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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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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. 

http://www.simplesoft.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/SS-Border.png 

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

 

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