Digital Transformation and Customer Experience are two areas that are on top of mind for executives and CIOs everywhere. Dynamics 365 is one of those applications that is at the center of Digital Transformation for Microsoft and its partners. Being a Microsoft partner is not an exclusive club. It’s a challenging marketplace with tight margins and innovation happening rapidly both at Microsoft and with partners. However, there are some perks of being a partner like receiving the Internal Use Rights (IURs) to some of the best technology products like Office 365 and Dynamics 365. The idea is that Partners need to be customer zero, use the products to be able to sell the products. Dynamics 365 formerly Dynamics CRM or CRM online, is one of those products which can be used to run your entire business! As we released Work 365 for Partners I was recounting our journey– which involved us trying to make the most use of the application to keep us relevant and stay ahead. In reflecting back, we were Digitally Transforming while attempting to deliver great Customer Experience.


As a Microsoft Partner, we had access to early versions of Dynamics CRM. Today we are using Dynamics CRM in every function of our business but it wasn’t always like that. I wanted to share in this article our own journey to see if I can relate this back to other partners who are thinking of where to start or get feedback from those that are ahead of us on what we could be doing. 


We started with the Sales module to have a contact management system in place in late 2010. We went from Contacts to Opportunity Tracking and then onward with implementing one thing after the other and eventually getting the whole company to use the system from Sales, Service, Delivery to Accounting. As a Dynamics app developer, we needed a way to deliver and manage Work 365 licenses. The manual license delivery and trial processes were time-consuming and error-prone. Once we built this license delivery mechanism in Dynamics CRM, our system was no longer just a data repository but more of a provisioning and business critical application. The graphic below depicts different functional pieces we implemented over the years to digitize our business.




After we implemented a piece of functionality we would then continue with the rounds of

  • Tweaking and adding fields and forms
  • Setting up notifications and workflow automation
  • Fixing and managing permissions

The most important thing for us was the more functional areas we added the more user adoption we had and the greater the ROI. We started to see the complete 360Degree of our customers and provide better customer experiences with every new service and functional line. We integrated 3rd Party Partner applications like ClickDimensions for marketing Automation, Xperido for document generation, DocuSign for signature and contract management. And every year we had to work with the inevitable upgrade cycles with new feature and compatibility.


Our approach to Digital Transformation was not to invent a Digital strategy but to digitize our current strategy. As a Microsoft CSP, we needed a way to keep up with the growth, provide great service, differentiate ourselves and keep our costs low. We used the Netflix model which I will discuss specifics in a separate article. Our strategy was:

  1. Create differentiated products and services
  2. Streamline our service offering and our systems to manage the cost
  3. Provide multiple service channels to customers including self-service
To that effect, we leveraged our experience of developing apps for Dynamics, e-commerce and Dynamics 365 configuration to create Work 365 to manage our CSP and customer-facing services.

Back to the Beginning

Our biggest learning along with our Digital transformation journey as a Microsoft CSP partner:

CRM implementations are never done and you must work at it endlessly to improve and fine-tune the processes.

Leverage the IURs and create application density to realize the investment. Application density happens by implementing connected processes in one system where users across different functions have efficiency gains from access to data, reduced training costs and process automation.

Don’t worry about developing a digital strategy- but more importantly digitize your current strategy. Be the customer zero in using the Cloud services and products so that you can train the teams and serve it up to your own customers.

Please share your thoughts about how you use your application IURs, tackle Digital transformation and provide exceptional customer experience.


About the author
Ismail Nalwala
CEO

Click on the link to view the original post - https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/being-customer-zero-dynamics-365-microsoft-partners-ismail-nalwala/