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May 19th, 2015 by

What happens when you have a system like Infor CRM and you add users?  Not just add users, but make sure they are not trained and there are no policies and procedures for them to follow.  Compound this scenario with no concept of data and how the data will be used to create outputs (analytics, dashboards, and reports etc). Well, bad things can and do happen to good systems.  This is not the way to make smart business decisions, grow your business, or utilize a CRM investment in your front office functions.

Infor CRM is an incredible system that allows for customization flexibility and process management.  However, if you unleash a system to users without any guidance or usage basics there will be consequences for storing all that mismanaged data.  Through many unintended actions you will have created a hot data mess.  A hot data mess can dramatically affect your bottom line in expected and unexpected ways.  It is already a challenge when introducing a new system to users so make sure that you have put some thought into how you are launching and the process to make it more manageable.

How does an Infor CRM Administrator or an application Data Steward manage the expectations upfront and create a well-oiled machine (to prevent a nightmare on Elm St)?

‚ÄĘ Have a governance plan in place
‚ÄĘ Identify a Data Steward
‚ÄĘ Build a set of policies and procedures
‚ÄĘ Configure the system tools
‚ÄĘ Train to the usage¬†procedures (initial, refresh, new employee)
‚ÄĘ Monitor the results (using tools like KnowledgeSync, or data cleanup tools like DQ Global)
‚ÄĘ Offer incentives for winning (keeping customers happy with high quality results)

With interactive systems, like CRM, we are constantly adding, removing, updating, and importing records. This is called Data Management and your company should have a plan in place to make sure the data changing is not causing the system usage issues.  This will have a positive impact on acquisition of new customer as well as maintaining profitable relations with customers, partners, and vendors alike.  If you find yourself unsure about where to start, we are encouraging our customers to start by identifying a Data Steward for each user group of CRM within their organization. The Data Steward can begin to define the data requirements for their user group and then work backwards to clean up what has gone astray.  If you need assistance from Simplesoft, we have various levels of Data Cleanup Services.

Data management does not have to be complex, but it does need governance and care.  Taking care of data is one of the three pillars to CRM success that helps to support user adoption. CRMs are always pushing the limiting of technology and with platforms expanding (mobile, tablets and others) we must make sure the tools keep step with the users to enhance productivity.  Good things will happen when CRM is put into place with users trained, processes documented, and a data maintenance plan in place.
‚ÄúAre you upset little friend? Have you been lying awake worrying? Well, don’t worry…I’m here. The flood waters will recede, the famine will end, the sun will shine tomorrow, and I will always be here to take care of you. -Charlie Brown to Snoopy‚ÄĚ
— Charles M. Schulz

If you would like to discuss upgrading your system, or to see a free demonstration, please contact Simplesoft Solutions.

Remember to check our CALENDAR and register for free training, demo sessions, and the Heartland Saleslogix Users Group Events.

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Dayton/Cincinnati, OH | Charleston, WV | Charlotte, NC

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March 6th, 2015 by

Infor CRM uses activity codes to define the specific type of Scheduled and Completed Activities done by users. The activity types can be a challenge to define when creating groups. With the right codes you can create groups that will build the activities that users complete in a certain time frame.  For example: A group created to view phone calls within a customer service group during the last 30 days, you can even go further by saying within a certain geographical or territory area.   This allows management to know the interactions or lack of within certain parameters to confirm that requirements are being met.

Here is an example of a group with a 30-day window of phone calls.

The list of activity codes are as follows:

Phone call = 262146
Meeting = 262145
To-Do = 262147
Database change = 262156
Email = 262154
Literature Request = 262163
Note = 262148
Document = 262153

We hope this short article is helpful for group building in Infor CRM (Saleslogix).

If you would like to discuss upgrading your system, or to see a free demonstration, please contact Simplesoft Solutions.

Remember to check our CALENDAR and register for free training, demo sessions, and the Heartland Users Group Events.

