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March 9th, 2020 by

Do you have several log-in’s to remember? Then you have to remember which software shows which answer that you’re trying to find? We often see companies trying function and share information but everyone is on their own island using their own program. This leaves employees drowning in exported excel docs and back and forth emails all day; or just completely out of the loop. Sales, Marketing, Accounting, Customer Service, Production and the list goes on. Each department has a goal to achieve and they can’t achieve it without working across other departments. The need for reporting and access to information can become overwhelming.

Step one for bringing cohesiveness to your company can be connecting your ERP and CRM. When utilizing Infor’s out-of-the-box integration, Intelligent Open Network (ION), you are able to get information in front of all departments. Users are able to access and monitor critical issues, production, sales opportunities and more. Plus, never miss an update with alerts, workflows, and notifications.

We work with many companies to connect their Infor CRM with ERP with ION and walk them through the syncing of information. Once data you want to sync is defined, we can help set up alerts and work flows to keep it all running seamlessly. This process has helped our customers reach a new level of productivity and efficiency. Now the Sales department doesn’t have to wait on Accounting to send over the latest sales numbers. Sales can run a report directly from CRM or use one of the custom dashboards to quickly access information. Production no longer needs to wait for Sales to report on what they have quoted or sold for their forecasts and lead times. ION brings departments and information together!

What is ION?
Infor ION operates as overlapping, interconnected domains that are layered on top of one another, with each domain maintaining synchronized, cross-functional interactivity with all other components. Infor ION includes; workflows and events, 3rd party application connections, business processes, automated approvals, document vaults and more. One of the great features within ION is if one system goes down it doesn’t take the rest with it. You can even upgrade or replace one system without taking your entire network offline. ION creates and keeps efficiency in your company so everyone can stay connected.

Would you like to discuss the bigger picture with Infor CloudSuite CRM at your company? Connect with a Simplesoft Consultant at support@simplesoft.net  Don’t miss a blog post, subscribe now!



Simplesoft Solutions, Inc. is a customer relationship management (CRM) business consulting and software development firm in Cincinnati/Dayton region and offices in Cleveland, OH  and Charlotte, NC. We provide implementation, integration, development and training for Infor CloudSuite CRM. We have built our business on an ability to creatively adapt CRM to meet the varying needs of our customers’ businesses. We have been helping our customers develop stronger relationships with their customers through improved sales, marketing, customer service, and support processes since 1994.

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June 26th, 2019 by

Microsoft will be discontinuing extended support for SQL server 2008 and 2008 R2 on July 9th, 2019. Mainstream support ended on July 8th 2014. There will not be any more security or support updates. This ends the life cycle of the SQL version. You will need to determine what version of SQL you are using if you don’t know already. Use this link to do that: How to identify your SQL Server Version and Edition

If you are already using a later version you will not need to make any changes at this time. However if you are using one of these versions it is recommended that you update. Make sure to take a backup of your database first and then upgrade or install a Microsoft SQL instance on the server where your SQL is instance is currently installed. Here is a guide to do that: Upgrading or installing a Microsoft SQL instance

If you are using a Workgroup, Standard or Enterprise edition of Microsoft SQL 2008 R2 or older, you will need to upgrade your SQL version. Depending on the size of your  databases and your other needs related to SQL, you might need to purchase a license for a newer version of SQL.

Let us here at SimpleSoft know if there is anything we can do to assist you with this!



Simplesoft Solutions, Inc. is a customer relationship management (CRM) business consulting and software development firm in Cincinnati/Dayton OH surrounding areas. We provide implementation, integration, development and training for Infor CRM (formerly Saleslogix). We have built our business on an ability to creatively adapt CRM to meet the varying needs of our customers’ businesses. We have been helping our customers develop stronger relationships with their customers through improved sales, marketing, customer service, and support processes since 1994.

