorite quotes “Microsoft is positioned in the Leaders quadrant, with strong uptake of the latest release, major product improvements, an increase in sales and marketing awareness efforts, new leadership and a clearer, more visionary product roadmap.” Well said, Gartner.

Key Strengths Summary

  • Microsoft provides a cloud-based delivery model and one of the lowest per-user pricing / TCO — Ease of use for business users and the availability of skilled resources rounds out this strength. 
  • Microsoft received high scores for online tutorials, community support, conferences and documentation. I have to agree here whole-heartedly as they have done a really good job on tutorials, blog posts, and learning materials. Something I have seen in the Dynamics CRM world as well. All this helps business achieve product success much more quickly and cost effectively.
  • Microsoft continues to expand the number and variety of data sources for connectors and content that includes pre-built reports and dashboards. These too help users get up and running and connected very quickly. In today’s world, agility and rapid time to value are key requirements to success.

If you haven’t checked out Power BI yet, do it, and as quickly as you can. If you would like some help to get up to speed quickly, feel free to reach out to me via my social channels or the contact form on this page: http://www.michaelhammons.com/about-mike-hammons/ 

Gartner Magic Quadrant for BI and Analytics 2015

Microsoft in Leaders Quadrant

It’s almost that time again and we shall soon see the Gartner Magic Quadrant for BI and Analytics 2016.

If you didn’t catch last year’s MQ, here is a link: Gartner Magic Quadrant for BI and Analytics 2015

I will paraphrase the highlights of their assessment below.

In Gartner’s view (and I share much of this), Microsoft’s leadership position BI and Analytics is driven by product vision and road map. In addition, and this one is spot on, Microsoft has a “clear understanding of the market’s desire for a platform that can support systems-of-record requirements and deliver easy-to-use data discovery capabilities”.

Power BI is gaining traction as it matures and cloud adoption grows. I concur and have seen a rapid increase in interest and adoption. I am confident we will see an uptick in the position as Microsoft has been rapidly adding new capabilities to the Power BI platform and it is near parity with the BI applications that have traditionally been selected over it. Add the fact that the “other” BI applications are currently much higher priced; in both acquisition and  deployment costs. This is also noted by  Gartner, “Overall cost of ownership and license cost remain the top reasons customers choose Microsoft.”

To give you an idea of the “power” of this great application, below is an example proof of concept that was provided to a customer recently. There was some shock in awe in that what typically takes them a couple of days to collate the date, do all the Excel lookups and filters and cleanup took several days to complete. This took less than a day to create and is now completely automated.

Power BI Example DashboardThat’s why I am so excited about Power BI.

To wrap up this post, a great Power BI learning event is upcoming called the Microsoft Data Insights Summit, March 22-23, 2016.  At this event Microsoft will be hosting hands on training, advice from some great experts in Microsoft Power BI and Microsoft Excel. I plan on being there so please reach out if you would like to connect. Go here to see more detail and register: http://www.datainsightssummit.com

Power BI Is Going to be Huge

I just have to say, that Microsoft Power BI is completely awesome and amazing.  I’ll explain more in upcoming posts, but it just keeps getting better; almost on a daily basis.

Quite simply:  Power BI, is going to be huge, just huge, and I’m mean enormously huge.Power BI Logo

For those of you who don’t know me, I am rarely quick to endorse or embrace a particular product or technology platform.  For me, I have to see it, experience it and believe it before I give my unequivocal support.  So let me just say that I am jazzed and excited about Microsoft Power BI; and more importantly what it can do for you and your business, and I want to share that with you.

No more waiting. No more wasted effort. Far, far less expense.

Until relatively recently, turning data into actionable insight has been overwhelmingly a chore that simply takes far more time, effort and expense than it should.

  • Time waiting on a Business Intelligence (BI) team to finish their last project before they get to yours; and that’s only if other priorities don’t keep knocking it further down the road.
  • Effort required to get access to the data; and in a usable format that can easily be used by non-techy types. More often; it still requires a collection of spreadsheets and exports and imports and vlookups and filters and, and, and… – very repetitive, labor intensive, and chaotic.
  • Expense unless you are doing the aforementioned Excel dance; most applications and tools have been very expensive. I mean thousands of dollars $$ per user per year expensive. Plus all the time and expense required to learn the darn things.

