2017-08-08 03:51:00 UTC

Interested in integrating Dynamics CRM integrated with back end system, has anyone done this?


We are about to begin a project that entails customer service functions and back end processing functions in the finance sector.

At the same time I am wanting our team to focus on the 'core' component of what we need to build and integrate proven solutions for other aspects of the system architecture.

For customer service and relationship management, rather than build these out ourselves, we're investigating the use of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, but we would need to be able to have Dynamics integrate to the our back end.

For example, We would like to have Dynamics call an API of our back end to get customer balances, fund details and so forth.

Has anyone done something similar? 

How customisable did you find the Dynamics user interface?

How did you go about integrating Dynamics into your application framework?

What did you learn?

Am very keen on finding out because Dynamics looks very attractive to us as it seems to tick a lot of boxes.

Thankyou for taking time to read my question.




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1010 Answers
Real User

 Hi, You can use CCA to integrate your back end applications through API & web service calls.

2017-08-09 12:55:52 UTC09 August 17
User

I don’t have any back end IT knowledge of Dynamics CRM but I do have experience at the staff user end. As corporate risk manager with a previous employer, I went through the selection, implementation, reporting and abandonment of Dynamics CRM. Here’s the quick story on what we learned.

Our Chief Commercial Officer identified CRM as the ideal tool for managing our global client base and for capturing a snap shot of where our business was sitting at any given time (we had a staff of around 3000 people and offices in 29 countries; and a large percentage of our clients were multi-national). It certainly ticked all the boxes as a means on integrating business development with client activity and regional reporting and forecasting. We had been in a general state of chaos in all these areas and CRM certainly looked like a one stop solution.

Rather than trying to lean the system while implementing it, the business made a smart move and hired a Business Analyst with I.T. experience who was an expert with CRM. She spent time getting her head around the business and the practices that had been going on and set about the training and implementation program from the top down.

The business started using the system and pretty quickly there was a lot of data in there and pretty impressive reports were coming out. At this time we had a new Chief Operating Officer join the company who happened to be an experienced CRM user. He was able to jump into CRM and quickly get an understanding of how the global business was performing. For his first introduction and briefing session with The Board, he ran a bunch of reports out of CRM and put together his presentation.

Afterwards he was not a happy camper. The figures were completely wrong and his forecasts were ridiculous. The business was in a radically different position to what was coming out of CRM. I was involved in the investigation and identification of the fixes required. In the end we chose to abandon CRM to the ‘too hard’ basket – for our business.

Having said that, I need to be clear - the problem was not the tool, it was the people. The main lesson is that like any database software system, CRM is just a tool and if you feed garbage into it you get garbage out of it.

The lessons learned – what they did wrong:

1. Culture of the business – everyone was busy and working under pressure. As we had a regional management payment scheme where country managers were paid bonuses on revenue, our regions were competing against each other for work. As a result people were only entering part of the story into the database and holding back. Others saw it as an opportunity to boost their forecasting to take the pressure off and make it look like they were doing a great job of business development. Basically you need complete honesty and transparency of data input.

2. Lack of understanding of the criticality of data input completeness and accuracy – there was not enough common understanding of the tool as far as the ‘why we have it’ and ‘what can it do’ and ‘what will we use the outputs for’ side of the introduction. CRM requires a comprehensive and planned roll-out.

3. Insufficient budget to support the implementation – this feeds on from the point above and the point below. There is a need to properly fund the implementation – staff awareness, training, access to assistance to support data loading for a period of time and testing.

4. Trying to do too much too fast – my previous employer tried to roll this out across the whole business in 6 months and it didn’t work. They would have been much better off choosing an element of CRM and getting everyone on board using that and testing the data before putting faith in the outputs.

5. Lack of Quality Management and Compliance Management due to general under-staffing in the business. This is essential – spot checking of the quality of inputs and auditing of entries against finance would pick-up most problems.

6. Inconsistency in naming regimes leading to multi-entries of the same data (Client entity names used by different personnel reporting components of larger projects which were already in the system under the parent entity name). Terminology confusion between business areas also saw the wrong data being entered. This was a problem to do with inconsistency across the business that was a result of poor Quality Management and cultural issues.

I realise your application will be at a more manageable scale but I hope it is of use to get these comments as it is a good tool but it needs to be developed into the business in a managed fashion.

2017-08-08 22:35:21 UTC08 August 17
Consultant

I'm not going to speak negatively about Microsoft Dynamics, but I would
strongly suggest you include Salesforce in your evaluation.

We've done what you're looking for with many of our Financial Services
clients.

Our open API structure is one of our major advantages over other providers
in the industry.

In my experience it's best to allow the business stakeholders to have an
equal seat at the table.