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Dayton/Cincinnati, OH | Charleston, WV | Charlotte, NC

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December 11th, 2014 by

Back in 2010 I wrote an article on Data Management for the Sage Saleslogix community site.  The site changed to Saleslogix community under the hands of Swiftpage and now the portal has moved to be a private community.  I thought it was an appropriate time to repost under our Simplesoft blog to keep the information alive for those who have referenced it or linked to it. 

Nine Practical Strategies for Data Management  

Data quality is one of the core pillars for Customer Relationship Manage­ment (CRM) success. It does not take long to realize when using a CRM tool, like Infor CRM, that the need for data quality management is paramount. The grueling pains of poor data management can range from the costs of inaccurate printing and re­turned mailings to the subtle troubles of us­ers not trusting the data like they should. The effectiveness of customer facing operations (sales, marketing, and support) depends on having clean data. Think of the implications of marketing to customers using inaccurate data and sending them a prospecting letter (maybe you have lived it). The costly mistakes speak for themselves. 

Research studies from the Data Warehous¬≠ing Institute suggest it only takes about four and a half years for a database to become ninety-eight percent ‚Äúbad‚ÄĚ if data is not man¬≠aged properly, and regularly. On-going T.L.C (Tender Loving Care) will keep the data constant, but changes that occur with records when customers move, marry, divorce, pass away, go out of business, etc., render them obsolete quickly. Users can become skeptical of the data and resort to deploying their own data repositories. Of course, no one plans to use a tool where the data is outdated and not trusted. So, what can an Infor CRM¬†Administrator or Data Steward do to ensure high quality data? ¬†

Strategies for Data Success  

First, establish the processes and tools to prevent inaccuracies.  

Tip: We have found it helpful to develop a document to define user policies and pro­cedures to establish data standards. Define the policies and procedures for managing change early before the system is deployed and communicate those policies to the end users of the system.  

Clean up existing data inaccuracies (if they exist).  

Our customers find it helpful to use a data survey checklist that helps you think about areas of review. 

Review critical data suppliers and entry points. Insist they provide accurate and current data. 

Especially important before importing data with G.I.G.O. (Garbage In, Garbage Out) in mind. 

Build in data accuracy by enforcing re­quired fields and pick lists. Also, use script­ing to enforce business rules whenever possible. 

Tip: Focus on the most important data first, especially for mailing and reporting. I am sure you have observed a state field with OH, Oh., OH., Ohio, OH-IO and other variations. This scenario can be easily prevented.  

Don’t be seduced by the promise of CRM data cleanup tools without a plan for pre­vention, too. There is no substitute for pre­venting errors at the source. 

Tip: You can enforce both clean up and pre­vention at the same time with QGate’s Pari­bus and PowerEntry utility.  

Select specific software tools to solve spe­cific problems rather than general tools for general problems. The Groups features is an easy-to-use built-in tool in Infor CRM. 

Tip: There are many built in tools and meth­ods to manage data so spend the time or work with your channel partner to learn them all.  

Assign a data steward (or trustee) to be responsible for each data element (Con­tacts, Accounts, pricing information, etc.). 

Typically, this role is the business process administrator; whereas the power user role manages the data and both should have strong execu­tive support. 

Establish a process through which the accuracy and quality of data in all sys­tems can be reviewed and assured on a reoccurring basis. Schedule regular tasks to review and clean up data, such as on a weekly or monthly basis. The data stew­ard/administrator should be held ac­countable for completing those tasks. 

In the case of multiple systems using the same data, identify a system of ‚Äúofficial record‚ÄĚ. That is, a system in which data will originate and ‚Äúfeed‚ÄĚ other systems that re¬≠quire the data (accounting and sales inte¬≠gration come to mind).¬†

Identify Data Quality Issues in Infor CRM  

Infor CRM administrators can create ad­ministrative Account / Contact / Opportunity Groups for various data segmentation such as missing required fields, duplication of data, and data that needs to be reviewed because the records have not been updated or reviewed, within a specified period of time, such as a six months or a year, for example. 