Power BI can literally transform your data into rich visuals and dashboards to see, understand and act on on what matters to you. Stay in the know, spot trends as they happen, and push your business further.

I’ll be posting more content in the coming weeks and months that I believe will get you as excited as I am about this new(ish) platform.

For starters, here are the slides and a link to a webinar I did recently titled “Power Up with Power BI”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK1sfN2BTsw

Welcome to your brave new world!

CRMUG Dynamic Duo Series: Power Up Your CRM with Power BI

Join Me for this CRMUG Webinar

Thursday, November 19, 2015 (2:00 PM) to Thursday, November 19, 2015 (3:00 PM) (Eastern Time)
CRMUG Virtual Event

Sign up here: http://bit.ly/1HP8Md9 

In this CRMUG OneSource Dynamic Duo series webinar, you will learn about the powerful out of the box integration functionality available with Power BI and Dynamics CRM Online. Expert Mike Hammons will show how you can analyze your CRM data with interactive Power BI dashboards and reports, providing you with quick self-service insights into the data you need to manage your business.

About the OneSource Dynamic Duo Series:

This CRMUG OneSource series dives into the robust functionality that comes from the Dynamic Duo of Microsoft Dynamics CRM + Microsoft Office/Office 365. Recent Dynamics CRM updates have deepened the integration of CRM and Office, making your experience simple, familiar, and immersive. Learn how to harness the great power and productivity delivered by this pair of heroes with the CRMUG OneSource Dynamic Duo Series!

Dynamics CRM User Group Summit 2015

CRMUGSummit 2015

Another important conference coming up is the Dynamics CRM User Group Summit 2015. This event just keeps getting bigger and better every year. LOTS of great learning content, networking and fun. Make plans to join us in Reno, Nevada, Oct. 13-16, 2015, for CRMUG Summit 2015, the ultimate Microsoft Dynamics® CRM learning and networking event! You’ll enjoy an incomparable opportunity to learn in a collaborative environment, share Dynamics CRM knowledge and take advantage of unrivaled networking opportunities.

Save Money with Advanced Pricing Discounts. Act Quick – Discounts End September 15 http://www.crmugsummit.com/register

I will be presenting a few sessions at this great conference. The 3 sessions we will be presenting are:

Wednesday, October 14 • 1:30pm – 2:30pm The art and science of dashboard and reporting visualizations

  • You need to produce a new dashboard or report. What’s the first step? To have a lasting impact and support insightful decisions, slow down and document the requirements, consider the visual details, and plan how it will be delivered and used. We’ll walk through these critical preludes to actually writing the report.

Friday, October 16 • 8:00am – 9:15am  xRM For Newbies – Because We’re Not Dummies

  • New CRM Administrators are given a plethora of great features and tools to use at their fingertips with many out of the box features in Dynamics CRM. However, you may want to evaluate xRM offerings. So what is xRM? What can you do with it, and where should you go from here? This presentation shares some best practices in the “why” of xRM and when it should be applied outside of OOTB features already natively available to you.

Friday, October 16 • 10:30am – 11:30am CRM Form and Entity Customizations 201

  • This session takes the lessons learned in the form and entity customizations 101 class and discusses quick create forms, quick view forms, sub-grids, collapsing tabs, related entity navigation, and other form customizations and performance optimizations you will need as you take on more advanced CRM Administrator tasks.

If you are a Microsoft Dynamics user, and that means any of their products; CRM, AX, NAV, GP; this is a great event to attend.

Resco.Next Mobile CRM Conference

Mobile is a hot topic these days. According to a recent Aberdeen study, Best in Class organizations that provide their sales teams with Mobile CRM, a whopping 65% meet or exceed their sales quotas. In a similar study, Forrester found as high as 60% improvement in customer service. No wonder it’s a hot topic. To learn how you can increase user adoption, improve customer service and become a Best in Class organization, join me at the Resco.Next Mobile CRM Conference.

Take Your Dynamics CRM to the Next Level with the Resco.Next Mobile CRM Conference.

September 14-15, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts

Insightful Sessions from CRM Experts. Hands-On Trainings. Knowledge Sharing

Plan on attending Resco.Next – the educational conference designed for all mobile CRM enthusiasts. Over the 2 days with 3 parallel tracks consisting of technical & business sessions to choose from, you will gain in-depth product knowledge, new insights about the CRM market and learn how to mobilize your CRM solution to move your business forward.

