Monday, January 30, 2012

Integration Dynamics CRM and Dynamics GP

The easiest way to integrate data between Microsoft Dynamics CRM and GP is with SmartConnect. SmartConnect is the one stop easy shop for all GP and CRM integrations and automation's.

There are some organizations out there that continue to struggle with Microsoft's 'free' connector before coming back to purchase SmartConnect. There are other companies that start off dabbling with Scribe before seeing the light. As one consultant recently said in an email "First, SmartConnect is absolutely the best integration product I have ever used. (I liked Scribe, and have used it extensively in the past, but SC destroys scribe).

The fact is that integrating with Microsoft Dynamics CRM from any source, but most specifically from Dynamics GP,  is best done with SmartConnect.

Join me in our upcoming webinar where we review the process of building a two integration between Dynamics GP and CRM.  In this webinar session we will cover:

  1. CRM and GP integrating together without user intervention
  2. The eOne templates - what do they cover?
  3. Going beyond the templates - how easy is it?
  4. Real Time, Change Tracking, Schedule and manual integrations. Which is best?
  5. SmartConnect and CRM Online?
  6. Questions and Answers to all your questions.
You must register for this event on the 15th February 4:00pm CST - and follow this link to sign up.  I look forward to answering all your questions during this webinar.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Rude Email non Responders

If you were talking face to face with a client or a colleague and they asked you a question - which you completely ignored  - I think we all agree this would be considered extremely rude.

So - Can you honestly look me in the eye and say that you have never 'forgotten' to respond to an email that deserved or required a response?  If this can happen to you then you are a 'rude' email manager.

Now I am not talking about spam or unsolicited emails. They can and should be ignored. I am talking about emails from the people that work in your office, your colleagues, people from your interstate office,  about a client, about a problem client, about emails from friends and even family.
Do you have an email management process in place? Do you have a plan on how you manage email communication? You need one, and they can be extremely simple.
A couple of questions/facts that identify an email offender:

1. More than say 2 days emails in your inbox at any one time.  If you have 1000 emails there is absolutely no way you know what is in your inbox. You can no longer be sure if you have dealt with each email.

2. Do you read an email and then think I will deal with that later?  How can you be 100% sure you get back to responding?

3. Do you use Auto assign functions that move emails to specific folders?  e.g. all emails coming to 'support' go into a special folder?  I would bet a weeks salary that you rarely look in these folders. What if you were copied on an email that went to support and required direct action from you? You only look in this folder once a week and can not possibly read them all at that point - so this never gets actioned.

4. Do you read your email while you are deeply involved in other tasks?  You will forget to respond to an email later on.

I rely very heavily on email to do my job - so getting this right is critical. Living on the bottom side of the world and being 12 hrs removed from most of the people I work with - email management is critical. I am a long way form perfect and if I have ever ignored an email from you I apologize right now - unreservedly! Here are a couple of things than can move you from the Rude to the Polite email category.

1. Your inbox is not a filing cabinet. Treat your inbox as an old fashioned in tray for things that need to be done. If it is in your in tray then it has not been actioned and is a job waiting to be done. Does anyone still have an in tray? I remember in my first job as an accountant this is where all the paperwork requiring processing was placed. Most of that internal paperwork and those incoming letters through regular post have been replaced by email.
2. Use just a few folders to file away useful emails you may need to reference later. I have a file called "Microsoft", another called "Clients", one called Personal and another called "eOne Team".   When I read an email there are only a few possible actions available to me.
  • Read it and Respond Immediately.  Then move the original to a folder for reference/or delete it.
  • If it does not require a response but will be useful later - move it to a folder
  • Delete it (Junk, unsolicited emails, jokes, any other email that I do not need to reference later.)
3. Close Outlook. Open it only when you want to read email.  When you open it:
  • Sort by Subject first. This lets you see all emails in a chain so you can action only the last message. Then move or delete them as a group.
  • Quickly delete obvious junk, and unsubscribe to anything you do not need coming to your inbox.
  • Aim for an empty inbox. You can achieve it and it gives you a great feeling when you fall asleep at night.
  • Sometimes you can not respond just yet and need to seek info or input from others. This remains in your inbox as an outstanding thing to be done. Like a to do list.  
4. Send yourself emails. I do this all the time. I do not keep a 'to do' list but when I think of something that needs to be done - I send myself an email. It is then in my tray so remains as something that needs doing. Emails from myself are no less or more important than things tasks that come in externally. I prioritise in the normal way.