 

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February 2nd, 2016 by

Installation Secrets from the Pros at Simplesoft
by Paul Hansford

Over the last few years, installations of Infor CRM have been shifting from On-premise into the operating cost bucket (CAPEX to OPEX). We do see more new deployments launched in the Cloud (SaaS – Software as a Service) than ever before. However, this trend is not universal to all customers because on premise has not gone away.  Infor CRM is one of the few solutions available in both On-premise and Cloud. Infor CRM is flexible and with its single tenancy model in the Cloud, a database can be moved either direction. One strong advantage to the On-premise story is that integration is a bit easier behind the firewall.

At Simplesoft our deployment pros have installed Infor CRM in many different ways including DMZ, with various proxies, Windows Authentication, and security ports like SSL for encryption and even with front end servers for the load balancing of web servers, etc.  Bottom line:  We find ways to make the Infor CRM installation work successfully and can think outside the box.

Today’s article provides some tips and hints to prepare for a successful On-premise installation.

1. Prepare the hardware platform / provision the servers

Starting with the compatibility guide, a customer can get a feel for the hardware needs, operating systems, and database editions and versions for the latest editions of Infor CRM.  There are many factors that make up the final configuration recommendations.  For example, the number of users can have a huge impact on how many servers are required for high demand setups or even how much data and which technologies need integrated.

2. Download the software needed and have the licenses ready

Infor offers a great portal for the management of items like licenses, software, patches, knowledgebase articles, and how to references via documentation.  The software and patches can be downloaded from the Xtreme Portal for installation.  The exact files and steps will depend on the version of Infor CRM that is needed.  We are happy to guide customers in all aspects of the software.

3. Prepare for the configurations

Here are few of the basics that need to be prepared before the installation to maximize the results:

  • Service users setup and reviewed
  • SQL Native client software installed on non-database servers
  • Turn off windows firewall, UAC, ESC settings with exceptions configured (for various connectivity and security)

These steps will help avoid issues in the installation process.

4. Consider the prerequisites

With each version of any software there are various components that, when installed properly, make the general software install go smoother and reduce waiting time.

  • Install the software required for the various components of Infor CRM like web services
  • Install the software for testing features (browsers, PDF readers, and installer software)
  • See the implementation guide for the exact details for the latest version.

5. Installation and configuration

The installation varies for the version of the software and how many servers are needed for a particular configuration or security requirements.   A 200 user setup is different than a 10 user setup.  We are experienced at many complex configurations.

6. QA the results

Follow the standard Simplesoft quality checks to ensure the software is installed, services running, and features configured properly for optimized results.

With any enterprise tool there are potential pitfalls with the preparation and installation steps.  With the guidance of Simplesoft Solutions, you can avoid a long deployment cycle and will have your users in the tool faster than without us.  Take our tips into consideration for long term success and getting things installed right from the beginning.

Mentally, the only players who survive in the pros are the ones able to manage all their responsibilities.
-Tom Brady

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, OHCharleston, WVCharlotte, NC

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February 25th, 2015 by

After upgrading to a recent edition of  Infor CRM (Saleslogix) (v8.1.0), we have had two customers with a similar experience while rolling out traditional remote sales client software post the upgrade.  When attempting to create a new remote database, the admins receive a message about a trigger causing a problem.

Problem:

Error in step: stpExecSQL_CreateTriggers Microsoft SQL Native Client There is already an object named ‘CONTACT_INTEGRATION_CHANGE’ in the database.

[11/21/2014 11:17:53 AM]Finished step: stpExecSQL_CreateTriggers

[11/21/2014 11:17:53 AM]Finished step: stpExecSQL_ExecSqlTask0

[11/21/2014 11:17:53 AM]

Step: stpExecSQL_CreateTriggers returned error: There is already an object named ‘CONTACT_INTEGRATION_CHANGE’ in the database.

The triggers may be different depending on your installation and setup.  So far, we have experienced the issue with “ACTIVITYATTENDEE_INTEGRATION_CHANGE”  and “CONTACT_INTEGRATION_CHANGE”.

Upon investigation, the first thing we tried was to disable the trigger and that does not work.  Next we tried to delete the trigger and again that resulted in no change because the creation process creates the trigger if missing.