I will be presenting a session titled “How to Win Deals, Create Raving Fans and Explode CRM Adoption”

In this session we will review a couple of case studies on how Resco was used to successfully differentiate from the competition and provide significant wins. We’ll look at case studies of how organizations get the greatest value out of CRM by creating compelling solutions with Resco Mobile CRM.

What You Will Learn:

  • The steps we took to create a compelling vision
  • How Resco was configured to excite users
  • Open forum to ask questions and share ideas

Interested in attending? It’s not too late. Sign up here for a $230 discount. Special price of USD350 via this link.

Dynamics CRM 2015 Online Update 1

Dynamics CRM Update 2 coming soon.

 

It’s almost time again for the next Dynamics CRM Update. Technically called the CRM 2015 Fall Release, it’s more formally called Update 2 and is due probably in November. No official release date yet but it will be here before you know it. This will also be the formal rollup for on premise customers as well. So all the goodness from the CRM Online Spring Release will also be rolled into the Fall Release and made available for on premise customers. The NDA has not been lifted yet on what’s coming. IN the meantime, below are the major highlights from the Spring Release (Update 1).

 

 

Themes

You can now formally brand CRM!

Themes offer the option of changing the default colors and adding your logo to the top navigation bar. Match you corporate colors and even change the name to whatever you want.

 

New Form Rendering Engine – Faster Page Loads!

  • A new form renderer was built to provide better performance.
  • Forms will load significantly faster and more efficiently.

What will end users notice?

  • End users will not notice anything different, other than forms loading faster.

 

New Form Navigation

If you’re working in a complex form with lots of fields, the new form navigation drop-down list makes it easy to get to just the data you need.

Choose the drop-down list next to the form title, and then select the section of the form you want to go to.

 

Improved Menu Navigation

  • Faster and easier!
  • No more scrolling right/left.
  • The home icon has been replaced with a main menu option (hamburger icon)

 

Recently Viewed

  • Quick access to recently reviewed Records and Views.
  • Pin your favorite or most used records and views

 

OneNote Integration

  • Users can now easily capture meeting details using OneNote from within CRM Online.
  • This functionality allows the information to be available to other CRM Online users in the Social Pane.
  • Share your OneNote’s with non-CRM users as well.

 

Advanced Find – Older Than X

  • Advanced Find Adds Older Than option
  • The use cases for this option are many and empowers users to access the information they need more efficiently.
  • g. contacts with an activity Older Than 4 Weeks; All Open Cases Created Older Than 3 Hours (to meet SLA’s), etc.

 

Export to Excel Redesign

In addition to replacing the wizard with a single click to download feature (as if that was not fabulous enough), the record limitation for both import and export has been increased to 100,000 records or 32MB! Yes you read that correctly, this increased from 10,000 to 100,000 records!

 

Immersive Excel

Users on the go will love this functionality. When starting from a view, selecting Export to Excel and then Open in Excel Online you can quickly analyze or edit data in Excel Online.

That’s right, edit it online and you can even save changes back to CRM!

 

Folder-level Email Tracking

Exchange email users can establish a tracking folder so incoming emails can simply be dropped into the folder (manually or by leveraging Exchange Inbox rules) and automatically tracked in CRM.

Works with Outlook Web Access and Outlook client.

Works on phones too!

Note this requires server-side synchronization.

 

Mobile on Smartphones

The phone app has been enhanced to provide the same mobile experience as CRM for Tablets.

Available in respective phone app stores.

 

System Administrator and Customizer Platform Improvements

New functions on calculated fields: Now() and DateDiff are available

Rollup fields now support AVG operator, aggregating across related records (e.g. phone calls, emails, etc.)

Business rules: can now be set to null or removed

A date only field is now available

Create system rules that will automatically create or update a record based upon an incoming activity (such as an email)

The Importance of Mobile in Medical Device Sales and Service

A new generation of mobile savvy reps and customers are changing the landscape of how information is consumed and action initiated. A mobile technology enabled sales and service model are critical for medical device company success.

Medical Device Sales and Service Reps are always in the field. One key way to improve direct customer interactions is to use mobility—mobile tools and applications that provide real-time information and productivity-enhancing features at a lower operating cost.