5. Never ignore. It is better to respond saying "I am really busy, and will get to this in 3 weeks" than to ignore it. or "I need some help in answering this - it may take a few weeks". 

That's it. Do not over complicate it. Email is a brilliant and an essential tool that must work for you and not against you.

In addition to the above - turn off email on your Smart Phone. No one needs to read email all of the time. You just don't. If it is urgent they will call you - a novel idea!  I have a friend who is a CEO of a reasonably sized firm you recently gave his Blackberry away and intentionally purchased a phone with NO email capability. Brilliant. Does he need to read emails when he is at his daughters birthday party, or out for a few drinks with friends after work? No. Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who starts reading emails on their phone while you are speaking? Save your emails for those times of the day you set aside for reading emails.

For those of you who work at eOne - there will be some email management audits coming shortly.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Back with an itch

Camping by a beach for 18 days straight in perfect weather with extended family all around. Does it get any better than that? I was so relaxed I am surprised my heart did not stop!  So no apologies for the blogging void - I was having too much fun.

But 2012 is going to be a big year for eOne and I am now burning to get going with big plans.  I thought I'd outline a couple of things going on here at eOne.

1. eOne goes CRM 2011: The first thing is that I am now officially a heavy SmartConnect user.  We have moved internally to Microsoft CRM and I took on the job of converting all our data, and ongoing integrations using SmartConnect.  Firstly I am loving CRM, and I have proven that SmartConnect is as easy to use as I have been telling everyone in my demos. Which is great.

What I have learnt through this process is a bunch of little things I think should change in SC. The dev team were not so excited by all the little feature requests I have logged.  I will blog more about the conversion process, the things I learnt and things to watch out for with CRM integrations.

2. New User Interface Coming:  SmartConnect is getting a makeover, face lift and transformation. Last year we moved to an entirely standalone version of SmartConnect and decoupled from the GP user interface. This has allowed us to rework the look and feel and how all the components hang together. I am excited about how the user experience will improve with this release. Target date is March.  You can imagine that these changes are also leading us be able to expand into other CRM and ERP markets.

3. SmartView Goes Standalone: We had so much fun moving SmartConnect outside of GP, that we are now doing the same thing with SmartView. This is really exciting as it allows you to give all the power of SmartList's to everyone in your organisation - even if they are not GP users.  This leads to some really fun stuff like SmartView on other devices like Ipads, Android Pads and windows pads.

4. First SmartConnect User Group Meeting:  During convergence 2012 in Houston (March 18th) we will be holding a 2hr user group session. This is a great chance for all our customers (and their partners) to gather together, learn what is new, understand our roadmap, learn form eachother, ask questions of a customer panel, ask questions of our development and consulting teams. The success of this event will lead on to a bigger user group even the following year.  You invites will be coming shortly so please be sure to come along and join us.

5. Web client:  We are working with Microsoft on the GP12 web client for SLB and eXtender. There is a way to go but this is exciting stuff for us and you as customer/partners. There is a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes. If you ever hear it said that Microsoft are not investing in Dynamics GP you are sorely mislead.

6. New Website/Customer portals/Forums. I am really excited about this. We are changing the way we do business, and becomingng much more open to our customers and partners. All support calls will soon be logged online, and you can get updates from our support crew via the same portal. We are also opening up some interactive forums which we hope will foster more information sharing between our customers/ partners and our development team. 

7. Partner Program. We will be releasing information soon aobut changes to our partner programme. Do not get scared these are all positive. We are looking at options to ensure customers and consultants have the best, easiest and fastest ways to get support when they need it.

So that is just a snapshot of what is coming. I am excited about 2012 and we hope to make the lives of our partners and customers easier by continuing to lead the way with great software solutions.