Deeper Diagnosis:

We ran Saleslogix profiler and discovered a table call referencing DB_OBJECTDEFINITION.  When a remote database is created this table is called and the records in this table will create the triggers needed if they do not exist.  Ok.  But if there are duplicate entries then it creates problems.

The next step in the resolution is to reapply the bundes for 7.5.4 to v8.0 and also v8.0 to v8.1.0.  When you reapply the bundle there will be message that indicates an issue like below:

Creating Index DBOBJECTDEF_OBJECTNAME_DBTYPE: The statement has been terminated. : The CREATE UNIQUE INDEX statement terminated because a duplicate key was found for the object name ‘sysdba.DB_OBJECTDEFINITION’ and the index name ‘DBOBJECTDEF_OBJECTNAME_DBTYPE’. The duplicate key value is (ACTIVITYATTENDEE_INTEGRATION_CHA, MSSQL)

Resolution:

To find duplicates run in MS SQL Server Management Studio and delete any duplicates

SELECT DB_OBJECTDEFINITION.SQLDEFINITION,DB_OBJECTDEFINITION.DB_OBJECTDEFINITIONID FROM sysdba.DB_OBJECTDEFINITION  WHERE DB_OBJECTDEFINITION.OBJECTTYPE = ‘Trigger’ AND DB_OBJECTDEFINITION.DATABASETYPE = ‘MSSQL’

Once the duplicate entries are removed from the DB_OBJECTDEFINITION table then the remote database process creates a new remote database without issue.

Be brave enough to try something different and smart enough to know you cant please everybody…�
– Unknown quotes

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, OHCharleston, WVCharlotte, 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 – 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, OHCharleston, WVCharlotte, NC

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April 18th, 2014 by

It is recommended that the SlxClient, Slxmobile,  Intellisync and sData portals be run using unique Application Pools (separate from the Saleslogix Application Pool). If this practice is not followed there is a potential risk of issues arising. Symptoms of running all portals as the same application pool include:

  • Web site stopping, requiring an Internet Information Services (IIS) reset.
  • Users incorrectly being logged out of the Saleslogix Web Client.
  • Large amounts of data synchronizing that will use memory.

Cause:

  • Memory and performance-related issues
  • Bindings are bound to multiple ports

Special Considerations or Warnings:

Some considerations should be made before taking action too quickly, or you could end up creating additional problems.

Warning: Backup the database and VFS before altering the application pools.

Note: If there is only one W3WP process running on the web host server, then all web applications are running under the same application pool.

Currently, standard 32-bit processes have a limitation of 2 GB of RAM. 32-bit .NET applications have a limitation of 800-1200 MB of RAM per process.  System performance may be adversely affected if an Application Pool is configured to Recycle. Upon the Application Pool Recycling, the local cache on each workstation is no longer valid and so caching starts over.  These steps should be taken to address this occurrence:

  1. Turn off recycling.
  2. Split out the websites into separate application pools.
  3. Ensure that there is only one port bound to the SalesLogix Web Client.
  4. After eliminating unnecessary ports, reset the Application Pool.

For additional assistance and implementation guidance, please contact your Saleslogix Business Partner, Simplesoft, Swiftpage Saleslogix support, or your network or web administrator.

“The best performance improvement is the transition from the non-working state to the working state.” Unknown

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, OHCharleston, WVCharlotte, NC

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April 14th, 2014 by

These excerpts are taken from the Saleslogix Knowledgebase and we thought these were so helpful in explaining some common issues that we wanted to share them with you here.  The steps below should speed up your system, substantially. Please call us if you have questions or would like assistance analyzing or executing these changes.

Take care to read the items thoroughly and pay close attention to the notes and warnings.

Before making any changes to your database we always recommend taking a backup of the database. Use ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ kind-of-thinking…

Legacy Database Indices

What Happened?

All of the database indexes were rebuilt in a version of Saleslogix 6.2. As a part of the upgrade process, the existing indexes were to be dropped from the database, and then a script was to be run against the database to create the new indices. Support is seeing more and more instances of this part in the upgrade process being missed or ignored. The end result is a sometimes drastic hit on environmental performance.