Critical information that helps reps help their customers; whether they are surgeons, nurses, patients, lab techs or buying committees, include:

  • Product information
  • Patient indications
  • Outcomes data
  • Competitive information
  • Purchase history
  • Pricing
  • Inventory
  • And more!

Laptops were the first big leap in productivity. These tools are great but they have their limitations—including weight, portability, and expensive hardware and software support. On cost alone, laptops and can cost $2,000 or more, whereas mobile devices (tablets and smartphones) range from $400 to $800.

Enabling mobile devices for medical device reps helps them become more responsive to customers and boosts top line growth. Apps that utilize information from CRM and ERP systems and deliver actionable, relevant data can improve the efficiency and productivity of reps significantly. Here are a few benefits for enabling mobility for medical device reps:

Product/Pricing Information: Instant product availability and pricing information are important to reps and customers. This provides them both with critical information in the field as they make their sales and service calls. They can save time on inquiries that clients may have about a product; whether purchasing a new item or repairing an existing one. Customer service and responsiveness is key in a very competitive environment. Mobile apps can provide instant information and ideally the instant ability to respond to requests.

Collaboration: Mobile devices and apps provide great opportunities for access to subject matter experts that can be critical to servicing a customer. Physicians and technicians are often hired by medical device manufacturers as medical science liaisons (MSL) or key opinion leaders (KOL) and are employed to answer questions that doctors may have about specific devices or procedures. Because both the physician and the liaison tend to have busy and unpredictable schedules, this often means a game of phone tag that can take days. With mobile, they can have a quick chat over video or even instant message, getting the physician quick answers to important questions.

E-detailing: E-detailing or detailing, uses highly visual images and content to make complex information easier to understand. Think of it as PowerPoint on steroids. It’s used quite heavily in pharma sales, and we see it starting to be used by medical device companies. Consider a company that manufactures a knee or hip joint and needs to teach physicians how it’s used. Or, a complicated diagnostic instrument requires service. A mobile e-detailing app can present information in 3-D renderings, product details, schematics and graphically demonstrate how to use the device can be used to aid in understanding or resolving issues more quickly.

Collateral: Rather than carry around loads of paper materials, brochures, service books, diagrams, and maintenance checklists; providing this information on mobile devices and apps save serious money on printing costs and distribution. And, unlike paper collateral, this information can also be instantly updated and distributed to reps and customers. More sophisticated systems can even track when materials are opened, when they are read, or provide customers and prospects the ability to comment on their contents.

Eliminating Paperwork: While forms and signatures are a fact of life in this business, making them digital both increases productivity and enhances regulatory compliance. A two-for-one. Antiquated paper forms that can easily get lost or damaged can quickly and easily be turned into digital forms. A few taps of your finger and data can be quickly logged. Use that finger to make a digital signature and the rep is on their on their way to the next call.

Cameras/Video: Cameras and videos in mobile devices can be important tools for servicing customers. If a product is shipped to an organization and a part is missing or broken, reps can communicate with field technicians to send a picture of needed parts or scan a barcode to make sure the right one is shipped to their customers. Customers can also use an app to collaborate with sales and customer service teams, sending photos or videos to help describe problems they have with the device. This can help eliminate potentially confusing and frustrating email or phone conversations and improve customer satisfaction. Isn’t that easier than trying to describe “the blue thingamajig underneath the round tray”? Those types of conversations are frustrating for both sides, and a problem that’s essentially eliminated by mobile technology.

Mapping/Routing: Think about a rep who has a new territory (because territory realignments never happen in this industry) — no more fumbling with paper maps or gps devices. The latest advances in mobile apps take full advantage the mapping and routing capabilities built into these devices. A rep can all of his appointments, hospitals, physicians and related data visually on a digital map and with a tap or two get instant driving directions. How’s that for increased productivity!

Voice recognition: Some have considered this the Holy Grail and tech companies have been pursuing useful voice recognition for years. With updated technology like Cortana and Siri we are literally on the verge of having good voice recognition that actually works! “CRM make an appointment with Dr. Jones at 2 p.m. next Tuesday”. Yeah, that’s possible!

Are you ready to jump on the opportunity to increase productivity and top line growth with mobile devices and apps? With the above capabilities, medical device sales and service teams can fully utilize all the benefits mobility can provide.

For more information about Infinity’s mobile CRM solutions for Medical Device professionals, contact Infinity Info Systems at …