Infor CRM¬†also includes tools to mass ‚Äėswap‚Äô the content of fields, change values, and merge records. As a standard procedure, first complete the actions in a test environment to verify the steps and desired results. After veri¬≠fying, perform the steps in your production sys¬≠tem.¬†

Tip: Always backup a production database be¬≠fore making mass changes and complete during non-working hours. You also may want to use the built in ‚Äúuser fields‚ÄĚ to mark which records are changing, this will simplify an otherwise irrevers¬≠ible change and provide a temporary audit. ¬†

Cleaning Data Using Infor CRM 

There are some basic built-in tools for managing and de-duplicating data in Infor CRM, which can be supplemented with and enhanced by third-party tools, such as QGate’s Paribus and several other data management solutions. 

Nevertheless, a data management strategy, as outlined above, is required. Some of the data de-duplication tools available in Infor CRM include: 

Administrative Groups ‚Äď groups can be created to help administrators identify and cleanup data issues such as missing data or duplicate data¬†

Check for Duplicates Wiz¬≠ard ‚Äď an automated method of finding and eliminating data duplicates¬†

Merging Records Manually ‚Äď a simple method of merging two or more records from the Group view¬†

Increasing the reliability of CRM data within an organization is priceless. Avoiding costly mis¬≠takes such as targeting a current customer as a new prospect is critical.¬† Now is a great time to review and clean your¬†Infor CRM¬†data. Remember to review and clean existing data, clean the data being entered, and prevent the current data from becoming ‚Äústale‚ÄĚ. Managing data quality is an ever moving target and must be a part of your overall system management strategy.¬†

Data helps solve problems.¬† — Anne Wojcicki¬†

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If you would like to discuss upgrading your system, or to see a free demonstration, please contact Simplesoft Solutions. 

Remember to check our CALENDAR and register for free training, demo sessions, and the Heartland Users Group Events. 

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Dayton/Cincinnati, OH | Charleston, WV | Charlotte, NC 

 

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October 31st, 2014 by

Infor CRM (formerly Saleslogix) has this terrific engine called SpeedSearch that works behind the scenes and helps to index entities. The indices and structure is based on a third-party searching and indexing engine called dtSearch.  The main idea is that it provides high performance searching so that a user can perform a Keyword search and Saleslogix returns records based on that keyword.  It is well designed, integrated, and works well when it is properly configured and managed.   SpeedSearch comes in two flavors: Standard and Advanced licensing.  The main difference with the Advanced licensing is the ability to add and customize, which is outside of this discussion today.

The secondary function is that SpeedSearch helps to identify duplicates on imports using the lead import tool.  Speedsearch works in both the web and windows without any differences in result sets, as expected!  If there is one area of the tool that I would be critical of,  it is what I would call default madness.   This article is dedicated to helping administrators review the setup and configuration to make sure that they have reviewed and optimized the settings for SpeedSearch.  The various settings can have a huge impact to your end user experience.

First, we need to evaluate where you are with Speedsearch configurations and operations in place.  Is the SpeedSearch service running today?  Are indexes enabled and being run successfully?  Are they all set to the default of 12:00 AM?  Are the indices matched to the areas of your usage?

  1. Start | Run | Services.msc  and confirm the service is running
  2. Start | Program Files | Saleslogix | SpeedSearch Configuration  and confirm the basic configurations
    1. Check the servername,  Share Path,  and database options
    2. Start | Program Files | Saleslogix | Administrator | Menu for Manage | SpeedSearch Indexes…
      1. Confirm the indexes enabled
      2. Start | Program Files | Saleslogix | Administrator | Menu for Manage | SpeedSearch Configuration… | Schedule tab
        1. Confirm the jobs are running and which jobs are needed
        2. Table Check:  Select count(*) from sysdba.IndexUpdates to make sure that SpeedSearch is cleaning up changes after the index jobs are being ran.

Once SpeedSearch has been reviewed and confirmed operational, we have a few recommendations for optimization.