Do I have the correct Indices?

  1. Open SQL Management studio on the SQL server.
  2. Expand the Saleslogix database.
  3. Expand the Account table.
  4. Expand Indexes.

NOTES:

  • The naming convention for the current Saleslogix indices is Tablename_fieldname.
  • Legacy Indices can have two possible naming conventions. They can begin with the letter ‘X’ or they will begin with “NAME”# (# = any number).

*Sample of a vanilla v7.5.4 Indices for Account:

If I have the legacy indices what do I do?

  1. Drop the indexes that match the legacy naming convention. WARNING: If you have any questions about which indexes to drop, contact Saleslogix support to help you to differentiate between legacy indexes and custom indexes your dba may have put in place.
  2. Restore a copy of the Saleslogix Eval database to your SQL server. Choose a version of the Eval database that matches your version of Saleslogix.
  3. Under the Eval database expand the target table until you can see it’s indices
  4. Right click on the 1st index you wish to copy. Select script index as, create to, New query editor window. NOTE: This will create a SQL script that when run will create the index.
  5. In the Query editor window you will see the name of the Eval database between brackets in the first line after ‘USE’. Change the name in the brackets to the database you wish to send this index to.
  6. Click Execute on the statement. NOTE: You should not see the Index in your target database.

NOTE: This process must be done for all legacy indices in the database. After completing these steps the database should have no legacy indices and all the new indices should be in place.

NOTE: These steps are considered SQL administration.

Groups

What Happened?

Over the years users may create allot of groups and it’s hard to know which are needed and which are not when trying to clean things up. However, there is one easy target that when removed can positively affect performance; the target is groups owned by retired users. The performance results may vary depending on the number of groups returned by the SQL statements below but, in some older environments where the number of records is above 5000 the performance increase of cleaning up groups owned/created by retired users can be significant.

Do retired users own groups?

In SQL run the following SQL statements to discover how many Adhoc and Dynamic groups are owned by retired users.

NOTE: The first select statement looks for a legacy user option that creates extra adhoc groups for no benefit.

  • Find Users set with this Legacy Option–

Select * from sysdba.useroptions where name = ‘creategrouponinsert’

  • Find Adhoc groups owned by retired users–

Select * FROM sysdba.ADHOCGROUP WHERE GROUPID IN (SELECT P.PluginID FROM sysdba.Plugin P LEFT JOIN sysdba.Plugin C ON C.BasedOn = P.PluginID

WHERE P.BasedOn IS NULL AND P.Type in (8,23) AND C.PluginID IS NULL AND P.UserID IN(SELECT USERID FROM sysdba.UserSecurity WHERE Type = ‘R’))

  • Find Dynamic groups owned by retired users–

Select * FROM sysdba.PLUGIN WHERE PLUGINID IN(SELECT P.PluginID FROM sysdba.Plugin P LEFT JOIN sysdba.Plugin C ON C.BasedOn = P.PluginID

WHERE P.BasedOn IS NULL AND P.Type in (8,23) AND C.PluginID IS NULL AND P.UserID IN(SELECT USERID FROM sysdba.UserSecurity WHERE Type = ‘R’)

If retired users own groups what do I do?

  1. If #1 returns records, delete this option for all users.
  2. If #2 or #3 have returns, delete all returns WARNING: take into consideration that the retired user may have shared some of these groups out to users who still actively use them.

NOTE: These steps are considered SQL administration which is beyond the scope of Saleslogix support. Support may be able to advise regarding this procedure but the execution is the responsibility of your SQL DBA or Saleslogix business partner.

SpeedSearch

What Happened?

When SpeedSearch is configured to index the Account table every changes any user makes to the account table generates a record in the IndexUpdates table. When SpeedSearch runs it reads the IndexUpdates table and applies the changes to a physical file on the hard drive. When it’s done with reading the records and applying the changes to the index files is cleans up after itself and removes records that have already been processed from the IndexUpdates table. If SpeedSearch breaks, or if someone has installed it but never configured it, the IndexUpdates table doesn’t get cleaned out and can have a mind-blowing number of records in it that can drag down performance across the whole environment.