I've seen too many situations where an initiative is led by IT due to a
relationship with Microsoft only to find out later in the process that the
"users" aren't satisfied.

At the end of the day if user adoption is low it can result in a failed
project.

If you're interested in exploring how Salesforce has done what you're
looking to do, then I'd be happy to discuss this in more detail.

2017-08-08 19:25:49 UTC08 August 17
Consultant

To answer your specific questions:
Has anyone done something similar? Yes, Cognizant has implemented similar things for its clients with MS Dynamics and other CRM tools such as SFDC and Pega.

How customisable did you find the Dynamics user interface? Very customizable. - The ability to view “related” records from a single screen is great. For example, if I am on the Customer Record screen, I can click Cases on the left menu and see the Cases related to that Customer without leaving the Customer window.

-The UI is logically organized by module, but Dynamics CRM is also very customizable to suit your needs. It is easy to find your way around in Dynamics CRM based on the module.

- You can specify where you want to start when you launch CRM. For example, if I'm constantly scheduling appointments for people, I can have the service schedule load automatically when I launch Dynamics CRM. If I were an inside sales rep, I could have CRM open to the “My Activities” screen so I could see the calls and activities I have scheduled for that day and plan my day accordingly.

- When a custom entity is created, a very important feature of Dynamics CRM is the ability to load custom icons to represent the custom entity.

- The Dynamics CRM User Interface looks and acts like the Outlook interface.

How did you go about integrating Dynamics into your application framework? This is difficult to answer as each client application framework is different, but MS Dynamics offers various ways to integrate.

What did you learn? MS Dynamics is a medium cost flexible platform. If you have used Microsoft products in your organization such as Sharepoint, this will be a great fit. However you should also take a look at evolved CRM products such as Pega PRPC which offers more flexibility for complex scenarios. One thing to keep in mind is Pega is a little more expensive.

2017-08-08 16:29:14 UTC08 August 17
Real UserTOP 5LEADERBOARD

Yes. We have integrated Microsoft Dynamics with Siebel 7.8.
We used Dynamics for the presales process and we used the Siebel 7.8 as a Backend.
We did this integration using Siebel 7.8 web services. Other way could be to put a middleware application between Dynamics and the Backend, in general Dynamics it's a user friendly GUI that you can use for improving the user experience.

2017-08-08 14:20:47 UTC08 August 17
Real User

We are a CRM VAR, and do have experience doing this for clients of ours.

There are usually multiple ways to accomplish what you are looking to do. Dynamics CRM has a good API that can be called. There are several good products that act as an integration tool between CRM and various backends or APIs, and that may be the best method. Some good tools:

http://www.eonesolutions.com/smartconnect/overview/
http://www.kingswaysoft.com/products/ssis-integration-toolkit-for-microsoft-dynamics-365
https://www.scribesoft.com/products/scribe-online/
https://www.starfishetl.com/crm-integration/ERP

The Dynamics CRM interface is pretty straight-forward to customize. Basic customizations can be done without any code, such as adding new fields, modifying form layouts, building some business logic into the forms, and creating workflows to automate the system. More advanced things can be done via custom code and plugins.

For your scenario about having CRM call an API, that would be done via one of the integration tools above, or via a CRM plugin or a service running on a machine that has been designed to read and write accordingly.

Tom's answer below is useful in that he is recommending some good CRM partners. We are a partner ourselves, so I would of course recommend my own company. But having a good partner to lean on will be useful during the project, and Microsoft likes to work through partners.

If you want to dialog more you can reach out to me and we can just talk. Either way, best of luck to you!

2017-08-08 13:32:11 UTC08 August 17
ConsultantTOP 5

Two firms I've worked with in the past that are very good at this type of work are ArcherPoint (http://www.archerpoint.com/) and Innovia (http://www.innovia.com/). I would contact both for an evaluation of this project. Good luck!

2017-08-08 12:54:56 UTC08 August 17
Real User

Suggest you use Scribe as your integration tool, easy to setup, low cost and has a good support team if you run into any problems.

2017-08-08 12:03:41 UTC08 August 17
Real UserTOP 10

To real time integrate try:

* Dell Boomi works great is the preferred option for me.
* Orbis TaskCenter is another product I have often used and also get the job done very easily.
* I have used Scribe, but this product is a rip-off and not the best out there and irritating sales people

If you a looking at a batch scheduled import of data into CRM than tere are also other option available that are cheaper.
Also often used when the customer is happy to run a batch that imports all required data into CRM every night.

2017-08-08 11:59:41 UTC08 August 17
Real User

My CRM expertise is with Salesforce only. I have not worked with Microsoft Dynamics .May I suggest checking out Odesk or Guru for experts in that field.

2017-08-08 11:56:55 UTC08 August 17
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