Top Recommendations:

Only index areas that are required for Infor CRM (Saleslogix) and areas of Infor CRM (Saleslogix) that are being used.  If you are not using defects for instance, turn off the index.

Only schedule the type of index jobs, adding change differences, for the areas required.   For instance if you are indexing Account, but you only need to see updates on a daily or weekly basis, then delete the incremental jobs.

If there are schedules for areas that are not being used (like defects mentioned earlier) delete them and make sure they are not enabled.

Stagger the times that the index build runs.  By default, they are set to run at 12:00 AM and if all the indexes are running at the same time that is not optimal and may cause issues.

So now you have evaluated SpeedSearch, thought through the changes to make, and lastly you need to schedule time to make the changes and confirm the results.  You will need to pause the services, make the changes, and turn the services back on.

Finally, you will need to monitor two areas.  First making sure the services are running properly and secondly the jobs are cleaning up the speedsearch tables properly.

Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.

Denis Waitley

If you would like to discuss upgrading your system, or to see a free demonstration, please contact Simplesoft Solutions.

Remember to check our CALENDAR and register for free training, demo sessions, and the Heartland Users Group Events.

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Dayton/Cincinnati, OH | Charleston, WV | Charlotte, NC

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October 23rd, 2014 by

A few years ago I wrote an article on cleaning dirty data in your CRM system, See link for details on Dirty Data cleaned Dirt Cheap.  http://community.saleslogix.com/t5/The-Saleslogix-Journal/Dirty-Data-Cleaned-Dirt-Cheap-Guest-Blog-by-Paul-Hansford/ba-p/9974. The gist of the article is that data management needs to be a sustained activity that is accomplished over time and not a one-time event.  CRM Data management is like technology compatibility in the sense that it is an ever moving target.

Data does not have to be perfect all the time, but does need to be fit for¬†use in your sales operations cycles. Even if your CRM platform is backed up, updated, and managed on your behalf, your data management is an area that needs to be maintained and included in your CRM strategies.¬†¬†¬† A CRM tool is the central repository for the lifeblood of your business ‚Äď sales.¬† When your business is using your CRM tools (Mobile, Web, Social etc) well then it becomes a tool where dashboards, data lists, reports, become a way to help your teams win the heart of your customers.

What is clean high quality data?

The top five characteristics of high quality data are:   Accurate, Complete, Consistent, Unique, and Timely. These items can all be addressed with a system usage guide (user policy document) to ensure that everyone knows what is expected.

Data are of high quality if “they are fit for their intended uses in operations, decision making and planning.” (J. M. Juran)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_quality

Practical Steps to help your situation

  1. Establish usage guidelines for data entry (intelligent naming conventions)
  2. Confirm your integrated system are not creating data issues (E-mail, Social, ERP/Accounting, web)
  3. Confirm your imported data, is compared either before or after, and has not creating duplicates
  4. Assign a Data Steward (DS) to help advocate and educate on data compliancy
  5. Use the proper built in tools and 3rd party tools to assist
  6. Use experienced consultants to give you the jump start you need

We’re entering a new world in which data may be more important than software.¬†¬† Tim O’Reilly

If you would like to discuss upgrading your system, or to see a free demonstration, please contact Simplesoft Solutions.

Remember to check our CALENDAR and register for free training, demo sessions, and the Heartland Saleslogix Users Group Events.

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Dayton/Cincinnati, OH | Charleston, WV | Charlotte, NC

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October 9th, 2014 by

The importance of clean data and performance boosts should not be underestimated

Autumn (fall) is a wonderful time of year (my favorite!).¬† I love the crisp cool¬†air and foliage changes.¬† It is a time of year that you are straightening up the yard, raking and pulling weeds, and putting away summertime outdoor furniture ‚Äď generally preparing for the next season.¬†¬†¬† With the seasonal change, I was thinking it is also a good time to be cleaning up systems and data related tasks for the next round of technology changes with Infor CRM.¬† It’s a great time to think about cleaning up your Saleslogix system and data.

How would a system data clean up help you?