Does my IndexUpdates table have a problem?

In SQL run the following statement, if the statement returns more than a few thousand records you likely have an issue.

  • Select Count(*) from IndexUpdates

If I have an IndexUpdates table issue what do I do?

  • In SQL truncate the IndexUpdates table

NOTE: do not perform a delete of IndexUpdates data as this will cause the database log to expand massively.

  • If SpeedSearch is being used, delete the physical index files and run all full and incremental SpeedSearch index schedules to recreate them.

NOTE: This procedure is recommended for the weekend as it will take a long time and drastically impact any users in the system.

  • If SpeedSearch is not being used, Uninstall SpeedSearch components on the server or assure SpeedSearch services have been disabled in windows services.

NOTE: Some of these steps are considered SQL administration.

Web Client Content Expiration

What Happened?

When using the web client several items are cached locally for every click and by default they are cached every time a user navigates certain areas of the client. However, some of the items being cached are not updated or changed and should only be cached once. Using the steps below to set content expirations on specific items tells the users machine to cache these items once and use the local copy until the expiration date is reached.

Do I have my content expiration set appropriately?

Use the following steps to check content expiration for the following SLXClient Site items.

  • Jscript
  • Library
  • Css
  • Images

1. Open IIS on the web server

2. Expand the Saleslogix website

3. Expand the SLXClient web application

4. Double-click on Css

5. Double-click on HTTP Response headers

6. From the top right, click ‘Set common headers’

NOTE: If the Expire Web content checkbox is not checked and the After field has no value, content expiration has not been set.

How do I set content expiration?

7. Select the checkbox to ‘Expire web content’

8. Click the ‘After’ radio button.

9. Enter the desired expiration date.

NOTE: Generally set this to 200 days

10. Follow the steps above for all 4 items listed above.

11. Reset IIS

NOTE: The content expirations must be set in IIS after every build and deploy in the Saleslogix Application Architect.

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, OHCharleston, WVCharlotte, NC

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February 10th, 2014 by

The “Hard” Areas of CRM Implementation: DIY or Not?

The question posed is a planning and execution question, and implies a decision point that can have great impact.  When should you do it yourself (D-I-Y)? When is it time to ask for help, as in “do it with me” (D-I-W-M)? And when should you have a task performed on your behalf, “do it for me” (D-I-F-M)?

There are areas of CRM implementation that can be well beyond your current level of expertise.  When that is the case, you need either the assistance of experienced, well-trained professionals, or you need to develop further knowledge by getting properly trained and educated as a part of the implementation.  As Dirty Harry once asked in the classic movie line, “You got to ask yourself one question: ’Do you feel lucky?”’ If you decide to go ahead without assistance or training, you can hope for a successful implementation, but do you want to rely on “hope-so” planning?  Here at Simplesoft, we believe in helping customers to become as self-sufficient and successful as possible. However, for that to happen, you must be intentional and have a plan in place to do so.

A friend of mine once sent me a story that emphasized that knowledge is more than just what you know yourself, but also knowing when another source may have the knowledge you need, and when it’s time to plan for their assistance.

Some years ago, one of the major manufacturing companies in this country was facing a crisis. The central conveyor belt of its automated assembly line quit running and brought the entire plant to a stop.

Although they tried everything they could think of, and even brought in several consultants, no one was able to get the conveyor belt running again, or even to identify what caused the breakdown in the first place.

The company was really in a bind. With ongoing overhead and loss of production, the company was losing money at the rate of $1,000,000.00 a day.

Finally, after a week of downtime, the big brass told the plant manager to call Tom, a mechanical engineer who had retired the year before after 25 years with the company. The conveyor belt had been Tom’s specialty and primary responsibility.

When Tom got the call, he caught the next flight from the city where he now lived and arrived at the plant the next day. He met with both the local vice president and the plant manager to get as much information as he could as to what had happened and what they had tried.

He then walked slowly along the belt until he came to a particular point.

