Dynamics CRM provides a powerful set of features to tailor a solution’s appearance for a particular client or business model, however as these features do not correspond to functionality these can be overlooked. As the focus of a project can often be on functional requirements or business process, the non-functional aspects of the user experience are often nelegected.
However tailoring the appearance of a solution has a massive effect on the end User Experience which can really drive the User Adoption of a CRM Solution – which is (as most CRM Consultants probably tire of saying!) the primary reason for a CRM Project to fail.
This post focuses on these features of Dynamics CRM and how they can be used to best effect.
Use the Site Map to tailor a Solution
Take an example where a Functional Consultant has correctly broken a client’s business model down into individual business areas and mapped out each process area within the Analysis Documentation, we can then structure our CRM Deployment to match these process areas to truly tailor CRM for how we have analysed the client’s business model.
This not only tailors CRM for the Business Model in question, but also gives a direct narrative between the Analysis Documentation and the final solution. In my experience this creates an instant increase in buy-in from the users and stakeholders who were present in the original workshops and (hopefully!) approved the Analysis Documentation, as they should be able to see how this directly translates into the solution.
Hide Areas that are not used in a Solution
It is rare that a client will attempt to use all the various areas and entities that MSCRM presents – it can be very useful to hide these to keep the solution as simple as possible for the end-users.
This can be done easily using the MSCRM Security Roles, or alternatively by editing the SiteMap XML.
Icons Icons Icons..
Most MSCRM Solutions involve the use of custom entities – however if it is again quite rare to see graphic icons given to these custom entities, instead we tend to see the default MSCRM custom entity icon reused for all the custom entities and screens added into the solution. Icons instantly give a graphical feel which helps convey a cleaner fresher appearance for a solution that can help build a strong User Experience.
When we put all this together:
Which gives us a much more clean tailored appearance that should be more easily familiar to the User than the default appearance of MSCRM:
Obviously this only forms a small part of the User Experience which is key for winning user adoption for a CRM Solution. However these little techniques for customising Dynamics CRM can provide the user with a direct correlation between the areas described in a Functional Specification and the end-solution.
And if your requirements analyais or functional specification does not have a concept of the User Experience and how the business process will be reflected in the CRM Solution (whether it be Dynamics or otherwise) then it probably should – but that is a different topic!