1. A faster system means less waiting for end users and more productive end users.

2. A tuned system means users can help your business serve your customers.

3. Cleaner data means that end users will have more meaningful insights in dashboards, reports, and groups.

4) Clean data increases trust and helps with a positive sales culture avoiding a bad reputation with data inaccuracies.

Do you want?

  • Greater confidence in your CRM system.
  • Less time spent reconciling data.
  • More accurate reporting.

Dirty data can negatively impact alerts, Dashboards, entity groups and many other aspects of your systems like integration between systems.  It can impact marketing to the incorrect customers in the incorrect manner (bad reputation) or even impact forecasting sales.

Data is a precious thing and will last longer than the systems themselves.¬†¬† — Tim Berners-Lee

Attend our Fall Data Cleanup Webinar on Tuesday, October 21st at 2:00 pm to learn more.  You can also contact us to learn more about our data cleansing services.

If you would like to discuss upgrading your system, or to see a free demonstration, please contact Simplesoft Solutions.

Remember to check our CALENDAR and register for free training, demo sessions, and the Heartland Saleslogix Users Group Events.

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Dayton/Cincinnati, OH | Charleston, WV | Charlotte, NC

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February 25th, 2014 by

The Integrity Checker is a Saleslogix data management tool to help administrators keep their Saleslogix system healthy. This handy utility can help you locate data issues and correct them without being a SQL or database expert.

Integrity Checker is installed with the Administrative Tools for Saleslogix.  The Integrity Checker can be launched two ways from within the Saleslogix Administrator. One way to launch the tool is through toolbar icon in the Administrator (see below) or the second way is by using the menu by accessing Tools | Integrity Checker option.   Both launch points will take you to the same starting point.

Outside of the Administrator, the Integrity Checker can be launched from the executable directly.  See below for the path to the executable.

To run the Integrity Checker:

First step is to login into your server where your Saleslogix Administrator is installed (These steps might vary depending if you are using Saleslogix Cloud, have Saleslogix on premise, or use path variations for Operating System editions).

Note:  The Integrity Checker is not a web-based tool and is NOT launched from the web client.

  • Login to the Administrator as the Admin user
  • Either select Tools | Integrity Checker‚Ķ from the menu options (or select the toolbar icon)

Or

  • Open Windows Explorer
  • Browse to the Saleslogix folder
  • Double-click the executable to launch the Integrity Checker

C:\Program Files\Saleslogix\SLXDBChecker.exe

  • You will be prompted to login to the application to launch the application.

The basic syntax for running and displaying the results is slightly different for each version of Integrity Checker and Saleslogix.¬† So, I will provide less ‚Äúhow to‚ÄĚ and more strategy for fixing results, once you get them.

Saleslogix has had the integrity tool built in (out-of-the-box) for a very long time. It has continued to improve with each version update, adding improved features and useful tests each time. Overall, it is quite a useful tool for Saleslogix administrators, Saleslogix business partners, and in its efforts to support troubleshooting.

As with any tool or process that can change data in a database, there are a few statements of disclaimer to receive the highest return for your efforts:

1. Ask users to log out to keep changes from impacting them.

2. Perform off hours to keep workers productive during working hours.

3. Back up your Saleslogix database with ‚ÄúVerify‚ÄĚ options set.

4. Make sure that processes like the Synchronization Server are not running, if remotes are in use.

These disclaimers are our way of saying to be careful because there is no undo button.

There are two parts to the Integrity Checker.¬† The first part is the identification of potential issues.¬† Running the ‚ÄúTests‚ÄĚ will help you identify potential issues with the database.¬† The second part of the tool is the correction of the test results which are ‚ÄėRepair‚Äô options.

Below are some common ‚Äúquestions and answers‚ÄĚ related to running the Integrity Checker:

1. Will running tests change the data?  Running Tests does not change records in your database until the Repairs are selected and ran.

2. If I ran the Integrity Checker and I get test results with counts for bad records, how do I clean the records up? Which types of test results should be repaired vs. analyzed?  How often should I run the Integrity Checker?