He put his ear against the machine and listened. He asked for a hammer and then gave the machine a swift and forceful blow.

“Give it a try now!” he called to the foreman. The conveyor belt started right up and ran like a dream.

Special knowledge (experience in the field) is the key to successful projects. The company could have given hammers to every employee in the plant, and even had the big brass banging on the machine from sunrise to sunset, but that would have done no good—because they didn’t have the knowledge that was needed to resolve the problem; that is, they didn’t know where to use the hammer. Labor is not just about how much time is put into executing a particular solution to a problem–it’s knowing when and how to do it.

At Simplesoft, we have staff members who are not only certified in the relevant areas, but are also experienced professionals who know how to get the job done right, and how to tweak CRM software when and where needed.  Please don’t hesitate to call us when you need help and the task at hand is beyond your current level of expertise. We know where to use the hammer!

“Best efforts will not substitute for knowledge.” Dr. W. Edward Deming

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, WVCharlotte, NC

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January 6th, 2014 by

Simplesoft has consulted with hundreds of companies in their various CRM deployments. In recent years, many companies have shifted from on-premise deployments to cloud launches. Common paybacks for the switch are deployment of a full-featured CRM in a rapid timeframe, reduction of the IT capital expenditures and operating costs, flexible terms and managed control of upgrades in a single-tenant instance. All these benefits are realized while maintaining the ability to tailor solutions to unique business needs.  However, even with the powerful and flexible Saleslogix platform, there are tactical errors that can impede success, and might keep you from winning future business–launching enterprise tools can seem daunting, and some compare this to eating an elephant without a fork.

To increase your chance of enjoying the same high-level achievement experienced by many of our customers, follow the following common strategies.  Each phase of your Saleslogix CRM journey requires important planning for a successful implementation outcome.

1.  Define the vision of the project.

Create an implementation vision to provide a framework detailing what your overall strategy will be. Define a vision, strategy and steps for what you hope to accomplish, and define the criteria you will use to measure success.

These statements are less about the CRM solution and tools and more about the support required to fulfill your desired outcome.  An example of a project vision might be to have a 360-degree look at the customer and bring together department databases into a common system.  This is an operational vision for your CRM strategy.

Ensure the project sponsors and stakeholders agree on the purpose and goals of the project. The project must include clearly-defined plans with assigned responsibilities and accountabilities. The scope and quality need to be managed in a structured manner for an effective and efficient outcome.  The project manager and team members need to be engaged in constant communication to ensure your project moves forward in a timely and open manner. Critical success factors (CSF) help drive projects and project teams to meet their goals.

2. Define your success factors.

What are the business requirements driving your CRM project?  If you do not have a S.M.A.R.T. goal, how do you know that you met that goal?   In other words, use Key Performance Indicators (KPI’S) to measure and track the success of your CRM project and subsequent launch phases.  Here are a few examples:

  • Create a common operational database for your sales, marketing and support teams.
  • Increase user system adoption rates over a previous tool used to increase productivity
  • Increase sales by 5% in 6 months.
  • Increase customer retention by 5% over prior year.
  • Standardize workflow processes using adopted company methodologies.

The most important takeaway is that if you don’t have a goal, how do you know if you succeeded or failed?

3.  Define the project approach.

Typically, there are three types of deployment strategies with regard to project resources:  DIY, DIFM, and DIWM.

  • DIY – Do It Yourself.
  • DIFM – Do It for Me.
  • DIWM – Do It with Me.

There are pros and cons to each of the above approaches, and the desired approach should be identified, discussed and vetted early in the project cycle; otherwise, you will find that the scope of your project will increase as you proceed. Your mileage will vary with consideration of personnel experience and capabilities for CRM type of projects. Our experience leads us to believe that a practice of DIWM yields the best results.

One thing to keep in mind: Even if the project schedule is not met, the project can still be successful when external forces are in play. For example, in a past project, there were hardware shortages due to flooding in Asia and hard drives were not readily available to build the virtual images for the project.  This procurement challenge caused project delays, but it did not completely hinder the actual project results and utility.

