1 min read

Infographic – The Microsoft touch points for customer service in manufacturing

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Please click here on the image for a high-res PDF version of this infographic

The Microsoft Touch Points for Customer Service & Manufacturing

1 min read

Checklist: Want the board to see what you see in CRM?

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Please click on the image or click HERE for a high-res PDF version

Checklist: Want the board to see what you see in CRM

3 min read

Does your CRM Partner Make You Happy?

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OK, this is a bit clichéd. We’ll say it anyway. We really do care about our clients’ businesses.

Maybe it’s because we get so entrenched in them when we’re helping them assess the case for CRM. Maybe it’s because getting to know the people in the business is the biggest part of understanding the existing systems and processes. Maybe it’s because we are so invested in their corporate objectives that we are willing them on from the sidelines every month of every year.

Does it get in the way of us delivering the product? No! It’s the whole point of delivering the product.

If your organisation is currently investigating Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM), you may well be wondering what a CRM partner actually does and do you need one. Maybe you already have a CRM partner but you’re wondering if they are quite so emphatic about the importance of the relationship as we are.

Redspire is a Gold Microsoft Partner and over the many years that we have been working with Dynamics, we have noticed an ongoing expectation that you simply buy a CRM system, set it up and off you go.

Off the shelf CRM are mass-produced, one size fits all systems. They’re really generic and don’t allow for the way your business’ product, people and processes work. Many businesses try to ‘fit’ the CRM system instead of having the system aligned to them. And many partners let them.

Dynamics 365 has made enterprise level tech available to businesses of all sizes in all sectors with less customization needed across the board. Note, we don’t say no customization needed. Even with the FastTrack, there is still a process of due diligence and knowledge sharing that has to happen.

The right choice of partner makes all the difference. When you hear stories of CRM not working for businesses, remember this. It’s not necessarily the platform that’s the problem; it’s the union of the people working on it.

So, if you’re still seeking the right partner, here are some of the qualities you should be looking for:

  • Strategic– A good partner should be asking questions beyond the subject of IT.
  • Collaborative – You’ll experience what level of collaboration you can expect during the system identification stage but it’s perfectly acceptable to ask your potential CRM partner for client references that will reveal their ability to stick with you.
  • Knowledgeable – A good partner will not only know their preferred platform inside out, they’ll know all the compatible tools and have a depth of experience that you won’t find in a user manual.
  • Processes – Your partner should provide you with a clear roadmap for planning, implementation, deployment and ongoing support. Without it, everyone is left feeling vague. Lost control means things will get missed.
  • Project Management – Make sure you find out who the day-to-day contact will be, and ask about ongoing progress visibility.
  • Industry experience – It’s often preferable to have a partner with experience in your particular industry. However, it’s sometimes good to have a partner with experience from other sectors come to the party. We often find that it ensures a ‘take nothing for granted’ ideology that ensures no stone is left unturned in the planning stage. With that comes fresh thinking and often, business changing solutions that becomes a model for others.
  • Service offering – how will your Partner support you after full deployment. It’s important that you discuss those expectations early on. We are often called in to assist companies who have parted company with the original implementation partner and tried to do customisation on their own then watched their user adoption suffer.

If you’re in the UK and you’d like to know more about choosing the right partner, get in touch with us and test us out!

2 min read

Digital White Noise

Back in January, we looked at what digital transformation means these days and on the 16th of this month, we’ll be walking you through how Microsoft are tackling it with Dynamics 365.

A recent Insurance Age article described how the industry’s structure is shifting but that it’s not yet certain who will gain and who will lose. They went on to say “Some things are certain though. Only the digital will survive. And in the new world, it’s not about big eating the small anymore, it’s the fast eating the slow”.

The UK Government recently announced £4.7 billion of funding for the research and development of future technologies such as smart energy, the Internet of Things (aka doing more online), robotics, AI and 5G networks as a part of the wider industrial strategy for the UK. Digital and STEM education, business support, clean energy and digital infrastructure are huge areas of focus.

Just last week, The Telegraph reported how tech groups and investors view Trump’s ban on immigration as a potential boost to the British technology scene, as US tech groups may choose to expand international operations at the expense of domestic hiring, and UK start-ups think twice about expanding to Silicon Valley.

They go on to describe how “London has become a major hub for American technology companies, undaunted by the Brexit vote. In recent months, Google announced plans to employ 7,000 people in London by 2020 and Facebook said it would hire 500 this year alone, both at new offices. Apple, Amazon and Snapchat have all announced hiring sprees in the capital.”

Every industry is undoubtedly a tech industry now and reading this, you’d be forgiven for feeling the pressure to join or lead the charge.

Stop. Think about these questions:

  • What are you hoping the technology will do for your business?
  • What are your bigger corporate objectives and is tech required to facilitate those and over what term?
  • What processes and systems do you currently have in play?
  • Is what you think you need right now, what you will need in the future?
  • How do your employees currently work and is the culture ready for change?
  • How will you make that happen?

One of the main reasons we are hosting a webinar on digital transformation is to outline the importance of these questions and (no surprises given our Gold Partner status and all the knowledge we have) to talk about how they are providing the integration and scalability to get businesses on the journey wisely and intelligently.

Here’s the key thing. Every business’ digital transformation journey will be different. So, yes, read up and know what’s available. Understand what other businesses in your sector are doing. But don’t jump on any bandwagons. Look inwards first.

Find out more information by watching on our Digital Transformation Webinar.