Basic Integrity Checker Strategy:

I. Look for non-zero results.

Results that come back with 1 or more issues should be reviewed.  Ideally the Integrity Checker should come back with a list and everything has a zero count on the issues.

II. Save the results to a file for review.

Make sure that you include the checkbox to save the results to a file for review.¬† Note: When you update the options from ‚ÄėTest‚ÄĚ to ‚ÄėRepair‚Äô change, try to make sure that you change the name of the file so that the original file is not overridden.

III. Repair the ‚Äúno Brainer‚ÄĚ items first.

  • When there are results with the Integrity Checker, there are several types of ‚Äúclean up‚ÄĚ actions to consider:¬† Delete, Set, Clear, Create, Uppercase, Insert Fix, etc.
  • Most of the repairs should be made without much regard to the repair task.¬† I will repair the following in almost all instances:¬† Create, Uppercase, Insert, Fix

IV. Ask where you need assistance.

Note: Some Repairs should be reviewed and ran by someone who knows the data or is willing to make a decision about the data.  The test repairs that cause me to pause and review further are:

  • Delete, Set, Clear
  • In the case corrective action is needed to take place instead of deleting records
  • In the case blanking out records which might cause hardship with user and their ability to work.¬† I try to ask the user about the records first.

Contact us here at Simplesoft if you run into something that you are not sure how to repair.

V. Run the Integrity Checker monthly.

  • The basic recommended timing for running the Integrity Checker is monthly.¬† My recommendation is for the administrator to have a monthly scheduled task to run the Integrity Checker and then cleanup any unexpected results.
  • Note: For troubleshooting, whenever the need arises, run the Integrity Checker for an Ad Hoc analysis of potential data related issues.

Final Recommendation: Run the Integrity Checker once a month to get the most benefit from the integrity features built into Saleslogix.  It is best to run the Integrity Checker off hours rather than potentially have down time during the user operational hours, but scheduling will largely depend on the administrator’s preference. The most important part is to take the corrective repair actions in keeping your Saleslogix system and data running fully operational.

‚ÄúYou shouldn’t presume that all quotes that are in a magazine or a newspaper are accurate.‚ÄĚ–Andrew Card

If you would like to discuss upgrading your system, or to see a free demonstration, please contact Simplesoft Solutions.

Also, if you would like to learn more tips, or have a CRM topic you would like us to write about, please contact Simplesoft Solutions, Inc.

Remember to check our CALENDAR and register for free training, demo sessions, and the Heartland Saleslogix Users Group Events.

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Dayton/Cincinnati, OH | Charleston, WV | Charlotte, NC

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November 29th, 2013 by

With amount of information each of us encounter on a daily basis, the last thing anyone needs is more information to dig through. So, have you ever wondered if there was a way to limit the extra emails being logged in the history tabs for your own employees? (This does not affect the drag and drop functionality) Follow this process, and you will be well on your way to reducing the volume of emails you have to dig through.

Step 1: Log on to the Administer.

Step 2: Click on the TOOLS menu, and then OPTIONS.

Step 3: Once a window pops up with multiple tabs on it, select the OUTLOOK tab.

Step 4: Check the checkbox, (if unchecked,) for ‘Activate Advanced Outlook Integration’ and 3 buttons will become active at the bottom: ¬†‘Add’, ‘Edit’, and ‘Delete’.

Step 5: Click the ‘Add’ button and enter the domain address for your company (like simplesoft.net for us).

Step 6: Click OK, then remove the check box for ‘Activate Advanced Outlook Integration’.

Step 7: Click ‘OK’ and close Administrator.

Now when anyone copies several internal people, while sending customers email, the emails will only be saved on the actual contact/account to whom it is directed.

If you would like to learn more tips, or have a CRM topic you would like us to write about, please contact Simplesoft Solutions, Inc.

Remember to check our CALENDAR and register for free training, demo sessions, and the Heartland Saleslogix Users Group Events.

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