4.  Define the data/technical requirements.

The way your data are used within your company, from team to team, matters. Once you clearly understand your business requirements for all team levels in the company and translate the goals into the CRM solution, then you need to take the time to analyze your data and begin to match it to your solution.  Some fields will have a built-in place to be mapped.  Other fields might need to be created to support your unique requirements. Sponsors should identify someone with both technical and business skills that will work with the product to determine how the platform and your goals will mesh, as well as an understanding of the tasks planned so they can be properly incorporated into your CRM solution.  Without planning data can quickly turn a project into something the end users will not use.  Data integrity is a foundational pillar for CRM launches.

5.  Understand the administration tools of your CRM solution, namely Saleslogix.

Taking time to give business and technical administrators proper training is crucial.  Without proper training, system administrators might unwittingly cause more troubles than they solve.  Make sure admins have the skills they need to be successful and help your launch be everything that it was intended.  Those same training principles also apply to system, data and development personnel.  Periodic refresher training can continue to keep your administrators’ skills sharp and increase your independence in supporting Saleslogix.

6.  Define standards and policies for Saleslogix usage.

Before you train your users, it’s important to take the time to build the workflows and fields that support consistent workflow for your users. Carefully design and set the proper expectations needed to support company and user success.  For example, if you want names of companies to be fully spelled out, then provide examples for consistency and help your users meet those objectives.  Ensure that a data steward is assigned the role for managing system data.

7.  Build, plan and prototype customizations (if any).

Typically, Saleslogix contains approximately 85 – 90% of the requirements for all CRM projects out-of-the-box (OOTB).  The remaining 10-15 % is often customized to fit specific company needs.  Unless your initial deployment is vanilla, or without customization, then you will need to ensure your customizations are operational and deliver the intended results before releasing to the end-user base.  The CRM trainer should not stand before the users and hear, “that is not what we wanted,” because they should be involved in the project customization requirements on some level.

There is a lot to be said about the development environment, documenting requirements with achievable scope and ensuring developers can achieve planned changes.   Examples of initial customizations might be things like quotation automation, account details, adding new custom mobile fields, forecasting and pipeline tools, reports and customized dashboards. The custom fields usually dictate the custom screens and reports that also need to be designed.

8.  Implement Saleslogix user setup administration.

When creating user profiles, the users need to be created using a standard schema.  For example, we recommend first initial combined with last name (i.e. Bill Smith as bsmith) for user profiles, and these can be generated from templates.  Be sure to complete the User Profile to include user-specific information such as title and phone number.  This User Profile information can be used in other places in Saleslogix, such as Mail Merge.  After the users are created, when preparing to launch any web-based applications, pay careful attention to passwords and policies for complexity (this is built into Saleslogix).  One of the distinguishing benefits that Saleslogix offers is the ease of use for the basic administration of the system.  We cover many of these steps in our hands-on Administration Jumpstart Workshop.

9.  Build security and team strategy.

In Saleslogix, every account has an owner.  This value is important in determining the appropriate users to manage certain accounts.  A team is a group of users who need access to the same accounts, contacts or opportunities.  Teams are a way to separate users and data.  One of the preparation steps for launching is to finalize the data and security models to support your business needs.

With Saleslogix, there are levels of security that can be applied.  A company can separate users from data, allowing divisions to see their own data and not another.  There are also capabilities to employ ‘Read Only’ and ‘No Access’ visibility on fields of a table assigned to a user.

The main takeaway is that data modeling and security need to be taken into account as a part of normal planning.  We employ some particular design strategies to ensure the proper rollout of the users and data-related security access. Through years of experience and many complex organizational rollouts, we have built up a deep knowledge level in team data and security models.  Best practices include reviewing your designs with a Saleslogix expert.

10.  Define all pick list values.

Pick lists are screen drop-downs that allow a selection to be chosen for a field value.  They allow non-programmers to personalize data options for system users.   Saleslogix pick lists are used throughout the Saleslogix application.  They are useful because they eliminate keystrokes and encourage correct, consistent data entry.

