Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend this year’s User Group Summit in Orlando. With thousands of customers, ISVs, partners and Microsoft people in attendance, the turnout was impressive.
Having attended dozens of Microsoft conferences over the years, I always look forward to hearing what others are saying about the challenges they face and the solutions they are using to help them overcome those challenges. This year’s UG Summit was no different. Here are my main observations from the conference.
My Number One Observation
User adoption is still the clear leader when it comes to topics of interest, and that’s true across the board for all attendee types – customers, SI partners, ISVs and Microsoft people.
It was clear that the vast majority of customers in attendance are still searching for that magic bullet to entice end users, particularly mobile users, to utilize CRM. Maybe an integration to an ISV would do the trick. Some of the great new features coming out from Microsoft like Customer Insights could be an effective carrot. Or perhaps an SI with some great ideas on change management or training techniques might work. All are great ways to drive user engagement, but somehow these things still aren’t doing the trick.
In the two sessions I attended that focused specifically on user adoption, when the speaker asked the audience if they were struggling with getting their field sales reps to use CRM, I would estimate that more than 95% of the people in both sessions raised their hands. These weren’t small audiences, mind you, so despite the many things that have changed with CRM over the years, one thing hasn’t changed: user adoption remains a significant challenge.
There were some solid systems integration partners in attendance, and many of them presented at sessions. It was clear that these guys have been around the block and know how to implement CRM as they shared some very good ideas on how to engage end users. It was equally clear, however, that they still recognize user adoption as the Achilles heel of CRM which is why they spent so much time covering the topic.
Companies like Data8, Experlogix and dozens of others showcased the amazing things they can do to compliment the CRM user experience and have a positive impact on user engagement. Yet still hands kept going up whenever the audience was asked about their struggles with user adoption.
Needless to say, Microsoft is releasing new capabilities at a mind-boggling pace which is fantastic for the Dynamics community. Sales Insights, Customer Service Insights and Power Platform (just to name a few) are all laser-focused on helping organizations get the most from their Dynamics 365 solutions. AI-based technology as a whole is dominating the conversations because everyone sees the promise that it offers.
All the Right Ingredients but No Cake
At this month’s conference, I saw all of the right ingredients needed to address the ever-elusive user adoption problem:
- Customers who are eager to learn and try new things
- SI partners who have the knowledge and ability to help companies implement a comprehensive, enterprise-class CRM
- ISVs who fill critical gaps and enable out-of-the-box integrations with ancillary systems
- Microsoft and all of their AI-powered capabilities that can truly change the game by ensuring users get the right data at the right time, thanks to sophisticated algorithms and state-of-the-art UI
What I did not see, however, was the baked cake, if you will.
For those of us in the channel as an SI or ISV, it is difficult to keep up with all of the technologies available today. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for customers who are constantly multi-tasking and responsible for various systems. Administering CRM may not be a full-time job, after all.
So while I’m sure that many customers left Orlando excited about many of the things they saw, chances are, they also left with a long list of questions running through their heads: “How in the world do I explain to my LOB leaders why this technology could be beneficial? More importantly, how is it going to help us increase revenue or improve customer retention? Even if I can make the case for it, where do I begin to try to start implementing all of the great things that I saw?”
How Yesflow Delivers the Goods
At Yesflow, our job is to deliver the baked cake. We specialize in bringing all of the right ingredients together, and these ingredients include strong relationships with SIs, all of the great technology that Microsoft has to offer and more than 15 years of experience in deploying Dynamics CRM/CE with literally thousands of customers to accomplish one very important goal: make things easy for end users.
The Yesflow enterprise digital assistant is the tool that wraps all of this technology into a simple, mobile-based app that allows smartphone users to interact with Dynamics CRM/CE with natural, interactive voice dialogs, touch and text. Our Customer Success Team is an extension of the customer team, and our one and only mission is to drive willful user engagement, which we measure relentlessly. Our success is directly tied to user adoption, not to whether or not we have completed a “project.”
To learn more about how we can help your organization make poor user adoption rates a thing of the past by conquering the Last Mile of Sales Productivity, contact us today for more information.