An example of pick list personalization might be to customize the Industry field. Pick list management will allow you identify information about your customers.  An important task in any Saleslogix launch is to evaluate the items for the pick lists and work with the users to build useful screen drop-downs.

11. Import initial data.

One the most crucial elements of CRM success begin with data planning.  In order to import data successfully into Saleslogix the following, as a minimum, needs to take place as a part of the extract, transform and load (ETL).  If your launch includes a migration from another system, then you want to ensure that data are properly moved from one system to another.  Here are some tactical actions for the data movements:

  • Extract the data from your current system.
  • Prepare your data to be mapped to the fields to support the import.
  • Clean the import data to include standard field values (e.g. match up the pick list fields).
  • Select the appropriate import tool.
  • Use a staging environment, sometimes called a sandbox, to test a small import set.
  • Validate the results of the test import.
  • Scale up the import testing, increasing amount of data as you go and reviewing the results along the way
  • Import data into the production Saleslogix database.

This is an area that requires experience dealing with data management and using the import tools available to bring the results expected by the users.  Simplesoft can provide tools, aids, workshops and tips to assist in the import data process. The Import Wizard is available for administrators in the Saleslogix Cloud environment and the lead import tool is a wizard in the web client, and is built-in and included with Saleslogix.

12. Pilot the system before launching.

If your user base is larger than twenty users, plan to “pilot” the system by thoroughly testing and providing early training for the pilot users.  The pilot users need to be tech savvy and not afraid to try features.  The pilot users should have clear expectations on how to review certain areas of the tool and how to provide feedback.   Before training, ensure that the users can log in, their workstations are set and the compatibilities of the systems are functioning and ready to go.

  • Select pilot users who are technically savvy and share feedback frequently.
  • Have a specific plan for testing the features and functions critical to success.-  Have several users test the same functionality.  This will rule out test results that may be unique to one user.
  • Constantly poll users for changes/ideas.
  • Plan to get feedback from the early users to benefit the majority.-  Have a reasonable timeline to gather information (timeboxing)

The piloting process is sometimes called a “soft launch”.  This ensures that the customizations are ready, system bandwidth is allocated, integrations are built and standardizations are corrected, and support personal should be prepared for questions pertaining to launch activities.

13. Freeze the system changes for stability.

When the pilot is completed, the results need to be documented and prioritized to make decisions about anything that needs to be addressed.  Create an evaluation time period to gather feedback.

  • Make corrections/changes.
  • Document thoroughly.
  • Look for areas of incremental improvement.
  • Plan for phased releases.

14. Evaluate success /close out.

Before you release your system to the larger group of users, have a plan to ensure that you are meeting the agreed-upon goals of the organization.  What can be tweaked to make things work better?  Have a concrete training plan, and consider how you will introduce the tool to your users.  Having your executive sponsor involved in the training will go a long way.

15. Focus on the end user experience.

All these tools and methods are described with two things in mind: First, they help your company expand their capabilities and ensures that the users have tools to efficiently complete work with a high level of productivity. Second, we highly recommend considering end user self-interest to help your launch be successful.  While you may not be able to incorporate every suggestion from every user, the more you equip your power users with the tools they need, the more successful the CRM strategy will be as a whole.

16. Evaluate phased success.

Lastly, go back to the S.M.A.R.T. goals, evaluate the results and start planning how to incorporate improvements into the next phase. Roll the changes and business requirements into the next phase and build success upon success. The main goal should be to bring incremental return on investment with each subsequent rollout. Some examples of phased rollouts include adding things like sales management tools, advanced dashboards and system integrations in a subsequent deployment.

Deploying an enterprise tool can be an arduous task, but it can be tamed with applied discipline, the right culture and having the right approach with the right people.  There are many pitfalls with any project that can impact organizational change.  The key elements are to plan for data, plan testing phases and train individuals for success.

Saleslogix has provided positive results for many of our customers.  If your company is struggling with its CRM implementation, call us and let us help you launch successfully.   How do you eat an elephant?  Answer:  One bite at a time.

“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” Bill Gates

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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